Incorporating reading into Christmas activitiesPosted: December 9, 2020
In exactly two weeks and two days it will be Christmas day. I enjoy this time of year as there is a lot of focus in my life on sharing, giving, and charity. My firm and my church undergo various outreach and charity programmes to help a large spectrum of underprivileged schools, churches, and families.
This year, the Community Service Initiative team at work organised gifts for 100 school children who were graduating from a nursery school. The gift packs included a selection of party foods and one of my Sir Chocolate Books. These were packed into a good quality school satchel so the children have one to use for school next year. A few volunteers from my office, suitable sanitised and masked, went to the school to help give out the gifts.
Christmas time is also traditionally a time when families gather. Every year, my mother and I host a large family lunch-time gathering at which we serve a traditional hot meal of roast lamb, roast potatoes and a large variety of vegetables. This year we are expecting 16 adults and 7 children for the day. My son, Michael, has undertaken to cook the meat and the vegetables this year as he has become a lot more confident with his cooking skills.
In addition to the Christmas meal, I always make the Christmas treats and puddings.
The preparation of a large meal and a few desserts are great learning opportunities for children. They can help you read the recipes and information on the the packets, boxes, and tins containing the various ingredients.
Aside from reading, there are a number of other benefits to baking with children, as follows:
- Baking enhances fine motor skills. Get your children to mix, knead, stir, roll-out, cut-out and decorate. These activities all help with the development of fine motor skills;
- Teaches children math’s. Measuring liquids and weighing or measuring dry ingredients teach children about mass and volume. Heating the oven imparts information about temperatures and sometimes a conversion is required for a recipe from Fahrenheit to Celsius. There can also be conversions from pounds, ounces and pints to grams and milliliters.
- Illustrates scientific principles. The combination of certain food items results in specific chemical reactions which are instructive and interesting.
- Increases focus and intention. Children need to concentrate throughout the baking exercise or the ingredients will not be added correctly and the baked items may not turn out well.
- Teaches life skills. Cooking and baking are life skills which facilitate the growth of independence in children.
How to make a home-made Christmas cracker
I recently read Frugal Seeds Christmas Edition: 101 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season on a Budget by Charlie Lee Austin which includes a large number of fun activities to do with children during the Christmas season.
One of the ideas was to make home-made Christmas crackers.
You will need scissors, empty toilet roll inners, crinkle paper cut into rectangles that are large enough to gather and tie on both ends of the toilet roll inners, three chocolates per cracker, curling florists ribbon, and sticky tape.
Cut the crinkle paper into rectangles as show in the pictures. Use a piece of sticky tape to attached the edge of the crinkle paper to the toilet roll inner. Gather one of the ends and tie with curling florists ribbon. Run the ribbon over the edge of the blade of the scissors to make the ends curl. Insert your chocolates into the cracker. Gather the remaining end and tie with curling florist ribbon.
To add an additional reading and writing exercise to this activity, search on the internet for some fun Christmas jokes for Christmas crackers [there are lots on Pinterest]. Get your child to write out the joke and insert it into the Christmas cracker. On Christmas day the children can take turns reading the jokes to each other.
My review of Frugal Seeds Christmas Edition by Charlie Lee Austin
This little book is packed with fun and economical ways of celebrating Christmas with children, friends and family. It has a strong Christian orientation and some of the activities relating to the Bible, but there are many other ideas that can be enjoyed by people of any religious orientation.
Reading the ideas presented in this book reminded me of two of my favourite childhood books. Little Women when the girls decide to play a variation of pilgrims progress and also when they celebrate Christmas without their father, who is fighting in the war, and all decide what gifts to buy their Marmee. I was also taken back to the glorious days when I read What Katy Did for the first time. My favourite scenes in this book are when Katy decides to make all sorts of Christmas gifts for her siblings and best friend. She creates a Christmas tree decorated with home-made decorations like popcorn strings and they children have a poetry reading evening where they all read a poem they have written.
The suggestions in this book are simple and yet so much fun to make. The ideas include making a pinata from clay pots and paper mache, making Christmas crackers from toilet roll innards, and making Christmas candles.
A great book of activity ideas to entertain young young children over the holiday period.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and lets hope for a great New Year with an end to the pandemic.
About Robbie Cheadle
Robbie Cheadle has published nine books for children and one poetry book. She has branched into writing for adults and young adults and, in order to clearly separate her children’s books from her adult books, is writing for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate children’s picture books are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision. Her books for older children also incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.
Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s supernatural stories combine fabulous paranormal elements with fascinating historical facts.
Children’s picture books – available as a square book and an A5 book (co-authored with Michael Cheadle):
Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook
Middle school books:
Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town (includes five fun party cake ideas)
While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with Elsie Hancy Eaton)
Open a new door (co-authored with Kim Blades)
Supernatural fantasy YA novel:
Through the Nethergate
Horror Anthologies (edited by Dan Alatorre):
Paranormal Anthologies (edited by Kaye Lynne Booth):
Spirits of the West
Whispers of the Past
Murder mystery Anthology (edited by Stephen Bentley)
Death Among Us
Find Robbie Cheadle
Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram
Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books
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