Advent Hope Plants

Traditionally the 4 weeks of Advent each have a particular theme: hope, peace, joy and love.

As Advent begins this years we want to put some hope out there into the community and to encourage people to engage with the theme by thinking about what their hopes for the future are. This is a great activity for families to do together to encourage their local communities.

We’ve wrapped up some individual Tulip and Daffodil bulbs, attached a label to them and are going to leave them on the tables set up in each of our villages where people can give and take food items. This is the text printed on the reverse side of the label if you’d like to make your own:

What do you hope for?

What are your dreams for the future?

Where do you see hope in the world around you?

Plant this bulb in the ground and, as it starts to grow, may you see hope growing in your life.

Plant me NOW & look for the shoots of HOPE

in the Spring. Find a sunny, well-drained spot

where you will see me and dig a hole deep

enough to just cover me with soil. I need to be

pointed side up, my roots are in the flatter area.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God. With God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27

“Who do you say I am?” Playdough Mat

The moment when the disciples recognise that Jesus is God’s son is a really important moment in the gospels and it is a moment that can lead to excellent discussion about Jesus and what he means to each one of us.

This playdough mat is designed to help children to explore who they think Jesus is based on the stories they have heard and other experiences they might have had. Use the time when they are creating with playdough to chat with the children about their ideas. What they have to say might be really challenging!

Click here to print off the play dough mat. Don’t forget to laminate the mat if you want to use it several times.

Prayers for peace

Here is a very visual and watchable way to help children to pray for peace and the bringing together of communities. You can also use things you are very likely to have a home, which is always a welcome bonus!

You will need: Kitchen roll, water, 2 cups, food colouring

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Take 2 cups and fill them about 2/3 full with water. Into each cup, mix a different food colouring so that each cup’s water is a different colour. Try to get as strong a colour as possible.

Cut a strip of kitchen roll as long as a sheet of the roll and about 5cm wide.

Talk about divisions in communities we know or live in. What causes such divisions? Who or what helps to heal divisions and bring people together. Think about one of the names for Jesus which is ‘Prince of Peace.’ What does that mean? How can we help to bring about peace?

Think of a situation where there is division e.g. in a war. Put the paper towel as a bridge between the two cups, with each end of the towel in on of the cups. Pray that God will help to heal the divisions and bring people together in peace, as you watch the coloured water ‘climb’ up the towel, meet in the middle of the towel and combine to form a new colour (e.g. red in one cup and yellow in the other will lead to an eventual combination of orange in the middle). Try different colours for different situations and watch your peace prayers bring about new colours!

Shining Light Pictures

This craft is a very satisfying and visual way of exploring the concept of bringing light to darkness and revealing what is hidden. It’s a great activity to do if you are thinking about Jesus as the light of the world and our job to bring that light and hope too.

You will need: plastic wallets (I used ones that are open on the top and one side, like these), Sharpies or permanent markers, black card or paper, white card or paper, scissors.

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Using Sharpies, decorate the front of a plastic wallet with pictures and words about light and Jesus the light of the world. If you put a sheet of white paper into the folder while you do this, it gives a clear background to help you when you are drawing and colouring your design.

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When you have finished, take the white paper out of the folder and replace it with black paper. It will now be much harder to see your design.

Cut a piece of white paper to look a little bit like a torch beam or a ray of light and place it inside the folder, between the folder and the black paper.

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As you move the paper ‘beam’ it will highlight parts of your design as if you are shining light on it in the darkness.

Talk about:

  • the comparison between the darkness and the ability to see more clearly and in colour
  • What does it mean to be light in darkness?
  • What things help to make the world a brighter, happier and better place?
  • Where could we shine light and help to make our communities and homes brighter places?

Have fun!

Rainbow Prayers

Rainbows have been such an important symbol during the Coronavirus crisis of how we are coming together as a community and supporting each other. Here is a prayer activity that children can easily do with their families at home.

You will need: items in the different colours of the rainbow- red, yellow, orange, green, blue, indigo and violet. You might want to make it a challenge to find one or two items of each colour inside or outside the house or you might use a product that has lots of the same things in all colours e.g. Lego

Ue the items to pray:

  • Choose a colour, hold that colour item and thank God for as many things as you can think of that are that colour too.
  • pray for people that each colour reminds you of
  • Allocate types of prayer to different colours- choose a colour and pray that prayer e.g.

red- people who are ill

orange- people who need to be brave

yellow-thanks for things that make us happy

green- the environment

blue- people who are sad

indigo- people who take care of us

violet- questions you would like to ask God

  • draw rainbows and ask God to bless people in your community. Give the pictures to neighbours or hang then in your windows