Holiday, Making a Difference, Quick Service Projects, Seasonal

Halloween Candy Switch

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For the past 10 years, my children have traded their Halloween Candy for a $10-$12 toy of their choice.  I know what you are thinking, “You take ALL of their candy, you are so cruel!”  To be clear I don’t TAKE anything, it is a TRADE that they agree to make.  I also allow them to eat some candy on Halloween and save 5 pieces for consumption the week after Halloween.  This has worked well for us and their dentist approves!

The candy the kids trade in is sent to work with my husband.  His employees LOVE the variety and it is usually all gone in 1-2 days!

Last year, while packing Thanksgiving food baskets at our local food bank, I was surprised to see that Halloween candy was one of the items included.  “We like to put in a little fun for the kids,” the organizer told me.  I knew right then that next years Halloween candy would go to the food bank for the Thanksgiving baskets.

There are many great places to donate Halloween Candy, a quick internet search will bring up many options in your area.  I am asking you to consider your local food bank, call them and see if they would like a donation for their Thanksgiving baskets.  Happy Halloween!!

 

Book Corner, Holiday, Kindness, Uncategorized

Black History Month

“Even though we may have the different skin color, we’re still the same type of people, no matter what.” -Simsola 6th Grade–Global Citizen Video

February is a month of KINDNESS here at Kids in Service and also a time to celebrate our differences.  As part of this celebration we wanted to take a moment and recognize Black History Month.  So many people have dedicated their lives to making sure that all people in our country have a voice.  They have fought (and continue to fight) for a world where everyone is respected and treated with kindness no matter their beliefs, the color of their skin, their gender, or their place in society.

As part of Black History MonthKids in Service would like to celebrate the people who have fought for civil rights in this country.  We have a lot of resources below that you can share with your children.  These books and movies are meant to be a springboard to have a conversation with your children about acceptance, bravery, respect, celebrating our differences and KINDNESS.

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CLICK HERE for a FREE Printable Book list for the library or local bookstore.

Click on the picture of each book to learn more.

Books

image.pngThe Ordinary People Change the World books by Brad Meltzer are well LOVED in our house.  I think my daughter has almost every one of them (she may be missing 2 or 3) and reads them daily.  I love them because they show that famous people who have changed the world are still people after all.  Most have have had to overcome a lot of adversity and challenges to make change happen.   Brad makes the world of biographies so much fun and the illustrations by Christoper Eliopoulos are wonderful.  They always hide the next famous person they are planning to write a biography for at the end of the book and it so much fun to hunt for them.  The Harriet Tubman book is my daughters favorite in the series.  She loved learning about how brave Harriet was and how many people she helped to escape slavery. This series also has books about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and Jackie Robinson for Black History Month.  Ages 5 and up

 

image.pngI use to read this book every February in my 2nd and 3rd grade class.  It is a wonderful story of Rosa Parks life and how her one courageous act started a civil rights movement.  This book would be great to share with children ages 6 and up.  There is a lot of information in this book and it is a great springboard to a rich conversation about segregation and prejudice.  I am a strong believer that a good picture book can be used for children in ANY grade (even high school) and I believe that this is one of them.

 

image.pngThis beautiful book tells the tale of Peg Leg Joe, an old white sailor, and the song he use to teach slaves about the Underground Railroad.  This book tells the tale of one family as they follow the words to Peg Leg Joe’s song and escape their life of slavery.    The Drinking Gourd is a gentle book about this difficult subject and would be great  for children ages 6 and up.

 

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This is another wonderful biography that I use to read to my 2nd and 3rd grade class every year.  Martin’s Big Words is the biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was written for children ages 5 and up.  This beautiful biography is easy for children to understand,  has beautiful illustrations and weaves Dr. King’s famous words throughout it.

 

 

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This book celebrates the lives of 40 African American women.  These brave and inspirational women have made a difference in our world. Each woman has a page long biography and a full page sweet illustration of them.  This is part of the Little Leaders and Dreamers series by Vashti Harrison.  This is a wonderful resource and would be great for ages 8 and up.

 

 

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Here’s a book for the little ones.  This board book is a younger version of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History.  This shorter and simpler book celebrates the lives of 18 African American woman.  The sweet illustrations and language in this book make it a wonderful story to share with young children.  It is never to early to encourage children to be brave and follow their dreams.

