Advent | Day 17

Today’s Reading

Luke 1:65-66 ESV

And fear came on all Zechariah and Elizabeth’s neighbours. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

Today’s Activity

Take a winter walk with your child today and look for interesting rocks to bring home.

Hint: We shall be using them soon 🙂

Enjoy their shapes, colours, and textures. Talk with your child about how rocks are made from much smaller pieces, known as ‘grains’. Each one of those grains was once part of another rock before being broken down and reformed as part of the rock you picked up today.

Here is an interesting identification tool on the OU site: What Rock Is That?

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Advent | Day 16

Today’s Reading

Luke 1:61-64 ESV

And they said to Elizabeth, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.

Today’s Activity

Today let’s make Christmas wrapping paper:

  • Take a potato and cut in half.
  • Take a cookie cutter in a pleasing shape and push through the cut side of the potato. Remove any excess potato. This will leave you with a nice, crisp edge to print with.
  • Pat the potato dry with kitchen paper.
  • Put your chosen paint colours out in little dishes onto a newspaper-covered surface.
  • Take large sheets of plain paper; I like to use brown wrapping paper, lining paper is another option, and simply dip the potato shape lightly into the paint (too much will blur the design) and print down randomly on the paper.
  • Repeat until your child is satisfied with their design.
  • Allow to dry.

Enjoy listening to Christmas carols as you get on with wrapping some Christmas gifts together 🙂

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Advent | Day 15

Today’s Reading

Luke 1:59 ESV

And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.”

Today’s Activity

Today is a smashing day for carolling! This is the day when many churches hold their annual carol service, which is such a jolly, festive occasion. If your own church does not have this service, perhaps plan to visit a new church today, and enjoy their company 🙂

Another suggestion is to gather with friends and go carolling in your neighbourhood. Dress up warmly, practice those nature-themed carols from December 1st before you go, and give your neighbours a treat 🙂

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Winter Solstice Week | Exploring Nature With Children

It is almost Winter Solstice Week in Exploring Nature With Children!

Here are some helpful links to get you going:

Happy exploring!

Advent | Day 14

Today’s Reading

Luke 1:58 ESV

And Elizabeth’s neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

Today’s Activity

Today is Christmas tree day!

Take the family off to choose your Christmas tree; make it the central part of the day and get all the family involved in choosing just the right one. Once home, have a tree decorating party. In our home we listen to Christmas music, drink hot chocolate with candy cane stirrers, and eat special Christmas sweets as we get to work decorating our tree.

If your family has an artificial tree, take it out of storage and join in the fun today.

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Advent | Day 13

Today’s Reading

Luke 1:57 ESV

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.

Today’s Activity

Today we will be making Christmas cards using the rubbings we made yesterday.

This a super-easy craft, that results is beautiful cards.

  • Take the rubbings you made yesterday and cut out simple Christmas shapes. Here are some printable patterns, but the shapes are so simple, it would be possible to draw them free hand.
  • Glue a single shape onto the centre of a blank greeting card.
  • Outline the shape with a metallic marker for an extra-special, festive touch.

Enjoy the afternoon writing your Christmas cards, and praying for each recipient, as you sip a hot chocolate.

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Advent | Day 12

Today’s Reading

Luke 1:56 ESV

And Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and returned to her home.

Today’s Activity

Today, take your child for a texture walk; explain that you are going to hunt for different textures of all kinds in the natural world. Some examples would be:

  • Tree bark ~ rough
  • Pine needles ~ prickly
  • Stone ~ rough or smooth
  • fallen leaves ~ dry or slimy

Have younger children describe the textures they find, which are rough? Smooth? Slimy?

With each suitable texture you find, take a rubbing with the flat side of a dark-coloured crayon onto white paper. Keep these rubbings safe; we shall be using them tomorrow.

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Advent | Day 11

Today’s Reading

Luke 1:46-55 ESV

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

   and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,

for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

for he who is mighty has done great things for me,

    and holy is his name.

And his mercy is for those who fear him

    from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm;

    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;

he has brought down the mighty from their thrones

    and exalted those of humble estate;

he has filled the hungry with good things,

    and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,

    in remembrance of his mercy,

as he spoke to our fathers,

    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Today’s Activity

Have fun in the kitchen today and cook up your favourite Christmas treats. One of our family favourites is Peppermint Bark. We have our own family ‘recipe’, although, as it is so simple to make, it would be better described as a method. You can find a similar recipe here.

Make a double portion and take the opportunity to share with a neighbour; perhaps an elderly person who cannot get out and about as much as they would like, and would appreciate some company, or a harried new mother, who will have little time for home-made treats this year.

Just remember; the goal is not to bake the perfect sweet treat, but to have fun with your family and to share with others.

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Advent | Day 10

Today’s Reading

Luke 1:39-45 ESV

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Today’s Activity

This week is bird week in Exploring Nature With Children. Today, check that your bird feeders are nice and full, and that the birds visiting your garden have a place to drink, then spend some time watching to see how many different birds visit your feeder.

Keep a log in your nature journal, and perhaps sketch and read up on some of the different birds that you see.

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Advent | Day 9

Today’s Reading

Matthew 1:24-25 ESV

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Today’s Activity

Today, use the last of your woodland gatherings to make a wreath for your home.

Simply take your garden wire and form a rough circle shape, two or three times, entwining the wire as you go.

Once you have your basic wreath shape, simply tuck in short sprigs of evergreen, such as holly, pine, yew, box and so forth. Attach them well with lengths of twine. Also add in berries, fir cones, seed pods, rose hips, ivy, or whatever else takes your fancy!

This will be a truly special decoration for your home, made with love, and representative of your family’s own special nature spot.

Display with pride!

Have you made a few entries into your mother’s advent journal? This is a treasure in the making.

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.