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Christmas

As moms and teachers, our goal for Christmas is to keep Jesus the Reason for the Season.  The activities below help us reach our goal.  Use these ideas to create Christ-centered Christmas Traditions in your family and with other children.  Ideas are provided to host a Happy Birthday Jesus Party as well!

                                                          

Activities


• Cone Tree 4  Make Cone Christmas Trees using a sugar ice cream cone, whipped frosting, and candies. 

• Make Gingerbread Houses (review shapes, sorting, and spatial relationships).  Purchase a Gingerbread House Kit or use these instructions to make your own.

• Star Ribbon  Be Wise Men - Without the child watching, hide several stars around the room.  Tell the child that he/she is to be like the Wise Men and find the star that led them to Baby Jesus.  Help the child dress the part with a robe and a towel around his/her head (use a belt, safety pin, or robe to hold the towel on).

• Send Christmas Cards – have your child assist you in the cards by helping to sign their name and telling you their address.  Demonstrate the proper way to address and stamp a card.

3D Star  Create Christmas Star - Cut out the stars on cardstock paper and decorate.  Cut on the dotted lines.  Slide the cut portion of one star over the cut portion of the other to make a 3D Star.  Add a string to hang. 

• Discuss how there is a Biblical meaning to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” as well. 
       Mary – Jesus’ Mother
       Lamb – Jesus
       White as snow – Jesus was without sin

Salt Dough  Make homemade Christmas ornaments.  Let the ornaments reflect each personality.  Start a tradition by dating the ornaments to look back at years of memories.   Salt Dough is one option (recipe below). 

Handprint Ornament  Hand and Foot Print - Use Salt Dough to make a print.
Ingredients:  1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup salt, 1/2 cups water
Directions:  Mix together the flour and salt.  Add in the water.  May add food coloring.  Knead until smooth.  Break off a small section and roll 1/8" thick.  Have the child press his foot or hand into the dough to make a print.  Let it dry for a few days by flipping periodically or bake at 200 degrees until hard.

• Make a Bell Angel - Cut out the pieces and help the child glue them together.

Handprint AngelHandprint and Footprint Angel  (Thank you to Lesleigh for this idea.)
Add this saying to the back or on the same side if framing: "This little angel is special you see; because she is a part of me. Her wings are my hands, her body my feet. And on the tree she'll look very sweet. "

•  Candy Cane Poem Attach Candy Cane Poem and Printable - Print the coloring sheet or the poem on little cards and attach with a ribbon to real candy canes.  Add to any gift or use as favors at parties or Christmas gatherings. 

• Visit neighbors or a nursing home to deliver goodies and smiles.  Start the beginning of December planning evenings to visit.  Plan to spend some time at each place and love on people.

• Play Dough Nativity  Using modeling clay or play dough, create your own nativity scene.  Have you child tell the story using their creations.  This would be a wonderful Family Night activity.

•  paper chain  Christmas Countdown Activity List - 25 Activities to do each day until Christmas.  Great family tradition.

•  Wordless Book Cake  Birthday Party for Jesus - Several ideas needed to hold your very own Birthday Party for Jesus!

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Christmas Books to Read

•  Bible Story:  Scripture:  Luke 2
The Beginner's Bible for Toddlers: pg 77-95
Read and Share Toddler Bible:  pg 126-143
The Beginner's Bible: pg 271
My Story Bible:  pg 60-67
Through the Bible in Felt:  pg 153-158

  Count to Christmas Book List - View a list of over 55 Christmas children books, including 25 books to use to wrap and read one book per day as a countdown to Christmas or for Advent.

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Christmas Traditions

25 Promised from God  Christmas Promises from God
Add one glass ornament a day to the Christmas tree.  One the Christmas tree write a promise from God and read the daily scripture.  Print and use my 25 Promise verses or find your own. 

Hay for Jesus  Hay for Jesus
Idea from Nicole:  Growing up, our coffee table housed a little manger with hay under it.  During the time right after Thanksgiving until Christmas, every time we did something without being asked to do it, we got to place a piece of hay in the manger. The goal was to get enough hay in the manger by Christmas for baby Jesus.  Since a bale of hay is not readily available to everyone, try using ornamental grass from your landscape.  You could also use artificial or dried decorative grass found at your local hobby store.

