1. Make Special Crafts With ParentsI love making these class t-shirts. At the beginning of the year, we have a 3 pack of tshirts on our supply list. While not everyone brings them, I only have to purchase a few instead of a class set! I invited a few parent volunteers to come and help me make the shirts. Megan did the writing with puffy paint!
2. Make Gifts for the KidsThese are the best Christmas presents....ever! We purchased a piece of shower board from Lowes. Andy cut it into equal parts to make the dry erase boards. I bought ribbon at Hobby Lobby, 50% off. I used a paint pen to write their names and decorate it up a bit. Then, I hot glued the ribbon around the edge. Finally, I added a Velcro dot to attach the pen! They LOVED them!
3. Create ornaments they can hang on their trees at home...for many years.
When Megan and Tyler were at home, each year we would pull their ornaments from the box and remember that teacher, those friends, etc. When they married, I wrapped up all of their ornaments and gave them to them. Now, Tyler probably could care less, but I think Megan cried. Those ornaments. Melts my heart! Here are some of my favorite ornaments.
Pasta Tree: Cut a tree from poster board. Cut a hole in the middle to make the tree a picture frame. Invite the children to cover the tree with pasta...the more the better. After it dries, spray paint with green and add glitter. Megan made this ornament in her 3 year old Sunday School Class and we still have it!
Pasta Wreath: Dye pasta with red and green food coloring. Once dry, thread onto a pipe cleaner, making a pattern. Add a ribbon bow. Not sure of the name of this pasta, but it looks like a flower.
Rudolph: Paint the hand brown and print onto a piece of paper. Once dry, cut it out and add eyes and nose. Add pipe cleaner antlers.
Snowman Fingers: Purchase PLASTIC ornaments. You can use blue or clear. Paint the three middle fingers with white paint. Put the ornament in their palm and invite them to "hold" the ornament. This will print their fingers onto the ornament. When dry, use a paint pen to add eyes, nose, etc.
Pasta Picture Frame: Make these just like the pasta trees.
4. Plan centers that are both seasonal and standards based.
Who says learning can't be related to a holiday? It isn't like we have to pick one or the other. Each year, I send home a letter to parents before we head home for the holidays. I ask them to save me the stamps from their Christmas Cards. After about 10 years, I had quite a collection. The children love to sort, pattern, count, graph, etc with the stamps.
5. Watch for great finds.
The Dollar Tree, The Target Dollar Spot, Walmart, etc. all load their shelves with Christmas and Holiday goodies. I usually don't purchase too much in December. But, when January arrives, I grab all of those goodies for my Winter Unit or to put up for next year.