Saturday, December 15, 2018

Keeping Jesus at the Center of Christmas with Your Little Ones {And a GIVEAWAY}

As my boys get older, I am working hard to help them see Jesus at the center of our home especially at Christmas time. This can be stressful because I want to do it "right" and there are so many opinions out there on how to do it and what tools to use. I recently posted a list of all the fun Advent activities we are doing this year (and some more that we have done in the past) and while all of these things are fun and can point to Jesus, I want to specifically teach my children God's word. So today with just 10 days until Christmas, I thought I would share a few tools that have helped me feel more confident as I navigate beginning to teach my little boys about God and His word.

Memory Verse Cards (The ones I use are from Crew + Co.)
With my four year old, we do a new verse each month. This month our verse is Matthew 5:14, "You are the light of the world." I love hearing him learn God's word and I also use it to help guide me as I navigate another fun thing, discipline. I am amazed at how it has helped me discipline my children in a positive and meaningful way that simply makes sense!

Podcasts (Risen Motherhood)
I have found the Evangelism podcasts especially encouraging as I work on modeling this with my children.

Children's Bibles (The Beginner's Bible)
I can't emphasize enough the importance of a good and reliable Children's Bible. The Beginner's Bible not only has simple and relatable images, but the content is true and easy to read aloud to my kids. Outside of being a Mom, I am also in ministry so I use this Bible with my own children as well as other people's children and I feel confident doing so. This Bible has proven to be reliable and I love the amount of stories found within it! I have found other children's bibles that I love, but they are often missing Bible stories that I think children need to know about even in the little years.

With Christmas quickly approaching we are reading one pre-chosen story from the Beginner's Bible each day and I have a set of wooden ornaments that go with some of the stories leading up to Jesus' birth. We read a story and hang an ornament up to remind us of that story. My boys have loved it and it has been a great way to start our mornings together.

The Beginner's Bible is one of the most sold and most well loved Bibles of all time and my boys have loved reading from ours as you can see in the picture above. I would love to give away a new Beginner's Bible to one of you! Simply comment below and you will be entered to win one for yourself! I will also be posting the Giveaway on my instagram account tomorrow, @allie_renner, so you can enter there as well! 

How do you make sure to keep Jesus front and center with your kids not only this time of year, but all year round? I would love to know!

Monday, December 3, 2018

More Kid Friendly Advent Activities

There is something so magical this time of year and I don't want it to be a one day thing with my kids. I also don't want to look back and wish we had done more. Enter Advent, a way to prepare your hearts and minds for Christmas. And since I have had so much fun planning and doing Advent activities with my kids over the last few years, I thought I would go ahead and share a few more simple ideas that we have enjoyed or plan to enjoy this year along with a few tips to help it go smoothly. See my original post with more ideas here.

Set up our Jesse tree
We will add the first ornament and read the first corresponding story from the Bible. (This is something we will do each day until Christmas day. If you want to know more about the Jesse Tree, email me, but basically each day you hang an ornament on the tree that represents a story from the Bible you have read that leads up to the birth of Jesus.)

Christmas tree slam
I already have green cups and fake snowballs so instead of a Snowman slam, we are going to stack cups like a Christmas tree and then try to knock them down.

Make a skating rink for Charlie Brown (or your child's favorite figurines)
Pictured above

We are trying a different snow recipe this year. This one has shaving cream so is not safe to eat obviously, but I wanted to try a different consistency for the kids this year.

Read a new to us Christmas book

Make Christmas cards
In the past, we have used marshmallows to paint snowmen. This year we are going to use marshmallow to make Santa’s beard. I will add pictures as we do it!

Make a Christmas snack and watch a Christmas movie

Have a pizza picnic by your Christmas tree

Breakfast with Santa (or make a Christmas themed breakfast)

Christmas sensory bin
We are doing this one because we have the magnetic wants, but just look on Pinterest for other basic ideas!

Make snow cream (on a day you have a fresh snow)

Load up the car and go see Christmas lights

Give a giftcard to the Garbage man (or to someone who works hard and might not get noticed-Postal worker, Bus driver, etc.)

Decorate a Gingerbread house or have a contest!

Polar Express Train ride! (Or simply watch the movie and drink hot chocolate!)

Take coffee or a treat to a friend

Make Sugar cookies for your neighbors (this might be a 2 day activity including the delivery of the cookies!)

Go sledding or go on a winter walk

Have your kids choose some new or "like new" toys to donate

Christmas craft
We are going to try Dish Brush Christmas Wreaths

Read the Christmas story as a family and sing happy birthday to Jesus

Plan your activities in advance. Shop for your craft items, buy your food items, check your stock of paints, etc. That way you don't have to waste time during your day going out and buying items, you can just get right to your planned activity. (This is the kindergarten, type A person that I am telling you this. You do you, but this helps me because the last thing I want to do is go out to buy a few supplies each day with my two kids in tow.)

Keep your activities SIMPLE and STRESS FREE. You want this to be a fun way to enjoy the holiday season with your kids, not something that is going to be stressful for anyone.

You don't need to plan an activity for each day. Keep it flexible. The holiday season is already so full of fun activities that are already planned for you (Lights at the zoo, holiday parties, visiting Santa, etc.) The last thing you want to do is make yourself too busy or feel bad if you don't do a certain activity one day.