 

Movies

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  1. Garretts Gift-This 17 minute movie can be found FREE on Netflix.  The movie tells the story of African American inventor Garrett Morgan’s life.  Garrett Morgan is responsible for inventing the traffic signal, the gas mask, chemical hair straightening solution and many other things. This movie teaches that we all have gifts to share with this world.  All we need is a little support, encouragement and the right tools.  The story is told by Queen Latifah and the animation is simple but fun and would be great for ages 4 and up.
  2. Dancing in the Light the story of Janet Collins–This 17 minute movie can be found on NETFLIX.  It is the story of Janet Collins an African American ballerina in the 1930s.  She was the first African American to dance at the Metropolitan Opera house but dealt with a lot of racism in her career (the Ballet Rouse asked her to paint her face white in order to perform).  This uplifting story is narrated by Chris Rock and is great for ages 4 and up.
  3. Follow the Drinking Gourd–My kids and I rented this 26 minute movie on Amazon.  Morgan Freeman narrates the story of the Drinking Gourd by Bernardine Connelly while the beautiful illustrations from Yvonne Buchanan are shown on the screen.  We really enjoyed this historical fiction tale and learned a lot about Peg Leg Joe, the Drinking Gourd and the Underground Railroad. This movie is listed for ages 6 and up but I would think it would be better for 7 and up.
  4. Ruby Bridges–This Disney move is not rated and unfortunately not reviewed on Common Sense Media.  It is on our list of movies to watch this month as we continue our study of the Civil Rights Movement.  From what I have read, people recommend it to children ages 7 and up.
  5. Remember the Titans–I LOVE sports films and this is one of my favorites.  This movie is the based on a true story of two high schools integrating after segregation has ended. The story follows the integration of the football team and is a powerful story of racism, acceptance, respect and teamwork.   This movie is rated PG and recommended for ages 10 and up.
  6. Hidden Figures–This was one case where I loved the movie as much as the book (that rarely happens).  This is the true story of the unsung heroes behind the mathematics of the space program.  The story follows the lives of three strong and brilliant African American women (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson) and their struggle to find acceptance and respect at NASA while they work to put John Glenn into orbit.  This movie is rated PG and recommended for ages 10 and up.

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

 

Book Corner, Holiday, Holiday Books, Kindness, Seasonal

Chinese New Year

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Happy New Year: 新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè)

This year Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) begins on February 5th.  Chinese New Year is the beginning of the Chinese calendar and is also known as the Spring Festival.   2019 is the Year of the Pig and pigs symbolize wealth and fortune in China.

This 15 day festival can be a great time for your family to learn about the Chinese culture, the traditions associated with this festival and have a little bit of fun.  Here are some fun things you and your family can do to learn about and celebrate Chinese New Year.

  1.  CLICK Here to find out what your Chinese Zodiac symbol is (we are snakes, a dog and ox over here)
  2. CLICK HERE for ideas for a craft projects for Chinese New Year.  You can make some fun decorations together and plan a Chinese New Year Feast.  Red is the color of Chinese New Year and it is thought to bring luck.
  3. Make Chinese food together or order take-out from your favorite restaurant.  Dumplings are eaten every day during the festival.
  4. Find a local Chinese New Year celebration.  People from all over the world celebrate this festival and there are many events here in the USA.  Check out your local art museum or go to your closest China Town.  We went to a dragon dance a few years ago at our local art museum and it was beautiful.

Books for Chinese New Year

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From the publisher: “When her Chinese grandmother comes to visit, a young Chinese-American girl learns of and participates in the customs and beliefs celebrating an authentic Chinese New Year.”

 

 

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From the publisher: “In this picture book celebrating Chinese New Year, animals from the Chinese zodiac help a little girl deliver a gift to her grandmother.Ruby has a special card to give to her grandmother for Chinese New Year. But who will help her get to grandmother’s house to deliver it? Will it be clever Rat, strong Ox, or cautious Rabbit? Ruby meets each of the twelve zodiac animals on her journey. This picture book includes back matter with a focus on the animals of the Chinese zodiac.”

 

unknown-2From the publisher: “When a boy goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an old wok instead, his parents wonder what they’ll eat for dinner. But then the wok rolls out of the poor family’s house with a skippity-hoppity-ho! and returns from the rich man’s home with a feast in tow! With spirited text and lively illustrations, this story reminds readers about the importance of generosity.”

