Informing Minds helps parents guide their children into a deeper understanding of the subject matter of the book
Moving Hearts helps parents and children connect emotionally to each other and to the book’s theme
Directing Hands gives practical actions, crafts and activities to help children gain hands-on experience
The First Christmas
Christmas Crafts & Activities
This page shares crafts centered on the Biblical Christmas. Most of the craft ideas include free printables.
Want to put on your own Christmas pageant like our MVP Kids? This simple script gives all you need, from cast list and lines to costume ideas and background music!
Explaining Christmas to Young Children
Christian families sometimes have difficulty helping their children distinguish between the Christian Christmas and the commercialized holiday celebration. This article gives a few short tips for these families.
When the Christian meaning of Christmas is discovered, it often leaves children wondering, “What about Santa?” This article guides parents through explaining the truth of Saint Nicholas and the legend of Santa.
Explore more tips inside of our “Celebrate! Christmas” book for preschoolers.
Find it for purchase here:
The non-religious celebration of Christmas is centered around giving gifts, and Santa Claus is the American center of children’s holiday experiences. Read about the legend of Saint Nicholas and how he is remembered around the world as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, and other cultural traditions.
The decorated Christmas tree becomes the center of activity in American homes at Christmas. Find out how the tradition began and how it is observed around the world.
Most families have their own favorite recipes for the Christmas season. Follow this link to recipes for a wide selection of Christmas cookies.
HGTV offers 60 fun Christmas crafts you can do with kids!
Another name for Hanukkah is “Festival of Lights.” Use this guide and its links to gain a better understanding of the holiday and instructions for celebrating, including how to play the dreidel game and recipes for traditional dishes.
This blogger shares her favorite Hanukkah books for preschoolers as well as a simple latke recipe and craft instructions.
Instructions for playing Dreidel.
Enjoy these 10 Hanukkah songs with your family!
This easy-read resource explains the holiday of Ramadan and traditions for celebration. www.kiddyhouse.com/Ramadan/
A Muslim mother living in a non-Muslim country shares tips for helping children prepare and become excited about Ramadan.
Create this beautiful “Henna Hands” project designed by Crayola. www.crayola.com/lesson-plans/celebrate-with-henna-hands-lesson-plan/?utm_source=cj_Skimlinks&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=2017_evergreen_affiliate&utm_content=Shop%20at%20Crayola.com!&src=cj1025
This very detailed website gives a lot of information for parents who want to understand the roots and incorporate the practices of this holiday.
With this collection of Kwanzaa crafts for toddlers, you’ll be prepared for an exciting celebration!
No holiday celebration is complete without memorable music. www.songsforteaching.com/kwanzaasongs/
The beginning of the New Year is celebrated differently around the world, even on different dates! Enjoy learning more about different New Year traditions. www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/new-year-celebrations-around-world/
“Auld Lang Syne” is a traditional New Year’s song in American and European societies. The original song is Scottish. This video includes the lyrics as well as English translation. www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPnhaGWBnys
Older preschoolers may enjoy learning about time zones. This world clock activity will get them started!
Get your older children involved in figuring out where the New Year will come first! www.study.com/academy/lesson/understanding-time-zones-lesson-for-kids.html
The Spring Festival goes by many names, including Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year, Asian New Year. There are variations throughout Asia in regards to celebrations and traditions. This website explains common traditions with links to more information. www.travelchinaguide.com/essential/holidays/new-year/customs.htm
Explore more tips inside of our “Celebrate! The Holidays” book for preschoolers.
Find it for purchase here:
Marshmallow Mayflower Ship
Make your own marshmallow sail “Mayflower” ship! Follow the simple directions on this website:
Make a Gratitude Tree
Try this simple activity as a centerpiece for your holiday table or a meaningful decoration for your yard. Inspire thankfulness in your children.
Find more Thanksgiving inspired craft ideas at Crayola.com! www.crayola.com/thanksgiving
The “First Thanksgiving”
National Geographic provides a balanced look at traditions, myths and facts associated with the “First Thanksgiving” as well as a history of how Thanksgiving became a holiday.
Follow this link for virtual tours of a Plymouth Plantation and a Wamponag village reenactment!
Native Americans and Thanksgiving
The Wamponag tribe had traditions for giving thanks that date long before the pilgrims of 1621. Read here for more information about the tribe and their rituals for thanks. You’ll also find a lesson plan complete with links for further research and discussion questions for older kids.