• Christmas Countdown:  Ideas for each day  

Gift Baskets:  Make gift baskets to give to neighbors and friends.

Photos of Prayer:  Turn Christmas cards into a time of prayer

Silver Dollar City:  Take a trip to Branson, Missouri to celebrate an "Old Fashion Christmas"

More ideas on OurOutofSyncLife blog...

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Crafts and Coloring Activities

Cinnamon Apple Sauce Ornaments  Make Cinnamon Ornaments to give away - fun and easy to make.

Happy Birthday Jesus Create a Happy Birthday Jesus Book.  Decorate the "Happy Birthday, Jesus" title page with glitter, sequins, and stickers.  Staple or bind pages together to form a book.  Review the Bible stories as you look through the finished bookHere are some ideas to fill the Happy Birthday Jesus Book. 


Wrapping Paper  Make homemade wrapping paper with a brown paper grocery sack or large piece of brown packing paper.  Paint, color, or stamp decorations.

- Glitter Angel  Color and cut out the angel on the Angel Coloring Sheet.  Glue to a piece of construction paper.  Outline the angel with glue and sprinkle on glitter.  Let dry.  Discuss how the angel told Mary and Joseph that Baby Jesus was going to be born.

Baby in a Manger Cut out the small Baby Jesus from the Baby Jesus template.  On a piece of construction paper, glue enough small pieces of brown and yellow yarn to form a bed.  Glue Baby Jesus into the bed.  Glue popsicle sticks around the baby to make a manger.     

- Wax Brown Shepherd Trace the outlines of the Shepherds Coloring Sheet with a white crayon.  Paint over with water colors using q-tips.  Glue to a piece of construction paper.  

Decorated Christmas Tree Decorate the Christmas Tree Poster.  Use craft decorating supplies - sequins, pompoms, glitter, stickers, etc.

- 3 Wise Men Color    Make Wise Men and star puppets.  Using the Wise Men Puppets, cut and color each and place on popsicle sticks.  Show the Wise Men following the star.   

- Other Coloring Sheets - ShepherdsJesus is BornBowing to Jesus, Three Wise MenKnowing Jesus Activity Book, Shepherd Writing Worksheet

Handprint and Footprint Calendar Create a Handprint & Footprint Calendar to give as a gift to a loved one. The instructions include photo examples to make for each month as well as suggested Bible verses that correspond with the prints.

Countdown Christmas Tree Christmas Tree Countdown Template

- Christmas Trees  Christmas Trees (Idea from Little Sprouts)
Using craft scissors, cut the craft sticks to the size needed.  Then glue them together with a hot glue gun and paint.  Decorate and glue a piece of string on the back of the ornament to hang.

Macaroni Star Macaroni Star - Place a few macaroni noodles in a zip-top plastic bag.  Add couple of drops of vinegar and 4-5 drops of food coloring.  Mix to distribute the color.  Dye more macaroni in separate bags.  Open the top of the bag and let dry.  Using the Star Template, place a thin layer of glue on the paper.  Add the colored macaroni to create a colorful macaroni star.

Handprint Christmas Tree  Handprint Christmas Tree - This activity could be done on a towel, bag, tablecloth, t-shirt, etc.  Could also be used as the "December" Handprint & Footprint Calendar page.

paper chain Create a Christmas Countdown ChainIdea for a Classroom Setting

Tissue Paper Angel  Tissue Paper Angel: Paint the Angel with watered-down glue.  Cover the angel with tissue paper.  Paint another layer of glue on top of the tissue paper.  Add glitter.  Let dry and then cut out. 

• Make a Bell Angel - Cut out the pieces and help the child glue them together.

• Make a Baby in a Hankie - Fold a handkerchief in half, corner to corner.  Roll two of the corners of the triangle in towards each other until the rolls touch.  Without disturbing the rolls just created, very carefully separate the triangle point.  (If you pull too hard the entire thing will fall apart.)  Hold the one end while pulling back the other end around the rolls until a cradle is formed.  The rolls become a baby.  Let the child rock Baby Jesus during story time.

