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LearningCycles series Emmanuel, God with Us Creative Activities for Teaching Advent

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Creative Activities for Teaching Advent
LearningCycles series
Emmanuel, God with Us

The LearningCycles series offers a creative approach to faith formation based on different learning styles, appropriate for K-5th graders.  Each LearningCycles unit generally includes seven workshops: Art, Story & Games, Drama & Activity, Music, Kitchen, Movie, and Publishing.  This series works well for whole family/intergenerational catechesis and is a great basis for grandparent camps or other vacation bible schools.

This cycle is about the birth of Jesus and the amazing ways in which that Gift changed everything for all of us. Most of us live busy, overscheduled lives and for many, the holiday season becomes an even more frenzied schedule of shopping, errands, parties and family gatherings. In the midst of all this joyous chaos, our Church calendar calls us to be somewhat counter-cultural: against the backdrop of noisy malls and blaring Christmas carols, our Church calls us into the quiet, holy bleakness of Advent.

The season of Advent is about much more than a countdown to Christmas Day. Advent is about waiting, preparing, being silent, and being ready. This Cycle seeks to dig deeper than a simple re-telling of the Christmas story and talk to children about how we truly prepare for the gift of “God With Us” and what to do with this precious gift we have received.

  • Art Workshop – Create wrapping paper and coupon books to represent the gifts we have to offer and think about how we can offer ourselves as gifts.
  • Publishing Workshop – Reflect imaginatively and prayerfully on the experience of the shepherds when they encounter the angel of the Lord and the Holy Family (Luke 2:8-20) and write a Good News story with this encounter as the focus.
  • Drama Workshop – Act out charades about gifts given and received as a vehicle to talk about the Bible as a gift and to dialogue about how we respond to gifts.
  • Movie Workshop – Watch The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a film about a family called the Herdmans who have six rowdy children who end up all having lead parts in the local church Christmas pageant, which yields some very unexpected results. Discuss finding gifts in unexpected places or people. (Supporting DVDs can be found for sale here.)
  • Story Workshop – Hear stories about gifts and Christmas as a way to reflect on the gift of Christmas and the gift of story.
  • Kitchen Workshop – Bake and decorate Christmas cookies to share as a gift.
  • Music Workshop – Sing Christmas carols and learn about gifts through music while also preparing our hearts to receive the gifts of Christmas.

Click to find additional resources for use with this unit.

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Format: eResource
Product code: LR201
Dimensions: 8½" x 11"
Length: 30 pages
The Pastoral Center / LeaderResources
Written by Tracey E. Herzer