Advent is the four-week season before Christmas, celebrated by Catholics, Orthodox and some protestant Christian denominations. Most people think of Advent calendars with candies and treats. But that, like a commercial Christmas, is miles from the real purpose.. Advent is a lesser penitential season, a minor Lent. Christians observe spiritual acts of prayer, fasting and charity. They follow Bible-based Advent calendars and count down to Christmas reflecting on Jesus. One evangelical pastor is pushing protestant churches to celebrate Advent and put Christ back in Christmas, said Time magazine, Dec. 1.
Another practice is the lighting of candles on Advent wreaths. The four candles, three purple or blue, one pink represent expectation of, hope in, joy at and love unending, from the Christ child's birth. The center white one is the Christkindl (Christ candle). Here are free printable Advent wreath crafts children can make to explore those themes. Children might color and make their own Advent wreaths to use as mother and father light the family advent wreath.
Lee Hansen has a simple red and green printable Advent wreath with candles to affix. Catholic Mom, a one-stop resource for family liturgical crafts has free printable Advent wreaths, puzzles, games, Bible lesson plans, mass readings, games and Christmas coloring pages. First-School is another go-to source for Christian crafts. Look here for preschool Advent prinables . There are two sizes of Advent wreaths to print. Free and Fun Christmas has an Advent wreath coloring page to print. Use this for the baby to color in her high chair during prayer time.
Activity Village has a plethora of free printable Advent crafts, including several Advent calendars and wreaths. Use wreaths and calendars together. You might also make a Jesse Tree (here's my article with free printable Jesse Tree ornaments). Each day, children read a scripture passage about the lineage of Jesus. The Jesse Tree is St. Joseph (and Jesus's) family tree. It connects familiar Bible stories and characters to show how Jesus is at the center of it all. Children color ornaments with pictures representing each person (Adam and Eve--apple, Joseph--coat, King David--sheep). These activities give kids' hands-on activities to explore the holy season.