Paper Plate Baby Swaddle Baby Jesus:  Paint both sides of a paper plate brown.  Let dry.  Using the large baby from the baby Jesus template, cut out and glue the baby inside the paper plate.  Fold the sides of the plate in so as to swaddle the baby.

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Cooking

Chocolate Pretzel Bites  Christmas Pretzel Bites with the M&M Christmas Story 
A frugal option to the pretzel/rolo/pecan bites.  Adding the M&M allows you to include the M&M Christmas story poem.  

Tortilla Stars Cinnamon-Sugar Tortilla Stars 
(Esther means "star.")  Spread margarine on flour tortillas.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut stars out of a flour tortilla.  Bake approx 10 minutes in 350 degree oven until crisp.

Christmas PB Balls  Christmas Peanut Butter Balls
There are a few recipes that make my holiday time complete.  Pecan pie is my Thanksgiving have-to-eat.  Christmas Balls are one of my Christmas musts. I always make a batch of these to include in our gift baskets for neighbors, teachers, and friends as well as some extras for us to eat.

Sugar Cookies  The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
I love sugar cookies.  But, in my opinion it is hard to find a good sugar cookie.  What I am about to share with you is the best sugar cookie recipe ever, in my opinion.  And instead of being stingy and not sharing it with you, I am going to pass on this amazing cookie recipe so that you can eat them too!

Puppy Chow  Human Puppy Chow 
This stuff is so yummy that we have had neighbors call and ask for more!  And it is so simple to make that the kids can be actively involved in the process. 

•  Wordless Book Cake  "Happy Birthday Jesus" Cake
Make Jesus a chocolate birthday cake or cupcakes - Allow your child to unwrap butter sticks or separate cupcake wrappers.  Let your child help frost the cake or cupcakes.

Idea #1:

Each year we made two Christmas cakes. One for our family to have and one to give to someone else. My siblings and I took turns turns giving the cake to someone; it usually was one of our teachers. We also explained the cake's symbolism. When we'd eat our family cake, each of us children would take one of the three colors and tell what it meant.

Start with a baked chocolate cake made in a tart or round pan.  (The round cake is a reminder that God's love for us has no end.  His love for us is so great that He sent His Son to earth. John 3:16)  

Dig a little well in the cake and fill with cherry pie filling topped with cool whip or white icing.  When we were a little older we sprinkled gold (for Heaven) and green (for new life) on top of the cool whip.

The chocolate represented how dark our hearts are with sin before we know Jesus. (Romans 3:23 and Isaiah 53:6)

The cherries represented the blood that He shed for our sins.  (Ephesians 1:7 and Hebrews 9:22)

The cool whip or white icing represents how His blood washes our sins white as snow and He remembers our sin no more. (Romans 4:24 and Isaiah 61:10)

Idea #2:

Chocolate cake and frosting represent the human condition
Red candle represents Christ's blood shed on the Cross
White candle stands for how Jesus washed away our sins
Green candle represents renewal and growth
Yellow candle stands for the golden streets of heaven.

Ideas #3:

Items Needed:
3 layered round cake - red, green, and chocolate layers
White frosting
Yellow frosting
Candles

To make the colored layers - mix a white cake according to the box/recipe directions. Divide the batter in half. Drop several drops of green food coloring in one half, and red food coloring in the other half. Pour each into 8" round cake pans and bake according to recipe directions.

When cooled, stack the chocolate layer, red layer in the middle, ending with the green layer with white frosting in between. Frost the entire cake with white frosting. Add yellow decorations and candles to the top.

Symbolism:
The chocolate layer reminds us that are heart is full of sin.
The red layer reminds us that Jesus shed His blood for our sins.
The white frosting reminds us that Jesus will forgive our sins and give us a clean heart.
The green layer reminds us to grow in Christ through praying, reading the Bible, and worshipping.
The yellow decorations remind us of heaven.
The candles remind us Jesus is the Light of the world.

