10 lovable things to do with your little ones this February

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Our social media feeds are bursting with heart-shaped ads, the window displays are full of heart-shaped objects, even our coffees are sprinkled with heart-shaped cocoa powder. Yup. Valentine's Day is coming up. 

But what does it mean for the little ones around the world, we wondered. How do they understand love? How can you show and explain love to them?

And after some serious thinking and a few coffees drizzled with heart-shaped cocoa powder later, we came to a conclusion. The best way, we decided, is taking a step away from your daily life, and taking the time and energy to connect with your little ones in meaningful ways. 

How? Here's our list of 10 ways to show love to your little ones this February (special attention to #10 - there's a pretty exciting giveaway involved!)

1) Love is throwing them the most magical sleepover they will ever have, by letting them sleep in your bed, and bringing along ten stuffed animals.

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And you can make it even more exciting by extending a formal invitation. Yes, that’s right. Kids always appreciate a grownup’s ability to devise a perfectly plausible letter that is based on make-belief. Get 11 pieces of paper (one for your child, and one for each plush toy), grab your silliest-looking pen for inspiration and start writing. The cuter and the more imaginative the content, the better. Use language like “do’s” and “don’ts”, what they need to bring with them, the rules of the sleepover and accompany them with the most ridiculous examples that come to mind.

2) Love is creating a custom-made treasure hunt around the house for your little ones.

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And you don’t even need to get new things for it! Just gather their favorite objects, find hiding spots around the house, and write clever, witty riddles related to stuff they can identify with, yet will push them to think outside the box.

3) Love is teaching them how to write “I LOVE YOU” in lots of different languages - their choice!

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Here we’ll start you off with some: Te amo, Je t’aime, Wo Ai Nu, Naku Penda, S’agapo… now your turn. You can even teach them in sign language. 

4) Love is taking the time to make heart-shaped objects from anything and everything, in the most creative and thoughtful ways.

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This can be out of whatever comes to mind or whatever you spot in the way. Cookies, foil, paper, clips, paint, straw, play-dough… the list is endless. And if you want, stick them all together on a piece of paper and even frame them to make the perfect “I love you” picture for their bedroom wall. TA-DA!

5) Love is recreating the perfect camping experience, reading books, sipping hot cocoa, cuddling and giggling with all your heart.

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Cold? Who said that is has to be outdoors? All you need is a tent that you can set up inside, or better yet, a set of sheets and some fluffy pillows. Hang the sheets from an object on the wall, place the pillows on the floor and bring all the necessary gear to reinvent the coziest camping tent ever created: blankets, stories to get lost in, hot cocoa, tea and nibbles to indulge in, board games to play, toys and teddy bears to cuddle with…  and any other favorite activity that will bring smiles and laughter.

6) Love is waking your children up at 5am in the morning, finding the most unassuming and magical spot around your neighborhood, and taking them to experience their first sunrise.

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All you need for this one is your energy. Extra points to whoever manages to keep it a secret, wake them up and build anticipation around it, just saying that “you’ll go somewhere special”. Make sure you're prepared to give them the ins and outs of sunrises and sunsets, explain the sun's journey during a day and during a year, and answer any peculiar questions that they'll have - we all know that there will be plenty of those!

7) Love is asking your little ones: “tell me something you’d like to learn about” and then devising a fun, interactive way to teach them.

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Because that's always the best way to get children engaged and the most effective way to remember what they've learned. Are they asking about solids and liquids? Take them for a little demo to the kitchen.

8) Love is telling them the adorable little story of “Why love is blind and madness always accompanies it” that we absolutely… well, you know what we’re going to say!

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You can find a nicely written version of the story here. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can ask them to name more virtues and vices that are not mentioned in the story, and ask them to tell you where they think they would hide.

9) Love is taking them for a picnic in the park - because in the history of food, any picnic meal is better than a table meal. 

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Just make sure to gather their favorite snacks, include them in the preparation process and take an extra blanket to tuck up.

10) Love is asking them to tell you in a few words, what they think love is. And to show you our love in return, we will draw it and send it as a print for you! Just send us their answer here! 

