How To Create Circle Time Routines the Children Will Love

How To Create Circle Time Routines the Children Will Love

The best daily routines help kids feel safe, secure, and comfortable.

Create a beautiful circle time gathering space, infuse your meetings with predictable routines, and get moving and get silly!

Whether you're doing circle time at home, or in the classroom, these are some things you can do to make sure it's a fun and engaging experience for everyone.

How To Make a Simple DIY Felt Wall Menorah

How To Make a Simple DIY Felt Wall Menorah

DIY is always better than store bought.

Always. Besides, we couldn't find satisfying Hanukkah decorations in the store even if we wanted them. (Why do retailers believe Jews only decorate in blue, white, and silver?)

I have so many great DIY Hanukkah decorations for you here!

My favorite DIY Hanukkah decortation is our giant wall menorah, which I made from felt, burlap bags from Target's dollar section, 3M clear clips, and more felt. I hand cut the candles and numbers, and used embroidery floss to make a blanket stitch around all edges. We hang this up under our white felt banner that lives over my son's loft the rest of the year, but he allows us to take his name letters off of it and put these letters spelling MIRACLES on it for the holiday season. (This is one of my favorite minimalist decorating hacks, by the way, using one felt banner for basically every holiday. No need to adhere the letters to the bunting, felt sticks to itself like magic. Voila!)

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To make your own, you'll need:

- Nine pieces of felt in different colors for the candles
- Three pieces of orange felt for the candle flames
- Six pieces of felt for the numbers
- Embroidery floss for stitching your candles and numbers
- A big needle for stitching, preferable with a large eye and a sharp tip to make things easier
- Nine little bags
- Hooks for hanging your bags (I use these)

To make your candles:

SEWN METHOD: Cut as straight a line as you possibly can about two inches in from the short edge of your felt. Do this twice with each candle color, so you should have 18 total when you're finished.

Pair two candle pieces and sew around the edge with a blanket stitch. I liked to make my candles different colors on each side.

Cut nine flame shapes out of your orange felt and sew one to the top of each candle.

LOW-SEW METHOD: Cut you candles out as described above. You can glue them together using hot glue or fabric glue.

To make your numbers:

SEWN METHOD: Cut out two each of the numbers one through eight from your felt. You are going to sew these together using a blanket stitch along the edge like you did with your candles.

Then, sew each number to one of your little bags. I chose to sew mine on the edge of the opening opposite from the hanging string.

NO SEW METHOD: You can always paint or draw the numbers on your bags, too. I think older children would love to paint the numbers on themselves.

To hang your wall menorah:

I used to use nine little 3M hooks, one for each candle, and work really hard to get them straight. Is our wall menorah perfectly straight? NEVER. But that's part of the charm.

Now, I just string the bags onto a long piece of yarn and hang each end on a little hook. I tape the candles directly onto the wall with painter's tape, easy peasy.

To use your wall menorah:

This is where the fun comes in, because you get to use your menorah any way you'd like! In our house, we hang the menorah and put the candles into each bag until Hanukkah comes along, when we tape the appropriate candles up on the wall every night. I also put a dreidel and a few pieces of chocolate gelt in the current night's bag for my kids to find. (I'm kind of regretting this dreidel tradition now that we have accumulated about 60 dreidels, but my babies adores them so the tradition continues.)

How To Make Simple DIY Felt Party Hats

How To Make Simple DIY Felt Party Hats

Oh, felt. Felty, felt, felt.

I love it so. When we decided at the very last minute to host a little 5th birthday celebration for my son (six months after his actual fifth birthday, Mother of the Year right here) I wanted to use materials we already had on hand to create party favors, so I grabbed my felt. (Simple birthdays tip: the birthday child can invite the same number of children as his age over--or out--for a special birthday experience. Six friends over for a sixth birthday party is far more manageable than 20!)

On a Wednesday Mr. Five invited three friends to join us for bowling that Saturday, and by noon on Thursday we had made these adorable felt party hats. They were so quick to make that I ended up making nine of them even though I really only needed four. Did I mention I was holding my 21 month old for most of this process? I'm telling you, these are simple.

You'll need scissors, a needle and thread (I used DMC embroidery thread), one piece of felt per hat, about four inches of sticky back velcro tape (just the hook side) per hat, and one pom pom or felt ball per hat. That's it! Tip: All of my kids' scissors cut felt so much better and easier than my fancy adult scissors.

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Step 1. Cut the hats out of felt. I opened up a party hat and used that to create this printable Party Hat Template. Just print the template from the link (not from the picture below) at 100% on letter-size paper, cut it out, and then use that to cut your felt. Don't worry about perfect cutting. I didn't, and look at how cute my hats turned out.

Step 2. Fold your felt and make a few good stitches at the very top where your hat will come together, right about where the two purple stars are on the template. Once this stitch is secure grab your pom pon and sew it to the top of your hat. I used simple running stitches and went around the pom pon twice just to make sure it was secure.

Step 3. Once you get your stitching all the way around and back to your original stitch, just go down your hat's seam and sew it up right to the bottom. I made horizontal stitches going down, but just do whatever kind of stitches you like. Make sure you line up the very bottom of your hat as you sew to make sure it will be aligned once you get there. When you reach the bottom of your hat just finish it off with a simple knot, or do a bit of edge stitching if you want to get fancy.

Step 4. I'm pretty proud of this hack: Now it's time to use that sticky velcro. Instead of sewing in ribbons to tie the hats on, all you need to do is stick some pieces of the hook side around the bottom edge of the hat and it will stick to the wearer's hair! This is really convenient, because five year olds aren't that fond of tying ribbons around their chins. I wore a party hat all day, it didn't even come loose once, and I actually forgot I had it on my head until I saw it in a mirror. (This hat has round Velcro dots in there too because I tried to get away with just using those at first. You'll need the strips.)

And that's it! Can you believe how easy this is? They even stayed on the babies' heads with their wispy baby hair.


Hate sewing? You could skip the stitching altogether and just glue your hat with hot glue or fabric glue. I'm not a big fan of glue when I can sew something up, but I think hot glue would make this super quick project go even faster.