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Nutcracker Unit 2 w/ Free Printables

The Christmas season is in full swing at our house, which means the story of the nutcracker has filled our home, hearts, and minds once again.  Music from the ballet can be heard on a daily basis.  Excitement is in the air as we get closer and closer to attending The Nutcracker Ballet.  As we prepare for the performance Sunshine is enjoying our Nutcracker Unit 2 with free printables.
Nutcracker Acivities
This post contains affiliate links.

This Christmas is the first year that Sunshine is developmentally old enough to become excited about the holiday season and understand all that's going on.  Though she won't be attending the ballet with us, she is joining us for our annual reading of the story by E. T. A. Hoffman.  She will also have her very own Nutcracker Unit, which she is madly in love with and quite territorial about already.

We hope you enjoy the activities as much as we do!


Pre-Writing Sand Tray Activity
Christmas pre-writing activity
Sunshine will begin to work on her pre-writing skills using the sand tray.  I have selected curves for our shelves this week.  Bright red sand is being used for this activity.

Source:  The free cards for this activity can be found at Walking by the Way.

N is for Nutcracker
N is for Nutcracker
I'm super excited to introduce a new letter of the alphabet to Sunshine using homemade play dough, a rolling pin from our Melissa & Doug Shape, Model and Mold kit, the letter N from our Creativity Street Dough Cutters, and a nutcracker stamp.  I show a tiny nutcracker stamp in the image above, but we also have the Nutcracker Inkadinkado Wood Stamp, that I may add to the activity.


Nutcracker Patterns
Nutcracker patterns

This may just be one of my favorite activities on our shelves this week.  Each pattern is created on a 1.5 inch thick rectangler piece of of Styrofoam.  Sunshine can remove each pattern from the tray easily to complete the activity.

Patterns are created using cupcake toppers from my Meri Meri the Nutcracker Tale Cupcake Kit.  I purchased this kit years ago for a minimal price at a local store.  If you're unable to find this kit, any dollar store or craft store Christmas themed cupcake toppers will do.  Sunshine will use the cupcake toppers provided to complete the patterns.

Nutcracker Themed Size Sorting Activity
Nutcracker size sorting activity
Sunshine will sort the objects in the baskets placing them under the labels small, medium or large.  As a control, I have included three of every object, each of varying size to compare.
Nutcracker size sorting
I used objects relating to the story of the nutcracker that we had on hand at home.  As I continue to shop this holiday season I may just look for some ballerina ornaments etc., to add to our activity.

I created the printable for this activity. Nutcracker Printable Pack 2 is a Subscriber’s Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.


Sorting Nuts
Sorting tree nuts
There are very few that can understand my excitement over this nut sorting activity.  This is the first year EVER in the history of our family that we haven't had someone allergic to tree nuts.  Bulldozer outgrew his allergy this year, which we can't be thankful for enough.

All of the kiddos have been dying to get their hands on this activity, because it's so new to all of them.  Sunshine is the first to tell everyone else not to touch it because it is HER activity.  Lol.  Sunshine will sort the nuts provided, placing them under the sorting cards.

Source:  The free cards used in this activity can be found at Counting Coconuts.


Mouse Match Up
Mouse Match Up
It only seemed fitting to learn about mice as part of our Nutcracker Unit.  Sunshine will sort and match the mouse cards provided.  Since Sunshine is just beginning to understand letters, I did not include the names of the mice on each card.  Instead we'll focus on colors and characteristics.

I created the printable for this activity. Nutcracker Printable Pack 2 is a Subscriber’s Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.


Decorating a Christmas Tree
Decorating a Christmas tree 

The Nutcracker starts out at a Christmas party with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.   In this activity Sunshine will be able to decorate her own Christmas tree using the small ornaments provided.

 The Story of the Nutcracker
Book:  Nutcracker Twinkle Toes
There are several books written about the story of the nutcracker.  This week we've decided to include Nutcracker Twinkle Toes by Karen Katz on our shelves.  As the week goes on, if I feel that Sunshine is ready for another book, I'll add it.  Fantastic Fun & Learning has a fabulous list of Nutcracker themed books, if you need some ideas for your shelves. 


