Whether you are at home with your own children, watching somebody else’s or leading a program, finding simple, fun activities that reinforce spiritual truths is always helpful. Bingo, Rip-Art and simple countdown activities could work for your children’s craft at an intergenerational event. Senior women might like them too!
Nativity Bingo and Advent Wreath Rip-Art are very basic activities to lead. Free printables to make it easy are found at www.sarajcreations.com.
Advent calendars and Christmas Countdowns are a way to build excitement. You can spend as much time and money on this as you have, but you can also spend less. From a jar with a verse or candy of the day to a framed calendar, an exercise to count down is a fun ritual that can connect to repeating the Christmas message. Some options:
- Printable Christmas Tree Countdown— SIMPLE from net can be downloaded here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7HU0DcVrlesM056WmRFMHFRcEE/view
- Paper Chains are a SIMPLE way to countdown. You can either remove a chain link each day OR add one. Construction paper will do the trick, but whatever paper you use can be blank on the back. Or you could read the day’s passage and glue or write the reference on the inside of the link each day. Just hang the chain in a spot where it has room to grow (if you’re counting up) or attach a sign or distinguishing mark at the top if you’re counting down. For an example, see what this aunt did: https://laurenmakes.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/countdown-chain-freebie/
- Advent Calendar in a Jar is a google or Pinterest search that will yield various ideas. A SIMPLE one: http://whitegunpowder.com/advent-calendar-in-a-jar/
- Christmas Tree Countdown—a more time-consuming and elegant DIY project is at https://www.sisterssuitcaseblog.com/christmas-tree-countdown/
- Framed Countdowns using the clothesline concept and pinning the days of Advent up is among the most frequent internet ideas, with candy, Bible verses, fun activities and/or Christmas-related images being placed on the opposite side of the numbers. A basic description that uses a pre-built frame can be found at: http://www.huckleberrylove.com/2012/12/advent-calendar-christmas-tutorial.html?m=1. Come up with your own activities, adapt them from other’s lists, use Bible verses from Kim Torquist’s materials or purchase Bible Study materials from christcenteredholidays.com.
Seasonal service might include full days at the warehouse or on kettles, but could also be a couple of hours after work bringing hot cocoa to those at kettles, doing some kettle relief, a short shift at the warehouse or caroling. Surprising those who rarely get visits or are engaged in hard work with carols can be a lovely encouragement. Or you might consider a special morning or day of stealth Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. A group of ladies, a family, an intergenerational team or children’s club could enjoy this. If you are organizing it, choose your budget in advance (or the budget of participants — and let them know!!!) and pick items accordingly. If you’ve already got the free www.notconsumed.com printables, they are a great place to start. You could always update and do your own corps-specific graphics.
On a non-school night, moms, grandmas and aunts looking to create some extra special memories might consider waking the kids up after they’ve gone to bed, handing them hot cocoa and getting them in a car for a Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt. Kim Torquist provides a list of items to look for and a verse to reflect on after the experience is over (John 8:12) in her free printables at www.notconsumed.com. If you have a vehicle (or a friend with a vehicle who is game), then this is a pretty inexpensive way to do something unique to highlight how worthy of anticipation and celebration Christmas is.