Free printable Advent wreath crafts, Catholic activities, Bible Christmas art projects

Advent is celebrated the month before Christmas, by Catholic, Orthodox and some protestant Christian denominations. Many people think of it as a time for Advent calendars with candies and treats. But that, like a commercial Christmas, is miles from the real purpose. Here are free printable Advent crafts for a religious Christmas. Make an Advent wreath, Advent calendar, Jesse Tree and more. Free printable Advent wreath crafts, Catholic activities, Bible Christmas art projects
Trick-or-treat is all about dressing up in Halloween costumes, right? So how about free printable Halloween masks for kids to color, cut and paste? Perfect for preschool, special education and school Halloween parties. For families who don't do Halloween, I included links for generic masks so kids can still enjoy craft fun. Masks are grouped by theme and exclude creepy ones for little children. 

* Various: Colorbook Masks free printable Halloween masks in dozens of themes and styles. There are tribal masks from Africa, Bali, Native American, Aztec, Mayan, Inuit, Asian and more. Print animal, Mardi Gras, Harlequin, Tiki, calavera (skull) masks for Day of the Dead. To find the masks, you have to create a free account and log in. Click each mask image to get to different mask design pages.

* Animals: Activity Village has lots of free printable animals masks.

* Disney: Check Disney Family for free printable Disney Halloween masks. Print 3D masks of Winnie the Pooh, Ironman, Disney princesses, Hulk, Captain America, Frankenweenie and more.

* Samhain and fantasy: Phee Mcfaddel has free printable fairy masks plus other Wiccan-inspired designs. Some are rather eerie and some quite pretty and floral.

* Day of the Dead: How about free printable calavera masks? Happy Thoughts will email you free 3D skull mask printables if you submit your email. Here's another printable skull mask pattern from Instructables.

Many of the masks print in black and white so children can color them. Making homemade Halloween costume crafts means you keep antsy kids occupied productively as they await trick-or-treat.

Shocking news about kids left in hot cars that you need to read!

 A Dallas boy's death makes the 21st child to die after being left locked in a hot car. The preschooler died after being left behind when his parents attended Bible study at Rehoboth Praise Assembly church and forgot him. The 3-year-old was found dead after being abandoned in the mercilessly hot 90-degree weather Sunday. The parents had forgotten to take the toddler along with their other four children into the worship center. This is the second child to die in a hot car this week. A 4-year-old girl is dead in Williamsport, Pennsylvania when her caregiver left her all day in a parking lot. These deaths doubled the number of children who died in cars in 2016, compared to last year.   Dallas boy dies in hot car at Rehoboth Praise Assembly church

Science activities for children, recycled trash crafts for kids: pet tornado

Summer is a great time to explore hands-on science activities for children. The best science activities are interactive, multi-sensory and hands-on. Here are favorite recycled trash crafts for kids that I started making with children decades ago: baby pet tornado. With a name like that, can you see why these recycled trash crafts for kids are so intriguing. Another cool thing about these recycled trash crafts for kids is that they double as science activities for children. Making recycled trash crafts teaches ecology and environmental science too.   Science activities for children, recycled trash crafts for kids: pet tornado | Examiner.com

Cinco de Mayo party activities, crafts, games for Mexican cultural festival | Examiner.com

 Cinco de Mayo translates to "fifth of May" in Spanish. It celebrates the Mexican victory at the Battle of Pueblo. It's not the Mexican independence day though it sounds like the U.S. 4th of July. My Latino friends tell me Cinco de Mayo is bigger in the U.S. than in Mexico. And what do Americans do with a holiday? Throw a party! Or in this case, fiesta. Here's a kid-friendly Cinco de Mayo fiesta with games, crafts, lesson plans, cultural activities and food! Cinco de Mayo party activities, crafts, games for Mexican cultural festival | Examiner.com

Repurpose and reuse recycled milk jugs: Homemade bird feeders, bird seed crafts

Do plastic milk jugs overflow your recycling bin? Would you like simple homemade crafts to repurpose and reuse recycled milk jugs? Here are homemade bird feeders made from recycled milk jugs. These homemade bird feeders are great National Bird Day or Earth Day crafts for kids. Homemade bird feeders from recycled milk jugs help the environment in three ways: when you repurpose and reuse recycled milk jugs you reduce the number that go into landfills. Homemade bird feeders support wildlife and the ecosystem. Making bird seed recipes from recycled kitchen scraps cuts waste.  Repurpose and reuse recycled milk jugs: Homemade bird feeders, bird seed crafts | Examiner.com

Montessori preschool learning centers: DIY practical life cardboard playhouse

 Preschool children are wonderfully imaginative. If you give them an old box and tell them to pretend it's a car, they will enjoy hours of fun in their Maserati. Kids don't need expensive playhouse to have fun. You can make a recycled cardboard playhouse easily. In fact, teachers and parents, you can create entire Montessori preschool practical life learning centers for home or school, with just a refrigerator box, available in dumpsters behind appliance stores.  Montessori preschool learning centers: DIY practical life cardboard playhouse | Examiner.com

Preschool learning centers: Sand table, water table science activities

A sand table is a low child-sized table with tubs that can be filled with materials for children to explore. The sand table is the backbone of preschool science activities in learning centers. Early childhood special education classrooms use a sand table, or water table. The sand table provides hands-on,interactive learning, cognitive and perceptual development and tactile stimulation. You can make your own sand table for preschool learning centers. Then use these sand table science activities for early childhood lesson plans.   Preschool learning centers: Sand table, water table science activities