Introduction to the Tambourine in the Russian Dance from The Nutcracker Suite
Tambourine and Nutcracker Suite
Sunshine LOVES music.  I'm so excited to start introducing her to instruments, the orchestra, and so much more.  In this activity she'll be introduced to the tambourine. First, she'll be able to play it to hear what it sounds like.  Second, she'll watch the Berlin Philharmonic play the Russian Dance from The Nutcracker Suite on the iPad.

As she watches the orchestra play, she'll be able to listen and hear the tambourine.  Then she will be able to watch it being played, all the while playing along and listening to one of our favorite pieces from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite.


Ballet in Art Puzzles
Ballet in art puzzles for tots
When choosing this activity, Sunshine will put two piece puzzles together to create famous ballet scenes in art.  I have only selected four puzzles to start with, so as not to overwhelm her. If she does well with this activity, I may add more.

Source:  The puzzles for this activity were created by Anastasia at Montessori Nature and can be purchased for a small fee.

Practical Life

Nutcracker Cutting Practice
Nutcracker cutting activity
During this unit, we'll be introducing Sunshine to scissors for the first time.  It is my hope that all goes well.  Sunshine will cut along the gray lines, placing the nutcracker pictures in the bowl provided.

Source: The free printable for this activity can be found at 3 Dinosaurs as part the Nutcracker Tot Pack.


Ribbon Matching

Christmas ribbon matching
For this activity, Sunshine will be blindfolded with the red napkin provided. She will then use her sense of touch to match pieces of ribbon provided.  I used ribbon we had on hand at home, but one could use lace, or any number of options to enhance the activity. 

I am so excited for Sunshine this year, as she is introduced to the magic of the Nutcracker for the first time through the story, learning activities, music and ballet.

For those interested in the free printables, click on the link below:

Directions on How to Obtain Subscriber Only Freebies

1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.

2. Subscribe to our free newsletter.

3. Open the thank you message you receive in your e-mail, after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.)

4. Click the confirmation link in the thank you message.

5. Once the confirmation is complete, you will receive another e-mail message with the Subscriber Only Freebies Link and Password.

6. Click on link and type in password. (The password is cap sensitive.)

7. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and voila!

We hope you enjoy your free printable.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.

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Christmas Activities for Kids (Learn & Play Link Up)

This week we're very busy preparing for several events that kick off our holiday season.  I'll be back soon with new activities, but didn't want to forget to share some amazing features linked up this week!  Enjoy!  
This post contains affiliate links.

Welcome to the Learn & Play Link Up!!!
Learn & Play Link Up Every Thursday

Now it’s time for this week’s link party! This new link up is for all blog posts that include learn and play activities and hands-on education for kids. We are excited to read your blog posts and to see what you have to share! Please link up below and grab our button to display on your blog.
If you are a blogger, share your family friendly posts here. We are looking for things which include:
  • Montessori Education
  • Homeschool
  • Sensory Play
  • Tot and Preschool Trays
  • Fine and Gross Motor Activities
  • Kids in the Kitchen
  • Healthy Recipes for Kids
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Natural Living
  • Free Educational Printables
  • Family-Oriented Activities
  • Healthy Living
Your post will be shown on each host’s blog where we will individually pick features every other week. That means there is more of a chance that you will be featured!
Everyone, please meet our link party hosts:
learn and play party hostesses

Guidelines for Linking:
  • Please link up 1-3 posts
  • Follow each of the hosts on social media
  • When you link up, please add our button and place it at the bottom of your shared posts or link back with text link.
  • By entering a link, you’re giving us permission to feature an image on our blogs. Proper credit & links will ALWAYS be given.
  • Please visit a couple of shared posts and leave a comment for them
  • Remember that you must link back in order to be featured
Christian Montessori Network

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Gift Ideas for Dad (Jason's Wish List)

This post contains affiliate link.

This is the last installment of gift ideas for this year!  If you need a gift for a dad in your life, consider ideas here!  I know the kiddos and I will be doing the same!

