As the 12-day Nativity was launched this year, I invited a few friends and family to try one of the activities in the book. Here's what Nicole and her family did:
I have three boys, ages 7, 5, and 3, who are energetic and have attention spans like fruit flies. We kept our shepherd activities short and sweet, but they had a lot of fun and are still talking about what we learned on family night.
We talked about what shepherds do, and how they get to know their sheep--individually. My husband brought a bunch of their stuffed animals downstairs and the boys could each easily pick out which ones belonged to them--they knew because they love them and spend time with them. We made a connection with how Jesus knows and loves us each individually, and how we come to know Him by reading His words and living like He lived.
Next, we headed over to the kitchen table where I had laid out reusable canvas shopping totes, bread, water, and candy cane ornaments. We didn't bother covering the ornaments with anything because we're lazy like that, and if I were on my A-game I would have tied in how candy canes are a symbol of the shepherd's crook, but the boys were happy with their makeshift crooks.
We explained we would have a shepherds' picnic, and that the shepherds ate simple meals while watching over their flocks. The boys then each packed a bag and we spread a blanket on the floor for a picnic. We let the sheep (the stuffed animals from before) "graze" on the edge of the rug, and the boys had to keep an eye on them while they ate. We talked about how shepherds had to drop everything they were doing to go after lost sheep, and how we can do the same with our willingness to follow Christ. My husband randomly scattered the sheep, and the boys had to go after them and bring them back to the fold with their crooks. This was a scream! They watched vigilantly, and even teamed up to help one another.
I loved how I could adapt the activities from the book to fit my boys' needs. We're excited to make The Twelve Day Nativity part of our Christmas traditions.
Thanks for this experience--we loved the spirit it brought to our home!