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

 

Holiday, Holiday Books, Kindness, Seasonal

Candlemas

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Candlemas, February 2nd, is known by many names: Groundhog Day, Imblog and St. Bridgids Day.  Candlemas is a beautiful and long forgotten winter holiday that marks the half way point until spring.  Throughout history people would gather and celebrate light, hope and renewal.

Candlemas-Day Verse

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.

Today on February 2nd most people focus on a small furry mammal named Phil, in the little town of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania.  The world holds its breath as the poor little groundhog is removed from his cozy slumber to look for his shadow (if he doesn’t find it that means an early spring).  I admit I am one of those people who LOVE that silly tradition and I watch it live on the internet.  My kids and I also watch Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day movie every February 2nd, we LOVE that ridiculous movie.

I invite you and your family to take some time to pause on February 2nd and reflect upon your own hopes and dreams for the year.  Maybe you light some candles to mark the fact that we are half way to the spring equinox or try one of the other ideas below.

Happy Candlemas!

Here are some ideas to celebrate Candlemas:

  1. Make candles as a family (this kit is a favorite of ours)
  2. Have a candlelit dinner and talk about everyone’s hopes and dreams
  3. Call someone who may be lonely and provide a little light in their lives
  4. Plant a seed or bulb and watch it grow as the days get closer to spring
  5. Make Valentine’s Day cards to send out to the older folks in your life.  They will love a little handwritten note from you.

Here are some of our favorite books to read on February 2nd.

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A fun book about a groundhog who has trouble hibernating.  He wakes up for all of the fall/winter holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) and sees what he has been missing all these years.  This is such a cute book and is great for ages 3 and up.

 

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This book is not only funny but filled with lots of facts about weather, the history of Groundhog Day and other groundhogs around the world.  My kids and I read this book every year and it still makes us laugh.   This book is great for kids 5 and up.

 

 

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This is an ancient Irish story that celebrates St. Brigid.  In this beautiful story you hear about how Brigid’s got her famous blue cloak and the first of the miracles that it performed.  St. Brigid is a patron saint of Ireland and a wonderful role model for kindness.  She set up convents all over Ireland that catered to the poor and hungry.  This book would be great for children ages 5 and up.

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

Holiday

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas

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“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me….” I won’t torture you with the entire song but I will encourage you to SERIOUSLY consider celebrating the full 12 days of Christmas.  We started celebrating them a few years ago and it has stopped the “After Christmas Blues” from coming to town.  Each night we add a candle to our window sill until there are 12 candles lit for Twelfth Night.  It is beautiful.

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One of our favorite parts of the 12 Day Celebration is listening to a new Tullyport Story each day.  Sparkle Stories puts out this LOVELY audio series for the 12 days of Christmas.  Throughout the series Martin and Sylvia (siblings) “explore what it means to celebrate the traditional ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ inspired by twelve delightful stories from 18th century Maine.” (Sparkle Stories Website).  You can CLICK HERE to learn more.  If you are short on time each day, they also have a series with the just the 18th Century Stories from Tullyport Maine (a fictional coastal town).  These stories are truly magical, CLICK HERE for that series.

We have been a Sparkle family since they began and this is our FAVORITE series.  You can get a free 10 day trial which would get you through most of the 12 days of Christmas and you’d be able to see all that Sparkle Stories has to offer.  This is not an advertisement, I am just a true fan.

What else do we love to do during the 12 days of Christmas??  Here is a little glimpse into all we have planned this year.

Day 1–Christmas Day-This will be a quiet day for us this year.  We plan to stay in our jammies all day, hang by the tree and enjoy a wonderful dinner made by dad.

Day 2–Boxing Day (Kwanzaa Day 1)–We will be having a family Christmas party this day.

Day 3–Hibernation Day–This is the day we do NOTHING.  We play games, read books and just chill.  I love to hibernate and this is one of my favorite days of the week.

Day 4–The Forgotten Gift–Every year one of the gifts gets “forgotten” under the tree.  The kids open it on this day.  It is usually a book to share or a board game to play.  They love having this fun surprise.

