Kids Newsletter December 2016

Fun Facts about December

  • An almanac prediction states that if snow falls on Christmas Day, Easter will be warm, green and sunny.
  • The name December comes from the Latin decem for "ten," as it was the 10th month in the Roman Calendar.
  • The term Yuletide comes from a Norse tradition of cutting and burning a tree to bring in the Winter Solstice. This was to last through 12 days - later known as the 12 days of Christmas.
  • Dec. 28 is considered by some to be the unluckiest day of the year.
  • The first artificial Christmas tree was made in Germany, fashioned out of goose feathers that were dyed green!
  • Spiders and spider webs are considered good luck on Christmas.
  • Common decorations on a Christmas tree each have their specific meanings: candles represent the light of the world; the star at the top is a reminder of the first Christmas night; and candy canes represent the shepherd's cane.
  • "Jingle bells" was composed in 1857 and not for Christmas - it was meant to be a Thanksgiving song!
  • An ancient legend states that forest animals can speak in human language on Christmas Eve!
Artistic representation of the snowy outdoors

Let's Read

"The Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Tale About the Rockefeller Center Tree" by David Rubel

Book Cover

This "new classic" Christmas story brings together two great traditions: the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the neighbor-helping-neighbor program of Habitat for Humanity. Opening in Depression-era New York City, "The Carpenter's Gift" tells the story of 8-year-old Henry and his father selling Christmas trees. They give a Christmas tree to construction workers building Rockefeller Center and celebrate together. Through the kindness of the construction workers and neighbors, Henry gets his wish for a nice, warm home to replace his family's drafty shack. He plants a pinecone from that first Rockefeller Center Tree. As an old man, Henry repays the gift by donating the enormous tree that has grown from that pinecone to become a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. After bringing joy to thousands as the Rockefeller Center tree, its wood will be used to build a home for another family in need.

"The Christmas Wish" by Lori Evert

Book Cover

Long ago, a brave little girl named Anja wanted to be one of Santa's elves. So she leaves a note for her family and helps her elderly neighbor prepare for the holiday, then she straps on her skis and heads out into the snowy landscape. From a red bird to a polar bear to a reindeer, a menagerie of winter animals help Anja make her way to Santa.

Let's Go Exploring

Explore art. Visit the Arkansas Arts Center to revel in the exhibit "Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art" before it leaves on Jan. 17. And, don't miss the striking photography in "Nathalia Edenmont: Force of Nature" when the exhibit opens Jan. 19; the artist photographs women and girls in elaborate dresses made of natural materials, like flowers, fruit or vegetables.

Did You Know?

Monkeys in trees

Monkey Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated internationally on Dec. 14. While the holiday is mainly about monkeys, it also celebrates other non-human primates such as apes, tarsiers and lemurs. The holiday was started in 2000 when founder Casey Sorrow jokingly scribbled Monkey Day on a friend's calendar and first celebrated by Lansing residents and art students at Michigan State University. Since then, Monkey Day has been celebrated internationally, across countries like the U.S., Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Let's Be Healthy

Get Dancing.

Twisting. Singing. Jumping. Jiving. Dancing is great for legs, lungs and laughs. Try to keep a space clear of clutter, fragile objects and big furniture to encourage movement. Take a dancing break every day, and hold dancing contests when friends come over.

Make the Most of Screen Time.

Think beyond DVDs and uploads. Prima Princessa Presents Swan Lake , available on Amazon, showcases live performances of classic ballets, and between acts teaches young viewers real ballet steps. Also, don't dismiss your at-home gaming system. Kinect Sensor with Kinect Adventures is, hands down, a better system for encouraging activity, since there's no remote control, and a motion sensor attached to the top of the TV can tell if you are actually running or jumping.

Let's Have Fun

Camp out (in).

Set up tents and sleeping bags in the living room, or just make forts, and sleep there overnight. If you want s'mores but don't have a fire, make s'mores party mix! Combine mini graham crackers, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips in a bowl.

Get in on the game.

Charades, board games - you name it. Declare a no-screen day, and actually spend some time together! Take turns picking a game for the whole family to play, or resurrect forgotten (or never-learned!) card or board games.

Have an all-new weekend.

Make a game of trying something new every weekend, with no repeats! Eat new foods, learn something new as a family, or go places you've never been before.

Let's Get Creative

Button Snowflakes

Button Snowflake

Materials:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • a variety of buttons
  • ribbon or fishing line

Instructions:

  • Glue three Popsicle sticks together to make the snowflake shape, one on top of the other.
  • Arrange the buttons on the snowflake so you get an idea of where you want them to go. Once you have decided, glue them on the snowflake. Use as little or as many as you wish! Remember, each snowflake is unique!
  • To finish, tie a piece of fishing line or ribbon on the snowflake so you can hang them! These look lovely displayed in a window where they can catch light.

Let's Cook

Peanut Butter Banana Pops

Peanut Butter Banana Pops

Ingredients:

  • 6 craft sticks (flat wooden sticks with round ends)
  • 3 ripe medium bananas, peeled and cut in half crosswise
  • 6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup Vanilla Chex cereal, coarsely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts

Directions:

Insert stick into cut end of each banana piece. Spread 1 tablespoon peanut butter on each. Roll in crushed cereal and chopped peanuts; serve.


What's New

New 24/7 Multiplatform Services coming in January

PBS KIDS is building on its mission of reaching all children with high-quality educational content with the launch of new, free, multiplatform 24/7 services. Starting Jan. 17, children can watch their favorite PBS KIDS shows, round-the-clock, on AETN-3.

Tune In To AETN

The all-new movie "The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Space!" premieres Monday, Dec. 26. The Cat in the Hat takes us on a cosmic adventure through the solar system to assist with Operation Rover Repair.

  • "Bob the Builder: Trouble at Christmas" - Dec. 24
  • "Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas" - Dec. 17
  • "Peg + Cat + Holidays" - Dec. 13
  • "Ready Jet Go!: Sunday Drive" - Dec. 26
    "Ready Jet Go!: Diggin' Earth/Mindy's Mystery" - Dec. 27
    "Ready Jet Go!: What's a Satellite/Satellite Selfie" - Dec. 28
    "Ready Jet Go!: Space Junk/Scientific Sean" - Dec. 29
  • "Thomas & Friends: Christmas Time" - Dec. 12
    "Thomas & Friends: Spooky Snow" - Dec. 13
    "Thomas & Friends: Tis the Season to be Jolly" - Dec. 14
    "Thomas & Friends: Patience and Rules" - Dec. 16
    "Thomas & Friends: A Time for Sharing" - Dec. 17
  • "Sesame Street: The Best Friend Band" - Dec. 5
    "Sesame Street: Rocco's Playdate" - Dec. 12
    "Sesame Street: Enthusiastic Penelope Penguin" - Dec. 19
  • "Splash and Bubbles: Dunk's New Friend/Ripple's Whale of a Tale" - Dec. 1
    "Splash and Bubbles: Golden Legs Gush/A Fish Called ‘Mo'" - Dec. 7
    "Splash and Bubbles: Deflated Dunk/Kelp Forest Keepers" - Dec. 9
    "Splash and Bubbles: Splash's Swim School/Light at the End of the Tunnel" - Dec. 21
    "Splash and Bubbles: Small But Mighty/Washed Away" - Dec. 22

Watch your favorites online!

Play, watch and learn with your favorite series at pbskids.org.

Check out activities and resources, and follow our blog, at aetn.org/parents.

For educational resources at home and in the classroom, including a downloadable resource guide, visit…