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Games

Nativity Memory Game (reprinted by permission)
Directions: Purchase or use a Nativity set with individual pieces. Place them on a table and have the children close their eyes. Remove one of the pieces and have the children see if they can figure out which piece is missing. After the missing piece is discovered, talk about its significance in the Nativity. For instance, if you take away a Shepherd, explain to the children how an angel appeared to the shepherds in the fields to tell of Jesus' birth.

Dress Up as a Shepherd:  Using a brown paper grocery sack, cut a hole in the bottom for the child's head and two holes on the sides for the child's arms.  Tie at the waist with a belt or rope.  Add a towel around the head held on by a belt or rope.  Add a staff made out of a wrapping paper roll.  Hide a sheep or star and let the child try to find it.

Computer Game - Play the Birth of a Savior Game and use the coloring sheets on the Charlie Church Mouse Kindergarten Cd-Rom.  Read more...

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Happy Birthday Jesus Party

Birthday Cake:

Birthday Cake Ideas perfect for young children

Birthday Cake Ideas geared more for Early Elementary

Party Ideas:  Ideas and supply list

                                                          

Printables

- ABCJLM Coloring Sheets:  Journey to Bethlehem, Baby Jesus with the Animals, John 3:16 at Christmas, Mary Holding Baby Jesus, Shepherds Worship Jesus, Wise Men Worship Jesus
Happy Birthday Jesus Create a Happy Birthday Jesus Book.  Decorate the "Happy Birthday, Jesus" title page with glitter, sequins, and stickers.  Staple or bind pages together to form a book.  Review the Bible stories as you look through the finished bookHere are some ideas to fill the Happy Birthday Jesus Book. 

- Glitter Angel  Color and cut out the angel on the Angel Coloring Sheet.  Glue to a piece of construction paper.  Outline the angel with glue and sprinkle on glitter.  Let dry.  Discuss how the angel told Mary and Joseph that Baby Jesus was going to be born.

Baby in a Manger Cut out the small Baby Jesus from the Baby Jesus template.  On a piece of construction paper, glue enough small pieces of brown and yellow yarn to form a bed.  Glue Baby Jesus into the bed.  Glue popsicle sticks around the baby to make a manger.     

- Wax Brown Shepherd Trace the outlines of the Shepherds Coloring Sheet with a white crayon.  Paint over with water colors using q-tips.  Glue to a piece of construction paper.  

Decorated Christmas Tree Decorate the Christmas Tree Poster.  Use craft decorating supplies - sequins, pompoms, glitter, stickers, etc.

- 3 Wise Men Color    Make Wise Men and star puppets.  Using the Wise Men Puppets, cut and color each and place on popsicle sticks.  Show the Wise Men following the star.   

- Other Coloring Sheets - Jesus is BornBowing to Jesus, Three Wise MenKnowing Jesus Activity Book, Shepherd Writing Worksheet

                                                          

Online Ideas: 

• Christmas Printables - coloring pages, mini books, puzzles, etc.

DLTK's Crafts for Kids - worksheets, crafts, recipes, games, etc.

Christmas Crafts for Kids - crafts and printable activities

Activity Village

• Coloring Sheets - ShepherdsJesus is BornBowing to Jesus, Three Wise Men

• Activities - Knowing Jesus Activity Book, Shepherd Writing Worksheet 

• Make Nativity Paper Dolls

• Crafts - 3-D Star, Various Crafts

- Christmas Story Ornaments from Little Blots

- Bible Lessons, Printables, Games, Crafts Worksheets at Little Blots

- Make Nativity Paper Dolls

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Traditions

• Christmas Countdown:  Ideas for each day  

Gift Baskets:  Make gift baskets to give to neighbors and friends.

Photos of Prayer:  Turn Christmas cards into a time of prayer

Silver Dollar City:  Take a trip to Branson, Missouri to celebrate an "Old Fashion Christmas"

                                                          

Videos

The Toy That Saved ChristmasVeggie Tales: The Toy That Saved Christmas
The Star of ChristmasVeggie Tales: The Star of Christmas
Saint NicholasVeggie Tales:  Saint Nicholas

  What's In The Bible? Buck Denver Asks...Why Do We Call it Christmas?

