I’m always looking for ways to make my faith a more integrated part of my life. Even more than that, I love making it real for my kids! With Advent, the expectation and preparation for the coming of the Messiah, right around the corner, we all have a huge opportunity to share in this hopeful expectation with our families. And to make it easy for you to accomplish this, I’ve put together a guide with daily scriptures, discussion topics and an activity to complete!
Advent always begins four Sundays before Christmas. This year, the first day of the season is December 2, 2018. During each week of the guide, you will walk through a different theme with your children. This Advent plan covers the themes of Expectation, Preparation, Celebration, and Love Came Down.
Prior to the first day of Advent, you will need to purchase or make an Advent calendar. There are many types of Advent calendars, and you can find many examples on Pinterest, but here are two ideas that my family has done:
- Advent Tree – This takes a little more effort to make, but is something you can reuse year after year. This is our Advent tree. It was made from wood (a 2×3 for the base and a 2×2.5 for the crossbars). We used drywall screws to connect the pieces. I purchased a sample can of green paint from Home Depot and hand painted the tree and clothespins. The pins hold a bag for each day. Here I used paper sacks. You can use any kind of bag you’d like to use. The numbers were drawn on the bags with a Sharpie. Each bag contained a notecard with the information for that day.
- Advent Punch Tree – This is a fun one for younger kids. It also takes up less space and it’s easier to make. It can also be reused. This is our punch tree from last year. To start, you will need a foam board, 25 snack cups, tissue paper, a 12-inch piece of ribbon, Stickers #1-25, some construction paper (optional), rubber bands, scissors, hot glue gun, a ruler, and some green markers. We colored the white snack cups green, and then let my son arrange them on the foam board. Hot glue them down in the shape of a Christmas tree. Cut squares of tissue that are just large enough to fit over the cup. Once you insert your notecards with scriptures on them and use a rubber band to secure the tissue and add stickers to the top to show the dates. With the construction paper, you can make decorations for the board such as the word “Advent” or a star to top the tree. Finally, hot glue the ribbon on in order to hang the board.
Now on to the guide – I hope you love creating your own ADVENTures with your family during this holiday season!
DAVIS FAMILY ADVENTURES – ADVENT FOR KIDS
Week 1 – Sunday, December 2, 2018 – Saturday, December 8, 2018
Theme: THE LORD IS COMING! WATCH!
This theme is to teach your children about living in expectation. Just as the Israelites waited for years for a Messiah to come, we now wait in expectation for the return of Jesus.
** For each day, write the READ and DISCUSS portions (outlined below) on notecards. These will go inside each day of your Advent calendar.
December 2, 2018 – Sunday
READ: Titus 2:13
DISCUSS: What is Advent? (meaning of the word) Read about the Hanging of the Greens. Like we decorate to prepare our homes for Christmas, we should also prepare our hearts. This is what the Advent season is all about.
ACTIVITY: Set up and decorate your Christmas tree as a family. Enjoy milk and cookies while you work! If you’ve already done this, make a special decoration to put in your home, or take a trip in the car to look at Christmas lights.
December 3, 2018 – Monday
READ: Isaiah 7:14 – an Old Testament prophecy of the first coming of Christ and where it is fulfilled in the New Testament – Matthew 1:23. The Messiah was to be born of a virgin.
DISCUSS: This is a great time to talk about what a prophet is, and how there were many prophecies made about Jesus’ birth long before he came. How cool is it that we can read in the New Testament and see how Jesus fulfilled each of the prophecies written in the Old Testament!!
ACTIVITY: make stained glass nativity craft or any nativity craft of your choice.
December 4, 2018 – Tuesday
READ: Isaiah 53:12 – Old Testament prophecy that the Messiah would be crucified with criminals and the NT fulfillment in Matthew 27:38 and Mark 15:27-28
DISCUSS: Jesus was to be born for the sacrifice for our sin. He died a criminals death even though He never sinned! He paid the price for our sin. Discuss the Gospel story with your children. This is a great opportunity to talk about salvation through Christ to help your children further understand why Jesus came and answer any questions they may have.
ACTIVITY: Learn about the meaning of the wreath. Make a handprint wreath and hang it somewhere in your house. The pointy leaves on a Holly wreath represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore. The red of the berries stands for the blood he shed on the cross. Green is the color of hope and new life. The circle represents the eternal life we have through Christ.
December 5, 2018 – Wednesday
READ: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, an Old Testament prophecy about the Second Coming of Christ
DISCUSS: What is the Second Coming? What does this mean for us as followers of Christ? This is a great time to teach your children about the return of Jesus and how exciting it will be for His people. Ask “what do you think it will be like when Jesus comes back?” Let your kids share their thoughts.
ACTIVITY: Make a trumpet craft.
