I've seen some beautiful Advent ideas & calenders on the Internet, but this year wanted to create one which would link to Minnie's current interest & at the same time help her explore the real meaning of Christmas.
We have a wooden toy stable & set of nativity figures which include the 3 Kings & at the beginning of Advent we set up the empty stable with just the animals & the empty manger.
Any star decoration (or printout) would work for this Advent activity. We recently found this battery operated light in M&S which we're using this year, but a glow in the dark star would work just as well.
Attached to the star each day will be a piece of paper. On one side will be part of a picture, on the other side a challenge/activity for the day. I printed out the image below & cut it into 25 pieces to create a puzzle. When we get to Christmas Day & all the puzzle pieces are together they'll create this beautiful picture of the Nativity by Pauline Siewart.
For me it's quite poignant to leave this activity until the end of Christmas day, when all the hullabaloo of presents, dinner, games & celebrations have taken place. In the stillness of the evening the real gift of Christmas is discovered as Minnie can put her Advent puzzle together with the help of her family, & the Nativity scene is complete with the arrival of the 3 Kings.
Our activities this year are:
1. Make an Angel (& explore where they appear in the Christmas Story).
2. Make a Christmas card for a neighbour
3. Bake Christmas cookies & leave on someones doorstep
4. Phone/Skype a long distance relative & sing a Christmas song together.
5. Make a cotton wool sheep to remember the shepherds (read about the shepherds in a Children's bible Luke 2:1-20)
6. Make a crown to remember the 3 Kings on their journey (read about the 3 Kings in a Children's bible)
7. Go star gazing & see if you can see the brightest star in the sky!
8. Feed the animals/birds in the garden (& remember the donkey & other animals in the Nativity story)
9. Cuddle up & read a Nativity storybook by the lights of the Christmas tree before bed
10. Make a dove of peace to hang in the house (& say a prayer for peace in the World)
11. Make a gift for a friend
12. Invite friends round for picnic tea (reflecting hospitality & welcome at Christmas)
13. Light a candle to remember someone special (look at how the light of the candle brightens the darkness)
14. Make/buy sweet teats for someone living on their own (remembering the 3 Kings & their gifts)
15. Dress up as a Nativity character
16. Decorate the toy stable & add the Mary & Joseph figures
17. Make a card for a family member telling them why they're special
18. Go to a carol service
19. Write a Christmas prayer/wish & hang it on the Christmas tree
20. Decorate our Advent / Christmas tree
21. Invite an elderly friend to share the Christingle service with us.
22. Make a donkey puppet & go on a journey together around the garden/park
23. Invite your Mary & Joseph figures to sit with you at your dinner table & share a meal
24. Wrap a special present under the tree for Daddy
25. Happy Christmas Jesus is born! Sing happy birthday to Jesus!
I'm looking forward to starting our star hunt with the Kings on December 1st, & following their journey through to Christmas Day.