Wednesday, January 09, 2013

PeeWees: The Gift from Saint Nicholas (week 1)

[Thanks to PeeWee mom Julia, for introducing Poppy, and our family, to this beautiful new Christmas book - I have since added it to our collection!  Here's the PeeWee recap, in Julia's words.]
The Gift from Saint Nicholas is about a town that is snowed in until Christmas Eve. No one can leave their houses and they are all getting lonely and needing things from each other but can't get them.  Two children make a Christmas Eve wish that "St. Nicholas will blow a path through the snow." The next morning there is a package from St. Nicholas in the middle of the town square, which requires all the people to shovel toward the middle, where they meet for the first time in over a week. They all open the present, which has many layers of boxes and ribbon and finally there's just a small package left, which they open to find a teapot.

Incredulous, they all gather together and brew some tea. Everyone brings something to share: apples, nuts, cookies, bread, etc. and they end up having a great St. Nicholas day after all.

So this is how the day went:

Gathering activity:
building blocks
Circle time: counting "snowballs" -- cotton balls. We went up to 20 this time. We definitely have our challenges in the teens! Bodie seems to have the loudest voice and goes from 13-18 but they all have ones they skip. However, everyone seems to know 19-20, which is a HUGE step in my opinion.

Then we got into the book. I actually had the inspiration to introduce "St. Nicholas" by reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" first.  Lizzie brought it home from school and so I had it on hand, miraculously. They all knew who Santa was (sort-of: at least the recogized the name and the costume) but none knew who St. Nicholas was. So we read an illustrated version of "Twas the Night..." and they got the idea.

Then we delved into the book, which they liked. I had to start summarizing at the end because the descriptions of the villagers opening the layers and their comments meant that I was losing 2-year-old attentions! I think this book would be fine as-is if read one-on-one. But in a group they started to get a little antsy. So with summarizing, we got through it. None of them knew what a teapot was but when we talked about making hot chocolate they were EXCITED!

So then we had a HUGE present to unwrap with several boxes and layers of wrapping paper that they all helped tear apart. They knew exactly what to do and they all wanted to be involved.

 It was a glass decorative teapot (thanks, Lisa!). I told them that maybe we could make hot chocolate too.

Snack: After a bathroom/handwashing break we gathered around the table. I had warmed some hot chocolate in the microwave and put it in the decorative teapot to serve. Then I put a REAL tea kettle (thanks, Kari!) on the stove and told them to listen carefully to something that the tea kettle was going to tell us while we had snack. Our snack went along with the book: nuts, hot chocolate, apples, and bread. Everyone had something to eat that he/she liked but no one liked everything. Finally the tea kettle started whistling and they LOVED it! They wanted me to make it whistle again and again. We will do this again for sure.

Art: St. Nicholas faces

Then we had a "snowball fight" with newspaper snowballs. They loved this and I'm so bummed I didn't get a photo.

After cleaning up we bundled up and got shoes on to go jump on the trampoline for the last few minutes. Then we read the book one last time on the trampoline and said goodbye. It was a great day! They are
just so fun.

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