December 6, 2018 – Thursday
READ: John 14:1-3
DISCUSS: Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to prepare a place for His followers and that He would return someday to take them to be there with Him. What will it be like to live in Heaven with Jesus? Imagine what your house in Heaven will look like?
ACTIVITY: Put on various craft materials and have everyone design what they think their house will look like in Heaven. Suggested supplies: construction paper, scissors, tape or glue, and crayons. You can also use materials such as cardboard or poster board, toilet paper rolls, shoeboxes, etc.
December 7, 2018 – Friday
READ: Revelation 22:12/20 and Revelation 1:7
DISCUSS: Jesus says He is coming soon! Talk about the fact that no one knows exactly when Jesus will return.
Recipe for cloud dough: 2 heaping cups of cornstarch and 1 cup of hair conditioner. Mix together in a bowl with a spatula until hard to mix. Then place in a gallon bag and knead with hands until well mixed and smooth. Then you are ready to play! Store in an airtight container. (Jesus Figurine: Search Amazon for “Jesus toy figurine” or check out your local Mardel store)
December 8, 2018 – Saturday
READ: Matthew 24:44
DISCUSS: We don’t know when to expect Jesus, so we must always be ready! We do this by living our lives for the Lord every day. What are some ways we can do this?
ACTIVITY: Read John 6:51. Jesus said that He is the Living Bread. Just like we fill our tummies with bread, it is important to fill our hearts with Jesus. Make Cinnamon Roll Christmas Trees. Then gather around the table and talk about ways we can fill our hearts with Jesus every day while you enjoy your treat! Find instructions for this super fun cooking project on Pinterest!
Week 2 – Sunday, December 9, 2018 – Saturday, December 15, 2018
THEME: Prepare the Way!
This theme is all about preparing to welcome Jesus!
December 9, 2018 – Sunday
READ: Luke 3:4-6 and Mark 1:1-8
DISCUSS: How did John the Baptist prepare the way for the Jesus? As parents, Mary and Joseph had to prepare for Jesus’ arrival as well. This week we will talk about the ways they prepared for Jesus to come.
ACTIVITY: Watch the movie The Nativity Story as a family.
December 10, 2018 – Monday
READ: Luke 1:26-37 and Isaiah 9:6
DISCUSS: Just like moms and dads do today, parents in the Bible days had to pick a name when they had a baby. Mary and Joseph already knew their baby would be named Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus also goes by many other names! What are some of His other names? What do they mean?
ACTIVITY: Cut strips of paper. Write the different names of Jesus on the strips. Let the kids color and decorate the strips. Make the strips into a paper chain and hang it on your Christmas tree or somewhere in your house.
December 11, 2018 – Tuesday
READ: Luke 1:39-56
DISCUSS: Most parents tell their families when they are expecting a child. Read about Mary’s visit to see Elizabeth, her cousin. How did Elizabeth know Mary was going to give birth to the Lord.
ACTIVITY: Do you think Mary and Joseph told others in their family that they were expecting and that their son was the Son of God? Surely they did share this news with family, just as Mary went to share her news with Elizabeth. We can also share the Good News of Jesus with our families and others who don’t know Him. Gather around the table and let your kids take turns telling the story of Jesus in their own words.
December 12, 2018 – Wednesday
READ: Luke 2:1-6
DISCUSS: Why did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem?
ACTIVITY: Learn the song O Little Town of Bethlehem. Print out a coloring sheet of Bethlehem to color.
December 13, 2018 – Thursday
READ: Review Luke 2:1-6
DISCUSS: How did Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem? What do you think their journey was like?
ACTIVITY: Make a donkey craft. We chose to make a stick donkey!
December 14, 2018 – Friday
[Today we take a break from the weekly theme to talk about Family Traditions.]
READ: On this day, we chose to read a children’s picture book telling the story of Jesus’ birth. For older children, you may choose to read the story from the Bible.
DISCUSS: Share with your children some of the family traditions you enjoyed as a child. What are some of the traditions you now enjoy with your children?
ACTIVITY: One of our family traditions is making Christmas cookies with grandparents and this was our day to get together for that. Use your activity time for a special family tradition or any activity you’d like to do together as a family.
December 15, 2018 – Saturday
READ: Matthew 2:1-12
DISCUSS: The Magi visited Jesus to bring him gifts? What were the 3 gifts they brought and what was the significance of each item?
ACTIVITY: Just like the wise men brought gifts to Jesus, we give gifts to our loved ones at Christmas time to show our love for them. Get out all the wrapping supplies and let your child participate in the gift wrapping. If they are too young for this, another idea is to have the kids make their own Christmas cards to go with the gifts for their loved ones, or maybe even color a coloring page to put inside the card.
