25 Advent Ideas for Your Family

Welcome back! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and didn’t shop too hard on black Friday. That madness was crazy! My hats off to you if shopped the major store chains.

Back to our program.

So today marks the second day of the first week of advent. I’m sure you’ve been seeing all the activities and ideas going around but I have to admit, I completely ignored them. Why you say? Because for the longest, advent, to me, was no more than a catholic tradition or some sort of lent ritual and I, being the legalistic christian that I was, was not about to be judged for starting a tradition in my family that originated from Catholicism. (And to clarify, advent didn’t start in the catholic church, it goes way back before that from Lutheran’s to old older Christians) Sorry to say but it is true.  My children have always gotten gifts for Christmas but I’ve always been the intentional mother who focused more on the Christ in Christmas. It’s always been more Jesus, and less gifts. Needless to say, I kind of go crazy on Christmas. Not black Friday crazy but, “I have to get that because they will freak out” crazy.  Forgive my ignorance, but once I read up on what advent is supposed to symbolize, I grew more interested. That’s right, I learned what advent means to me as a christian and I grew more interested. The video below best explains what it means to Christians today.

click here if you cannot see this video.

Advent is a time that people all around the world celebrate the hope that we have in Jesus, the fact that he was born and the celebration of his coming and what his birth symbolizes for us. So in this time we take time to reflect on the goodness of Jesus and focus more on him besides our usual traditions of gift giving, holiday parties and cookie swaps. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to buy gifts and do all of our family and holiday traditions, just as long as our hearts still come back and line up with the fact that if all of that vanishes, our hearts will remain solid in Jesus. Have at it. With that being said I have some great ideas for you! Ideas for the kiddos and maybe just for you.

Here are:

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1. Cardboard Advent wreath and candles from jamiespurejoy

2. Easy pocket Advent Calender from strangeandlovelyride

3. Fun and frugal Advent jar from messforless

4. Advent wreath and songs from letsplaykidsmusic

5. Advent action cards from theiowafarmerswife

6. Adventures in Odyssey Advent activity calendar from focusonthefamily.com

7. Host a Candy Cane hunt

8. Write scriptures in a card and give it to someone to encourage them

9. Make an ornament for someone

10. Take stuffed animals to a hospital and give them out

11.Write a letter to Jesus thanking him and praising him

12. Make snowflakes and hang them in the window

13. Do a family or individual advent devotional

14. Go caroling to the neighbors, a nursing home or relatives

15. Write a note to the mail man or lady

16. Read a book a day as an advent activity

17. Make an ornament for Jesus

18. Donate old toys or new one’s to a local place

19. Make cards for your local fire company

20. Clean up someone’s trash

21. Put cookies in the mail box

22. Take someone a meal

23. Make a craft and send it to someone

24. Visit a live nativity

25. Camp out in the living room with hot chocolate, a fake snowball fight(socks or marshmallows) and Christmas movies

There are tons of other things that you can do to encourage someone or be kind. In this time, My family has taken the approach to make it about everyone else and not ourselves. My husband and I have chosen to take Christmas and teach our children the value of the gifts they receive and the value of the gifts they give. We want to intentionally move them toward esteeming others over themselves. We will do a lot for each other but we also want to be a light and love to all those around us.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25

How will you celebrate advent if you are? What activities are you choosing to partake in? Please share!

And as always, with everything I post, I do hope you love this and can add some of these things to your own list.

Happy Advent-ing!

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Linking up with: thebettermom, wedded wednesdays, playdates with God, livingproverbs31, Titus2sday

DIY Preschool Basketball Game

I have not blogged in about two weeks. Happens like that at times. I hope you all can understand that my life is CRAZY!

My whole house has been under the weather for a few days so I have been trying desperately to press on and just get things done. I can’t help but think that my brain has been under the weather long before those few days. But I am so thankful and grateful for the great spirits that my children, hubs and I have been able to keep since then.

Hulk Smash and I took a week off from preschool last week to organize the madness of my husbands stuff. Being married to an artist? Crazy!

I managed to sneak in a few lessons here and there and I’d like to share with you today a game that might be helpful in your preschool journey.

I’m a fan of printables but not a fan of how much ink I use and the cost of it. The concept of this alphabet learning game came from a printable I saw once on pinterest. I am certain the game worked in a way that mine does but my preschooler enjoys the colors much more and the fact that we incorporate household items into our game.

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Here’s what you will need:

7 sheets of construction paper

Scissors

A sharpie or marker of choice

Some laundry baskets and or a play basket ball hoop if you have it

A chalk board or dry erase board

That’s it!

1. Divide your sheets into four squares with your marker (make a cross on the paper that makes four squares. It should take up the whole paper because you want the letters to be big)

2. In each square, draw a circle and some basket ball lines like this

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3. Mark the letters of the alphabet in the basketballs and cut out the squares ( You can also do capital and lowercase but I just started with general recognition of the letters so I just put the capital letter on my basketball’s)

For the game:

1. Lay out all your basketball letters in an aisle and place your laundry baskets at the top of the aisle

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* For children learning the alphabet

2. Write the letter that  you’d like them to choose on your board (Ex. Can you find the letter C?) When they find it (and they may not, help them along by showing them where it is and letting them pick it up. I usually do an announcer voice and pretend HM is an all-star) introduce the sound that the letter makes and have them repeat.

