Festivals - Christmas and Advent
CaSS has created an Advent prayer space for schools for children from Year 1 to Year 6. Advent/Christmas is a busy time for schools, but it is a time when schools are often open to experiencing the season through interactive and reflective activities. There are nine Advent themes: Good News, Hope, Peace, Light, Waiting, Gifts, Doors, Love and Joy. These are all areas that those of all faiths and none can relate to.
There is a general information sheet (click on the image or title to download this) and also instruction sheets for each activity to print and put out in the prayer space (you’ll need to download each of these separately - just click on the individual themes above). We hope you find it a useful and thought provoking activity to use with children in your school or group.
Watch CaSS' Fiona Walton discussing her experience of running the advent prayer space in a Sheffield school 2022 at a Prayer Spaces in Schools online training event.
The Bible Society has some great Christmas resources on their website, including a brand new children’s booklet, an instant nativity to perform in church, new Christmas stickers, lovely Christmas cards and more. Share the story of the very first Christmas with your family, church and community. Click on the logo or title to find out more.
Scripture Union have a great resource pack to help you reach out to your local community this Christmas. It features articles and interviews from experienced Christian workers who share effective and time-tested ways to engage with people during the festive season. Click on the image or title to find out more.
The Diary of a Disciple series is a collection of contemporary children's books, retelling the Gospel written by Gemma Willis. The accessible style offers a way into the Bible for the next generation. Christmas RE lesson idea: try reading the Christmas story with a class (they would need to be able to see the book). The story of the wise men is not in Luke's gospel and so is not in this book, so you could get the class to write the story of the wise men in a similar writing style. There are videos with someone reading the stories here. Click on the image or title to find out more about Diary of a Disciple.
'Mary set off travelling, with Joseph right beside,
They walked and talked for miles and miles, till Bethlehem arrived.
With a baby inside Mary, who was going to be King,
When they finally arrived, there was no room at the inn!
So a place was found by haystack and corn,
And in this spot, the baby was born.
So they stayed in the shed where animals fed,
And the baby had straw instead of a bed.'
Click on the image to watch The Well Good News of Christmas on Youtube.
Can you think of 12 gifts you could give to family and friends without spending any money? CaSS has created a worksheet that can be used either at Christmas or Epiphany when the wise men gave gifts. Ideas include love, saying thank you, giving a hug, offering help, sharing, not moaning, friendship, forgiveness etc. Click on the picture to get the pdf.
An animation of the God Became Like Me? Christmas booklet from Scripture Union. God Became Like Me? is a poetic retelling of why Jesus came, how much he loves us and how he is always there for us. It features stunning line illustrations for children to colour in while reflecting on the words. Click on the link or picture to download it.
Angel Gabriel brought Mary good news. Christians believe that the message of Christmas is good news for all people – God has sent Jesus to rescue people from sin. The word ‘gospel’ means good news. Click on the picture to download this activity to encourage children to think about some good news they have received.
In Search of Christmas is a trail-based treasure hunt for children and families, using a series of videos to encourage conversation and help crack a code. Videos are accessed by scanning QR codes, as the groups explore the local area. This resource is fun, interactive and engages children in exploring, walking, and sharing their thoughts on the Christmas story. Click on the image to find out more.
Are you a school looking to put on a Makaton signed Nativity and don’t know where to start? Why not check out two resources by Jacobs Ladder Productions. There’s Born this Night, aimed at early years / foundation and Gold Star Inn, aimed at children up to about 8 years. Written and produced by Primary School teacher, Makaton tutor and SEN mum, Rebecca Thompson. Click on the logo or title to visit the website to find out more or to purchase the books.
CaSS has created a sheet about how to do a Posada over Advent with your class or family. Posada originates in Hispanic countries and is a way to celebrate the nativity story. Posada is a period of time during Advent when figures from the nativity story travel around different households in the community and stay there for one night. Cilck on the title or image to download the sheet.
Wooden Artist's Models
Use wooden artist’s models (tip: they can often be found in charity shops), pieces of fabric and rubber bands. The image shows ones that Fiona has made.
Nativity Cut Out template
TLG has a great nativity cut out template to download.