We do love a good old sing song over the Christmas period. You can hear lots of Christmas Carols being sung on the streets and in churches in the weeks leading up to and the days following Christmas. It is one thing I miss living here in France. I thought I would keep the tradition alive with my girls and enjoy a few carols here, over the pond!
One of these carols is "The Twelve Days of Christmas". It's a carol that is often sung in Classrooms in the UK too. It a fun cumulative song that has twelve verses, each describing a gift given by "my true love" on one of the twelve days of Christmas. The twelve days in the song are the twelve days starting with Christmas Day to the day before Epiphany, or the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6, or the Twelfth Day). The eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merry making.
It's a great song to revise ordinal numbers and counting backwards from 12 This makes it ideal for a young learners English class! It could be used in the days running up to Christmas or the 12 days that follow Christmas.
We have been enjoying a lovely peep-through picture book of the 12 days of Christmas that brings the verses of the song to life (see the link above) There are two little elves who appear on each page and engage in a variety of wintery activities that tie in with the rhyme, for example sharing a glass of milk from the milkmaids and rowing a boat when the swans are introduced. Both my girls (6 and 3) adore it.
I've written some massage strokes to accompany the song, which makes it a lovely way to relax and connect with your children
during the Christmas period. All the strokes come from the wonderful Mary at Story Massage over in the UK.
Here is the Children's BBC version of the carol and some beautiful nature photos here too.
It's Bonfire night or Guy Fawkes Night over in the UK today. It is a huge historical event celebrated with huge bonfires, the burning of Guy Fawkes effigies and firework displays up and down
the country. To find out more take a look here
Our English class have been learning all about Bonfire Night by making their own fireworks. One way to consolidate their learning is through a clothes-on paired back massage. All our massage
strokes can be found over at the wonderful Story Massage website. As with all our massage stories, please ensure the children ask permission before giving a massage.
Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper is an absolute favourite picture book in our home. I couldn't resist writing a little story massage to go along with the story. All the strokes can be found on the Story Massage website (see the link below).
Deep in the forest, in a little cottage (fan)
lived a cat (claw)
a squirrel (bounce)
and a duck (fan)
Every day they made pumpkin soup, the best you ever tasted (circle)
The cat sliced the pumpkins (wave)
The squirrel stirred the soup (circle)
and the duck added a pinch of salt (bounce)
They were all very happy (half circle)
One day the duck decided HE wanted to stir the soup (circle)
« Stirring is MY job » shouted the squirrel (bounce)
He snatched the wooden spoon, it flew in the air and hit the cat on the head. (drum)
Everyone was sad and the duck ran away (walk)
The cat and the squirrel chased the duck (walk)
They decided that the duck could help stir the soup (circle)
So, once again all was calm in the little cottage, deep in the forest (calm)
This is a fun massage to do on the beach or after a trip to the seaside.
Start by talking about some of the things that you have seen at the beach. With your child's permission, start to trace an object or animal on their back, describing it as you go.
For example :
" It is hard, flat and smooth (draw a rounded object). It has speckles on it" (trace small circles on the big one) a pebble.
Try different techniques when tracing, either your index finger or the flat of your whole hand. Ask your child which they prefer.
Repeat this with a crab. Keep the descriptions simple with young ones and adapt the vocabulary with older ones.
« It is an animal. It lives in a rock pool (trace a circle) or in the sea (wave the flat of your hand from side to side on the back.) It has a rounded hard back (trace a circle). It has eight legs and two sharp pincers (trace these on the back) to catch it's food. What do you think it is ? »
Let your child trace something on your back.
Now try this little story:
One day while Ella (substitute with your child's name) was playing at the seaside she discovered a rock pool..
trace a big circle on your child's back using the flat of your hand
She peered inside and there she saw a tiny crab moving this way and that way, this way and that way.
finger sprinkles across the back from left to right and back again
It came closer and closer....
finger sprinkles moving towards the big toe
and then suddenly.....nipped her toe!
Gently squeeze the big toe
« OW! Let it go ! » She shouted.
Release the squeeze
The crab let go of her toe and scuttled away under a nearby rock
Finger sprinkles up the back
Repeat the story nipping (gently squeezing) other parts of the body !
Enjoy the giggles that follow!