December 13, 2010

Advent Activities

I've posted about some of the traditions that we started last year here.

In addition to unwrapping a book each day, one of the other things that we do daily as we countdown for the coming of our an advent activity.  This might be the kids' most favorite tradition!

Here is my post explaining how we do what we do:


Each day of December, in addition to our book countdown, Asher would open a box from our matchbox advent calendar. The most difficult thing about making this calendar was finding the matchboxes. Walmart carries them in what they call their "kitchen gadgets" seriously took me about 40 minutes and talking to 6 different employees to finally pin them down. Cover the matchboxes in scrapbook paper, modge podge and stickers.

Asher LOVED drawing these each day. He would ask me several times a day if "it was time yet" to read about our activity. This created many opportunities to talk about how excited we were about Jesus coming to be born as our Savior and about how excited we are about Him coming back to take us home to heaven.

Each day he would find a note that would tell him what activity we'd do that day. Most days we would do them as a family in the evening, but if it was a busy day, the kids and I would do it together during the day. Some days were very simple-just a coloring page or making a craft. Other days were more involved-we'd go somewhere, have a larger craft or have someone over for dinner.


Here are a few of the things we've done so far to celebrate Jesus' coming:

Day 1: Load up in the Tahoe to go celebrate with a special treat. It's the first day of December and we've begun the Countdown for our Savior's birth! (We went to Spoon's to kick off the countdown!)

Day 2: Watch a Christmas movie.  (We rented three movies as they actually watched SEVERAL Christmas movies on the road as we were traveling out of town for Grandma Apel's funeral.  This one, this one, and this one.

Day 3: Meet some friends up at the park to go sledding down a hill of snow!

Holiday Magic was the night before, but some friends tipped us off that it was much better to go the next day after the crowds of people were gone, but the snow was still perfect for sledding...even though it was in the 70's that day!

A failed attempt to get all the kids together for a picture. There was way too much fun to be had to stop for a silly pic!

Asher and Isaac screaming with joy the whole way down! It was Charlie's brilliant idea to send us with an inter-tube! It worked perfect!

The boys were constantly throwing snowballs at each other if they weren't sledding down.

McKlayne would not go down for about the first hour.  She told me that she was, "too scared," but once I offered to go down with her, she took me up on here's evidence of this 7 months pregnant Momma sledding down the hill...lifting my butt up so that we could actually slide down...(thanks a lot, Mel!)  Once we were done, she said, "That was fun! I want to go again!" and never looked back.  It really was so fun that we were there for more than 3 hours!

Day 4: Make a nativity wreath as a family as you talk about the Chrismas story!  

I asked this silly girl to hold up the wreath so I could take a picture and this is what I got!

We ordered these foam wreaths here last year and had one left over for us to make assemble this year. I am glad this was a family project b/c it would have taken me FOREVER to do this with just the kids....we teamed up girls vs. boys to tackle this baby.

Of course then, Asher wanted his own pic, too.

Asher and McKlayne are super proud of this and show everyone that comes over the wreath hanging in their room. (Did I tell you that we moved them into the same room the week after Thanksgiving? They are loving it and have both transitioned very nicely!)

Day 5: Paint a donkey for Mary to ride to Bethlehem. (These were painted using their handprints...I will be posting about these once we finish the entire set of nativity animals.)

Day 6: Color a picture of Mary and Joseph with their brand new baby.

Day 7: Read a Christmas book and do an activity afterwards.
This activity was inspired by our little Princess. As soon as we put up her pink Christmas tree, she told me that she wanted to decorate with pink popcorn and "princesses" (which are all of my old Barbie ornaments that I collected growing up.) Popcorn? I wondered where she'd seen that. Maybe a book? Or a cartoon?

Then, I remembered that we had this book:

Charlie read it to the kids while I prepared the "pink (and blue) popcorn" using this recipe. (I halfed this recipe for both batches of we each color really had 1/4 of what the recipe called for.)

