Tuesday, October 16, 2012

day 16 :: holidays

This is Day 16 in a 31 day series on Teaching Toddlers Theology. I can't believe that it's already past the halfway point! It's quite the challenge I've taken on, but its been fun and SO good for me! If you haven't been following along and want to view my menu of posts so far, click on this intro post to catch up! Thanks to all of you who've been reading along and sending encouragement! :)

So in the next couple days, I'm going to start going through some of the individual Bible stories and draw out spiritual lessons and how to teach more of who God is from them. This has been a huge part of how I teach Titus who God is, his spiritual need and many spiritual truths. I'm looking forward to this because intentional teaching is what I'm so passionate about!

Today, I want to touch on something that I will mention more about when I get to certain Bible stories, but I felt like it was important enough to give it its own post.

The holidays are a great time to talk about spiritual things with our young children. And by holidays, I'm referring to the Holy-days, spiritual holidays, ie Christmas and Easter, specifically, but also Thanksgiving. Especially since spiritual holidays are so driven by consumerism, we must make the concerted effort to teach our little ones the true meaning of the holidays. If they aren't taught by us, there aren't many other places they will hear it from.

There are more ways to teach the true meaning of Christmas and Easter than just reading or telling the stories, although that is important too!

There are SO many fun things that you can do to remember and teach the spiritual meanings. Find an activity that you can make a family tradition to remember the Lord during the holiday season. There are loads of great ideas floating around the internet, but with a little thought and creativity, it wouldn't be difficult to think of something on your own. Here are a few ideas of my own:

Thanksgiving: Go around the dinner table and share what each person is thankful for, read a psalm and/or spend a few minutes in prayer. 
Create a "Thankful tree" or a "Blessings jar" by adding God's blessings to it throughout the month prior.
Teach about the pilgrims and "indians" who celebrated God's blessing on them, placing the emphasis on God!

Christmas: Make a birthday cake for Jesus.  
Fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child
Give a gift to someone you know in need.  
Do an advent calendar
Attend a Christmas concert or Christmas Eve service.  
Go Christmas caroling to unsaved neighbors, singing songs about Jesus.  
Have a nativity scene out for your kids to play with.

Easter: Make resurrection rolls or cookies.  
Attend a Good Friday service.
Attend a Resurrection Day service.  
Create an Easter Garden {a cross and tomb scene together with dirt, rocks and sticks.ad

So those are some ideas that I came up with off the top of my head while sitting here, some I've done with Titus, others I did with my family as a kid.

Toddlers need hands-on activities to help cement the spiritual/abstract concepts we're trying to teach them. I've tried to do this in a couple of ways this past Christmas and Easter for Titus. I looked for a great Nativity Scene for him to play with, not one that was for decoration! Like choosing a children's bible, finding a nativity set was equally as hard! Would you believe there were characters missing (like shepherds!) in some popular ones? I finally found one that included everyone in the story! The people look a little strange (haha!) but I've been very happy with this 17-piece nativity play set and of course Titus loved it!

For Easter this year, we had a lot of fun making Resurrection rolls out of crescent rolls and marshmallows! Each ingredient is symbolic of something in the Resurrection story, and when you finish baking them and break them open, the roll is empty! Such a fun, hands-on way to teach the story!

Of course I can't emphasize enough the importance of simply reading and telling the Christmas and Easter bible stories during the holidays! What better time to teach our kids about Jesus? The season just gives us that opportunity to emphasize God's work through Christ! Kids learn the best through repetition, so we should make it a point, especially during spiritual holiday seasons, to tell over and over again these stories of Scripture! That's how they'll learn them... hearing them over and over again!

 And let's not get so busy and distracted during the holiday seasons, that we neglect this amazing opportunity to spiritually invest in our kids! This is also how we help battle materialism and selfishness in our kids lives that these holidays seem to lend themselves to!

What ways do you make a spiritual emphasis during these big holidays? Share any family activities that you do to reinforce the true meaning of spiritual holidays.


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1 comment:

  1. Yay! I love what you're doing here!!


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