Day 5–Family Goal Setting(Click HERE to learn more)

Day 6–Homemade Christmas (Click HERE to learn more)

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Day 7–New Years Eve-This year we have plans for a family game night out with friends.  New Years Eve is usually very low key for us and we like to celebrate at home.  We usually make a nice dinner and do an 8 o’midnight celebration with the kids with a live ball drop from our upstairs.  Having 8 o’midnight means we are always in bed by 10, which I LOVE.  We will see how leaving the house works for us this year 😉

Day 8–New Year’s Day–Every year we have a BIG New Years Day fancy breakfast.  After the meal, we complete our New Years Day Interviews.  You can read all about the Interviews and get your own copy by clicking HERE.  We’ve been doing these interviews for years and it is always fun to go back and see how we have grown and changed.

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Day 9–Plan out Service Projects for the Year--This year during the 12 days I want to have a family meeting where we map out the organizations that we would like to volunteer with this year.  2018 was a big year of service for us but we were flying by the seat of our pants and it felt like we were saying “YES” to everything.  This year I want to be more intentional about our volunteer hours and the money we donate.

Day 10–Family Game Night–On the 10th night we are hoping to break out the new games the kids got for Christmas and a few old favorites and have a big family game night.

Day 11–Family Movie Night–We are hoping to pop the popcorn and find one last holiday movie to watch.  There are a bunch we have not watched yet this year, so I am sure there will be lots to choose from.

Day 12–Family Twelfth Night Celebration--This year Twelfth Night falls on a weekend night and so we can do more than our traditional candlelit dinner.  We are hoping to do a bonfire with s’mores, write some wishes on pieces of paper and send them into the new year by burning them in the fire.  We will also bake a Kings Cake and the person who finds the bean will be the wish keeper for the celebration.  They will hold everyones wishes for the new year in their heart.

Epiphany or Three Kings Day–3 Little presents arrive on this day.  One for each child and one to share.  They are not big presents, just a small item of fun to open and my kids are sooooo excited for this day EVERY Year.  This is also the day we pack away our Christmas decorations and give thanks for all of the fun and magic we had throughout the season.

I loved this graphic from the Art of Simple.  You may incorporate some of these things into your 12 days.  They have a great post about the tradition and history of the 12 days that you can find HERE.

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Growth Mindset, Holiday

The New Year–Dreaming with Kids

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I LOVE the cleansing feeling of a new year.  I love new calendars to fill in, new goals to set, creating a vision board and picking my Word of the Year.  This past year my word was Mindful and in the past I have used Balance, Gratitude and this year my word is Discipline. Here is a great site to help you pick a word for the year.  I have encouraged my children and husband to pick words too.  It was a fun process and I found a quote to go along with each of their words.

I always spend the week between Christmas and New Years dreaming, planning, goal setting and creating my personal vision board (which I then make the wallpaper of my computer).  This year I want to bring my kids into this process and help guide them to create vision boards and set some personal goals for themselves.  As homeschoolers we do some academic goals at the beginning of the school year but I want to go bigger with them this year.

2On New Years Day our favorite tradition is our New Year’s Day Interviews that we do over a big family breakfast.  We started these in 2010 and we love to see how we have each grown and changed over the years.  If you’d like to see our simple interview, you can CLICK HERE.  This year after the interviews, we are going to break out old magazines, big chart paper and markers and work on creating our own vision boards for 2019.  We will then set some family goals for 2019, I can’t wait!!

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One of my favorite resources for helping my kids to DREAM BIG and to set goals is our Big Life Journals.  We have had our Big Life Journals since the very beginning when they launched as a Kick Starter Campaign.

The Big Life Journal is a journal your child fills out with an older buddy.  My son picked myself as his buddy and my daughter picked my husband.  Kids can pick ANYONE and have weekly, bi-weekly or monthly Skype or phone calls with their buddy.  The idea is that the buddy and the child read the journal together and the buddy helps the child to respond to the prompts. Just this year they came out with a version for teens and I am so excited to get our copy for my son.

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The Big Life Journal website also have lots of resources (many FREE) about helping your kids to develop their growth mindset, set goals and build self-esteem.  We plan to use their goal setting packets this year with the kids.

How do you mark the New Year with your children?  

 

This is not an advertisement for Big Life Journals. I just wanted to share this amazing resource.

