What do you do when you’re an active mom with active kids and the weather is acting up? Frankenstorm on the east coast (of the U.S.) this week forced that question on plenty of us who sought ways to keep kids occupied and learning while staying safely at home amid school closings. It might also have prompted parents to start thinking about ways to keep kids entertained during the upcoming holiday vacations. I resorted this week to my “craft closet” to keep the kids occupied. Keeping supplies on hand for times like these is especially helpful. Construction paper, glue, crayons, markers, kid scissors, etc., will help set things in motion. Don’t forget old buttons, embroidery thread, and fabric and felt squares too. These add dimension and texture to kids’ projects. Next, a plastic tablecloth that can get very messy is essential! With colorful goodies like these set out in front of them my kids will typically jump right in and start making their own unique creations even before I give them project ideas. But if your little ones need some inspiration, here’s a craft idea that will get them going. A few years ago my kids and I took an idea from my husband’s family tradition and updated it. We made an advent calendar, a simple “countdown” to Christmas! Advent calendars definitely light the spark of holiday excitement in our house. My husband’s family always counted down the days to Christmas by stringing 24 buttons on a piece of thread, knotting them along the thread about an inch apart. Each night they snipped off one button as Christmas approached. You can use embroidery thread and a large plastic needle for younger children. Make sure you find the biggest, brightest, most colorful buttons in your button jar. Easy and fun! Our updated version looks similar. Instead of just using thread to string the buttons we sewed them on a pretty ribbon and added a jingle bell to the bottom. When we hung it on the inside of the front door, every time someone opened the door, the advent ribbon made that wonderful tinkling sound that kids associate with Santa. Take a look... Beyond the fun of making this Christmas craft, you might want to check out what you can learn about these traditional calendars and Advent itself by Googling key words. Share the information with your children and get into the holiday spirit by making these a dvent ribbons early enough to give to friends BEFORE December hits! We love both ways to make the calendar! Write and tell us how you survived the unexpected school closings this week. Share what you did with your kids to turn a potentially fearful situation into a couple of fun days at home together.