TV Free Friday: How Kids Can Use Holiday Catalogs

by Becky Elmuccio on November 9, 2012

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As the holidays approach, I notice that our mailbox is filled each day with more and more holiday catalogs. No matter how many you are getting, you may be wondering what I am wondering. What am I to do with all of these? Do I take the time to flip through them? Do I just pop them right into the recycling bin?

Do you get this many or more each day in November and December?

This is where having a 2 year-old comes in handy. One of our routines each weekday is to wait for the mailman to deliver the mail and then sit on the foyer floor and sort through it. We see what is junk, what needs to be filed in the office and what catalogs have arrived.

One of the activities that we have created on rainy days has been to curl up with the catalogs and read them. Toy catalogs like Magic Cabin or decorating catalogs like Pottery Barn are great resources for talking about colors, objects, bigger vs. smaller, animals, and letters and numbers. I’m fortunate that Tomato loves to do this and could and has spent an hour doing this. She also loves when we get the new Wegmans recipe book and we pretend to “eat” our way through the magazine as well as offer the food to all of her stuffed animals. It’s great imaginative playtime!!

As winter approaches and the daylight gets shorter and the temperatures lower, we are inside more than we are in the summer. So, finding new things to do with those catalogs was this week’s TV Free challenge. Tomato has reached a point as a 2 year-old that she loves to categorize things. So, I figured it was time to grab a composition book and start her first collage.

Our candles collage page (Thank you Plow & Hearth!)

Working on her glue stick skills

I decided that we could take advantage of her new found preschool love of the glue stick and I could cut items out that she chose and she could put the glue on. It helps her with making choices, identifying objects and her small motor skills. I wrote the name of the collection at the top of the page and gave her four pages for each collection before writing up another.

Patting down her picture on the dogs page

She is working on putting the item on the page and gently patting it down to secure it. This has been a goldmine for us this week. It’s one of the first things she asks to do when we come down in the morning, and my mom brought even more catalogs to explore for when she helps to watch her. We will probably extend the activity with some math by counting how many of each item we have on each page and record it in the corner. It’s definitely a winner on my end for developmental skills and on Tomato’s end for fun and exploration. Let me know if you try it out with your little ones!!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacy Uncorked November 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm

What a great idea! So much better than how I let them flip through the toy catalogs and create their wish list – never a good idea when their wish list exceeds the budget! :)

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:23 am

It’s a fun way to explore them!

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Jeannette November 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Nice idea! I’m saving all our Holiday cards for crafting purposes next year, too.

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:24 am

Good idea! Jotting this down on my holiday list.

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Kristen Bobbitt November 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

My 2 year old son always tries to unstick every thing we glue down. Does your daughter do that? I’ve stopped using glue because of this for now. Perhaps I should try letting him use the glue stick instead of white glue…

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:26 am

We haven’t tried white glue yet, so we haven’t encountered that one yet. Good luck with the glue stick!

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Lauryn November 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I love this! Now I know where that giant stack of magazines on my kitchen island is going before the recycle bin…the kids are going to have a blast!

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:27 am

It’s been a lot of fun, Lauryn! Enjoy!

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CelloMom November 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm

What a good time! I’ve put our address on the Do Not Mail list for catalogs, but a few still come. My children especially enjoy the flower pictures in the seed catalogs. But those don’t come till the new year.

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:27 am

I have some good plans for the seed catalogs this year!

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Amanda @Natural Living Mamma November 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm

What a great idea! We get these catalogs and I feel like they are such a waste. I will definitely try this with my 2 year old.

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:28 am

Have a good time, Amanda!

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Kelly Moran November 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

How cute! Love these ideas!!

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:29 am

Thanks, Kelly! We are having a good time with it.

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Tamara @ Silent Springs November 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm

We use them for wrapping paper too!

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:30 am

Good idea!

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Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama November 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Great ideas! Can’t wait to try this with my two year old :-)

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:39 am

Have a good time, Charise!

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Sarah November 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I love these ideas. I have a 2 year old and his loves going through catalogs and pointing things our and naming them. I hate how wasteful it feels to get rid of them- these are great ideas for turning them into a fun learning activity!

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:39 am

Thanks Sarah! Have a good time with it with your son!

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Krystyna AT Spring Mountain Living November 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

What a great idea! I have had so many holiday mags & catalogs come in the mail and didn’t think there was anything to do but toss in the recycle.

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Becky Elmuccio November 10, 2012 at 1:41 am

It’s a great way to use them and pass the time as it gets colder!

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Nicole @ Some Call It Natural November 10, 2012 at 4:20 am

Love this idea! Great work, mama!

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annie @ montanasolarcreations November 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I love the collage notebook idea! Our daughter is still a little young for it but I’m going to keep it in mind for later this year! She prefers to flip through the pages looking at the pictures and tearing up the pages. One fun thing we started doing is picking the most colorful pages to tear out, fold up and cut into colorful paper snowflakes!

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ivylover November 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I love your ideas, when I first read your blog I thought Tomato was at least school age… but wow you are so creative and brave!

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