 

 

Gratitude, Holiday, Kindness

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is the 7 day festival that begins on December 26th and goes until New Years Day. Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga and is a beautiful celebration of faith, community and creativity. This festival originates from African harvest festivals and was created so that African Americans and Pan Americans could celebrate their heritage and come together in unity.

Each day of Kwanzaa focuses on a different principle and each night a new candle on the kinara is lit. Kinara’s can be expensive so if you wanted to celebrate Kwanzaa with your family, you could always make a paper kinara and add a paper flame to the appropriate candle each night.  Some examples of paper kinara’s are HERE and HERE.

The 7 principles or pillars of Kwanzaa are things that EVERYONE can strive for all year long.  Below I have included the 7 principles, some ideas for activities that you and your family can do for each and some of our favorite Kwanzaa books.

  1. Umoja or Unity–This pillar is there to remind people of the importance of unity in their families, their communities and their race.  The center black candle is lit on this night. To celebrate Umoja, it might be a great time to have a family game night, a special family dinner or go on a Gratitude Walk as a family.  Click HERE to learn more.1
  2. Kujichagulia or Self-DeterminationKujichagulia is all about defining who you are and what you stand for.  The far left red candle is lit on this night.  Kujichagulia would be a great day to set some goals with your children.  Maybe you could do a New Year Interview or create a vision board together of their hopes and dreams.  This could be done with old magazine photos, drawings and you could even make a big family vision board.1
  3. Ujima or Collective Work and Responsibility-Ujima is about working as a community to solve problems. The far right green candle is lit on this night.  Ujima would be a great day to volunteer your time.  Perhaps you could donate food to the local food bank, visit a nursing home, bring animal supplies to a shelter or clean up a local park.4
  4. Ujamaa or Coopertive EconomicsUjamaa is all about supporting local businesses to help them to thrive and grow in your community.  The second red candle is lit on this night.  Small businesses are vital to our local economies and Ujamaa is a great day to show them your appreciation.  Perhaps today you make cards for the local businesses in your community and deliver them with a “Thank You” for all they do.3
  5. Nia or Purpose-Nia is all about building community and remembering our traditions. The second green candle is lit on this night. To celebrate Nia you could visit or call the elders in your family and ask them to share stories of the past (I know they’d love to hear from you).  Make sure to record these precious conversations so that you can play them back again and again. It might be fun to look through old photo albums to see how traditions have been passed down in your family from generation to generation.6
  6. Kuumba or Creativity-Kuumba encourages us to do as much as we can to leave our world and surroundings better off than when we came. The last red candle is lit on this night. Kuumba would be a great day to clean up your street, your local park or help a neighbor with an outdoor chore.  If your world is covered in snow, perhaps you make hot cocoa for the town plow drivers or give them gift cards to a local coffee shop.  You could make some artwork for the local nursing home to brighten up the residents rooms and leave the world a little brighter. The sixth night of Kwanzaa is also time for the Karamu or the big feast of Kwanzaa.  4
  7. Imani or FaithImani is there to remind us to believe in the people around us (parents, teachers and leaders) and to remember the struggle of the African Americans in this nation.  The last green candle is lit this night.  You can celebrate Imani by thanking all those people in your life who help you out.  Maybe you could write thank you notes for the gifts you received during the holidays or call someone special to let them know how much they mean to you.5

Favorite Books for Kwanzaa

517EVTWGW5L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_This book is no longer in print but you may be able to get it at your local library. This is a sweet story of kindness is all about Imani learning about Kwanzaa and her family traditions from her grandmother.  In this story it is the sixth night of Kwanzaa and time for the Karamu (the big feast of Kwanzaa) on New Year’s Eve.  It is Imani’s turn to light the Kinara on this special night and she is nervous.  What will the gift for Imani be?

 

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This is a nice alphabet book that helps to understand all of the Swahili words and customs associated with Kwanzaa.  This is a great book for your family if you have never celebrated Kwanzaa before and would like to learn more about this festival of light and family. From the publisher: “A unique alphabet book for children and a wonderful introduction to Kwanzaa, the holiday that celebrates African American heritage.
 For example:A is for Africa — Africa is the second largest continent. It has many countries. African Americans’ ancestors came from Africa. Kwanzaa is a holiday that celebrates the rich heritage of Africa.”

