Get ready for fun! It is time to sketch out the first week of your Advent Adventure. Grab some fun paper on which to write your Advent Notes, and a good pen or marker – over the next couple of weeks we will be posting all you will need to complete your Advent Calendar for your holiday season!
Depending on whether you chose a calendar with 24 or 25 slots or cubbies, you will start with the appropriate number for your first Advent Note. If you are making your own, basically you want to decide if you want to open your last Advent Note on Christmas Eve morning or Christmas morning. Totally up to you, but we will assume 25 notes will be written, and you can adjust as needed. 😉
This first week, we will focus on telling the story of Christmas and learning the cast and crew. Try to use a variety of books and picture Bibles throughout the week. Kids will love seeing different artists’ work in the different books, as well as changing the wording each night for the same story. You can start your own collection, check out the church or public library, or even trade with friends!
Also, teach your child some traditional Christmas Carols this first week so that they can participate in holiday gatherings, caroling, and other festivities. It helps them feel included and adds to their enjoyment of the season. Playing the common and most easily learned carols in the background during craft times and other activities helps them to become accustomed to the tune and lyrics, and learning movements when appropriate. Each day has a suggested song to coordinate with the activity, along with motions when appropriate.
You ought to be able to easily find each song online or with Pandora, if you don’t have them on CD already. It should also be readily available on the radio after about 4am on Black Friday. 😉 You just want to help your child learn the words to his or her favorite songs and carols so they can enjoy participating in the festivities.
With each different reading, or even if you read from the same story book on different nights, focus on a different character in the story. If you have a kid friendly manger scene, or are able to find one, wrap up the individual figurines and allow the child to open them before each night’s reading, helping them look for that character’s role in the story that night. Since you will be introducing the Advent Calendar tonight, the activity will be simple, to help things run smoothly the first night. There are many child safe/durable Nativity sets, but here is a link to the Little People Manger Scene, which we use. You could make paper cut-out characters on popsicle sticks, or make them out of polymer clay…whatever works for you. This worked for me:
Day 1 (25 on the Countdown)
Introduce the concept of the Advent Calendar and allow child to open the Mary and Joseph figurines. Read the Nativity Story, encouraging your child to pay attention to the roles Mary and Joseph. Help them to ask questions and discuss the story. Teach them this short carol to encourage a joyful spirit and launch the holiday season!
Joy To The World
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing!