Family Christmas Fun at Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

In our family, we absolutely love the Christmas season. We love fall as well, but there is just something about all the happiness and family time Christmas brings. Since I was a child, it has been a Christmas tradition to go look at Christmas lights. When I came across the website for Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, I knew we had to visit!

**We were given a free admission pass and in exchange, we are sharing our experience. The following post contains our honest opinion about our experience at Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland** 

We live about an hour away from the area where Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is located, so mid afternoon Saturday, we headed out. Mr. Not So Crafty works on weekends, but my mom and step father (A.K.A Grammy and Grumpy) accompanied my toddler and I for some holiday fun. Before we left, our sweet toddler had to do a little pre-gaming by checking out Grammy’s holiday decorations. 

After stopping for an early dinner, we got into the area of the Christmas Wonderland at about 6:30. If you are going on a weekend, we highly recommend getting there much earlier. It is a very popular seasonal event and they get very busy on the weekends. If you can go during the week, there may be less wait time involved.  Once we got into the fairgrounds, it was certainly easy to see why so many people were willing to wait! It is just an amazing family experience. At just $25 per car (up to 8 people), it is a great deal as well! 

The very first thing we all noticed, even before we got to the admission both, was how perfectly the music synced up with the lights. The lights put on an amazing show.  

After riding through the beautiful lights that were programmed to move with music, we entered Santa’s Safari. This part of the light display had an adorable jungle animal theme! 

At the end of the displays, we stopped at Santa’s Village. Santa’s Village offered refreshments,a visit with Santa, rides, and shopping! It was really a lot of fun. It was decorated inside and out. Santa had a real beard and the packages started at just $19.95. The three indoor rides offered are just $2 each. 

We highly enjoyed ourselves and can not wait to go next year again! If you do not live near this particular location, you may still be able to get in on the Shadrack’s Christmas fun! There are also locations in Sevierville, TNJackson, TNBirmingham, ALCharlotte, NC, and Gonzalez, LA.

We would love to hear from you! Have you ever been to a Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland? What is your favorite family Christmas tradition? 

Advertisements

Open Ended Shape Snowman

Open ended shape crafts are a favorite in our house! Crafts like this encourage creativity and help with both color and shape recognition! 

Materials Needed

  • Blue or Black Construction Paper
  • Construction Paper Cut into a Variety of Shapes 
  • Glue

The aim of his craft is to encourage creativity, so we offered as little guidance as possible. We put glue on the paper and let our toddler pick shapes one by one. When she picked one, we would say things like “that is a white circle”.  If your child is preschool or early grade school age, you can give them a glue stick and let them do the gluing themselves. Our toddler is too young for that, so we did put the glue where we wanted it on the paper. 

The end product will be as unique as your little one! One of our favorite things about these open ended projects is how much the end result reflects who our toddler as a little person currently!

Paper Circle Candy Cane

Christmas is coming up fast! Candy canes were always a huge part of my Christmas growing up. Today’s craft is super simple and can be adapted for kids between one and five years old!

Materials Needed

  • Red, White, and Green Construction Paper 
  • Glue
  • Scissors 

The prep work for this one is very easy! We started by cutting out small circles from the red and white paper. If your little one is four or five, try drawing the circles and letting them do the cutting! We cut out eight of each color, but only ended up using five circles of each color. After the circles were cut, we put glue in the shape of a candy cane on the green paper and let our little one get to work. If you have an older child, you can make this a bit more involved by showing them a candy cane and letting them put on the glue to match the shape. 

From start to finish, this took about five minutes, so it is the perfect little crafty for busy days!

Gift Ideas For Children Under One

Last year was our daughters first Christmas. She was just under a year old.  We had to really sit down and think of things for others to get her. We have compiled a list of ideas for gifts to give children one and under!

**This post contains affiliate links. We may get a small commission for purchased made from our links at no additional cost to you. The opinions expressed are all ours.**

Stacking Toys

Stacking cups are amazing for developing hand-eye coordination and for building problem solving skills. As a bonus, once the little one gets closer to two, they can double as cups for tea and such in pretend play. At least one of our dolls gets the privilege of “drinking” from one of these cups several times a week. 

