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January Activities

Book of the month
The Gift That I Can Give

"Kids don't have to wait until they are grownups to make the world a better place! The newest Kathie Lee Gifford book empowers children to find unique ways to make a difference in the lives of those around them.

The Gift That I Can Give is a heartwarming story that shows how all children can do something today to make a positive impact on others. From simply being kind to giving a loved one an extra-big hug to cheering for a friend, this story will inspire children with countless ways to show God's love, leading them to want to listen to it again and again.

Kathie Lee is a trusted voice who feels like a friend for countless people. With her strong faith, enthusiasm, and playful writings, she appeals to young hearts and encourages them with the message that no one is too young or too small to share their gift with others.

Kathie Lee Gifford is the three-time Emmy award-winning co-host of the fourth hour of the Today show, alongside Hoda Kotb. In 2015, Gifford was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. She has written four New York Times best-selling books. Former co-host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, she is also a playwright, producer, singer, songwriter, and actress. Gifford has a passion for children and has been involved in numerous child-help organizations, including Cassidy's Place and Cody House, named after her two children."

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Craft of the month
Classic Snickerdoodle Cookies

YIELD: Makes about 2 dozen ACTIVE TIME: 35 minutes  TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes, plus cooling time


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup sugar, divided

  • 1 large egg, room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. Whisk flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter in a large bowl until pale yellow, 2–3 minutes. Scrape down sides, add salt and 3/4 cup sugar, and continue to beat until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes more. Scrape down sides, add egg, and blend until just incorporated. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, beating until just incorporated.

  2. Gather dough into a ball, wrap ball in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

  3. Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 375°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Using your hands, roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar, then transfer to prepared sheets, spacing about 2" apart.

  4. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until just golden brown around the edges, 8–10 minutes (cookies will firm up as they cool). Let cookies cool on sheets a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.

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Craft of the month
Styro Sculpture: Two Ways

Children’s sculpture projects can be messy and time-consuming, particularly when using traditional materials such as clay or papier mache. My ‘after-school’ Art Club meets once a week for 45 minutes, and I prefer to complete a project in that time, otherwise it can often happen that one or more children are away for either the beginning or the end of the task. It is also my belief that, with preschool children, the most successful projects are those that hold their attention with quite immediate results.

Styro Sculpture’ is a great example of a project that is simple, fun, educational and can produce impressive results. Many kindergarten art teachers will be familiar with making sculpture from polystyrene packing peanuts and toothpicks or pipe cleaners. The kids construct all sorts of three-dimensional forms by connecting the small polystyrene shapes together. It is so much fun, and really exercises the children’s imaginations. Last time I did this project with four and five year olds, we  had a classroom full of cars, horses, spiders and space rockets.

However, it can be a little frustrating for the children, as the toothpicks and the polystyrene peanuts fall apart quite easily. I also find myself frustrated with the outcome, as one of my key aims with any kids’ sculpture project is to emphasise the three-dimensional physicality of sculpture compared with painting or drawing. Because packing peanuts are so small, the resulting structures are also rather small and fragile.

I wanted the children to be able to work on a much larger scale, especially after coming across a ‘green art’ blog, Inspiration Green, which reveals the seemingly endless possibilities of polystyrene as an art material. John Powers, Dio Mendoza and Tara Donovan are just three artists making incredible sculptural forms from polystyrene.

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