This year, I'm going all out and I'm really excited about it. Last year we did quite a few things and enjoyed all of them so those will be sticking around. And since there is no official Joyful Learning curriculum for December (although she does have some ideas), I'm adding in other things for Lucy. I thought I would share my ideas at the beginning of the month instead of the end so you could get some last minute ideas of your own...and feel free to share any neat things you've found. Only about half of my things are set in stone so if i find something better, I'm all for switching out things.
This is the most organized I've been before Advent starts since we got married. I'm not sure how it will go, but it does feel nice to be slightly ahead of the game instead of routing around our storage on the first Sunday looking for our wreath and pretending there is a candle in it.
I'll be reusing our advent bags from last year so I want to have something for everyday. Don't misinterpret that -"something" can just mean unwrapping a "new to us" Christmas book so we won't be doing a huge craft or activity everytime.
Some of my favorite ideas are
- Learning some carols. For day one our activity will be learning about carols and making our own little carol booklet for the rest of the month.
- Making a prayer box to hold our Christmas cards. So if you send us a Christmas card, we'll be praying for your family this December!
- St. Lucia's day again. One day for prepping and one for celebrating. It falls on Craig's day off this year so we will celebrate it one the right day this year.
- This Reasons for the Season advent devotional. We aren't using it as our advent study but I'll be pulling out several of the "days" to do with corresponding activities (talking about cookies when we take cookies to the librarians, Christmas trees when we got pick up our Christmas tree, etc). I'll probably have to paraphrase for Lucy but I'm really excited about learning some of this stuff myself.
- Peppermint playdough (with corresponding candy cane activites) I'm really enjoying the themed playdoughs each month. Lucy always wants me to play playdough with her but I can never think of things to make before she comes up with her own, normally very difficult, suggestions. Scented playdoughs make it easy - I am horrible at making moose and my cows and horses tend to look the same as my bears and dogs but I happen to be awesome at making cookies and cakes :-)
- These nativity scene cards. Lucy doesn't mind getting paint on her hands anymore and hopefully I can get Jonah to relax his hand enough to give me a baby Jesus thumbprint. I hope they turn out as cute as the pin.
- Making ornaments with salt dough. I love unpacking the ornaments my brothers and I made when we were kids - the uglier the better. Now I'm so excited that Lucy is finally big enough to make some of her own.
- Taking cookies to our librarians. I read an idea about taking treats to the local firemen and paramedics and loved the idea of bring a blessing to others but wanted to stick with something a little more in Lucy's comfort zone. She loves our librarians. Next year we may try real strangers :-)
As for our daily routine:
- We'll check the bag during the day which will have a clue ( a piece or picture related to the activity) although when we do each activity will vary since several are evening events such as driving to see some Christmas lights and visiting the living nativity down the road.
- At lunchtime, we will be trying our first bible memory passage (so far we've only done individual verses but she has ~12 she reviews every day so I think she can handle something longer). I'm thinking Luke 2:6-12. It might take us more than the month but that's okay.
- In the evenings, we'll do our family advent devotional reading, sing a carol and add a piece of straw to baby Jesus's manger then end by saying the Come Lord Jesus prayer (if you don't remember it, it goes "Come Lord Jesus, Amen").