Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our Listening Station is "Ripped!"

Can you believe I still have most of my books on tape from my own childhood? Our kids love having a box full of books on tape to sit and "read" all by themselves. Granted, some are quite dated (remember the "Wuzzles"...or how about the "Little People" series by Fisher Price?), while others are classic. Goldilocks, the Wild Things, the Gingerbread Boy, and Little Red are all in the box.

Finding a cd player with a tape deck wasn't easy, but we have a good one that will hopefully last a long time. I've instructed the kids on how to use it properly, so they can listen to their books independently (KID 2 struggles with getting the tapes into the deck, but she's getting better).

We've been slowly adding to our listening library as the kids' birthdays roll around, and sometimes new books come with a "bonus" CD recording. Our large board book copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar came with a CD recording of the book read by Eric Carle himself. That one is pretty cool! Gwyneth Paltrow did the recording of Brown Bear, Brown Bear; and James Earl Jones recorded the most recent addition to our library, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.

But with the advent of the CD, books on tape are not as easy to find. Most are on CD, which is great for listening in the car, but when you let your kids handle their own audio books, CD's get damaged VERY easily. So, I don't know how legal it is, but I've just finished ripping our entire CD audio book collection onto the computer. This way we can burn a new copy if (WHEN) their CDs get scratched and won't play anymore. I feel much better about letting them handle their own books on CD now that we have a way to replace them without having to repurchase the recordings.

The listening library in no way replaces our reading time together, but in a house with no TV, it's nice to have things they can fill their time with independently and still have the benefit of reading!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Homemade Advent Calendar

This is the Advent calendar I made over the weekend using dollar store finds. I think it turned out pretty cute!

Find out more over at MotleyMoms!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Easy Advent Calendars

I've posted some of my Advent calendar activities over at Motley Moms. Go check it out!

In the meantime, I've seen some really cute ideas for creating your own Advent calendar. You can use mini galvanized buckets, numbered 1 - 24 to hide little treats in. Hang them on a ribbon or cord to create a garland. You can even hang them out of order so the kids have to search for each day's treat.

Another cute idea is to use mittens (use mismatched or find them at thrift stores). Add numbers using felt or stitch them on and hang on ribbon or cord.

I found some really cute examples online by searching for "bucket advent calendar" and "mitten advent garland"...there are lots of ideas out there, both simple and elaborate. Have fun!