Monday, 19 November 2018

Advent for Pre-Schoolers

It's that time of year! 
Our tree is up!
Christmas parties and get togethers are planned!
And the incessant talk of Santa and presents has begun..... oh.

I have realised that Christmas is so exciting for four year olds (and two year olds!), but if we don't steer the narrative a bit, then the focus will just be on Santa and getting gifts. 

I also realised I am missing that sort of joy you get from basic rituals and traditions you have with your family. 

And so, my advent plan was born!

This year I am planning two nativity focused advent activities and four general and more simple activities.

Nativity focus

We are doing two basic traditions this year and we may expand on them in following years.

The first is advent candles (which I blatantly stole from Sacraparental, but it also turns out this is a common way to celebrate advent which I didn't previously know about.)

There are 5 candles. Green is for hope, Blue for peace, Yellow for joy, Red for love and White for Jesus. Each night at dinner (or most nights.... lets be realistic!) we will light a candle and talk about what the word means to us. The first week you light green, the second week you light blue and green and so on.... until you light white on Christmas day.

This activity seems very toddler friendly (thinking of my two year old specifically!). I am sure Hunter won't understand much of what is going on, but it will be something he will be able to join in and anticipate (and blowing out candles is one of his most favourite activities.) 

As for Ada, who is almost 5, I imagine this activity will get her thinking a little deeper about some basic nativity values. When we talk to Ada about what hope or peace means for her, I don't expect she will understand much to begin with, but with basic examples I think she will gain a better understanding (hope means I can feel excited about starting school, love means I am kind to people and so on).

The second activity is a Nativity devotion and scene builder that my Dad sent us. Every night we pop out a piece of a cardboard 3D scene and add to it. By the 25th you have a full nativity scene. This part seems very toddler friendly.

You also have a wee activity or devotion to learn about the nativity story- the journey, the birth of Jesus, the 3 wise men, the shepherds and angels and so on. This part seems more appropriate for age 4+, although I am sure Hunter will enjoy reading the stories.

Our advent candles and devotion planner on the wall. The cardboard scene will be built on this table.

General advent

The last four activities we will do are much more simple and accessible by anyone!

The first is a classic chocolate advent calendar. 

The second is taking the kids to Farmers and letting them pick one decoration each for the tree. This will add to the magic for them especially for Ada. If I can, I will write the year on the decoration and we will add to this every year.

Helping put the decorations on the tree

The third is buying some food and giving it to those who need it. This year this kids daycare is organising this, so me and Ada will go to the shop together to get a few things. This will be a great opportunity for Ada to be involved in helping others and learning the importance of kindness. 

The final activity is wrapping and opening a book on Christmas eve for each child. I have already ordered a book about starting school for Ada and a digger book for Hunter. There would be nothing wrong with using a second hand shop book for this- we get second hand books all the time and the kids love them!

I hope the post has helped spark some ideas for your advent. Advent is a time of anticipation and waiting and I am excited to do these activities with my family to build up to Christmas day.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

No one told me

No one told me...

It's not the first week in, even the first month year, or child.

A couple of years into parenting, and you realise. No one told me it would be like this.

Monday, 2 April 2018

20 months of Hunter John

HJ has been in our lives for 20 loud, colourful, cheeky months now.

While we had a tough beginning with Ada, her later years have been relatively easy, in the scheme of things. Never one to be the same as his sister, Hunter's beginning was a dream, and as he has grown and become affectionately known as #adventureboy, his later months have been a whole new level of full on.

Friday, 2 February 2018

The best chapter

I've been getting that 'look' from elderly ladies lately.

I'll be in the supermarket, probably with both kids. They are full of beans (or free countdown fruit for kids, more accurately) and I just want to whizz through and get the shop done. I'm in some sort of harried rush, multitasking with the list, the kids and the bags.

I walk past an elderly lady in the aisle and she will look at us. And I can see her eyes soften and her face go into a half smile. Sometimes she will say nothing, and sometimes she will make a passing comment about 'oh they are lovely' or 'oh it goes so fast.'

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