Well, it’s Christmastime again! It’s hard to believe how fast each year flies and when I go back and look at all the different things we’ve done this year in the playgroup, it’s amazing to me that we did so much in one year! The past couple of years during Christmastime, we’ve enjoyed taking a look at the true meaning of Christmas. So much so, that we’ve kind of made it a tradition to use the wonderful, colorful books of Crystal Bowman to link symbols of Christmas that we see around us to the true meaning of Christmas…the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Here’s some of the fun we had this Advent season:
This year, we started our Christmas them in November, since the first Advent Sunday fell just before our last playgroup in November. We read the book My Christmas Stocking: Filled With God’s Love since our Tuesday came just before St. Nicolas Day here in Germany. This book tells of the origins of a man named Nicolas and how he gave gifts to others in thankfulness for God’s gift of Jesus. For our craft, we cut out little paper stocking outlines from construction paper and put two of them together. Then we hole-punched around the edge and the kids “sewed” them together by weaving white yarn in and out of the holes. We tied them off, leaving a hanging loop and then glued white cotton fluff on the top part of the stocking. Then we decorated them with stickers and markers. As a treat, we put a candy and a little chocolate Saint Nick in the mini-stockings. We also sang “Jolly Old Saint Nicolas” for one of our songs, although American and German traditions of Saint Nicolas differ a little bit!
This week we read Christmas Angels, by Bowman and read about the angels at the birth of Jesus. We made a really cute little craft that required some preparation beforehand, but was worth the work, because the results were so sweet! These little angels were made from elbow, bowtie and rigatoni pasta, which was spray-painted gold the day before and left to dry. We used tacky glue to glue the bowtie onto the back of the rigatoni noodle for wings and then we glued two pieces of elbow pasta to the sides of the rigatoni for arms. We took wooden beads and drew faces on them. Then we took a pipe cleaner and formed a halo at one end. We threaded the rest through the wooden bead and the rigatoni pasta and just bent it up behind the angel, flush with the pasta to anchor everything. We glued yarn on the bead for hair and made a loop to hang our angel from the Christmas tree.
The last book we read was called My Christmas Gift and this book talked about why we give gifts to each other at Christmas and what the greatest gift God gave the world was: it was Jesus. For this simple craft, we cut patterned paper 9 x 9 inches square. I used some nice card stock scrapbooking paper that was double sided with print. On one side, we measured 3 inches from the corner and cut in 3 inches. Then from that slit we measured another 3 inches and cut in again three inches. Then we did the same on the opposite side. We then had three tabs on each side that we folded in to make a creased square in the middle and then left it open again. We folded up the tabs on each side, overlapping them a little to look like a basket, then poked a hole through all three layers on each side. Then we took a strip of paper and added it like a handle for the basket, bringing the ends down to overlap with the tabs and we put a brad through all three flaps AND the end of the paper handle to anchor it on both sides. So we ended up with a paper gift basket! We put some stickers and candy in them for the kids and even made some extras…they were so easy to make!
We hope you have a wonderful, Merry Christmas and hope to see you again in the New Year!
***Theme for January: Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses! Come play with us!***