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Telling the Christmas Story

Introduction into story of Jesus’ birth
Author and source unknown
Materials:  Box wrapped as a present containing a Nativity Scene

Adult:  (Holding the gift box)  Oh, my!  Look what I have found today!  Hmmm, I wonder how it got here? 
I wonder who put it here?  (Let child respond)
What do you think it is? 
Who do you think it is for?
Adult:  Well, it is December and I remember that there is a special Holiday this month.  Do you remember what holiday it is?
Adult:  Can you tell me why we have Christmas?  (Answers:  Jesus’ birthday, to give presents, etc.)
Adult:  God made a promise a long, long, long time ago of a very special gift.  He made the promise way back to Adam and Eve.  Do you remember when we talked about Adam and Eve?  (If the answer is no, spend just a moment reminding your child about the story of creation.)
Adult:  God sent special messengers to tell people about a special gift.  What do you think we need to do with this gift? 
Should be open it? 
Adult:  (Slowly open the box and ask questions about each piece of the manger as you bring them out one at a time)
Adult:  (When all of the items are on the table)  I am so glad that God gave us the best gift of all…Jesus.  Now let’s see what our Bible say about His special gift.

• Introduction for Story of Shepherds Visiting Jesus
Author and source unknown
Materials:  Cupcake or birthday cake and candles

Adult:  Today we are celebrating a special occasion.  Can you guess what it might be?
Adult:  We are celebrating Jesus’ birthday!  Please sing Happy Birthday after I light the candle.  (Sing Happy Birthday together)
Adult:  On the count of three, I want you to blow really, really hard and we will blow the candle out together.  One…two…three…” 
Adult:  (Looking concerned)  Oh no!  I forgot one important thing!  I forgot to send out the invitations to our birthday party!
Adult:  In our story today, we’ll learn that God sent the invitations for Jesus’ birthday through angels.  The shepherds came to visit and then they wanted everyone to know that Jesus was born.  Let’s find out what our Bible say about this.

• Story Review
Author and source unknown
Materials:  Angel, Mary, Joseph, and Baby (puppets, pictures, or manger scene pieces)
Read the following story and pause after you read the underlines words to hold up the corresponding puppet

People had been waiting and waiting for a very long time.  As a matter of fact, people had been waiting ever since the first man and woman had to leave God’s special garden because they had disobeyed God.  Do you remember the name of the first man and women?  (Adam and Eve)  They were waiting for God to keep His promise.  God had promised to send them a Savior, someone who could make everything good and right again.  One day an angel spoke to a girl name Mary and told her she would have a baby.  Then the angel spoke to a man name Joseph, who was going to be Mary’s husband.  The angel told Joseph that Mary’s baby was special.  He was God’s son, Jesus!  While Mary and Joseph were waiting for Jesus to be born, they had to go on a long trip.  The ruler of the land had made a law that people had to go to their hometowns and write their names in a special book so that leaders could count how many people there were.  So Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted.  They had to walk all the way!  Finally, they arrived in Bethlehem.  Mary was ready to have her baby!  But Bethlehem was so crowded they couldn't find a place to stay!  Everywhere they were told, “There is no room!”  Finally a kind innkeeper said they could stay in his stable with his animals.  And just in time, too!  That night Jesus was born.  Mary wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid Him in a manger to sleep.  All the angels joined in and said, “Glory to God!  Peace on earth to those who love God!”

• Shepherd’s Trip Activity - Going On a Long Trip
Author and source unknown
Have the child repeat each verse after you.

We’re going on a long trip. (pretend to ride a camel)
Do you see the shining star? (point to the sky)
Saddle up your camels.  (pretend to ride a camel)
Because we are going very far.  (place hand over head like looking off)

We’re going on a long trip. (pretend to ride a camel)
Look!  The star is overhead.  (point to the sky)
I see the sweet, baby Jesus.  (pretend to hold a baby and rock back and forth)
In the manger in His bed.  (place hands together at side of head like asleep)

We’ve come from a long trip.  (pretend to ride a camel)
The star shows us the way.  (point to the sky)
To worship our true Savior.  (make praying hands)
And, I’ll praise Him every day.  (hands lifted above head)

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