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Worldwide Christmas Crafts

It's the most festive time of the year, and it's time to couple it with an all-time favorite passtime. Crafts and shenanigans! Turn our Worldwide Christmas Snapshot into fun, festive activities and introduce your little ones to Christmas delights from around the world with these two easy DIY activities.

Send love and wishes to your loved ones with our easy-to-print cards, or make your own Worldwide Christmas pop-up map to decorate the house. 

1. Send Worldwide Buddies Christmas cards:

This one is for all the last minute Santa helpers out there. Rushing to complete that long Christmas list and things aren't looking that shiny and bright? Well, now you've got one less thing to worry about. Our lovingly-made Christmas cards have come to the rescue.

All you need is A4 cardstock, a pair of scissors, your color printer, and lots of nice words to write!

Click on the cards you like, save them on your computer and color print them on cardstock. Fold the cardstock into two and cut the white margin.

Fill the cards with your most loving, randomly bizarre, funny, warm and wonderful wishes to guarantee smiles all around.

 

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2. Worldwide Christmas Pop-up Map:

Build a pop-up map of the world and its Christmas customs and help your little ones familiarize themselves with different countries and continents in a simple and entertaining way.

Ingredients:

A3 & A4 cardstock

A3 thicker cardboard paper (example: chipboard pad) 

A pair of scissors

Glue Stick

1. Click, save and color print the map below on A3 cardstock.  

2.  Stick it on A3 chipboard pad, or a thicker cardboard that can act as a solid base.

3. Click, save and color print the icons below on A4 cardstock.

4. Cut them around the lines indicated (so that each cutout includes both the icon and country name), and then fold each icon on the straight line that separates the icon from the country name.

5. Position each one on the right place on the map. Gently apply glue on the section with the name of the country and stick it on the map so that the icon is standing upright.

6. Spot a lonely surface. Place it there to help spread some Christmas magic around the house!

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Once you're done, don't forget to take a moment to admire your creations over delicious cookies and a glass of milk - just like any Santa's helper would! And if you want the world to admire them too, we can help you. Take a picture of them and tag us @worldwidebuddies or send us an email. We'll do the rest. 

Have a Whimsical, Wonderful Christmas

and a Quirky New Year!

 

We hope we'll meet again soon in a story,

Your Worldwide Buddies - Us

 

A Worldwide Christmas Snapshot

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas...here, there and in so many other parts of the world. But what does Christmas mean for different cultures, how do they celebrate and where do our beloved Christmas traditions come from?

Our Worldwide Christmas snapshot is specially designed to capture your children's imagination, ignite some festive sparks and warm hearts, not just by bringing you closer to friends and family, but also by connecting you to distant parts around the globe!

 

CHRISTMAS TREE:

“O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree – how did you ever become so popular?”

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While countless of houses around the world have Christmas trees sparkling and beaming with joy, someone must have been the first to say “what a wonderful idea, let’s do this! So, who was it, then? Like all wonderful ideas, everyone wants a claim to fame for this one, so rumors tend to vary and it is said that the importance of the tree grew gradually. Here are some of the most popular ones:

According to one legend, the first person to have ever decorated a tree was German protestant Martin Luther, who, on his way home one day, was captivated by the shining stars between the branches of a tree. “Oh my, how shiny and bright. My children would like that,” he thought, and brought a tree home with him, decorating it with candles.

Another legend, says that the first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia, where the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a group of unmarried merchants, put up a tree for celebration.

Whatever the case, we are glad the tradition took off. 

 

SANTA CLAUS:

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“Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Italy lane...” sang Santa on his way to Italy, on Christmas Eve.

“Santa, don't give out all the gifts yet!” shrieked La Befana, the old witch that was riding her broomstick around Italy. “Children here also expect presents on 6th of January.”

“On the 6th of January?” exclaimed Santa. “I can't do that. I'll be catching up on all the sleep I’ve missed in December, wrapping gifts, training elves, ringing sleigh bells.”

“I’ll take over,” offered La Befana kindly, and has been delivering gifts and sweets to children around Italy on the 6th of January, ever since. 

