Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top 10 Book-Inspired Activities to Enjoy During Advent

We have not been keeping up with all of the Advent Alphabet ideas that I had hoped to around here.  On the plus side, there have been some unexpected, yet enjoyable engagements that have taken up our time instead.  On the down side, there has been sickness.  Ugh. 

Every day, though, we have been reading through an enormous pile of Advent picture books, and at least several days a week, we’ve enjoyed simple activities to go along with them.

To inspire you for the last week of Advent and into the Christmas season, let me share some of them:


One of the many ways the kids set up their nativity scene.

Inspired by many Nativity storybooks, such as The Christmas Story, The Story of Christmas, Bethlehem: With Words from the Authorized Version of the King James Bible, Christmas in the Manger Board Book and One Night in Bethlehem, the kids made their own nativity building set using blocks, tape, scissors and print outs of Nativity puppets from Twinkl.

Soap Carving

Nina began with intent, gentle carving off the edges.

Just like Jonathon carved nativity figurines in The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, we set to work carving ornamental soap figurines.

Dough Cookies

Jack decided to make the tin into an oven to bale the cookies.

After reading The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus' Birth, it was dough cookie making time.  We used homemade playdough scented with cinnamon-ginger spices.  Yum!

Bell Play

Miss Nina loves to ring and sing.

Along with The Christmas Bell, bell play was in order.

Donkey Visit

The donkey was the only animal we weren't allowed to feed, but we still had fun saying hello and looking for the cross on his back.

In honor of The Donkey's Dream, we visited a donkey and other animals at a local park.

Building Bethlehem

Nina and Jack joined together to build houses and, later, played with figurines in them, acting out the Christmas story.

Upon learning in the notes at the back of Bright Christmas : An Angel Remembers that olden day Bethlehem was built mostly with flat-roofed houses, we built Bethlehem with waffle blocks.

Lights of Love

Since it is not safe to take photos while driving, I am substituting a shot of some lights of love we saw inside, instead.  (Of course,  for the sake of those around us at the venue, we held ourselves back from shouting, "Lights of Love!".)

Since reading The Christmas Candle, we’ve been playing a game we made up almost every time we are in the car at night.  Whoever spots Christmas lights decorations on a house or business tries to be the first to shout, “Lights of Love!” – a way of reminding ourselves that Jesus is the light of the world who came for us.

Mosaic Cards
Simple fine motor skill practice was had through folding, cutting and gluing to design these cards.

Inspired by the art work in Saint Nicholas, we made mosaic-like cards to tuck into cookies that we will give our neighbors.

Giving Tree Gifts
All done stuffing a stocking for a Giving Tree child.

After reading The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood and taking a link off our Advent Chain that said “Give stuff to other people,”, we made a special shopping trip to purchase gifts for children whose ornaments we’d taken off our church Giving Tree.  The kids put the gifts together, and, then, we made a visit to the church to visit Jesus in the tabernacle and to drop the gifts off.

Candy Cane Making

After reading The Legend of the Candy Cane and The Candymaker's Gift: The Legend of the Candy Cane, we enjoyed some Montessori-inspired candy cane making, which I described in full here.

Fine motor.   Gross Motor.  Sensory-based.  Field trip-inspiring.  Montessori-esque.  Artsy-craftsy.  With a rich array of Advent/Christmas picture books on hand, our Advent season has been filled with both intentional and spontaneous fun.
What fun and learning have picture books inspired in your home lately?

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This post is being shared at Many Little Blessing's Top Ten Tuesday.


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