Waiting does not come naturally for children. And yet, the Advent season is all about waiting, hope, and anticipation for Jesus’ birth. Special services at your church help families celebrate the coming of Jesus. A wreath of candles placed near the altar commemorate the passing of the four weeks of Advent, and the appearance of purple pastor stoles and church banners reminds us of repentance. To further help children appreciate the meaning behind this season of anticipation, we’ve made a list of Advent ideas to prepare young hearts and minds for Christmas during the Advent season.
Count Down with an Advent Calendar
An Advent calendar helps your family count down the days to Christmas! Check out the Luke Advent calendar or felt Advent calendar. No matter which Advent calendar you choose, each lets kids interact with a portion of the Bible story each day or create a colorful manger scene that unfolds the story.
Prepare with an Advent Wreath and Devotion
Gathering around an Advent wreath for a devotional reading has benefits for the whole family. This time together works well at the dinner table or right before bedtime. Light the candles and dive into God’s Word. Devotional books like Counting to Christmas provide both a calendar and devotions, making it easy for families to get into an Advent routine every day.
Find Creative Uses for Your Nativity Scene
If you own a Nativity scene, get your kids to set it up while you narrate the story of Jesus’ birth or read from Luke 2:1–21 and Matthew 2:1–12. Or take turns setting the figures in place as you talk about the role each person had in the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Some families set Mary and Joseph in Nazareth and the Wise Men and camels in “the East.” Then, they have Mary and Joseph “make the trek” to Bethlehem during Advent. Another idea is to wrap the baby Jesus figure up with a “Do not open until Christmas” label.
Live nativity events are another great visual reminder to help kids remember the Christmas story. If your church is hosts a live nativity event, see if there is room for your kids to participate. Set aside time to attend as a family and then talk with your kids about what they saw and heard.
Add Advent Activities to Sunday School
If you teach Sunday School, set aside time each week in class to help you and your children prepare for the coming Christ. If you’re looking for some ideas to get started, click on the link at the end of this post for some Advent object lessons, music, and finger play scripts to share at Sunday School.
Deliver Cards and Treats to Church Members
Have children make homemade Christmas cards for family and friends. Find Christmas Bible verses together that may go in each card; then work with your kids to prepare artwork. With your cards in hand, consider hosting an event at your church where kids bake cookies or other Christmas treats. Have families deliver both the cards and gifts to church members who may be shut-ins, hospitalized, or in a nursing home.
Go Caroling with Your Church
Caroling can be a fun time for kids to sing their favorite Christmas hymns and share the Good News with your community. A cup of hot chocolate at the event’s end is a treat too! Kids can practice Advent and Christmas songs throughout the season and then go out together during Christmas break. If your church hosts a Christmas program, consider having children share some songs from that event with others in the larger community.
We hope that families at your church enjoys these ideas during this season and the ones to come! Still searching for more ways to teach your kids about Advent? These free downloads for Advent include music and activities for kids of all ages!