Parents, are you dissatisfied with the commercialism of Christmas? Perhaps you’re concerned that your children will learn selfish habits with so much holiday indulgence. It’s not that kids are so selfish–advertisers bombard kids with “must-have” toys, digital products, gadgets and goodies. Who can blame kids for wanting all that cool stuff? And overindulgent parents have raised kids’ expectations. Don’t waste time telling kids not to want things (especially if you’re giving them everything they want). Instead, give children opportunities to practice sharing with others. Here are lesson plans for Catholic Christian Bible Christmas countdown crafts for children. Make this homemade Advent calendar to teach unselfishness, giving and an attitude of gratitude.
Catholic Christian believers observe Advent in the four weeks leading up to Christmas. The goal in Advent is to prepare for the coming of the Christ child. Advent practices spiritual and corporal works of mercy, especially prayer, fasting and charity. This Advent calendar incorporates those virtues plus it teaches math, reading and writing skill in fun crafts. It can be extended to include social studies, cultural immersion, geography and even math. The Advent calendar is reusable from year to year. Use this Advent calendar in Catholic Christian school classrooms, homeschool, scout troops, day care, CCD, Sunday School and within your own family.
These Advent crafts are styled on the original lift-the-flap Advent calendar. You’ll need these materials (one for each child):
1 sheet of tag board, cardboard or recycled cereal box (12×18 or 11×17)
1 12 x 18 sheet of white paper ( or 2 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper taped lengthwise)
1 12 x 18 (or 11×17) sheet of black construction paper
Shared supplies required are:
gel pens, metallic, neon or fluorescent markers, crayons or pencils
straw, hay or brown yarn or thread
silver and gold foil star stickers
scissors, Widget or an exacto knife
map or globe
jar for collecting coins
Draw a nativity scene on the black paper with markers, pens or crayons (bright colors will show up nicely on black paper). Lightly trace 40 1.5×2 squares around the picture, You can put them anywhere you like, even over objects in your picture. These will be the Advent calendar windows. Cut around three sides of the square with one scissors blade or Exact-o knife; this will create window flaps. Lay picture over white paper; line edges up. Open each flap and trace the opening on the white paper. One each square on the white paper, write:
— a Bible verse or scripture reference from the Christmas story in the Old Testament or gospels (Luke 2 and Isaiah are the most familiar version). Keep Bible near Advent calendar so children can look up references.
— people, places or events to pray for: Catholic Christian church around the world, Haiti, President Obama, Syrian refugees, Paris attack victims, for example. Use globe or map to help children identify places.
— acts of charity, sacrifice projects, games, crafts, giving activities–one per day (Donate one toy. Put $.25 in the jar for each movie you own. Give up candy today.)
Glue white paper to cardboard. Glue black picture over white paper so that the flaps cover writing on white pages. Do not glue flaps to the white paper. Label each flap with a number 1-40 for a Bible Christmas countdown. Making 40 days gives enough windows for years when Advent is longer. Catholic Christian believers observe the Octave of Christmas. So extend the Advent calendar to Epiphany or through Christmastide in shorter years. Finish decorating Advent calendar manger scene with silver stars and one gold Christmas star. Add white cotton clouds or fuzzy sheep and glue straw in the manger and stable. Add fabric bits for clothing if you like. Open one window each day beginning on the first Sunday of Advent. Have children read Bible verses and complete Advent calendar activities.