Family Fun in May

May was all about families! We wanted to celebrate that each child has a very special family and they come in all shapes and sizes: some families are large, some families are small, some families read books, and some play ball.

We started out with a book about Mothers since it was right before Mother’s Day and a perfect opportunity to make a special gift for our moms. We chose the classic book “Are You My Mother?” for this weeks reading. Our craft was a “flower pot” from Kimboomu! filled with flowers for our mothers. First we traced and cut out cardboard flower pots. Next, each of the children traced their hands on green paper and cut them out. We glued the palm of the hand onto the backside of the flower pot so that only the fingers were sticking out, creating stems for our flowers. We then used crumpled pieces of tissue paper to create flowers on the tips of each of the fingers. Last, we cut a piece of ribbon, placed a tag on it with the name of the child and tied a bow on the front of the flower pot. Even though some of the mothers ended up finishing up their child’s craft, I think they really enjoyed these special little gifts with the hand print of their child.

The second week was dedicated to our fathers, even though it was no where near Father’s Day. We used the adorable book “Daddy Kisses” about all the different ways that daddy animals kiss their young. Some of the mommies and daddies in the playgroup even acted it out with their own children. Even though most of our dads probably don’t wear suits and ties very often, we made a card that looked like the jacket, shirt and tie of a suit. First, we traced and cut out material in the shape of a tie. Next, we glued the tie lengthwise in the middle of a white A5 sized piece of paper. We then cut from the top of the paper down to the top of the tie and folded the new corners over to form triangles (like a collar on a shirt). The kids then picked a piece of construction paper (blue, black, green), laid it landscape wise, and glued the “collared shirt” paper into the middle. Next, we folded the sides of the colored paper over and around the white paper like a jacket, folded the edges down like a lapel, and finally glued on two buttons on the bottom of the colored paper. I know it all sounds a bit confusing but maybe the picture on this website will make some sense of it.

In the third week it was time to delve into the complex topic of siblings, as much as you can with preschoolers anyway. 🙂 We read the book “Sister For Sale” where a little boy comes to the conclusion that even though his sister drives him absolutely crazy sometimes, God loves her so he can love her too. Hopefully the kids caught the message of the book and not just the beginning, I wouldn’t want to give them any ideas.


Since some of the kids in the group don’t have any siblings, we gave them the chance to create their own playmates in the form of wooden spoon puppets. We bought some packages of cheap wooden spoons, drew on faces, glued on yarn for hair, and created clothes out of scraps of material. We had “siblings” in all colors, shapes, and sizes and hopefully the kids continued to play with them long after that week.

The next week, we honored the grandparents. Coincidentally, we even had some grandparents in the playgroup that week! The book “The Good Old Days” tells about two kittens that spend a week with grandma and grandpa. We connected it with a fingerplay about grandma and grandpa’s glasses which gave me the idea for the craft this week. We made silly “glasses”  out of egg cartons, pipe cleaners, and giant googly eyes. We all had a good laugh when both the kids and the adults tried their glasses on.

For the fifth and last week of this month, we read a book called “Puppy Twins.” Joel is really becoming a great story teller and most of the kids were very keen to find out more about the adventures of Topsy and Flopsy. The craft we finished out the month with was a heart shaped picture frame (made of heavy paper) with a white piece of paper for the kids to draw their family, or stickers to spell out their family members names. If they wanted to, they could also just decorate it and take it home to put in a ‘real’ picture of their family.

Now, a new month begins. In June we will be having fun with different sports.

Please come play with us!

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KID’S STUFF EXCHANGE

Dear Parents,

If you have any children´s things (such as  clothing, shoes, toys, books… etc.) that you no longer need, you can bring them by Tieckstr. 10 to the Gemeinde Christi Dresden* on or before May 20th.  Although there is usually someone there, you can also reach us by Handy at 0176-39133368 to make an appointment to drop things off.  You can also Email us or call with any questions.

This will give us a chance to sort and lay out the clothing so that people can easily find what they need the next day.

Between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on May 21st anyone with children is welcome to come by, look through the things that have been collected, and take what they need.  It doesn´t matter if you have brought anything or not, you can still come and take whatever you need.   Please note that this is a free service and simply an opportunity for parents to exchange used children´s items in an organized way.

Please pass this information on to any friends or family that might be interested in this opportunity.

We hope to see you there!

Kendra and Joel

(*you can click on the “Gemeinde Christi Dresden” to see a map of the location of our building)

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April showers bring … EASTER!

Just a quick search on the Internet will bring up a plethora of books and fun crafts for Easter. That’s why we chose to go with this topic again for the month of April. I have to say, it was pretty cute watching all of the kids try to twitch their noses like bunnies in the “Funny Bunny” song this month.

The first book, “Panda’s Easter Basket” was a cute story about a little Panda child who eats ALL of his easter candy in one day and ends up with a terrible stomach ache. I do have to admit though, I didn’t just choose it because of the cute story but also because Panda’s are my very favorite animal and I couldn’t resist buying a book with one. 🙂 We decided to use some candy for a craft this week. We made some cute flowers out of cupcake liners and suckers based on the example by skip to my lou but simplified for our special little ones. First we took one little cupcake paper (or praline paper) and pushed the stick of the sucker through the middle of it so the paper encased the sucker. Next we took four bigger cupcake papers (of various colors) and folded them into fourths. We then stuck the sucker through the point on the ends of each of the folded cupcake papers and finally glued on two paper “leafs” cut out of green paper underneath all of the “petals.” They were really easy and ended up looking really cute. Some of the kids even made a whole bouquet of them.

