Maybe it was the charming, nostalgic images. Or maybe it was just my natural born curiosity. But as a child, I was completely enchanted by Advent calendars, opening a cut out window each day, revealing some magical little picture.
Plus, as a child, I’m sure you can remember that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed like an eternity. The Advent calendar was a way of giving a little tyke some perspective of time while awaiting the much anticipated holiday.
I am currently teaching a religious education class to fourteen children that runs from 3:45 - 5:15 pm each Tuesday.
Ten of those fourteen are little boys who are, (how shall I put it?) rather exuberant.
In the arts enrichment after-school classes that I have taught, most of the students embraced the planned activities, thoroughly immersing themselves in the projects. A good number of this current group seem a lot more interested in wrestling and running.
(Last week I actually had to make two separate runs to the nurse station for ice packs to apply to heads that had collided.)
So the creative challenge here, in addition to the religious instruction, is coming up with simple and varied art projects to complement the lesson of the day that will keep the inartistic child happily engaged.
Creating a traditional Advent calendar would be either too difficult for that age group or too time consuming in prep work for myself.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when I received this creative and simple fingerprint countdown activity from Guildcraft, an online supply site for purchasing art and craft supplies. You can register with Guildcraft and they will send you weekly “Freebie Friday” activities that you can download (www.guildcraftinc.com).
There are two downloads of this Christmas Countdown that you can print out from Guildcraft. In one, the ornaments are already colored, so all you have to add are the fingerprints to create the countdown lights. The second download is one that the child colors, in addition to adding a colorful fingerprint each day.
You can make the fingerprints using either inkpads or paints. Acrylic paints will be long lasting, creating a keepsake. Tempura paints are easily washable, but will flake after time.
If you have trouble getting the download, this template is easy enough to duplicate. Simply draw out the wavy black string. Then add little black rectangle shapes as the light bulb "holders". Finalize it with the numbers "1 -25", one for each bulb.
Please let me know if your child enjoyed this activity. I will be trying it out with my students next week.