Teach the Meaning of Christmas With Five Sensory Crafts
By Emma Snow
Christmas is about family. Here is a collection of five crafts that you can make as a family to teach the true meaning and symbols of Christmas. Children will learn to identify Christmas using their five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Pick and choose the activities you think your family will best enjoy, and spread them throughout the season. Start new traditions. Most importantly, use the activities to talk as a family.
Make holly wreaths out of green felt or construction paper:
Materials: paper plate, scissors, three shades of green felt or construction paper, old newspaper, glue gun and glue (or craft glue), red beads (optional), 1 inch thick red ribbon tied into a bow (optional.)
Fold a paper plate in half and cut out the center. Discard the center piece. Make a pattern of spiny holly leaves using old newspaper, and use a fabric pen to trace the shape on three different shades of green felt. (You can also use green construction paper.) Use a glue gun or craft glue to attach the holly leaves to the paper plate ring, alternating colors. You can glue red beads in triangular bunches of three to the leaves if you want to add berries. Attach the optional bow at the top or bottom of the wreath.
The holly wreath, hanging on a door or over an archway, makes a fine visual symbol Christmas. The circle is a symbol of brotherly love. Demonstrate to your children how the circle never ends, just like our love for each other shouldn't end. In olden days when all other plants died under the snow, the holly stayed green, giving hope that life would come again. The red holly berries represent Jesus' blood, which gave man hope of life after death. The bow is symbol of unity, which families feel at Christmastime. Red is the color of sacrifice. Talk about these meanings with your children as you make the wreath. Every time they see it hanging will be a reminder to them of the true meaning of Christmas!
Ask your children to close their eyes. Move away from them. Have them try to walk to you with their eyes closed. Then repeat the activity, but this time ring a jingle bell. Bells ring out to lost sheep and guide them back to safety. Jesus is sometimes called the Good Shepherd, guiding every child to safety. You may want to tie the jingle bell to a branch of your Christmas tree, or attach one to your child's shoelace to remind them of the Christmas season.
Scented Orange Ornaments:
Materials Needed: several small to medium oranges or tangerines, 1 bottle whole cloves, wire and cutters, 1 inch (or thicker) ribbon, tied into a bow.
Gently make a vertical surface cut at each quarter of the orange. Carefully poke the wire through bottom of the orange and push through the top. Secure by twisting the wire into a circle, thus holding the orange in place. Dry the wire with a paper towel if it got juicy. Push in cloves, thorny end first, along the cut grooves of the orange. Slide the bow down the wire until it tops the orange, and fold back the wire to secure on a tree branch.
This ornament will fill your home with fresh citrusy, gingerbread smells and can also be wrapped to be given as a gift. Gingerbread has been associated with the holidays since medieval times, when the crusaders brought citrus fruits and spices back from the Middle East. At first it was too expensive for anyone but the lords and ladies of the castles to eat. Today it can serve as a reminder that baby Jesus was the prophesied king.
Decorate Christmas Cookies:
Using your favorite sugar cookie recipe and a variety of cookie cutters, spend an afternoon baking up a batch. Frosting, cake decorating supplies and candy can be used for embellishment. Make a plate to take to a neighbor, or hang the cookies on the tree. Of course, you must eat a few! Cookies and apples were used as the first Christmas tree ornaments in Germany, where they came to symbolize the fruits of redemption.
Candles have long represented Jesus Christ on Christmas, and have been used on Advent wreaths, lightstocks (Christmas Pyramids), Christmas trees, or single candles at the window. Light a candle and have your children hold their hands up close enough to feel the warmth. Although winter is traditionally a cold season, Christmas activities with your family bring warmth into the heart.
About the Author: Emma Snow is a creator at for Ornament Shop http://www.ornament-shop.net and Craft Kits http://www.craft-kits.net leading portals for crafts and ornaments.
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