When I was a child, I went to “Junior Church.” We didn’t run around the gym or have a snack every 30 minutes – no, we had our very own church service. We all sat in chairs and listened to the “program leader” announce each hymn (and we would sing every stanza!) before hearing our teacher give the lesson and ending with the song, “Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.” We had several Christmas traditions in Junior Church too – we always lit an Advent candle each week, there would always be a birthday cake for Jesus, and… we would always sing this version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that would tell the nativity story.
|a 4th grade mini-me with Mr. Yates (December birthday buddies!) |
and the birthday cake for Jesus in Junior Church, Christmas 1996
I wanted to pass on this song to my 4-year-old class a few years ago, so in preparation for Christmas we made a simple page every day leading up to our Christmas break. Then I bound them in books for each child to take home and teach the song to their families!
On the first day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “The promised Savior has come!” For the book, give child a construction paper cross to decorate with crayons, markers, or watercolor paints.
On the second day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “Jesus is come, and…” (go back to the first day – “the promised Savior has come!”) I had drawn on an upside down candy cane – the shape of a J – and the kids got to glue on red and white pieces of paper, mosaic style.
On the third day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “Come and see.” Glue on a white rectangle for a candle, then let children press their thumb in yellow paint and make a flame above it. Sprinkle with gold glitter if desired.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “Goodwill to men.” This earth was originally a coffee filter. Just color it with blue and green markers and spray with water until the colors bleed together. It dries quickly, and you can glue it onto the book page.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “Peace on earth!” Glue white feathers onto a dove shape. This dove was made using our die cut machine, but you could also freehand cut your own or find one using Google Images.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “Lovely angels saying…” Super simple angel shape – triangular body, circular head, and paint children’s fingers (except the thumb) to make the wings. I also did a little yellow glittery halo over the head.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “Lowly shepherds watching…” Again, these shepherds were die cuts (making things as simple as possible!), and then the kids got to glue on cotton balls for their sheep!
On the eighth day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “The shining star is guiding.” Children decorate a star with sequins, buttons, glitter glue, jewels, or whatever! This star was a die cut, but they are readily available at craft stores, especially at Christmas time!
On the ninth day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “Wise men come to worship.” I die cut 3 different colors of these wise men, then provided several different colored fabric scraps for the kids to glue on, representing the wise men’s rich clothing. (The velvet was fun for the kids to touch!) We also had foil crowns to glue on their heads.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “The manger is Christ’s birthplace.” A parent had donated some corrugated cardboard, so I cut it into these manger shapes. Then we glued in some leftover hay from fall.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “Mary is His mother.” Popsicle sticks, anyone? Just draw on a face and add some fabric for her clothes and head covering!
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Bible says to me, “God’s own Son is given.” This picture was from Google Images, and the kids just got to color it with crayons. And as you can see, we tried to write the numbers around each page of our books.
Not only is this an easy activity to remind young children of the true meaning of Christmas, but it’s also a great introduction to ordinal numbers (first, second, fifth, twelfth, etc.), great fine motor skills activities (gluing on small pieces, coloring, painting, etc.), and a fun way for them to “read” their own books later. And reading the book backward, this is what the last verse sounds like:
On the 12th day of Christmas, my Bible says to me…
God’s own Son is given,
Mary is His mother,
The manger is Christ’s birthplace,
Wise men come to worship,
The shining star is guiding,
Lowly shepherds watching,
Lovely angels saying,
Peace on earth!
Goodwill to men,
Come and see,
Jesus is born, and
The promised Savior has come!