Explore more tips inside of our “Celebrate! Thanksgiving” book for preschoolers.
Find it for purchase here:
Children’s brains are great at noticing small differences and they’re working hard to recognize what differences mean, which ones are important and which ones are not pertinent. Rather than being embarrassed when your child recognizes a difference, use the opportunity to place the difference in context for them.
What is person-first language?
This article by Johanna Hirons, a writer and mother of a child with Down’s Syndrome discusses the use of language referring to people with differences and disabilities.
A number of people with various diagnoses share how they feel about the language people use to discuss their disability.
Talking About Differences With Your Child
Here are some helpful Do’s and Don’ts for talking about adoption.
An age-by-age guide for talking with your children about racism and raising your child to appreciate differences in race and culture.
This article contains tips on talking with your children about peers with special needs.
Developing a Positive Sense of Self
This research paper on early childhood learning by Early Years Specialist Geraldine French discusses the importance of acceptance and inclusion of children’s differences. A child’s positive view of his or her ethnicity and other differences are key components of self-esteem and success.
Special Needs resources
Have you just received a diagnosis for your child or looking to find out more about a condition or disability that a friend or neighbor has? Are you considering special needs adoption or do you teach children with differences? Here is a list of resources where you can search for information by diagnosis.
The websites below offer additional resources and information about organizations in place to help families of children with special needs.
The Importance of Family Mealtimes
Dr. Anne K. Fishel ,co-founder of The Family Dinner Project and a clinical psychologist, teacher, blogger, and family therapist, shares why family dinner time is so important and how to incorporate it into your family’s lifestyle. Check out the entire site for helpful family dinner time ideas.
There are many factors influencing picky eaters. Here are a couple of articles that may help. Please keep in mind that if you are concerned about your child’s eating habits you should discuss them with your pediatrician.
Help for distinguishing between a picky eater and a child who may have problems, such as sensory processing disorder, influencing their eating habits.
Children who have suffered from malnutrition and neglect may have deep struggles with food. Here are a few resources to help guide parents caring for children from difficult situations.
This entire site is a resource for foster and adoptive families regarding special feeding concerns for children who have experienced special needs, trauma and neglect.
This book is an extremely practical guide full of help for understanding and helping a child who has food issues related to deprivation and malnutrition as well as control and attachment concerns.
Explore more tips inside of our “Celebrate! MealTime” book for preschoolers.
Find it for purchase here:
Parenting.com discusses the importance of building a nightly routine and offers 14 suggestions of elements to choose from for building your child’s bedtime routine. www.parenting.com/article/14-happy-bedtime-rituals
For parents of toddlers and preschoolers who struggle to go to bed well, WebMD offers suggestions to get bedtime back on track. Be aware of the cultural expectation for children to learn to sleep on their own. Not all cultures value this as a goal in early childhood. www.webmd.com/children/features/make-your-kids-bedtime-battle-free#4
Biopsychologist Dr. Alice G. Waltman discusses the importance of a regular bed time. Children whose bedtimes are regular during key points of development score better in math, reading and spatial awareness later in childhood. www.thedoctorwillseeyounow.com/content/kids/art4095.html In further support of a regular bed time, Dr. Esther Entin explains how and why children behave better when their bed time is consistent. www.parents.com/health/healthy-happy-kids/young-children-behave-better-when-they-have-a-consistent-bedtime/
The National Sleep Foundation gives guidelines for the amount of sleep considered normal for each stage of your child’s development. Consult this chart to see whether your child is getting the right amount of sleep. www.sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-much-sleep-do-babies-and-kids-need
Culture of BedTime
As in all aspects of childrearing, there are many cultural variations to what is considered ideal with infant and toddler sleep. This article examines Western culture norms in comparison to other cultures around the world.
Science of Sleep
The following two articles examine the effects of listening to soft classical music during sleep and awake time.
This site links to multiple types of sleep disorders in children. Contact your child’s pediatrician if you suspect your child may have a sleep disorder.
Connecting at BedTime
This article explores the reasons why bedtime stories are so important to children. It is an opportunity to connect and share, cuddle and reassure your child before parting at bedtime.
