Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review: My First Read and Learn Countdown to Christmas

My First Read and Learn Countdown to Christmas. Dr. Mary Manz Simon. Illustrated by Siobhan Harrison. 2009. Scholastic.

The sights and sounds of the season make this a magical time, especially for a young  child. A child is immersed in a world of twinkling lights, ringing bells, and sweet smells. Because your child is a concrete thinker, he relates easily to the signs of the season that he sees, hears, and smells. It's an exciting time! However, the seemingly endless wait for December 25 can be almost overwhelming. Refocus that childhood anticipation into the daily activities suggested in Countdown to Christmas. Your child will learn that the birth of God's Son is the reason we celebrate. So pause for a moment,  connect with your child, and begin the countdown to Christmas!

I like this one. I really like this one. There is a reading, activity, and prayer for each day of Advent. (Well, each day from December 1 through December 25). Day one, for example, has us making red-and-green paper chains to countdown until Christmas. Day one may not be the best example of how fun this book is--since it serves mainly as an introduction to the season of advent (it means coming) and this book in particular. But I thought I'd share a few days with you so you can see for yourself what this book has to offer families.

December 4

After the angel told Mary she would have a baby, Mary sang a pretty song. The songs we sing only at Christmas are called carols. Long ago, carol meant "to sing and dance." Some Christmas music is such fun that you might want to sing and dance, like people did with the first Christmas carols.

Sing and dance to "Jingle Bells" or another Christmas carol.

Dear God,
I am so excited about Christmas that I want to sing and dance. Amen.

Praise God with songs. Psalm 47:6

December 10

Mary was getting ready to have her baby soon. But first Mary and her husband Joseph had to take a long trip. They didn't have a car. They couldn't ride in a bus. They couldn't fly in a plane. so Joseph walked and walked and walked and walked. Mary rode on a donkey, bumpety, bumpety, bumpety. It was a very long trip to the town of Bethlehem.

Using your fingers, trace a donkey trip on someone's back. Make the donkey jump over a rock, leap across a brook, and stop suddenly. Then ask someone to trace a donkey trip on your back. Whenever it tickles, say "hee-haw!"

Dear God,
Thank you for being with me even when I am away from home. Amen.

She (Mary) was soon going to have a baby. Luke 2:6
and, last one:

December 13

Mary wrapped up her baby in some cloths. She had him on a bed of hay in a manger, which was a feeding dish for the animals. Then Mary rested. She and Joseph were very tired, but they still thanked God. They thanked God for the safe trip. They thanked God for the stable in which they could sleep. But most of all, they thanked God for baby Jesus, asleep in the manger.

Wrap a stuffed animal or doll in a towel. If you pull the towel snug, it is called "swaddling." Babies like to be swaddled when they sleep, because it feels cozy. Use your doll or animal to practice the safe way to hold a baby.

Dear God,
Thank you for the people who take care of me. Amen.

Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem. Matthew 2:1
If you've got small children--preschoolers and toddlers--in your family, you might consider using this one to help everyone prepare for Christmas.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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