 

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From the publisher: “Kwanzaa is Kayla’s favorite time of year. But this year, it looks as if a heavy snowstorm will keep her big brother, Khari, from getting home in time for the festivities! Will Khari miss the celebration completely? Or will Kayla and her brother somehow find a way to be together for Kwanzaa? A perfect introduction to Kwanzaa, this book will teach children all about the traditions and practices that make it a special winter holiday.”

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

Holiday, Kindness

Hanukkah

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We use December as a way to learn about and honor all of the winter holidays celebrated around the world.  We have good friends who are Jewish and we are blessed to have spent many nights of Hanukkah with them over the years.  The latkes they make are fantastic (both sweet and white potato) and watching them light the candles while saying the blessing is so beautiful.

A former student gave me a menorah for my classroom and it is the menorah I still have today.  My children and I read a Hanukkah story during each of the eight nights, discuss the symbolism of the candles play dreidel and pray for our family and friends on earth and in heaven.

This year Hanukkah begins on December 2nd.  Coffee and Carpool has some great kindness activities for Hanukkah on her blog.  Here are some of our favorite Hanukkah books to read during the eight nights.

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(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

Holiday, Kindness

Winter Solstice

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Friday December 21st is the day of the Winter Solstice for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.  This means the shortest day of the year.  In New England we have 8 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.  It is nice to take a moment on this day to pause and and celebrate the fact that more light will added to each day for the next 6 months.

The kids and I celebrate the animals in our yard on Winter Solstice.  We start by reading one of my favorite stories, Night Tree by Eve Bunting.  This book is a sweet tale about a family who hikes out into the woods each Christmas Eve to decorate a tree for the animals.

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This book has inspired us to create our own Night Tree in our own back yard.  We create ornaments with birdseed, gather old vegetables in the fridge and buy some extra sunflower seeds and chunks of suet.  We then go the the pine tree at the back of our yard and decorate it for the birds, deer, chipmunks and other small animals.

As the sun sets on Winter Solstice we do not turn on any overhead lights and instead live by candle light and Christmas lights.  As we sit in the soft glow of the house, we wonder about the animals that may be dining on their yearly winter feast.   It is a simple and cozy way to mark the Winter Solstice and show kindness to the living things in our own backyard.

 

How do you and your family mark the Winter Solstice?

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Another great book to read on Winter Solstice

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

Book Corner, Holiday, Holiday Books

Holiday Books

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Read our policy below)

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Here are some books that center around the theme of Kindness. Click on the picture of the book to be taken to Amazon for more information. CLICK HERE for a Kids in Service Book List printable that you can take with you to the library or local bookstore.

For the Kids

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Every now and again a picture book will surprise me and blow me away.  My kids and I were doing an author study this month of Kate DiCamillo and loving all of her humorous books.  This beautiful book was a big surprise and did bring “GREAT JOY”.  This is the sweet Christmas story of a little girl and her caring heart for the man who lives on her street corner.  This story of kindness and hope is perfect for EVERYONE ages 5 and up.

 

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This picture book is a simpler version of the New York Times best seller, the Invisible Thread.  Both are the true story of a woman named Laura who builds a friendship with a boy named Maurice who she met on a NYC street while asking for money.  I LOVED the adult book and was so excited when I found this book last year for my children.  It is a heartwarming tale about their first Christmas together and the start of their life-long friendship.  I recommend it for ages 5+ and highly recommend the adult book as well.

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This is my FAVORITE Berenstain Bears book and it is a wonderful lesson for children about the importance of giving  and serving others in their community.  I recommend this for children ages 4+.  From the Publisher: “Brother and Sister Bear can’t wait for Christmas and all the presents they’ll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.”

 

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If this book does not make you smile, I do not know what will?  The illustrations are so vivid and expressive.  This beautiful story about giving will be come a family favorite for kids 3 and over.  From the Publisher: “We’ve all heard the story of the three wise men who brought their gifts to Baby Jesus. But what about the camels who carried them? Here is the story of Humphrey the camel and his long, cold journey to Bethlehem.”

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From the Publisher: “A family of adorable pigs decides that this year they will make their gifts to each other for Christmas rather than buy gifts. Each family member is excited to try. Momma makes breakfast, Dad makes a blanket, and sister Rosie sings a song. But the littlest pig struggles to come up with an idea. What can he make?”

