One of the many exciting events of December for our family is celebrating Advent! I purchased the Christmas Tree Advent Calendar from Pottery Barn Kids three years ago and we have been using it each year since! As part of Holiday's bedtime routine, we also read through the daily children's devotional My First Read & Learn Countdown to Christmas together as a family.
For the past two years, I would always scour the aisles of Target looking for little kid friendly presents to fill the calendar with. It was always a bit of a challenge with her being so young and not eating candy, not to mention expensive! Twenty-five little presents can add up fast and I only have one child to buy for!
This year I decided to do something a bit different. Mostly because as Holiday has just celebrated her third birthday, her personality, likes and dislikes are becoming more and more evident. I don't know if it's too early to designate her primary love language or if it's more because of her age, but at this point in time, her number one love language is most definitely quality time. Presents are nice too...if you're going to sit down and play and explore them with her. BUT, her most favorite type of quality time with Mama is doing PROJECTS! Along came my idea for Project Advent. At first it was just kind of a fun idea, but the more I think about it and plan for it, the more wonderful the idea has become.
So each day instead of getting a present in her calendar, she gets a note with a little rhyme which usually directs her under the tree where she finds a component of the activity we are going to do TOGETHER! Instead of putting the note in the calendar first thing in the morning, I've been doing it during her nap which was a genius move on my part, if I do say so myself! At nap time she has instant motivation to go to sleep as quickly as possible, knowing there will be something special to wake up to! Her gymnastics, ballet and story time activities are also morning activities so it makes more sense for us to do it in the afternoon. Those few hours between waking up from nap and Papa coming home from work are generally the most challenging in our house. More than any time during the day, that is when she wants my attention and that's also when I'm trying to get things done like cleaning or prepping dinner. Once I've gotten her set up and we've played together for awhile, it's easy for me to start working on dinner while she continues to work and play at her little table in the kitchen. The afternoon time slot also gives me time to prep the project while she is sleeping. Lord knows, getting anything set up with an excited three year old under foot is a challenge all in itself!
In a season where gifts are abounding, I love that it focuses on quality time together and having an experience together instead of just giving her another little trinket that I will have to organize in the play room. Several days our projects are focused on making gifts for others as well! I can't say that I have it all planned out from start to finish yet. I've just been planning day to day as we go, but at the end of each week, I will post the activities that we did along with the little notes that went along with each day! This is also a great Advent concept if you have more than one child! Instead of needing presents for each child, each day, this is something everyone can do and work on together!
For today's project we made Snow Dough! You can find the recipe here: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/11/snow-dough-recipe-for-play.html
I also had a Frosty the Snowman book under the tree to go along with today's project and after she was finished playing (a solid two hours later) she watched Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, the Snowflake Day episode while I prepped dinner. As soon as Papa came home from work and dinner was over, she was so excited to play in the "snow" with him all over again!
Come back later this week to see our full week of projects and activities!