- SUPER simple Advent Activities I used when Landon was 2.5. Great for young kiddos!
,-Easy going schedule, with a bit more structure, when Landon was 3.5 and Allie 9 months, including Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt, and our salt dough ornament recipe
- Started using Shepherd on the Search and made up my own Advent cards to use (FREE PDF included)
If you're on the hunt for some ideas or inspiration, make sure you look those over. There's a lot of helpful tips, ideas, tools/products I've used, and even our salt dough ornament recipe. PLUS, our Annual Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt is included from the last 2 years.
This year, we're continuing our tradition started last year with the Shepherd on the Search. I'm a big advocate of making Advent activities work for YOU and YOUR family. For me, I pull out my Advent tools and pick and choose what I want to use, each year. Landon is 5.5 and Allie is 2.5 and I have yet to do the exact same thing for our Family Advent. As my kids have gotten older, I've tweaked things to meet their ages, understanding, development and interests.
This year, we've been intentional about Jesus conversations at the dinner table and have been using several great cards from The Daily Grace Co. and Tiny Theologians. If you follow me on Instagram, (@shape_her) you've seen me link these amazing products. Because we've enjoyed them so much, and Landon is at the age to listen better and comprehend more, I bought the Kids Advent Table Cards from She Reads Truth. Our plan is to read a card each night at dinner, like we have been, only for the month of December they'll be Advent themed. These cards have an illustration on one side, then a verse and age appropriate questions on the other. #yes!
NEW FOR THIS YEAR....... I've taken an old Hallmark plush Christmas tree with plush ornaments and made up a new set of cards to correspond with the ornaments. The tree and ornaments is an old Hallmark set that my Sister in Law used with her boys and passed down to me when I had Landon. In years past it's been a tree I sat on the coffee table and allowed the kids to play with. This year, I have it sitting on our kitchen table to be used for our Advent studying.
The 9 ornaments that came with the tree include: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Angel, Star, Donkey, Sheep, Camel and Wisemen. I did my own research and looked up corresponding scriptures to help explain the "character's" role in Christmas as well as the corresponding story pages in our Jesus Storybook Bible to read as well. We're taking the first week of December to add an ornament each day, reading that corresponding card's verses/stories to learn and dig into the Christmas story. By the end of the week, our tree will be decorated and will sit as a reminder and conversation piece at family meals, etc. for the Christmas season.
While we use the Shepherd on the Search, I'm pretty big about NOT moving our Shepherd every day. I can't handle that pressure. I've always moved him 2-3 times a week and this year is no different. I always have our Shepherd in a new hiding place accompanying a new Advent activity. In case you need motivation, I've included our Advent Calendar of Activities below, to inspire you as you make yours! Remember to take advantage of free events in your town, Santa pictures, hot cocoa/movie nights, and crafts in your planning! EASY!!
(FYI: The Ornaments I mention on Day 1 are the new ones I've made to go with the Hallmark tree. The Cards I reference are some of the cards I made last year.)
Saturday Dec 1 - Shepherd arrives with new Christmas toy for kids - Ornaments begin (Dec 1-9)
Monday Dec 3 - You've been Jingled gift to friends - Card: God Loves a Cheerful Giver
Wednesday Dec 5 - Gingerbread House - Card: Help me Decorate
Friday Dec 7: Christmas Crafts after school
Mon Dec 10: Christmas ornament craft
Wed Dec 12: Card: John 3:16 (Landon's current Memory verse)
Fri Dec 14: Christmas Crafts after school
Mon Dec 17: Neighbor Goody Bags
Wed Dec 19: Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt - Card: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
Fri Dec 21: - Card: ___ Days away
Christmas Eve: Christmas Craft & Christmas Eve Service
Christmas Day: In the Manger - Card: Happy Birthday Jesus - Breakfast cinnamon rolls
For what it's worth: I don't do Elf on the Shelf. I did my own version of it (which I mention in one of those previous blog posts) when Landon was really little. I don't think anything is wrong with it AT ALL, I just like the Shepherd best for my kids. Plus, Landon never really hooked onto the Elf. He just didn't care about it. :) My kids do both have the bigger plush elves that they get out each Christmas to sleep with and play with. They love those!
Ok, LAST: here's another really great product that a LOT of people use for Advent. I bought them and have used them here and there, but it hasn't fit our family just right yet. I have lots of friends who love these cards too! Check out the Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Cards by Crew & Co. Honestly, these are great to have for ANY time during the year! It's essentially a reading plan for the kids! ;) They were the inspiration for the cards I made this year, to accompany our ornaments.
Let me know if you have any questions! Happy Advent!