I didn't think I would be able to pull it off for this year at such last minute, but then it occurred to me that an almost-three-year-old and a four-year-old would have no idea if I started celebrating Advent a week "late"!
I went online and searched for "children's Advent activities," and found the idea of writing each Advent activity on a separate link of a paper chain. This, I knew I could do quickly. I also found lots of ideas for fun and meaningful Advent activities:
- Specific prayers
- Prayers for loved ones who live far away
- Making Christmas cookies to share with neighbors
- Enjoying warm apple cider together
- Coloring Christmas pages
- Visiting the library to find Christmas books
- Giving everyone in the family a hug
- Taking a walk and talking about all of the winter gifts God has given us to enjoy
The girls have had so much fun with this! At some point during the day, one of them or the other will say, "Can we do our Advent chain activity?" and race to the foyer where I hung it from the hall mirror.
For the most part, I kept the activities quick and simple, rather than involved projects.
We did try making salt dough ornaments, which made a bit of a mess and didn't quite come out (they never hardened properly). But luckily, the girls are all about the process and not so concerned with the product!
We also made gingerbread cookies to share with a neighbor. In this case, we made them during a playdate, and sent some home with our friends.
Another more involved project was to make edible ornaments for the birds. We cut hearts and stars from bread slices using cookie cutters, then spread them with sunflower seed butter. (We couldn't use peanut butter, which is usually recommended, because my younger daughter has a peanut allergy.) Then we sprinkled oats on top and attached them to hemp twine for hanging on the trees.
My husband gently pointed out to me later that the birds would have to suspend themselves in mid-air to eat their treats, so he moved them to other places on the tree where they could rest on branches to enjoy them!
Who knew there are so many versions of this observance of the Advent season?! What a wonderful discovery!