Christmas is just around the corner, the days are getting dark and cold, but now is the time of some of our warmest memories and traditions. I have always been entranced by the Nutcracker Ballet and loved the various retellings I have read as well as watching the ballet. Growing up I always wished to go to the ballet, but happily settled into watching it preformed by Baryshnikov whenever it was on TV. Last year for the first time I was able to take my (then) 7 yr old daughter to see The Nutcracker and she was as transported as I have always been by this story. This year, we were among the first to sign up with the group to see the ballet again!
The first thing needed for this book box is a copy of the story in book form…. After looking at many, many picture books I fell in love with this version of the story. The story and artwork are both so captivating. If your child is to old for picture books (and not yet old enough to long for picture books again). This is the version of the story I remember saving up my money to buy at the book sale when I was younger, and then reading year after year until it finally fell apart.
Now taking a broad leap away from the way we pack these boxes the movie, is NOT an after thought here…. ONLY if your going to the ballet in person should you even think of skipping out on adding a DVD to this box, and even then add it! As I already said, I truly believe that The Nutcracker as preformed by Baryshnikov is the best ever, so really that is the version I recommend the most! If you have a young child who is interested in dance I recommend also getting a ballet instructional video, I know my daughter loves dancing along! (If you want, go ahead and get a different title! It still goes with the theme of the box and will still be adored!)
Being as The Nutcracker has been a Christmas tradition for families for well over a century, there is a plethora of fun things you can get to add to this book box. My daughter loves her nutcracker that I gave to her last year the day before our trip to the ballet. If you want to add a hands on craft, you can get a nutcracker for your child to paint. My daughter loves acting out stories, so finding this theater kit really excited me! I know she will love it! Other fun, and inexpensive things you can add are stickers, Search and Find books, paper dolls, activity books, coloring books and ornaments just to name a few things!
The Nutcracker is an amazing story for both girls and boys. But if your child (boy OR girl) thinks that ballet is to girly girl, remind them of the sword fights and adventure in the story! To help entice children who otherwise might not be interested, here are some Lego instructions for building a nutcracker. Also here is a free Nutcracker Mad Libs type worksheet.
To make the book box a unit study, here is a free elementary pack, and here is a free lapbook! Also don’t forget that the music came first! There is a great series of books on the worlds composers, and here is the book on Tchaikovsky. While studying you should listen to some of his music of course!
Last, but certainly not least come games. I LOVE both books and games and putting the two of them together really makes me happy!!!
Now there is no game that completely matches with the nutcracker, but I feel these choices all work wonderfully. Yes, I know, this box unlike most others has an overabundance of items in it! But like always, I don’t expect people to get every single item! Each family is different, and each child within a family are different. I hope that I am providing enough variety that a busy parent can look through the items I have curated and quickly put together a box that will spark joy in their child(ren)!!! So with that on to the games! First up is for the littles, Candy Land is the best match to this play! If your kiddo already has Candy Land or has outgrown it Stratego fits for the soldiers fighting! Something more light hearted? How about Christmas Charades? Lastly something for the more shy to enjoy, how about a nice puzzle to put together during the long winter nights.
If you have a toddler running around that wants to get in one some Nutcracker fun, you can take a different tack and focus on Clara’s journey through all the different cultures in the musical. The Around the World in 80 Tales Bitty Box make a great compliment to that aspect of this story.
As always, I hope you have enjoyed my post, and if you don’t make this book box, you are inspired to make a different one! I would love any comments or stories you would like to share. What is your favorite Christmas story? What is your favorite Christmas tradition? If you make a box we would LOVE to hear from you! Thank you, and Merry Christmas!