1.  Coleman Classic Propane Stove

2.  Coghlan's Non-Stick Two Burner Griddle

3.  Therm-a-Rest Base Camp Mattress, Blue Nights, X-Large (Purchased)

4.  Lodge LCC3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Combo Cooker, 3-Quart

5.  Mr. Bar-B-Q 94001X 18-Piece Stainless-Steel Barbecue Set with Storage Case

6.  Victorinox Swiss Army 53713 - Huntsman Pocket Knife (Purchased)

1.  Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Purchased)

2.  Star Wars Trilogy Episodes IV-VI (Blu-ray + DVD) (Purchased)

3.  A Hard Day's Night (Criterion Collection)

4.  Casablanca (Purchased)

5.  ESPN Films 30 for 30: Film Favorites Collection

6.  The Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman Begins / The Dark Knight / The Dark Knight Rises) (Purchased)

1.  Wilson Tour Slam Strung Tennis Racquet, 4 3/8-Inch, Black/Green

2.  Rawlings Player Preferred Adult Glove, Right Hand Throw, 13-Inch

3.  PUGG 4 Footer Portable Training Goal (One Goal & Bag)

4.  Top of the World NCAA-Small Schools- Premium Collection Adult One Fit Hat-Size-L/XL-William & Mary Tribe

5.  NBA New York Knicks Biggest Fan Redux Beanie

6.  The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams (Purchased)

1.  The Complete Studio Albums 1981-1990 (8CD)

2.  The Anthology 1964 - 1971 [5 CD][Box Set]

3.  A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters [3 CD][Super Deluxe Edition]

4.  Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982 - 2011

5.  People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm- 25th Anniversary Edition

6.  Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir

1.  Weber Style 6434 Professional-Grade Vegetable Basket (Purchased)

2.  Chef Remi Cooking Thermometer - Instant Read - Best Digital Thermometer for All Food, Grill, BBQ and Candy - Rated #1 Meat Thermometer - 100% Lifetime Guarantee

3.  Stovetop Smoker - The Original Camerons Stainless Steel Smoker Value Pack with 3 Bonus Pints of Wood Chips - Works over any heat source, indoor or outdoor

4.  KitchenAid KHB1231 2-Speed Hand Blender Empire Red Electric Mixer

5.  Wrenwane Knife Sharpener - 2 Stage Sharpening, Black

6.  Aloha Spice Variety Set of 6 Specialty Salts

1.  iPad Air Case, SUPCASE Heavy Duty Beetle Defense Series Full-body Rugged Hybrid Protective Case Cover with Built-in Screen Protector for Apple iPad Air (Black/Black, not fit iPad Air 2)

2.  Parker IM Royal Blue Chrome Trim Ballpoint Pen

3.  Jeopardy! 2016 Day-to-Day Calendar (Purchased)

4.  The New York Times Will Shortz's Favorite Puzzlemakers: 100 Crosswords Made By the Best in the Business; Plus Who They Are and How They Do It (Purchased)

5.  Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

6.  Peanuts Weekly and Monthly Planner (2016) (Purchased)

2.  Skylar Gardening Tool Set. Kit with Trowel, Weeder and Cultivator/Hoe. Rustproof. With Bonus Storage Bag

3.  Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

4.  Audubon Hanging Bird Bath, 12 " Diameter Model NA32350 (Purchased)

5.  Heirloom Garden Vegetable Seeds NON GMO Easy Growers

6.  Gardener's Blue Ribbon 3-Pack Ultomato Tomato Plant Cage

1.  Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

2.  The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

3.  Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (P.S.) (Purchased)

4.  The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2016

5.  Celebrating Peanuts: 65 Years (Purchased)

6.  David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

1.  Risk Game

2.  Apples to Apples 15th Appleversary Edition (Purchased)

3.  Scene It? Seinfeld

4.  MATTER OF FACT - The Trivia Challenge Game

5.  Love Letter Boxed Edition

6.  Wham-O Mini Frisbee Golf Disc indoor and outdoor Toy Set
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