Here are five suggestions of things to say to your child each night at bedtime to build connection and make for a smoother parting. www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/parenthood/parenting-style/the-5-most-important-things-to-say-to-our-kids-at-bedtime
Explore more tips inside of our “Celebrate! BedTime” book for preschoolers.
Find it for purchase here:
The American Optometric Association gives an excellent outline of the eye and vision development of young children, including when they are able to distinguish between certain colors and when they can visually track objects around them.
Spending Time Outside
Child Mind Institute offers 7 strong arguments for spending more time outside with your child.
The National Wildlife Federation examines the benefits of children spending time outdoors, including reduction in ADHD behaviors, improved vision and improved critical thinking skills. Links to studies supporting each claim are included.
UMKC School of Education’s Edgar L. and Rheta A. Berkley Child and Family Development Center preent this resource packed full of information on the impact of outdoor play on a child’s brain and offers age-specific practical ideas for outdoor play for children infant through school aged.
The Amazing Lives of Butterflies
Monarch Butterflies are fascinating! The resources below will help you teach your child more about these amazing migratory insects:
- Here is a song by “Singing Zoologist” that sings through the monarch’s life cycle and migration from the North United States to Mexico.
- And here is National Geographic Kids information on the Monarch Butterfly. Did you know they fly over 2,000 miles to the forest where up to a billion monarchs gather each winter?
Celebrate! Flying Colors mentions the Yellow Tiger Swallowtail on our yellow page. Click here for Enchanted Learning’s information for children about this species of butterfly!
The Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly is native to the Eastern forests of the United States and may commonly be found in parks and backyards in the Eastern states. Here is more information on how to identify this species in each of its forms, as well as its diet and anatomy.
Hummingbirds are fascinating animals to watch and an easy bird to attract to a window feeder in most parts of the United States. Here are some more facts about hummingbirds to share with your little ones.
Fun Flying Color Activities
Enjoy this printable coloring page from Enchanted Learning of a bluebird with tips on how to identify them!
This fun coloring page from Enchanted Learning can help your child learn to identify a robin!
This fun, printable book follows the lifecycle of a butterfly in a format that’s perfect for preschoolers to enjoy coloring, cutting and fastening together.
Explore more tips inside of our “Celebrate! Flying Colors” book for preschoolers.
Find it for purchase here:
21 Practical ways to build connection with your child.
Beginning at birth, eye contact between parent and child is a key form of bonding. This article helps explain the importance of frequent and early eye contact and the implications for adoptive families.
How can maintaining connection with your child help keep meltdowns to a minimum?
Researchers have found that playful interactions between parent and child strengthen their bonds and promote cognitive development. Not all parents feel they excel at playfulness, but this article outlines several different types of beneficial play that may help you find your playfulness style in order to better interact with your child.
Books for further reading
I Love You Rituals by Becky A. Bailey, Ph.D. offers more than seventy rhymes, games and activities to help parents and caregivers connect with their children, helping them thrive in school, cope with change, affirm bonds, insulate children from negative influences and set them up for success.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish offers innovative ways to help children express strong emotions without being hurtful, engage cooperation, set limits and promote self-discipline.
The Connected Child by Dr. Karen Purvis gives adoptive families hope and healing by addressing the special needs of adoption relevant to discipline, bonding, learning and behaviors. The Connected child offers insight and practical exercises to help parents and children together heal from a child’s traumatic past.
Explore more tips inside of our “Celebrate! Mommies and Daddies” book for preschoolers.
Find it for purchase here:
The views and opinions expressed in the following articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of MVP Kids® on topics such as vaccinations or specific medical advice.
Choosing a Pediatrician
Babycenter offers a guide for finding a pediatrician for your child, including interview questions to ask a practice you may be considering.
7 Things to Consider When Deciding on a Pediatrician
What to Expect in a Doctor’s Visit
This articles walks parents through what to expect at each doctor’s visit through baby’s second year.
Fevers are naturally concerning for parents, but also a normal reaction of the body’s immune system. This article helps parents know when a fever should become concerning enough to take your child to the doctor.
Make Going to the Doctor a Good Experience
How to talk to kids before a doctor’s visit to help prepare them.
Suggestions to make a doctor’s visit easier on your child
This post is written specifically to adoptive parents but has applications to all parents of children with special needs, offering tips on making surgery and hospital stays easier on children.
Smart Medicine for A Healthier Child gives parents tools to understand symptoms and treatment options for a number of common childhood ailments.