 

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This favorite book has become part of a Winter Solstice tradition in our family.  You can read more about that HERE.  From the Publisher: “By moonlight in the quiet forest, a young boy and his family decorate their favorite tree with popcorn, apples, tangerines, and sunflower-seed balls as a gift for the animals of the woods.”

 

 

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This is our FAVORITE Hanukkah story but it can be a bit frightening for young children.  This is a story about a traveler who comes upon a small village where they are not celebrating Hanukkah because goblins have taken over the synagogue.  The traveler sets out to defeat the goblins using his wit.  A wonderful story about staying strong, being brave and standing up for what you believe in.  I think this book is wonderful for children ages 6 and up.  Maybe younger if your child is okay with the ideas of monsters.

 

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This short and sweet book brought tears to my eyes.  The illustrations are bold and fun and the story is simple and so sweet.  This story is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit and is great for ages 3+!  From the Publisher: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a mother and daughter are enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. She spreads the spirit of giving wherever she goes. And when she reaches Santa, she tells him her Christmas wish–for peace and love everywhere, all the days of the year.”

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From the Publisher: “The beginning of winter is marked by the solstice, the shortest day of the year. Long ago, people grew afraid when each day had fewer hours of sunshine than the day before. Over time, they realized that one day each year the sun started moving toward them again. In lyrical prose and cozy illustrations, this book explains what the winter solstice is and how it has been observed by various cultures throughout history.”

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From the Publisher: “Armand, an old Parisian living on the streets of Paris, relished his solitary life. He begged and did odd jobs for money to keep himself warm and fed, and he liked his carefree life. Then one day just before Christmas, a struggling mother and her three children walked into his life. Though he tried to ignore their troubles, Armand soon found himself caring for the family and sharing his unusual home under the bridge with them. It did not take Armand very long to realize that he had gotten himself ready-made family; one that he loved with all his heart, and one for whom he would have to find a better home than the bridge.”

 

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From the Publisher: “Sadie and her four little brothers are very poor and always hungry. On the first night of Chanukah, Sadie performs a generous act, and in turn receives a frying pan that cooks up sizzling hot, golden latkes on command. Sadie tells her brothers never to use the magic pan, but when she goes out one afternoon, the mischievous boys can’t resist. They remember the words to start the pan cooking . . . but what were the words to make it stop?”

 

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From the Publisher: “Based on her bestseller Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp expands her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree with this beautiful keepsake. Each December, families can celebrate the coming of Jesus by opening the book to see a stunning 13-inch, three-dimensional Jesse Tree pop up from the page. At its foot are 25 doors, one for each day of Advent, which hide meaningful, beautifully detailed ornaments that are ready to be hung on the tree. Also inside is a simple devotional book with a reading for each ornament.”

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From the Publisher: “Based on the overwhelming success of The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp has expanded her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree so families can celebrate together. Each day, families can read the provided Scripture passage (in connection with the original book), engage with a specially written devotion to help children of all ages understand the Advent theme for the day, and participate in suggested activities to apply the theme. This special edition is beautifully illustrated.”

For the Adults

 

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From the Publisher: Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s profound reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ, so that come Christmas morning you find that the season hasn’t blurred past you but your heart’s fully unwrapped the greatest gift you’ve always yearned for. Sure to become a holiday staple in every Christian home, The Greatest Gift, a New York Times bestseller, is the perfect gift for the holidays and a timeless invitation into the richness of the true meaning of Christmas.”

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This book started a new tradition in my family a few years ago.    This is a heartwarming, fictional story about a family who saves their change all year long in a jar to pass on anonymously to someone in need at Christmas time.  This story has gone on to create a whole movement of real life Christmas Jars.  Thanks to this book, people are changing many lives and spreading hope and love with a jar of loose change.

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This book is about a family who is grieving the loss of their husband/father at Christmas time.  Anonymous gifts begin to appear daily on their door step and with each gift, they are given a little more hope and healing.  This beautiful book inspired a friend and I to do something similar a few Christmas’ ago when another friend lost her husband.  This is a wonderful tale to read at Christmas time to inspire you to spread some love and kindness to someone in need.

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This is a fun book filled with joy, love, hope and holiday spirit!  You will fall in love with Joy, Miranda and the characters they meet along the way on their road trip from Chicago to Phoenix.  This is a light read that is sure to put you into the holiday spirit.

 

 

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