Sensory Toys

Sensory type toys provide colors and unique shapes that will intrigue infants. They will explore them more and more as they grow. 

Soft Books

Soft books are gentle on little fingers and safe to chew on! 

Music Table

Most music tables are safe for children six months and up. They encourage motor skills and many of them encourage language development as well. 

Christmas Sensory Bin

Our toddler loves sensory bins! We recently made a Christmas themed sensory bin with things from the Dollar Tree. The whole bin cost just $5! 

We started with a clear food storage container. You can pick any container you’d like, but we picked this container because we loved that it had a lid so we could keep it closed when not in use. We also used crinkle cut paper filler, half of two different packs of pom poms, and cut up Christmas garland!

Once it was all in the container, we just mixed it up and let our little one dig in! 

This bin has been a huge hit in our house and we hope it is a hit in yours as well!

Ways to Encourage A Love Of Reading In Toddlers

Most toddlers are a long way off from reading independently, but it is a great time to help encourage a life long love of reading! We have come up with a list of easy ways to enhance early literacy. 

Encourage Quiet “Reading” Time 

Provide your toddler opportunities to explore books on their own. We always set some books next to a chair in our playroom and put one or two in her playpen so that she can look at them when she is ready. Now that she is getting close to two, she will sit with a book and point to pictures while babbling away. 

Go To The Library

We visit the library weekly! Not only can we check out new books to see if we like them before buying them, but our library also has a great weekly toddler time that helps with social skills. A lot of people get a little nervous visiting a library with toddlers, but it will be fine! A majority of libraries have a little area set up just for smaller children. 

Read Out Loud To Your Toddler

It can be super hard to get toddlers to sit still long enough to read with them, but it is so important. We read at least one book a day, but try to read two or three. Try not to read faster just because your toddler is being wiggly. You can always take a break and come back to the book later. 

Pick Books Based On Your Toddlers Interests 

Your toddler is much more likely to want to engage with a book if they enjoy the topic. Our toddler is all about unicorns and sharks right now. When we get books with pictures of those two things, she cheers and claps her hands. 

Point Out Words in Every Day Life

Words are all around us, but sometimes we forget that toddlers do not yet know that. This can be as simple as pointing out that a stop sign says “Stop” or reading the names of stores as you drive and talking about how to spell them. The more exposure a child gets to letters and how they work, the easier reading will come when it is time. 

We hope that these tips can help you encourage your toddler’s interest in reading! We would love to hear from you. Do you have any additional ways to encourage early literacy? What is your favorite book to read to your little one? 

Paper Owl

Night fall is coming early now, so yesterday, a little owl felt like the perfect late afternoon craft. It is easy, fairly mess free, and can be adapted for kids between the ages of one and five. 

Materials

Construction Paper (white, brown, and orange) 

Glue 

A Pen or Marker 

Scissors 

Googly Eyes

Start with the super easy prep work. Cut out an owl body like shape from the white paper. Neither Mr. Not So Crafty or I can draw at all, so if we can manage to pull off an owl, so can you! From the orange paper, cut out a triangle for the beak and feet. Cut the brown paper in half and then cut the half into squares.  If your child or the children in your class (the simplicity of this one makes it perfect for classroom use) are four and above, try just drawing the feet and beak on the orange paper and let them do the cutting. If you want a slightly more rugged look for the owl, you can also let older preschool aged children tear up the brown paper instead of you cutting it. 

Next, help your little one glue the brown paper onto the white paper. After they are done, its time to add the feet, beak, and googly eyes. Try to offer as little guidance as possible. 

After this, your little owl will need to dry a few minutes. While it is drying, trace your child’s hands on the other half of the brown paper. For older preschoolers, you can try letting them trace their own hands. When I was working in an early childhood education setting, I was so surprised with the amount of children who had never traced their own hands at home!  

Next, flip the owl over and have your child glue on the hand prints. 

The finished project will be a cute little owl that you (or the parents in your classroom) can use to look back on how small your little ones hands were!