The second week of April, Joel and I were on vacation so Bri kindly filled in for us. She read the book “My Easter Basket” telling the kids about what the popular Easter symbols really mean and sharing the story of Jesus. She chose a traditional yet always fun craft for this week: coloring eggs! I’m sure a lot of kids were eating egg salad that next week.

The kids had a lot of fun helping Peter Rabbit search for the eggs hidden in the garden by lifting the flaps and pulling the tabs on every spread, in the beautifully illustrated “Peter Rabbit and the Egg Hunt.” Family Fun had the greatest idea for making our very own Easter bunnies. All we had to do was fill lentils into a little sock, just above the heel, We then closed the top with a rubber band and tied a piece of ribbon just below the heel to create a head for our bunny. We then cut ears out of the cuff of the sock above the rubber band, glued on some eyes, a nose and some teeth and finished by placing a pom-pom on his little bunny bum. These little guys were a cute addition to everyones Easter decorations.

Even though Easter had technically already passed us by, we read the book “An Easter Gift For Me” by Crystal Bowman on the last Tuesday of this month. She does such a great job telling the stories of the bible in a fun and child appropriate way. We accompanied this book with a little Easter lamb craft based on the this one from “Crafts for All Seasons.” We traced and cut out the bodies and heads (we magnified the template a little), glued the clothes pins to the back of the body and glued the head onto the body. We tweaked it a little bit for our age group by using cotton balls instead of q-tips on the body but still made the q-tip ears and “bangs.” We added a bell and ribbon around their necks, drew on the face and let them dry for about 10 minutes. The kids thought it was really great that the little lambs were able to stand on their own!

Somehow, May has already creeped up on us and tomorrow is our very first playgroup of the month.
We hope you can join us as we start talking about FAMILIES. If you come join us, you might even get a Mother’s Day gift out of it.

 See you soon!

Kendra

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A trip around the world.

In this month we decided to take a trip “Around the World” with the kids. This had two main reasons. For one, we had several great book and craft ideas we wanted to use and we also wanted to give the children an opportunity to celebrate both their differences and similarities.

We started out the month with the book “Jesus Loves the Little Children” which showed us that Jesus loves children no matter where they live or what their lives are like. One of our songs for the month was also the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” Our corresponding craft was similar to the one in the Candostreet example found here . However, instead of glueing the world with the text in the middle, we simply printed out a world which the kids could color and glued it onto a piece of cardboard. The kids especially had fun tracing their hands on the different colored paper.

The book for the second week combined travel and counting. “Granny Went to Market” is a fun book about a grandmother who travels the world to gather presents for her granddaughter whom we don’t meet until the end of the book. As this week fell into the German celebration of “Karneval” or “Fasching” and coincidently Granny bought some masks on her trip to Mexico (in the book of course) we decided masks would be a great craft for this week. We simply cut eye holes into paper plates and put out crayons, markers, yarn, sequins, colored paper, and anything else we could find that would liven up the masks and let the kids go crazy. We certainly had some very very interesting results. They may or may not have been fueled by the sugar high resulting from traditional “Pfannkuchen” (a kind of jelly filled donut) that were plentiful at this weeks playgroup.

I think “Around the World Piggy Wiggy” might have been the most popular book this month. I’m not sure if it was because Joel was reading it or if it was because of all the exciting pages the folded out and bright colors. Either way, it introduced the kids some of the famous sites in the world.

And what is something that everyone needs when they travel, even Piggy Wiggy? That´s right, a suitcase!

For this weeks craft I was inspired by a paper suitcase craft on DLTK. However, we simply made our suitcases out of a piece of brown construction paper which we folded in half. We pre-cut proportionally sized handles which the kids could glue on as well as a paper “luggage tag” for their names. For the inside of the suitcase I compiled a sheet with various clothing items, toys, and a toothbrush (of course) which the kids could color, cut out, and glue into the inside of their suitcases. I am so thankful that there are so many ideas and resources for crafts on the internet. Otherwise we might just be making the same things every week.

This weeks book might have been my favorite. In “Whoever You Are” we learned that everybody laughs and everybody cries regardless of where or how you do it. In the spirit of celebrating our common humanity, I decided to go with a mirror craft and a quote from the book on the back. We modeled it after the example that Kaboose made on this website but altered it to fit our theme. We were unable to find the foam frames and therefore used blank photo frame cards. We also used popsicle sticks instead of the wooden dowel and decorated ours with crayons and foam stickers instead of jewels (the princess theme is so two months ago 🙂 ). If I have totally confused you, perhaps the photo  will help to better explain what I am trying to say.

In the fifth and last week of this month we explored “Homes Around the World.” From houses on stilts,to houses built with clay, to houses that are built out of old shipping containers or made to look like a space ship, we each have a different place we call home. The house template on Kidsturncentral provided us with a base to color, decorate, fold, and glue together our own little houses. We also cut out circles of cardboard to glue the houses on as well as some dried grass to put on the roof. Although the cutting and folding was a bit tedious for some of the children, they really enjoyed decorating them and the little boys were especially excited to put their lego figures in them when the got home.

That concludes our trip “Around the World.” We hope you will join us next month as our theme is “April Showers bring… EASTER!”

Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”                  Ryunosuke Satoro

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Pets and Snacks!

In February we had an overload of fun with our topic “Housepets” and the fact that we made edible crafts all month!

We read Good Dog, Rover!, Dogs, Have You Seen My Cat? and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…yes, some people even keep mice as pets!

Our edible crafts included:

  • Puppy Chow (for humans 🙂 )
  • A dog house made of cookies and icing
  • Cat-face cracker sandwiches
  • and peanut butter Mice cookies!

And a special friend even made a surprise visit; Joel and Kendra brought their little dog Maggie with them to our last playgroup in February-she was happy to get all the attention!

**March’s Theme: “Around the World!”**

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