This is a continuation of our second week of Project Advent. If you're just joining us, be sure to take a look at the two earlier posts, Project Advent and Project Advent: Week ONE.
For the second week, I really wanted to focus on the birth of the Jesus and helping Holiday to begin to understand some of the bigger theological implications of what Jesus coming to earth means. We emphasize to her that Santa lives in her imagination, but Jesus lives in her heart. Although at this age (she just turned 3) it's clear to me that all characters are very real to her, so I don't really make a big deal out of emphasizing what's real from what's imaginary, but this video from last year made it clear that she was ready for a little more explanation! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br4NwKBM-
Advent Day 8: Today we will learn about a sweet girl named Mary. An angel named Gabriel told her she would carry... A tiny little baby in her tummy and that she would be his mommy. JESUS was to be the baby's name for at last, a Savior had came!
I really wanted this weeks projects to be easy for toddlers. There are some steps that I did in advance for Holiday, but tried to make her as much a part of each project as possible. All along we would talk about the portion of the nativity story that we were focused on that day!
So for this one, we started with a cardboard toilet paper roll. I painted this with some silver metallic paint while Holiday was napping so that it would be dry and ready to go for her to help build and decorate when she woke up!
For the head, I put a bunch of cotton balls in the middle of a rectangle of tissue paper until we got a full look and then twisted the end and just pulled the twisted end of the tissue paper through the roll so the head rested on top
For the wings, I just traced a wing shape on some glittered white cardstock, cut it out and then traced it for my second wing.
I cut some small strips of aluminum foil and gave Holiday a small cup of glue and a paint brush and letter her "paint" the glue on and then decorate the wings with the foil
Once dry, we glued them to the back of the toilet paper roll body. I highly recommend Tacky Glue (the kind in the gold bottle) over Elmer's-- or even just using a low temp hot glue gun.
For the halo, I simply took a silver tinsel pipe cleaner, shaped into a halo on one end and then pushed the long end put down through the roll to secure.
To finish off the angel's head and face, we glued a tiny bit of tinsel garland to the head and then drew on the face. For the blushed cheeks, we just used real blush-- definitely one of Holiday's favorite parts!
With all of these projects, I'm ALL about the "use what you have principle"! Aside from a few pieces of felt I purchased, I worked all of this week's projects around supplies that I already had on hand and just did the best with those materials. So feel free to improvise and come up with your own variations!
Advent Day 9: On a little gray donkey Mary rode, to a stable along a Bethlehem road. What an important job donkey had that day, to carry Mary to the manger of hay. A cozy, safe place that was warm for Jesus the Savior to be born!
I found this craft project on another great blog, Mess for Less. She has great instructions here as well as a printable PDF for the donkeys face: http://www.messforless.net/2011/11/paper-bag-donkeys.html
Don't waste your time trying to do this project with Elmer's! Definitely go straight to the gold bottle of Tacky Glue! I also did a little improvising with the blanket and used a low temperature hot glue gun to secure
Advent Day 10: On the very first Christmas day, sweet baby Jesus was born in the hay. That's why on Christmas we dance, shout and sing-- to celebrate the birth of a King!
For this project, I started with a 12x12 piece of solid cardstock. For the manger we glued two popsicle sticks down to the paper and then did a fair amount of glue to attach the raffia. I found that it worked better to cut an even chunk of raffia, glue on and then trimmed it to make it look more like the hay.
For the head, we simply traced and cut out a circle and drew on the face. Holiday remembered that she had a lot of hair as a newborn, so she thought Jesus needed a little too! And of course real blush for the cheeks!
I then hole punched around the perimeter of the paper so that Holiday could practice lacing! Just be sure to use a wide, stiffer ribbon. I cut the ribbon on a sharp angle so that it would be easy for her to pull through. You could even take a lighter and seal the edge of the ribbon to keep it from fraying as your child works with it! Fray Stop Liquid would also work if you happen to have it, but if you get a stiff enough ribbon (like this grosgrain), fraying shouldn't be an issue.
Once Holiday finished lacing it through, we had some extra so I made a loop (good for hanging) on the corner and hot glued the ribbon ends on the back of the paper!
It still looked like it could use something else, so utilizing the "use what you have" principle, I pulled out a box of glittered chipboard letters that have been collecting dust among my craft supplies for a good ten years! Holiday practiced her letter recognition as I told her which letters to find to spell "JESUS" and we glued them on. I know not everyone has glittered chipboard letters laying around, but you could have your child write, "Jesus," or even draw it out yourself with glue and let them sprinkle glitter on top and then dust it off. Or even shape pipe cleaners into the letters and glue them on. Letter stickers would work-- there are LOTS of possibilities!
Advent Day 11: Some shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks at night, when up in the sky there appeared such a sight! A host of heavenly angels began to sing-- be on your way, go and find the newborn King!
