Tag Archives: kids

Why Does Santa Wear Red by Meera Lester

Why-Does-Santa-Wear-Red

This is such a fun book for anyone who loves Christmas, fun facts, yummy recipes, crafts, pop culture, home decorating, traditions from around the world,  history….I love it! I haven’t even finished reading it from end to end (so far, I’ve zeroed in on information about Santa and Christmas traditions (in North America)). But, I would like to share a few interesting tidbits with you:

  • Christmas was illegal in New England until 1681 and “it was only in the years after the [civil] war that Christmas began to win slow acceptance as a cause for revelry in various regions of the United States, and only at the dawn of the nineteenth century did any meaningful references to the man we would call Santa Claus begin to appear.” (Christmas was illegal????)
  • Why Does Santa Ride a Reindeer-Driven Sleigh? Santa flying around in a sleigh pulled by one reindeer…had long been popular in Russia where Father Frost arrived in villages in a reindeer-drawn sleigh. The Norse god Wodin was said to ride his horse Sleipner through the air to make sure people were behaving; in Holland, Santa rides Sleipner to this day.”
  • Why a Red Suit? Think bishop’s cape and you have the answer. Nicholas…..was the bishop of the church at Smyrna (Izmir in modern Turkey). He lived during the fourth century and was known to be kind and generous to children, especially to the very poor, giving away his wealth to them. Tradition states that he tossed special little gifts or bags of gold to them through open windows or down chimneys.”
  • “The earliest Christmas ornaments consisted of edible goodies, typically fruits and nuts. Eventually, these made way for cookies, candy and cakes….the first commercial ornaments for Christmas trees were actually hollow, brightly colored containers that held good things to eat….originally, trees were the means by which presents were displayed  on Christmas morning before their owners claimed them.”
  • Why are red and green the colors of Christmas? No one really knows for sure, but there have been plenty of educated guesses. Green….is the color of the evergreens that symbolize so much that is important to the meaning of the holiday….the holly berry seems to be responsible for the red. This red berry lives through winter, thus symbolizing life in the face of death, a representation of Christ.”

Finally, (and this is not in the book, but it is for real) if you are planning to write to Santa Claus, you have until December 17. Yup, you can write to Santa and he will write back. You can write by regular mail to this address:

Santa Claus

North Pole HOH OHO

Canada

(No need to attach a stamp, if you’re mailing your letter from Canada.)

Or, click here to send an email.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

letterstosanta

Photo credit 1, Photo credit 2

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The Benefits of Reading Together

    1. A stronger relationship with you. As your child grows older, he’ll be on the move—playing, running, and constantly exploring his environment. Snuggling up with a book lets the two of you slow down and recaptures that sweet, cuddly time you enjoyed when he was a baby. Instead of being seen as a chore or a task, reading will become a nurturing activity that will bring the two of you closer together.
    2. Academic excellence. One of the primary benefits of reading to toddlers and preschoolers is a higher aptitude for learning in general. Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education. After all, if a student struggles to put together words and sentences, how can he be expected to grasp the math, science, and social concepts he’ll be presented with when he begins elementary school?
    3. Basic speech skills. Throughout toddlerhood and preschool, your child is learning critical language and enunciation skills. By listening to you read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, your child is reinforcing the basic sounds that form language. “Pretend reading”—when a toddler pages through a book with squeals and jabbers of delight—is a very important pre-literacy activity. As a preschooler, your child will likely begin sounding out words on his own.
    4. The basics of how to read a book. Children aren’t born with an innate knowledge that text is read from left to right, or that the words on a page are separate from the images. Essential pre-reading skills like these are among the major benefits of early reading.
    5. Better communication skills. When you spend time reading to toddlers, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way. By witnessing the interactions between the characters in the books you read, as well as the contact with you during story time, your child is gaining valuable communication skills.
    6. Mastery of language. Early reading for toddlers has been linked to a better grasp of the fundamentals of language as they approach school age.
    7. More logical thinking skills. Another illustration of the importance of reading to children is their ability to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognize cause and effect, and utilize good judgment. As your toddler or preschooler begins to relate the scenarios in books to what’s happening in his own world, he’ll become more excited about the stories you share.
    8. Acclamation to new experiences. As your child approaches a major developmental milestone or a potentially stressful experience, sharing a relevant story is a great way to help ease the transition. For instance, if your little one is nervous about starting preschool, reading a story dealing with this topic shows her that her anxiety is normal.
    9. Enhanced concentration and discipline. Toddlers may initially squirm and become distracted during story time, but eventually they’ll learn to stay put for the duration of the book. Along with reading comprehension comes a stronger self-discipline, longer attention span, and better memory retention, all of which will serve your child well when she enters school.
    10. The knowledge that reading is fun! Early reading for toddlers helps them view books as an indulgence, not a chore. Kids who are exposed to reading are much more likely to choose books over video games, television, and other forms of entertainment as they grow older.

