On Our (St Nicholas) Shelves this Week

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St Nicholas’ Day is almost upon us (it’s on the 6th for those who are unfamiliar with it) and as such I have added a couple of St Nicholas themed works to the shelves. I have never celebrated St Nicholas’ Day before and, in fact, have only ever been vaguely aware of him as the prototype Santa Claus. But if there is one thing that makes you reflect on your practices and habits it’s having kids. My husband and I are not big on Father Christmas and won’t be doing the whole Santa bringing presents thing but we do want Little Bean to have an understanding of what is going on in our culture (read “who is that strange, beardy man in red turning up at all the parties?”) and some context for this story of Father Christmas which is centred in our beliefs. So as a family we will be remembering and celebrating St Nicholas, or Santa Claus, the generous man who became a bishop in the 4th century.

Coin Posting/ Open and Close

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This work is inspired by the story of St Nicholas throwing gold coins from his own inheritance down a chimney in order to provide a dowry for the three girls of a poor family who had lost their father. Little Bean can post the ten coins into the money box, then work on opening and closing it at the back. It has a sliding door which is proving to be very tricky! If you do want to recreate this at home and your little person is not mouthing objects anymore then I really would recommend you use real money as opposed to play money. Little Bean is really drawn to this activity because of the money, using real objects is much more fun!

Stocking Stuffing

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The use of stockings at Christmas also originate from the traditions of St Nicholas’ Day. This is another one for the fine motor muscles. The yellow pom poms, again representing gold coins, can be stuffed in the little sock and then pulled out again. This activity is not as appealing to Little Bean as the previous one, I think because it is not really challenging her at all. However, she has an obsession with pom poms (and that’s putting it lightly) so it holds her attention long enough to get them all in the sock.

Mummy to Baby Matching

A variant on the object to object matching, the mummy and baby animals are similar enough that they look alike but different enough to add some extra interest. We are using some of the Schleich farm animals here (UK link/US link). Little Bean also loves to know the proper names for the baby animals. When I can get full family sets I’ll introduce the names for the female and male adult animals as well but right now I think that would end up being confusing, so we are still using the generic adult names. Little Bean loves any work involving animals so I knew this would be a hit. I got the idea for this work from The Kavanaugh Report.

Still on our shelves: Safari animal puzzle, bead threading. Information about these can be found in my other posts.

Peace, Nat

P.S. This post is linking up with Montessori Monday!

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