Week 3 – Sunday, December 16, 2018 – Saturday, December 22, 2018
THEME: Rejoice in the Lord!
This theme is all about celebrating the coming of the King!
December 16, 2018 – Sunday
READ: Luke 2:7-15
DISCUSS: What did the shepherds see in the sky? What message of good news did the angel bring?
ACTIVITY: Make a sign or banner that says “Rejoice!” and hang it in your home. Print out a JOY coloring sheet for the little ones.
December 17, 2018 – Monday
READ: Review Luke 2:7-15
DISCUSS: After the angel of the Lord shared news of Jesus’ birth with the shepherds, a great company of heavenly hosts appeared in the sky with the angel. What were they saying? They were celebrating and praising God for sending Jesus!
ACTIVITY: Make an angel craft
December 18, 2018 – Tuesday
READ: Galatians 5:22
DISCUSS: What is Joy? It is a fruit of the Spirit! How does the birth of Jesus bring us joy?
ACTIVITY: Make fruit cut-outs and write the fruits of the spirit on them. Make them into ornaments and hang them on your tree.
December 19, 2018 – Wednesday
READ: Romans 15:13
DISCUSS: How does trusting the Lord bring joy and peace? What does “By the power of the Holy Spirit” mean?
ACTIVITY: Make a dove craft
December 20, 2018 – Thursday
READ: Psalm 33:1-4 and Psalm 100:1
DISCUSS: What does it mean to sing joyfully or make a joyful noise? What are some of your favorite songs to sing praises to the Lord? Let you kids share a favorite song. Go over the lyrics and what they mean.
ACTIVITY: Learn the song Joy to the World
December 21, 2018 – Friday
READ: Psalm 28:7
DISCUSS: How has the Lord been your strength? What does it mean for the Lord to be “my shield”? In what areas do you need to trust Him more? Our hearts should leap for joy when we think of all the Lord has done for us!
ACTIVITY: Make a tree of love and joy! Cut out a bunch of hearts. Turn them upside down and write things that bring you joy on them. Then put them together to make an evergreen tree.
December 22, 2018 – Saturday
READ: Psalm 126:3
DISCUSS: Have everyone share at least one thing the Lord has done in their life recently that brings great joy!
ACTIVITY: Share your joy with others! There are many ways to do this. Plan something for your family to do together to share joy and kindness with others. Here are some ideas!
- Set up a hot cocoa stand in your front yard and share with neighbors
- Go to a local nursing home to sing Christmas carols
- Set a box of snacks and drinks out on your porch for the delivery men
- Serve together at a local soup kitchen
- Pack a shoebox of gifts for a child through Operation Christmas Child. Let your children help shop for the gifts.
- Go Christmas caroling around the neighborhood and sing songs telling of the good news of Jesus! Hand out candy canes and notes to neighbors telling them Jesus loves them.
Week 4 – Sunday, December 23, 2018 – Tuesday, December 25, 2018
THEME: Love Came Down
This theme is all about Jesus being born and why we celebrate Christmas!
December 23, 2018 – Sunday
READ: Read the story of Christmas. Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:1-23, Luke 1:26-56 and 2:1-21
DISCUSS: What about the Christmas story sparks the interest of your children the most? Let them share their thoughts. What do you think it was like there in the stable the night that Jesus was born? Why did Jesus come? Why is this story such a big deal for us?
ACTIVITY: Have a family sleepover around the Christmas tree. Read your scriptures and have a family discussion right before bedtime.
December 24, 2018 – Monday
READ: John 3:16
DISCUSS: God sent His son because of His great love for us! The coming of the Christ child is the reason we celebrate Christmas.
ACTIVITY: Memorize John 3:16 if don’t know it by heart. Attend a candlelight Christmas Eve service if your church has one.
December 25, 2018 – Tuesday
[Advent actually ends on Dec 24th, and December 25 is the first of the twelve days of Christmas. However, I usually include the 25th on our Advent calendar]
READ: Luke 2:10-11
DISCUSS: Happy Birthday Jesus! Today we celebrate with family and friends, with gifts and good food, with songs of joy and sharing presents with those we love! Sometimes it’s easy to open gifts and other Christmas traditions. Make it point on Christmas Day to lift the name of Jesus in your home, and talk with your children about how He really is the reason for the season!
ACTIVITY: Let your kids help make a birthday cake or cupcakes. Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus! Spend some time together as a family in prayer thanking God for sending His Son!
I hope you enjoy walking through the Advent season with your family as much as I have! If you need more instruction or help on the crafts and other projects check out my Pinterest board titled Davis Family ADVENTures!
Follow my family’s 2019 ADVENTures on Facebook by looking for #davisfamADVENTures’19 starting on December 2nd!
Featured photo by Photo by Joe Cavazos