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How I Bought My Very First Book with My Very Own Money

I was reminded of this story when replying to a comment from ligh4043…it’s about: how I bought my very first book with my very own money. Yup, I’m doing it to you; taking a stroll down memory lane.

Well, it was like this….I was eight-years-old and I wanted to take a course in German after school. (I’m not sure why; I hated school. It must have been that I’ve always loved language and culture and, at eight years old, I was much smarter than I was after and knew enough to follow something I really liked.)

Mom said it was O.K., BUT I had to come up with money to pay for the text book. How does a child come up with their own money? That was the first question that popped into my mind (perhaps, it has popped into yours as well). The question was followed by an answer: take recyclables to the recycling station. There wasn’t, by far, enough recyclables in the home, so I knew I’d have to go around to the neighbours and ask if they have any old paper laying around their homes. (I’ve always hated asking for stuff, so this was the worst part of the entire endeavour.)

Plus, I didn’t have a wagon to take the piles of paper down to the station. Luckily, my Mom took that responsibility off my hands and asked a neighbour who, she knew, had a lovely red wagon.

I don’t know how many wagon loads I took down over the next few days. The recycling station was by the school and the school was a few kilometres away (and, by the way….yes, I did walk it, back and forth, every school day; during all of the seasons and during all weather conditions…just like your grandpa always complains about having done when he was young…and, he’s right, it does build character).

The first few coins that the person working at the recycling station gave me were disappointing, because I still had a ways to go. The next few coins were better, because I was getting closer. Once I had the full amount (plus, most of the cash I needed for an ice cream bar! wooohooo), my step became light as I bounced towards the school.

I remember walking up the stairs (not dreading the rest of the day, like I was used to during a school day), but knowing that that beautiful, shining book was going to be mine. Really, truly mine. I walked in to the main office, reached up to the top of the counter, lay all of the change down and stated my business.

And…there is was…glossy, hard cover, in black and white with yellow and blue highlights…I didn’t dare open it until I was outside.

The sun was just about to set when I turned the corner from the school and opened the book and released it’s new book aroma and touched the rough, recycled paper pages and thought: “This is really, honestly mine. All mine.”

This isn’t me, but it is how I felt.

…and, also, like this.

Photo credit 1, Photo credit 2

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The Little Mole by Zdenek Miler

Today, I thought I’d turn my flashlight on the Little Mole, a cartoon character from the Czech Republic, first created in 1956.

He is probably more popular today than ever. (Last year the Little Mole even flew to outer space with NASA.) He is the star of many books and cartoons that demonstrate caring, sharing, cooperation, hard work, ingenuity and resilience and that encourage children to acquire knowledge and skills by following the Little Mole’s example. Part of what makes the Little Mole different is that there’s nearly no dialogue; most of the verbal communication is emotional exclamations, which adds to his innocence and, perhaps, partly explains his popularity in over 80 countries (ie. no dubbing required).

Have a look a the Little Mole in action and you may fall in love with him too: The Mole and the Snowman.

The Little Mole and his friends

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