Holiday Activities

Kids Chinese New Year Painting Craft – (X Marks the Spot)

Did you know this is the most celebrated holiday in the world? Here’s a kids Chinese New Year painting craft that breathes fire. Well, not fire, but fun. We adapted this from a thumbprint painting activity at Fun Handprint Art.

kids Chinese new year painting craft

At this time of year, you may be fortunate enough to get up close to a Chinese Dragon parade. There will be bright colors, lots of drums and cymbals, and waves of movement as the dragon dances along. Either before or after, kids can make their own dragon with the colors and movement. If you have any little bells, drums, shakers, or other noise makers from the holidays, then they recreate that part too.

kids Chinese new year painting craft

This is a wonderfully easy craft using paint dabbers. Just like the spot that an X marks (for this series of posts using the letters of the alphabet, these spots mark a dragon. To start, about the middle on one side of the paper, kids paint a spot with two more just below like a triangle. This makes the head of the dragon. Continuing on down, they add a few sports to be a neck. Little Sister slid the dabber to be a line for the neck of her dragon. The next part is to paint lots of spots in the dragon’s middle, like a hump or mountain shape. After that, kids dab a long line to be the tail.

kids Chinese new year painting craft

Little Sister’s tail curved along the edge of the paper, back across the top, and curved over to meet the top of the hump. She was really into the activity. Big Sister only dabbed a small tail and then wanted to do all the colors of the rainbow. She doesn’t have the roy-g-biv order or the indigo but has the other colors. Once dry, kids can draw on some legs and add an eye or they might want to leave their kids Chinese New Year painting craft just as it is.

kids Chinese new year painting craft

Sometimes, there is a lion dance, with a large and colorfully decorated head of a lion and only the legs of the 2 dancers showing. The dragon is lifted high off the ground with many dancers carrying it on poles. Will your family watch, participate or celebrate Chinese New Year? What will you do?



M = Making a Difference on MLK Day for Kids

Is there a way to make Martin Luther King Day meaningful for our little ones? Making a difference on MLK Day for kids is one way. No matter their age. Or, where you live. In some places, MLK day will be a day off school or work, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. In others, while it is not a holiday, it is a day to remember this great man and his work for justice and equality. His words, “I have a dream,” resonated all around the world.


We can share the story of Martin Luther King with kids by reading a book. Marjorie Ingall suggests some in her article,  Six Children’s Books for Martin Luther King Day.

A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson is a wonderful, gentle book. It tells the story of two girls who march with Dr. King. When reading it, time and space almost disappear and we can hear the words of Dr. King, fell the warm sun as they march, and maybe, smell the roses. Just like the smell of roses can make a difference in someone’s day, so can we, kids as well as grownups.

Making a difference in someone’s day can be as small and simple as a smile. Or, something more. It can happen right at home or for someone in the community. A few cookies delivered to a neighbor or helping to shovel a sidewalk are small gestures. Taking a flower in a pot over to someone who doesn’t get out much is like delivering a breath of spring. At home, we can let children know their help to unload the groceries or take a forgotten book back to the room where it goes has made a difference for the family.

You may be able to go to a larger community event or celebration today. In honor of Martin Luther King can your day include making a difference on MLK Day for kids?



New Year’s Eve Jar Filled with Happy Joy – A Fun Tradition for Families

Did your family make a happy joy jar for the year? These are jars filled with ticket stubs, bits of paper from events, photos printed from activities, etc. Then, on New Year’s Eve, the family takes some time to look at all the fun that happened in the year.

new year's eve happy joy jar

We’re still not really good about remembering to write down and pop in reminders but we’re getting better. Each year it’s so much fun to look back on what we’ve done. For a whole month, Great-Grandma came in the summer and every day it seemed we did something special. There’s a bit of baby fabric tucked in for the new baby cousin that arrived in late November. Even though we all had birthdays to remember, only one candle is in the jar. Great-Grandma and Little Sister have birthdays on the same day. Having her here was extra special. The candle does help each of us though remember our birthday.

A favorite adventure in the summer is the Fairy Garden display. The photo shows what it looked like, but to capture the magic of the event we need the words. This same wonderful Gardens and Nature at the College also has a winter display of lights in the woods. My favorite is the rainbow flowers made with recycled plastic bottles. We didn’t need our umbrellas for that this year, although we did remember a couple of camping trips where we had to stay home because of the rain. Big Sister and I included the picture of a rug hooking craft we finally finished. It took over a year and we are grateful it’s done.

Making a happy or joy jar is so easy to do. All you need is a big jar and a space on a shelf. It helps to have the jar right out where it’s easy to see and use. Whenever something happens that’s exciting or eventful, pop in a reminder like a note or a drawing. Keep adding to the jar all year long. On New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, take out the jar and experience that wonderful time all over again. Kids can draw pictures of whatever it is and, if needed, adults can write down the words.

happy new year 123 kindergarten


These jars help strengthen the bonds we share as a family. The memories give the young hearts a sense of belonging. This year maybe we’ll add something new—some wishes for the new year coming up. Perhaps another name for this New Year’s Eve Happy Joy Jar could be Roots and Wings?

Kids Need Different Kinds of Play: What kind does your child need?

Children follow a similar path of developmental milestones; just like adults have different jobs, kids need different kinds of play. What does yours need? Being sensitive to children’s needs means recognizing some kids need vigorous outside play, some miss the social aspect of daycare or preschool and would like a friend to play with, and … Continue reading Kids Need Different Kinds of Play: What kind does your child need?

Play-of-the-Day: Holiday Outside Play Time

Some lucky kids and families get time for winter play. Did your kids get any outside toys? It might be a great day for holiday outside play time. Dress for the weather and head outdoors to try out those skis, skates, sleighs, toboggans, wagons and bikes. Holiday time plus winter usually means more time indoors, … Continue reading Play-of-the-Day: Holiday Outside Play Time

Fun Ways Kids Can Say Thank You After Christmas

We’re almost back to regular day routine, but before it gets forgotten, there’s one detail. Here are some fun ways kids can say thank you after Christmas. In the midst of all the excitement, we need to pause and say thank you. Kids are not too young and there’s more than one way to express … Continue reading Fun Ways Kids Can Say Thank You After Christmas

After Christmas –  The Best Gift for Kids is PLAY

The day after Christmas comes without the celebration but, without doubt, the most wonderful present of all because the best gift for kids is play. Hasn’t that been the reason for giving them new toys and adventures, to encourage and extend their play? So today’s play-of-the-day is do that, to play. Sometimes, the adults are … Continue reading After Christmas –  The Best Gift for Kids is PLAY

Fun Christmas Eve Traditions for Kids – What Are Yours?

Finally, the day is almost here and it’s time for fun Christmas Eve traditions for kids. Some might be generations old, some new and unique for your family. Around the world, kids leave cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer. With eight reindeer and Rudolph, maybe they take turns eating the … Continue reading Fun Christmas Eve Traditions for Kids – What Are Yours?

Baking Christmas Cookies with Kids – Why Leave Cookies for Santa?

Today’s play-of-the-day is a favorite activity for this time of year, baking Christmas cookies with kids. What’s the top cookie at your house? And why do we leave cookies for Santa? I don’t know about your FB feed, but there were and still are lots of posts for baking cookies yesterday and today. From all … Continue reading Baking Christmas Cookies with Kids – Why Leave Cookies for Santa?