Here’s what it sounds like for us:

HM has found the (C sound) C!!  HM what letter do you have? (He will shout C! Be encouraged to pump it up and let them shout!) HM what is the sound that C makes? (In the beginning I had to help him by repeating the sound and letter but we do this every Tuesday so he knows now what to do) Let’s see what he does with it!

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Crumble up that letter C and take it to THE HOOP! (he usually is running to the basket at this point) Will he dunk it or just plain shoot it? He’s running down the court in high-speed and he SHOOTS!!!!! YES!!! Perfect score by HM!

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Ideally this would be perfect for a little boy but you can improvise with all sorts of things to suit for little girls. I personally think a little girl would enjoy this game without all the noise maybe.

Well thanksgiving is coming! And I am patiently looking forward to a week off from preschool and food!

Please let me know how you like this game! And as always, with everything I post, I hope it helps and is an idea you’ll keep!

I’m so thankful for the holidays. It is always a blessing to me and my family to experience togetherness.

What are you thankful for?

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You might also like: Encouragement for Preschool Moms:Pressing Through the Hard Days, Howto Homeschool a Preschooler

Encouragement for Preschool homeschool Moms ( Pressing Through the Hard Days)

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I’ll admit. I haven’t really figured out a great way to approach this sort of topic. But I’ve inevitably concluded that I’ll be talked about regardless.

Yes I’m homeschooling my preschooler. This statement is frequently scowled upon among the “seasoned homeschool” moms. Because my co-ops may look like play dates and my curriculum is scheduled for the most part, around play.

My kid hero was approaching the first day of first grade in our new place. We recently moved to the country where corn grows tall, Manure in the street is common, and the smell of  fresh manure pits fill my nostrils and give the scent of fresh country air. Oh and for a city girl like me? The closest store is almost 3 miles away. Needless to say I have been feeling a bit out of my league.

So anyway, my youngest, hulk smash, watched his older brother get on the big yellow school bus and he didn’t know what to do. He was eager to hear how his big brother learned about new things and collected new friends everyday.

He wanted to go to school. So I being the super fantastic mom-woman I am, created “mommy’s-preschool” for him; Not just to give him something to do but to actually teach him something. I made a schedule, compiled a curriculum from different resources and planned our days accordingly and dig this! He actually asks for it everyday. It gives him the feel that he’s learning too-Just like big brother. And he is!

But something about it to other homeschool moms is tacky, improper and just plain insignificant. And sometimes I feel like giving up. The comments make me angry and sometimes hurt my feelings but I hold on to this:

  1. God called me as a mother to teach my child, train my child and point my child to Jesus. So there is nothing wrong with me teaching my child the basic skills they need to know. Whether it be early age 2 or at preschool age 3.Preschool is just as important as first grade or twelfth grade.
  2. I am preparing my preschooler for grade school and giving him the best learning experience by being his teacher.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

My advice to new homeschool preschool moms is this: persevere through the hard days and stay consistent. Your child needs that.

Sometimes my hulk smash doesn’t want to do anything preschool but I try to engage him. And sometimes he wants to just play, so I figure out how to make that a learning experience. And sometimes we just go play.

I try to treat the day as a regular school day. So we during school hours, we do school and after school hours we do other things.

I’m trying to encourage my preschooler to work on different things.  I plan to insert a number book concept, much like our homemade alphabet book, later in the year. We have currently gone through a month and a half of school. We have done the letter’s G,S,P,Z and now we are on O.

We start everyday with devotion. My belief is that if I need Jesus and the bible to keep me during the day, so does he.

We started off slow and steady and I was careful to introduce him to new concepts. Our weeks have evolved greatly! I figured out how he learns and what he needs to work more on.

Each week we do early math, phonics and reading, writing practice, science, art, and music.

Here are just some samples of our curriculum activities.

Phonics and Letter recognition-

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Letter of the week: G is for green, green leaves.

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Letter writing practice and picture find; things that start with the letter S

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ABC bag via theunlikelyhomeschool

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letter writing practice again

Math and cognitive learning-

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Marshmallow counting….and eating

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“Hotwheels” color sort

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More writing practice: Salt tray writing that turned into hotwheel mania. lol

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And can’t forget Lunch!

Homeschool is a big deal for anyone. The hardships and growing that come with it are essential. What I want you mama’s to understand most is that, if God laid this awesome burden on your heart and if he led you to this road then he will give the tools to stand your ground. Strap up! The journey is long and challenging, but so worth that “I taught them that!” moment.

Have any resources you’d like to add? Great activities to share? Comment below!!

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Linking up with: thebettermom.com and weddedwednesdays