This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advent Prayer Beads and Advent Wreath

On the post about preparation for Christmas and general traditions for the advent season I mentioned two traditions we do in our home. The first is the lighting of the advent wreath each Sunday. There are 4 candles on the advent wreath, we bought our candle holder at a Christian book store for pretty cheap and added a wreath around the edges. The four candles represent the four weeks of advent and also hope, love, joy, peace. We light one additional candle each Sunday after church (we attend a 5pm Mass) until all four are lit. The pink candle (joy) is the third to be lit so it goes in a circle starting with the front candle.

The second tradition that I am starting this year is saying an advent prayer each evening, using prayer beads to keep track of the prayers. These are called chaplets in the Catholic tradition and can have either a saint medal or a cross at the bottom. My husband is Protestant and does not recognize saints so we used plain crosses. If your faith tradition doesn't use crosses a simple bigger bead at the bottom to mark the end point would work just fine.

purple or blue beads (the colors traditionally associated with advent)
smaller silver beads to go between the larger colored beads
Cardstock with prayer printed on it. To print the version I used, click here.
*these materials can be found at any craft store, I bought mine at Joann's.

Tie a knot around the clasp at the top of the cross, then add 2 small beads, 1 large bead all the way around until you have 15 large beads. Tie a knot when you're finished.

In the evening sit down as a family and each family member can hold their beads and (for literate children) the prayer you've chosen printed on cardstock.

Say the prayer 15 times, moving your fingers along each large bead to keep track. This is an extremely meditative practice and is great for focusing attention on the Lord. In our home Tobias is still very young so he just played with his beads while I said the prayers :) But over time he will be expected to at least sit quietly during this prayer time and later will follow along with the beads and eventually pray with us. For now his only participation is to watch us and say "Ahh-may!" at the end.

*Shoes are not required for this activity, in fact Tobias discovered that the prayer beads are perfect size to fit around his foot and ankle :)

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