By Roselyn Smith
Advent is upon us and it is, once again, time to plan meaningful activities for our students. This can be a great learning time during this very important season in our church. Below are some suggestions for advent activities that every classroom can incorporate.
Advent wreath – Whether you make a real wreath for the classroom or a personal wreath cut out of construction paper and toilet rolls tubes, it’s important to teach the meaning of each week’s candle. If you have an advent wreath in the classroom, light the candle for each week and discuss the meaning. Add a prayer and you have a great learning experience.
Christmas carols – Sing a carol each week that speaks of the message of Christmas. A surprisingly easy lesson is to teach your students an old fashioned Christmas carol. Children do not hear these as often as adults did in their youth. O, Come all Ye, Faithful, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Hark, How the Bells, or What Child is This are all good songs that every child should know.
Advent is the time of preparation and waiting for the coming of Christ. Make an Advent calendar, paper chain or some craft that counts down the days before the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Many ideas are available but the meaning is always the same; prepare and wait.
Scripture readings – Discuss the readings for each week during Advent. There are direct connections in the gospel readings with the story of Christmas. If it’s possible, address the scriptures before Mass. It helps children pay attention better during Mass when they understand the readings and have just discussed them.
Outreach projects – Be sure and find some way to involve your students in reaching out to those less fortunate than themselves. Your parish probably offers some opportunities but if it doesn’t, you don’t have far to look. Every service organization gears up for the season of giving. Children love to be involved in helping others; especially other children. So do more than collect money. Teach about the plight of those you are helping. Encourage them to sacrifice their allowance or other gift money rather than Mom and Dad’s.
Advent is a wonderful time for children and a beautiful time in the life of the Church. It is of the utmost importance that we, as teachers of the faith, present the true story and message of Christmas. It may be the only place our children hear it.