ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS
We have lots of resources for helping you make Christmas meaningful for the children of your church and community. Click on the titles below to find out more about them. Enjoy!
A Kids Friendly Advent
Advent is a wonderful opportunity to fully involve children in the first half of your worship service and then follow up your activities and lesson in church with some fun Christmas crafts in your children’s programme. Too many of our children, even churchgoers, still forget the real reason for the season. Try these activities and ideas to remind the children and families of your faith community that Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ – a time of hope, joy, peace and love.
A Family Advent Calendar
A printable calendar with reflections and activities for the Advent season for use by families at home. Download
Christmas Songs and Rhymes for Preschoolers
We’ve gathered some of our favourite songs and rhymes that are easy to do with all ages. Enjoy! Download
Christmas Games & Quizzes
As much as children love to hear the same stories over and over again, it helps to embed it when we tell it in different ways using as many senses as possible. So this Christmas consider sharing the Christmas story in lots of fun ways, such as Christmas games and quizzes. Download
Christmas lends itself to craft making, baking and all those nostalgic and traditional activities. How many of us still have those macaroni spray-painted angels made by our preschool children in our decoration box? They tell a story and hold memories of special times. Making crafts together also creates an opportunity to chat about the Christmas story as we go and unpack the true meaning of Christmas and what it means to give and not just receive. This resource is a compilation of crafts taken from the web. Download
A Collection of Christmas Pageant
Sharing the Christmas Story – Four Sunday School Lessons
Children love stories and never tire of hearing them over and over again. The story of Jesus’ birth must surely be one of the greatest stories ever told and even adults delight in hearing it again every Christmas. These sample Kids Friendly Sunday School lessons give some ideas and structure for bringing the story alive for children. Download
Mary and Joseph Advent Journey
Mary and Joseph (knitted figurines in a basket) have a long journey ahead through advent, travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem. As it is a very long and uncomfortable journey, especially as Mary is pregnant with baby Jesus, they will need to rest a lot on their way. This resource provides ideas to help you organise the families in your church to host Mary and Joseph; to have them come and visit them at their house and have a rest for the night. This is a wonderful way to connect families in the church as there is a time of sharing the story and praying together each time that Mary and Joseph are handed over to the next host family. Download
A Christmas Prayer Journey
This wonderful all age interactive multi-sensory experience of the Christmas story is easy to create. Journey from station to station using indoors and outdoors, or place stations around your church sanctuary. Or you could place the stations at intervals on a prayer labyrinth. Download
Christmas Prayer Spaces
Use this wonderful resource of Christmas prayer stations created by Rev Sharon Ross Ensor and Anna Davis in your church, school, home or kids club. Download
For digital copies of the station posters, contact the Kids Friendly team firstname.lastname@example.org
A Family Advent Celebration – Advent@Highgate
Some of our churches are taking Advent traditions and re-modeling them into celebrations that are breathing life and expectation into families at this time of year. Jane Davis of Kids Friendly Highgate Presbyterian Church, Dunedin has shared how they did this in 2009. Be inspired! Take some or all of these ideas to help your families anticipate and celebrate the hope, joy, peace and love of Christmas. Download
A Family Advent Celebration Posters
A Community Christmas Sheep Trail
Mosgiel and Flagstaff Presbyterian churches in Dunedin and Knox Waitara had fun adapting The Messy Nativity in true Kiwi style.
- Knit or buy some soft sheep
- Invite local shopkeepers to name them and hide them in their shops
- Children and families hear the Christmas story and are challenged to help one poor shepherd find his sheep so he can go and see the baby Jesus
- The children/families pick up a sheet to go around the shops to find the sheep, writing their names by the shop name. Sheets (with details of the challenge and the full nativity story) are handed in at the participating Churches’ Christmas Eve services or community event
- When the prize(s) are drawn, the lucky winners get to choose a sheep to keep
This activity is not only a wonderful way to interact with the community but also a perfect opportunity to unite and support local business through positive interaction with the church. It can also be done on a smaller scale at home or with neighbours. Download a Community Christmas Sheep Trail
LENT AND EASTER
Celebrating Shrove Tuesday
Highgate Presbyterian Church, Dunedin, shares their experience and resources for organising a Shrove Tuesday pancake event in this resource.
A Kids Friendly Lent & Easter
Lent and Easter are central to our and our children’s faith. Too often we omit the cruel and violent parts of the story when we teach children, believing it to be inappropriate. But if we do this we deny them the whole Christian story. Children can and do respond to traditional Lenten spiritual disciplines in meaningful ways. So this Lent and Easter consider sharing the whole story of Jesus death and resurrection. I hope this resource will equip you in your ministry to children and families. A Kids Friendly Lent and Easter
Families Lent Calendar
A printable calendar with reflections and activities for the family to use at home during the Lenten season.
Kids Friendly Reflections for Lent
The Lenten period offers a wonderful opportunity for families to spend time together around God’s word. Over the years, Kids Friendly has partnered with Presbyterian Support to produce a booklet of weekly devotions for adults and children. Each week families are asked to set aside one night to reflect on what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus: “Ready” – read the word of God, “Steady” – talk about it, “Go” – reach out in love.
The Family Faith Pack – Journey Towards Easter
A series of six weekly family devotions for Lent. Download
Celebrating Pentecost with Children
Sometimes described as the birthday of the church,the Pentecost story lends itself to interactive and creative multi-age worship, church birthday celebrations, ‘messy church’ and other festive events – this resource will give you ‘pick ‘n mix’ ideas as well as complete worship services you can use or adapt. Download
OTHER CALENDAR EVENTS
ANZAC – Sharing ANZAC with Children
ANZAC Day is celebrated every year on April 25 to remember and honour those (New Zealanders and Australians) who have served and lost their lives in the two world wars and other major conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. Sharing ANZAC with Children
Matariki is the celebration of the Maori New Year. Celebrated with the rise and fall of the moon in June-July, it is a great opportunity to gather your community and celebrate God’s creation.
See our Matariki post for ideas.
Organising an Alternative to a Halloween Event
Many parents see Halloween as a negative influence and unsafe practice and welcome positive alternatives to trick or treating and scary costumes. Churches have used Halloween to their advantage by organising community events with names like Light Party, Heroes and Angels, All Saints and All Hallows Party. We have collated their stories, resources and advice in this resource. Organising an Alternative to Halloween