Still, Santa does have a lot of visits for one night, but thankfully, delicious cookies and milk are there to keep him going. Except in Ireland. There, children prepare minced pies alongside a…GUINNESS BEER for him. Let’s just hope Santa stops by your country before he visits Ireland, or you’ll get one tipsy Santa and possibly mixed up gifts!

 

CHRISTMAS SEASON:

How does the rest of Santa's journey look like? Can he travel all around the world in one night? Well, not quite.  

In many countries of Asia, like India and China, where most residents are not Christians, only a very small part of the population celebrates Christmas, and Christmas Day is not a holiday. That really helps Santa complete his mission faster, as both countries have the two largest populations in the world and delivering presents to all the children there would require lots of additional elf power. 

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And on his way to Australia? Santa switches to his red bathing suit and always carries his sunglasses, just in case. Christmas in Australia falls on a sunny summer day, so Australians can even enjoy some ice cream after their dinner. HO(t) - HO(t) - HO(t)!

Even if Santa claims that in January he catches up on lost sleep, he still has a few stops to make. In Russia, people celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January, so Santa switches to his blue coat (as you can imagine, his red coat does need to go to the dry cleaners after all the Christmas sweat!), and delivers his last batch of presents. 

 

CHRISTMAS CRACKERS:

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You can thank Tom Smith for that. Inspired by the French bon bon sweets of the time (almonds wrapped in pretty paper), Tom wanted to bring the concept to England. But while sitting in front of a crackling fire one night, he decided to develop the idea further. “What if the sweets and toys I sell don't just have a pretty wrap, but also make a crackling sound every time someone opens them? That would make them even more marvelous!” And it did. Ever since, we have Christmas crackers and sometimes...really bad jokes.

 

CAROL SINGING:

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Do you go carol singing during the holidays? What is your favorite Christmas song? If “Jingle Bells” comes to mind, then think again. "Jingle Bells", which was written in the US, was originally called "One Horse Open Sleigh" and was intended for Thanksgiving. 

If, for some bizarre reason, you end up carol singing in Romania, be prepared for a peculiar surprise. Amongst your friends’ faces, it’s likely that you’ll also see a face with a multicolored mask, dressed up as a goat. That's what Romanians call the “Capra” and his/her job is to jump up and down, dance and bop around and be joyfully mischievous.

 

YUMMY SWEETS:

“Oh, I do love chocolates, so very much”, said French chocolatier 1.

“They're so tasty, I bet people would still want to eat them, even if they had the shape of...MUSHROOMS!” added French chocolatier 2.

And so they tested it. They made chocolates that looked like fungi, named them chocolate truffles, and sent them out as Christmas time goodies.

THANK YOU, FRENCH CHOCOLATIERS.

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As for candy canes? They first made their appearance as all white canes, and their shape was inspired by the hook Jesus used to shepherd his lambs.

 

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS WE LOVE:

“Time to clean your room to get ready for Christmas!” said no mom ever in Norway. Christmas household chores? In Norway, there aren’t any. Well, not really, but according to sources, there's an old rumor that in the past, Norwegians thought evil witches and spirits would steal brooms on Christmas Eve and ride in the sky. As a result? They would hide all brooms and cleaning agents, and no one could clean. Our kind of Christmas. 

And here's one for those who like to play dress up. In some countries of Western Africa, including The Gambia, towns and villages celebrate Christmas with masquerade parties, extending the religious traditions to include people of all religious beliefs and backgrounds. Two big high-fives, one for masquerade parties, and one for embracing inclusivity.

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Finally, our very favorite: Jolabokaflod. The Christmas book flood, in Iceland. On Christmas Eve, Icelanders exchange books, spend their night carried away in their magical worlds and eat lots and lots of chocolate.

 

FESTIVE CRAFTS:

Make the most of our our Worldwide Christmas Snapshot and turn it into fun, festive activities to introduce your little ones to Christmas delights from around the world with our easy DIY crafts and shenanigans here

Send love and wishes to your loved ones with our easy-to-print cards, or make your own Worldwide Christmas pop-up map to decorate the house and help your little ones learn to identify different countries.

Have a Whimsical, Wonderful Christmas

and a Quirky New Year!

 

We hope we'll meet again soon in a story,

Your Worldwide Buddies - Us