Holiday is obsessed with playing with cotton balls, so any cotton ball craft I can come up with for her is always a big hit! Last year we did Santas with cotton ball beards. For Easter we did cotton ball bunnies and for this nativity project we did a cotton ball lamb-- and is he ever cute!!!
This project is so simple. We started with a sturdy, white paper plate and on the back of it, I made rings of glue as Holiday pushed each cotton ball into place.
Once we had the entire plate covered, I drew and cut out a sheep face out of glittered black cardstock.
Along the very top of the face, we glued on one additional line of cotton balls. I cut the ears out of white cardstock and layered some pink cardstock inside the ears for extra cuteness! Holiday glued the googly eyes into place. I cut a small piece of pink to glue on for a nose. And finally, we cut out two rectangles for legs and glued them onto the front side of the paper plate (the back of the lamb).
I find myself using glitter cardstock for a lot of our crafts, so I usually keeps books of it on hand so we have lots of different colors to choose from. You can pick them up at any craft store or even on Amazon!
Advent Day 12: A bright star in the East shone a great light, on this, the first Christmas night. Three wisemen followed as the prophecy told, bearing gifts of Frankincense, Myrrh and gold!
With all of the sequins and glitter pompoms, this project was definitely one of Holiday's favorites! This follows the same instructions as the angel project for Day Eight (listed at the beginning of this post).
I painted the toilet paper rolls in advance and then also pre-cut the capes and scarf and then allowed Holiday to glue on all of the pompoms and sequins. She also helped to cut out and decorate the crowns as well. She was very proud of the finished product and has had a lot of fun playing with them!
Advent Day 13: I am the camel who followed the star with three wise kings from a land afar.
This project I found on another site, LearnCreateLove. Not only does she have this camel idea, but to go along with the nativity story, she also features a cow, donkey and sheep and has cute little poems to go along with them all! Check out the entire post here: http://learncreatelove.com/?p=5695
Here is ours! My husband commented that it only slightly resembled a camel, but our schedule was too full this week to try for a different project and Holiday had fun making this one! Plus, this is a super simple project and during this season, you might not always have time for a complex project!
Advent Day 14: So now you know the story of the first Christmas Day. The birth of a Savior that forever made the Way. Jesus was God's most perfect gift from above. So now every day you can feel and know His love!
Target has had this set of Nativity stickers for several Christmases in a row now! We found them in the card aisle at our Target. I've stocked up on them since they are great for Christmas projects. Again, this is a SUPER simple project, but Holiday loves stickers and so this was a great simple one for her. With a fast Amazon search, there were all different variations of Nativity stickers-- all of which would totally work for this project!
We started by gluing down our popsicle sticks. I actually used a low temp glue gun to make sure they stuck. (After we finished the project Holiday had fun with the other popsicle sticks,figuring out what all letters she could make with them).
Then, I simply allowed her to place all of the stickers where she wanted. We've actually made this project before and her one from last year is still hanging in her art gallery, so she had a good idea of where she thought they all should go.
I cut out the star for the top, she glued it on. And then I wrote "A King is Born" with a white paint marker across the top!
SOME EXTRA WAYS TO TALK ABOUT THE BIRTH OF JESUS!
Bible App for Kids
Aside from these projects, there are countless ways to talk about the birth of Jesus with your little ones. If you have not yet downloaded the You Version Bible App for Kids-- GET IT NOW and check out The First Christmas Gift! It's a wonderful, interactive resource your children will love playing with! http://blog.youversion.com/category/bible-app-for-kids/
Live Nativity Experience
If there happens to be a live nativity in your area, make it a point to go with your family! If you live in the DFW Metroplex, I can't recommend Christmas Card Lane at Lake Country Church enough! The event is this weekend, December 20-22 from 6:00 - 9:00 PM. You ride through and read the story of the birth of Jesus on various Christmas cards and then you park at the end to fully experience the Nativity! There are lots of sheep, donkeys and camels for your children to pet and interact with. All of the Nativity characters are there with beautiful costumes and you'll be able to take your child to visit Mary, Joesph and Baby Jesus. Holiday had just turned 2 last year when we took her to Christmas Card Lane and we were shocked this year when she started asking again if we would be going to see Baby Jesus and then was able to describe it in great detail. It definitely left a big impression on her!
Lake Country Church is located at 7050 Lake Country Dr., Fort Worth, TX 76179. The event runs December 20-22, 6:00 - 9:00 PM. Here's a link for the church! http://lakecountry.org/#/home/live-nativity
There are LOTS of children's books that talk about the birth of Jesus. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name is definitely our favorite children's Bible! There's even a version of this Bible with read along CD!
Some of our other favorites:
CHRISTMAS COLORING PAGES
Lots of fun Christmas Printables Here!