Friday, November 05, 2010

Advent planning for Kids

A while back, I asked for suggestions on how to make an Advent calendar for kids. I got a bit of feedback, but surprisingly not as many ideas as I was hoping for. As such, my Advent calendar idea is still languishing away on my desk as I type this. Hopefully, I will get something together in the next week or two and be able to share it.

Since Advent is only 3 Sundays away (I know...shocking is it not??) and all the secular Christmas stuff has been up in the department stores for several weeks now (Goblins and monsters strolling around a grove of Christmas trees is truly a bizarre phenomenon), I would direct your attention to several excellent Christian resources that are available about Saint Nicholas and Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th (which as of this writing is a mere month away). When I say St. Nicholas, I mean the real one and not the commercialized Santa Claus concoction.

One excellent resource that I am involved with is the Saint Nicholas day resources on the American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem (of which I am a member) website. They have a whole section devoted to St. Nicholas, which includes lessons plans, recipes for cookies, hymns, and more.

I would particularly draw your attention to the following links from that site:
An Advent Giving Calendar in .pdf
A St. Nicholas Day Flyer

In particular, you can order a pack 10 St. Nicholas Day Mite Boxes for about $2.50. My daughter loves to put coins in the mite box. The box has a St. Nicholas prayer on it also that that little kids can pray.

There are also two excellent websites solely devoted to St. Nicholas education material, most of which is free to download without worrying about copyright infringement and all that:
The St. Nicholas Center and the St. Nicholas Society

Likewise, there is an open source Eastern Orthodox children's book with icons on St. Nicholas which can be found here.

I hope you find this information helpful. I certainly have as a parish priest.
-The Archer


Kim said...

Fr Ryan,
I remember this search when my kids were little. I didn't want the Advent calendar to be about candy and gifts. So I found something at a store that is no longer in business but you could recreate. It has been a wonderful story telling tool each year and the kids still look forward to it after the 6-7 years we've done it.

What I have is a beautiful folk art painting of Bethlehem on the hillside with angels and a stable and creche, etc. It's painted on a magnetic substrate. The animals and angels and stars and characters are also painted and attached to magnets. So we build the story every day, 1 piece at a time. You could use scripture, or children's books or just talk. It becomes whatever the story has for you at that time. Mine is fairly large so it is a focal point in our home, rivaling the Christmas tree.



The Archer of the Forest said...

Hey, that's a good idea. I am currently making a wooden name thing for my daughter at Christmas with here letters attached to magnets. I could make something like what you describe with my jigsaw for next year.