Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Preparing for Advent: An Illustrated Advent for Families (with 15% off in November1)

First of all, I have to say that I absolutely love this!!

Adam at Illustrated Children's Ministry has produced an Advent pack of devotionals and activities for families which became available this week and is well worth a look if you are interested in a more structured, creative way of thinking about Advent at home with your children.  Plus, Adam has given Flame readers a generous offer:  if you use the code Flame15 you will get 15% off orders throughout November!

Full of things to do and things to think about, this resource is an excellent way of keeping the focus on Jesus in an absorbing and engaging way, accessible to children (and adults!) of all ages.

The pack is split into two different sections:

·      Weekly devotionals for the family including a short scripture passage, a reflection, a set of discussion questions to think about when colouring, an activity and a prayer- as well as some amazing colouring sheets
·      A build your own Nativity set to colour and make
·      An activity Advent calendar with an activity and a square to colour for every day of the season

The colouring sheets are beautiful and I know plenty of adults who would be absorbed in them too!  The Advent activity list is really well thought out and includes crafts, cookery, neighbourhood exploration and thinking about Christmas celebrations in other cultures. There are a few things on the Advent activity list that I’m going to be trying out myself.  I’ve always wanted to make Christmas crackers!

Click here to see more details of the pack and don't forget to use the code Flame15 throughout November if you want to order!

Happy Advent preparations!!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Jesse Tree: Printable Pictures, Questions and Activities for Each Day of Advent

I've been working on this for a while and it's great to finally have everything come together!  

The Jesse tree is a lovely tradition where, each day of Advent, a new ornament is added to a tree to symbolise a different story or person from the Bible leading up to the birth of Jesus. It is linked to Isaiah 11: 1

The royal line of David is like a tree that has been cut down; but just as new branches sprout from a stump, so a new king will arise from among David's descendants. (Good News Version)

The Jesse tree is a great way to show children people and events in the wider story of the Bible, from creation to Christmas, and to emphasise the fact that Jesus is part of the line of Jesse and David.  He is firmly rooted in a story that spans back through the ages.

This particular version of the Jesse Tree uses 24 stories from creation to the visit of the wise men.  For each day there is a suggested story to explore, a picture to colour in and hang as a decoration on the tree (either a Christmas tree or a collection of branches in a vase!), a question to ask and an activity to do.

We have made some little booklets for parents to take home, along with some separately printed pictures for children to colour and make into ornaments.
Click here to print out the booklet (which includes the questions and suggested activities as well as a colouring sheet, a game and a play dough mat to use!)

I have also put together a list of where to find the stories in each of 4 different children's Bibles (though the stories will appear in most children's Bibles you can find anyway!!)
Click here to print the Bible story list.

These are the Bibles I've used in the list, so if you have one of these you're good to go!

Have fun and do let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

DIY Nativity Advent Calendar (with printable pictures and activities!)

If you've ever thought of making your own Advent calendar but wondered if it would be too tricky- then this is the post for you!  

Here you can make your own calendar that has a Nativity theme, can hold sweets and can also hold personalised daily Advent activities.  I love the idea of using a mini muffin tin and I managed to pick up 12 hole tins for £2 each at Tesco a couple of weeks ago! 

You will need: Advent Calendar Sheets 1 and  sheet 2, 2 12-hole mini muffin tins, Advent calendar activity sheet, sweets, colouring pens, self adhesive magnets

Print off the Advent calendar sheets and colour in the pictures.  Use the opportunity to talk to the children about who the characters are.  They should be able to find: Mary, Joseph, three wise men, two shepherds, a sheep, a star, an angel and Jesus!

Laminate and cut the pictures out.  Turn them face down.

Stick some magnetic strip on two of the corners of each picture

Cut out the Advent calendar activities and fold them up.  This is a word document so feel free to download and edit!  Put one activity (and a sweet!) in each muffin hole. 

 Use the magnets to stick the pictures over the holes of the muffin tins.  Use as an Advent calendar!

Alternatively, print out the sheets and stick the pictures on mini-envelopes.  Put an activity and a sweet inside each envelope and hang them all on a washing line with mini pegs.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Power of Prayer: Skittles Experiment!

This experiment with skittles is colourful, easy and makes a great statement about what we are asking God to do when we pray.  In essence, prayers are a way of joining with God and asking him to have an effect on the world and situations around us. We pray because we believe that our prayers, through God's power, will make a difference to the world.  In this activity, colour is released from the sweets into the surrounding water, creating a colourful picture, symbolic of how the prayers we raise to God are a way of us joining with Him to release the kingdom here on earth and have an impact.

You will need: A bag of skittles, a plate, hot water (not hot enough to scald, but hot enough to make the colour run!)

Arrange the skittles in the plate

Pour some hot water onto the plate to cover its surface.  Pour it carefully so that the skittles stay in place.  Wait and the skittles will gradually release their colour

Try an alternative...

Cover the surface of the plate with water and ask children to pick up a skittle, pray for a person or situation and place the skittle on the plate.