By Beth Pinyerd
It is Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas in Opelika!
Lights and decorations everywhere reflect the excitement and joy this season brings to our families. A seasonal Railroad Town welcome of the Christmas season cannot be found anywhere else.
Children raised in this area are so fortunate to have parades, Victorian Front Porch Christmas tours, holiday movie showings, Christmas band concerts, parks decorated in the Christmas spirit, neighborhoods coming together to spread Christmas cheer, churches, schools, libraries having special events, etc. The Opelika community is so fortunate that our town and surrounding areas still thrill children with our Christmas traditions. We are a community that believes in sharing and helping others.
Creating Christmas memories for your children is often found in doing simple things for others. Young children find great joy and pleasure in making and creating their own gifts to give. Our community preschools and schools are so good to include Christmas crafts and gift making in their plans and schedules.
Our post offices are friendly to children and families. As you begin to embark on mailing out Christmas cards to family and friends over the next few weeks of the holiday season, include your child in showing them the pictures on the cards, letting them mark or sign their names and putting on the stamps. Have your preschool and elementary age children mail a card to themselves.
As you begin decorating your home for the holiday season, include your child’s decorations to put throughout the house. These build memories for your child. However, be childproof safety conscious as you embark on decorating your homes.
In preparing for Christmas, choosing children’s Christmas toys can be a joy, but a challenge too. Toys provide valuable learning experiences for different children at different ages, as families remember that quantity is not quality for young children. Since extended family may give a child so much, why not rotate these gifts and let them play with a few at a time. This way, young children are provided with new toys and learning experiences throughout the year.
Infants and toddlers learn much through seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting. Choose toys that an infant or toddler can hold, squeeze, touch, poke, toss or twist; they’ll keep a child entertained for a long time.
Toddlers love to open and close items; purchase toys where they can push buttons and open doors. Because infants and toddlers like to taste, make sure you are alert to what your young child is putting in their mouths; buy toys that are safe. Think “big” when you buy toys for children this age. For safety, purchase big toys without a lot of small parts.
Twos. threes, fours and fives learn by hand. They love to draw with crayons, markers and paint. Washable markers, crayons and water colors are items to purchase for this age and they are inexpensive.
Building blocks, whether wooden or plastic are a favorite. Also, young children love to roll Play-Doh. This age level enjoys riding tricycles as well as bikes with training wheels. Simple musical instruments can be bought at inexpensive prices.
Dolls, tea sets, dress-up clothes, simple home living items such as play stoves, play refrigerators and plastic food sets are valuable learning tools to add to the Christmas list.
Simple puzzles with large pieces as well as simple board games are enjoyed by children this age. Children love to look at books as well.
Six, seven and eight-year-old children seem to focus more on hobbies. With older children they feel more like “little adults” or more grown-up. They have their favorite songs, jewelry, T-shirts, car and airplane models, age-appropriate video games and computer games. This age groups likes to collect items like stamps, cards or coins. They also have a keen interest in sports, playing ball, skating, swimming, etc.
At eight through 12 years of age, children generally get into hobbies, sports, music, arts and crafts. They like to choose the clothes they wear. This age group will usually tell the parents what they like and don’t so this makes shopping easier.
Of course computer, games, and videos are favorites for all the family!
The School and
Trinity Methodist Children’s Day Out Preschool Group has invited local author Maggie Meadows Cooper to share the sweet heartfelt story of “Bumper.” This event will take place on Dec. 10.
The annual “Fa La La Festival” will take place at Opelika’s Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library at 200 S. 6th St. in Opelika, Dec. 21 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This free event will feature fun, crafts, Christmas activities for the family to spend time together and shake off the stress of school. It is perfect for all ages but is focused on preschoolers – fifth graders.