I was impressed with how well Asher did with this. Under my supervision, he used a real needle and fishing line to string the popcorn.

McKlayne pretty much did this...and handed Charlie the popcorn as he strung it.

My clever boy's popcorn smile.

And, of course, hers, too.

Showing off their newly decorated trees.

Day 8: It's time for a Family Game Night! Mommy and Daddy have chosen your favorite games and some treats for a SWEET night together!

We played two of their favorite games: Go Fish and Bingo.

We had this same Bingo set when I was growing up that I snagged at a garage sale...and the kids just adore this!

McKlayne, I am always amazed at how well you understood the concept of Go Fish at the age of two. You are fully capable of playing on your own team, but because we're not quite ready for you to be that independent, we often make you pair up with one of us.

Day 9: Paint a Christmas picture using watercolors.

This turned into more like 10 Christmas paintings.

Day 10: Head on over to Christmas in the Park to see the beautiful lights. Be sure to visit the camel, donkey, Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus.

Our annual picture with the camel.

We went to a Live Nativity at a church in town...we've done this the past 3 years. They have animals and characters dressed up as the Christmas Story is read and Christmas carols are sung.

They also have a petting zoo that the kids love.

Then we walked across the street to Christmas in the Park to see lights and eat cookies and drink hot chocolate.

We ran into some friends while we were there.

McKlayne was OBSESSED with Rudolph. She wanted to see him all night.

Day 11: Get bundled up to go out to the Terry Ranch for a Life Group Christmas Party!
(I didn't take any pics from that night! I need some copies, those of you who did!)

Day 12: Paint a Christmas tree with your new paints.
(I just sketched up a tree and traced some cookie cutters of angels, bells, snowflakes and a star for the top of the tree...easy!)

Day 13: Daddy Date Night! (AKA...Mommy needs to catch up on some handmade Christmas gifts.)
Whataburger is having their 12 Days of Free Food and free kids meals are on the list tonight, so Charlie will take them there and find something fun to do with them afterwards while I get finish some Christmas gifts.

Day 14: Go out to the farm to play with friends!

Day 15: Meet friends at the park to play, ride bikes and have lunch!

Day 16: Paint more nativity animals using your handprints.

Day 17: Decorate Gingerbread Nativities with all of your cousins!

Day 18: Go look in your beds for the golden ticket to this activity. (Tahoe Express — For those of you who couldn't open the PDF from last year, this link should now work.)

Day 19: Help Mommy bake cinnamon rolls for friends.

Day 20: Go caroling as you deliver cinnamon rolls to friends.

Day 21: Camp out underneath the Christmas tree.

Day 22: Go to Pop's house to celebrate Christmas with him!

Day 23: Play with red and green playdough and Christmas cookie cutters.

Day 24: Recite the Christmas story to Mimi. (Luke 2:8-20) Present your shepherd's pouches before the King tonight during Family Worship. (I will post about this one later, too.)

Day 25: Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and remember Him as you celebrate His Birthday today!


Dava said...

You are such a creative and amazing mom!! I can't wait for our little guy to get bigger to start implementing some of these ideas! Keep up the great work and don't forget to share ;)

The Lopases said...


you make my life so much easier. in not long from now, i will be implementing these things! THANK YOU!

Sara said...

Kirby...When I read your blog it makes me want to be a part of your family! Will you adopt me? I can't wait to do this with my children some day!

Laura Stiller said...

Oh my goodness - I'm saving ALL of your blog posts about advent. Sometimes when I'm overwhelmed with one infant it about does me in thinking about him growing older and actually needing "activities" to do! So, now, I have your list of fun things I can just plan ahead and get organized!

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Sarah said...

I found your blog through Heather's blog... I was wondering if y'all do a Lent study with your kids and if so, what materials do you use? I know your kids are younger, as are mine. I was wondering if you knew of any good resources and traditions for small kids. Thanks for your help!

PS- it looks like you're just about to have your baby! Congratulations! If you don't have time to get to this question, no problem. You definitely have other things on our plate right now :-)