Free printable Shel Silverstein lesson plans, poetry writing prompts, activities | Examiner.com

Shel Silverstein is a beloved poet, children's author, musician and artist. He's given the world of children's literature dozens of books, poems and funny illustrations to enjoy. Shel Silverstein passed away in 1999, but children's literature will never forget his charming, silly poems and books. A Light in the Attic, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Runny Babbit, The Giving Tree, Don't Bump the Glump, Lafdacio, the Lion Who Shot Back, A Giraffe and a Half, The Missing Piece, Falling Up are just a few of his delightful works of wit and whimsy. In Shel Silverstein's poems, animals talk, grown-ups are silly and children rule the world from cardboard pirate ships. If you would like to play in his wonderful world, here are free printable Shel Silverstein activities, coloring pages and lesson plans.  Free printable Shel Silverstein lesson plans, poetry writing prompts, activities | Examiner.com

Free printable Valentine's Day coloring pages, crafts, worksheets, activities

Valentine's Day, celebrate Feb. 14, usually represents a party, candy and cards for children, So how about some free printable Valentine's Day coloring pages, cut and paste, games, lessons, puzzles and activities? Here are some websites to check out for free Valentine's Day printables. Use in school or homeschool. Tie in with your regular curriculum.   Free printable Valentine's Day coloring pages, crafts, worksheets, activities | Examiner.com

Free printable Stations of the Cross coloring books: Catholic Lenten devotions

In the Catholic liturgical calendar, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday continues for 40 days up through Holy Week, the Easter Triduum and Easter. Catholic Christians try to imitate Jesus with prayer, fasting or sacrifice and almsgiving (charity). A Catholic prays the rosary and Stations of the Cross on Friday (and as often as possible). Here are free printable Stations of the Cross coloring pages to guide Lenten devotions. Each year during the Lenten when our family was homeschooling, the children drew images, one for each of the Station of the Cross. We used these images to guide Lenten devotions and prayer. We created Stations of the Cross in our home and yard, placing the images in order along a path. One year we hung them in the hallway. This way we had our own Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross, or Way of Sorrows). The children would begin each Friday in Lent praying the Stations of the Cross. Older children can draw Stations of the Cross coloring books for younger children to color. Or you can use free printable Stations of the Cross coloring pages. A favorite source were the Fr. Lovasik coloring books. Here are free printable Stations of the Cross coloring books. Print a booklet for CCD, VBS, religious education classes, Catholic school, homeschooling and family devotions.   Free printable Stations of the Cross coloring books: Catholic Lenten devotions | Examiner.com

Snow day kids crafts, homemade games from recycled stuff, power outage friendly | Examiner.com

An epic nor'easter winter storm is thrashing the eastern seaboard. This is one angry blizzard, so snowy and blustery they gave it a name: Winter Storm Juno, said the Daily Beast Jan. 26. Winter storms take out electricity, close school, ground travel. Being stuck with snowbound kids in a power outage is no fun. So here are kids' craft projects and games made with recycled stuff--no special tools or supplies, trips to the store nor electricity needed! Keep children productively occupied during this Snowmageddon.  Snow day kids crafts, homemade games from recycled stuff, power outage friendly | Examiner.com

Pizza pie math lessons teach geometry, fractions, decimals, percents for Pi Day | Examiner.com

 March 14 is Pi Day. It's not a spelling error for pie day. Pi is a Greek term denoting the mathematical portion 3.14 (or 22/7 in fraction form) used in geometry. That's why it's celebrated on 3/14. And Pi Day 2015 has math nerds especially geeked because it's pi to the 4th place value: 3.1415, reported WBEZ on March 13. Pi Day celebrates geometry and math. Take a bite out of math anxiety with these hands-on pizza "pie" math lessons for Pi Day.



Teach shapes, numbers and colors with pizza. Cut differently-shaped and colored pizza toppings: mushrooms (white or brown discs or cylinders), onions (white cubes), sausage (brown spheres) pepperoni (red circles), colored peppers (cut in triangles) pineapple (yellow rectangles), cheese (cut as trapezoid, rhombus). Describe and discuss topping colors and shapes. Give each student a plate of pizza toppings and a small crust (or tortilla shell). Teach with food. Tell students to put five circles, two red things, three green rectangles, etc., on their pizza.  Pizza pie math lessons teach geometry, fractions, decimals, percents for Pi Day | Examiner.com

Holiday parenting: At-home family fun for sick kids on Christmas vacation | Examiner.com

Wouldn't you know it--Christmas vacation is finally here and your child gets ill. Holidays can be miserable for sick kids (and parents who must care for them). Missed parties, curtailed activities, everyone stuck at home, more work, extra worries, two weeks of caring for crabby children who can't enjoy the fun--it kinda takes the "merry" out of "Christmas." But it doesn't have to--here are at-home family fun activities that sick kids can enjoy, too. Here are ways sick kids can be involved in holiday preparation from their sick bed. These ideas are so much fun your sick kids might not want to get well!  Holiday parenting: At-home family fun for sick kids on Christmas vacation | Examiner.com

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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