It has started again, for the 3rd year! Our 24 books of Christmas Countdown. This year I am really trying to keep it simple as my kids already have a pretty hectic life. I considered not doing it this year but they love it so much and started asking about it mid November. I have compiled the list, collected most materials and we hit the ground running today.
As always our first book was “The Elf on the Shelf”. You can check out what we did in 2011 and 2012, but we have to do this book the first of December every year as our elf Frankie comes back to visit. My girls in particular have been very much looking forward to his return. Kaitlyn was even invited to have a sleep-over at a friend’s last night but came home before sleep time because she wanted to wake up here in the morning to see Frankie. In our house it is almost the excitement of Christmas morning.
To keep it ‘kid friendly’ and in the spirit of ELK Kindergarten I invited the kids to work together to make a house for Frankie. I showed them a picture of an idea on spoonful.com and told them they could use whatever they wanted to make Frankie’s house. I had been saving the boxes from all our winter boots so they picked their favourite and from there I let them use anything they could find in our craft centre and introduced them to the Christmas craft bin where I had put a collection of random Christmas craft supplies.
The most amazing part was how well they worked together. For almost 1 hour my three children (aged 3, 5, and 7) work quietly together to build this house. No one yelled, no one told someone they were doing it wrong, they were even complimenting each other – it was pretty amazing. I gave no guidance and the only thing they asked me to do was glue the boxes together at the end.
Their finished project:
Our 24 books of Christmas was such a hit last year that it has become a must-do for our family this year. This year I feel it is even more important because it make me stop and do something fun with my children every day. Since I have gone back to teaching full time and my kids have such busy schedules our life has become a bit chaotic. All of our books and activities are strategically planned and scheduled this year – with larger more time consuming crafts on slower evenings and weekends.
We of course started off the countdown with The Elf on the Shelf. When the kids woke up on December 1st it didn’t take them long to find that Frankie (our elf) had returned for the holiday season. To celebrate his return our actvities for the day were all elf based. We re-read the book (well Grandma actually read it to them because I had an eye infection and reading was challenging). I was searching for elf related crafts and ended up on the official Elf on the Shelf website. If you go to “North Pole” and “Reindeer Stables” you will find a number of elf crafts. I have also pinned them on my Pinterest Page.
We started with the Elf Clock. I wanted to start the season off with a craft that we would add to our collection and would come out every year. We took a trip to Michael’s Arts and Crafts where we found the Clock Movement Package. It didn’t call for a specific size but we used 3/8″. Grandpa also helped out by making us a box out of plywood. This makes it more durable and more sturdy for saving for future years. The girls started by painting it with red acrylic paint and colouring the elf template (we used pencil crayons, markers and silver glitter).
We gave Granpa the job of attaching the clock parts – I didn’t want to mess it up!
After it was all done it was the first item put on our mantel for the holiday season.
For fun we also made the Elf table. This was pretty easy, but I did all the gluing with the hot glue gun. The instructions are very clear but make sure you get large tongue depressors for the large stick and mini sticks (smaller than popsicle sticks) for the small sticks.
Our elf table took it’s place on the mantel beside the clock – maybe Frankie will decide to sit on it one day!!