Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Jesse Tree / Adevent Calendar: An Update

As I mentioned at the end of November, I am really trying to find some age-appropriate Advent and Jesse Tree ideas for my boys: ages 4 and 6. I am not afraid to admit that I was a bit nervous to start this, as we've not been very successful in the past... I have the tendency to create lofty goals and not follow through. Ouch!

I can say that this year, so far, has been a HUGE success. From the first day, the boys have been genuinely excited to be detectives and follow my clues. Plus, it's been exciting to see how things worked out a little different than I initially anticipated.

Day 1: Regus 2 showing off his work.
He loves using the hole puncher.
I will admit that we haven't been able to complete the ornaments on Sundays. I guess we're just a bit rushed in the morning. Instead, we've just done two days on Mondays to get back on track.

Our Advent/Jesse Tree Process 
  1. We find out what the day of the week and date is, then pick the "clue" card (background paper made out of scrapbooking paper) out of the advent calendar.
  2. I lay out all the available picture cards.
  3. I read* the Scripture written on the clue card. I may offer some inflection in my voice to help with the clue. If it's especially difficult, I'll give them other clues or words to describe the picture they need to find. 
  4. The boys find the picture that matches the story and talk about why it matches the clue (helping their comprehension).
  5. Color the picture, glue the picture onto the clue card, punch a hole, and add string. This might be their favorite part of all.
  6. Finally, hang the ornament on the tree.
  7. When Daddy gets home, either they bring him over to the "branch" (as they call it), or he asks them about it. I love tag-teaming my with Hubby!!

    * It can be tough to make little boys sit still during reading time.
    They are boys — they need to move. Our family rule for any story time is that they can play with a quiet toy but can't make any sound effects (all while sitting near me). This continues to be a work in progress, but I am definitely seeing the benefits. They are able to answer some of my questions, which shows me they are listening.
Here's what our Jesse Tree looks like on Day 19. It's fun to see the boys look over the past days' ornaments and talk about what they've learned.

Day 19: We're almost there! In this picture, you can see
the back "c
lues" of the ornaments and the front "pictures."

What I didn't expect
I didn't realize that the boys would start anticipating the Scripture, based upon the pictures. Before I even read the scripture for the day, they were talking about which Bible story went with which picture. That really blessed me beyond words!

Have you created an Advent Calendar or Jesse Tree with your kids this year? What has surprised you the most?


  1. Hey there Blog buddy :) I have been MIA...so sorry... we sold and bought a house during the holidays....so it's been a whirlwind...Love this!! Such a great idea...I so need to work on scripture memorization with my girls...and myself too. Hope your Christmas was great...btw...I have my own advent calendar post coming this week. I LOVED doing it the past couple years since my oldest is reading. Nothin sweeter than hearing your little one read the Word of God :)

  2. Wow, you've been busy! Our Christmas was fantastic. We spent lots of great time with extended family. I'm looking forward to your post. You're right, hearing a little one read God's Word is amazing. As far as Scripture memorization, we work on one scripture every two weeks. That's seems to be enough time and practice for them to memorize (plus hand motions help!!). I've been lurking on your site lately and wanting to try out more recipes. Yummy!