We began the tradition of an Advent Calendar 2 years ago. I created on using some of our old mismatched gloves and socks and for the past 2 years we have filled it with lots of treats. The kids think it is awesome to guess what is in each one and I enjoy not searching through all the leftover mittens for a match. #winwin
This year I decided to take a different approach with it. Honestly it is what I should have done from the beginning. I wanted to know the real meaning behind the advent calendar. I wanted the kids to know too. So this year we used our old tradition and added some learning.
After using my good friend google to search for kid friendly explanations on how the advent calendar began, I decided to print it out and display it with our calendar. Here is where Pinterest gets involved… rather than store all my links in an email I will never again find, I opted for a new board to store and share links.
I really liked the idea of having bible verses for the kids each day. It gives us a reference point for the little kids and a place for the big boys to dig deeper if they want. I found a wonderful link with some very basic verses (it is pinned to my board). They work very well for my little boys and are maybe a little too short for the older ones but again it is a starting point for the older ones. Next year I might try to create the story line with verses that work a little better for us. 🙂
So my next problem was what to do with each verse throughout the month. If they don’t have a place they will get forgotten and if forgotten they mean nothing. We are a visual house. I really couldn’t decide between placing snowflakes by my advent calendar or I had no idea. So back to google. I found a few “create your own calendars” but I didn’t want to create a new setup nor did I want to have to buy five stars, five babies, five angels, 10 rings to place in the different days. I met in the middle. I chose to use pictures to reference instead. It will cost me far less to print what I need and I don’t have to worry about little objects being left on the floor for me to step on.
Each image is attached to a piece of construction paper. For day 1 the angel comes to visit Mary so an angel was the image I printed. Now the pre-picked verses I found don’t move along as quickly as some so there are a few days that are doubled up. My kids don’t seem to mind. I tried to find images that very closely followed the verses so that my 3 and 4 yo could easily figure out what we were talking about. After we read and talk about each day, we add it to the coordinating image.
Now that we are seven days into the calendar we have found a rhythm. We also take time to review the previous days before we add the current day. This has been great for all. On day one the angel visited and that is all they remembered. Today they remember that the angel’s name was Gabriel and he came to tell Mary she was going to have a baby and His name was going to be Jesus. By the end of the month they are going to be able to recite the story of Jesus!!
I can’t forget to share that while we opted for verses this year we still placed a small treat in each day. The treat is only to be eaten after each verse has been read and talked about. Works perfectly for everyone except the 22 month old. She just tries to eat it through the package!
After this Christmas Advent Calendar project I have a new appreciation for teachers and the time they put into creating lessons for their students. It is worth it!