A little Advent planning… Week One

There’s something about paper and pencil planning that just can’t be duplicated on the computer.

I’m a little late to the game (as usual) but was inspired by Carrie’s post over at Parenting Passageway to do some planning for the first week of Advent. This is my absolute favorite time of year—the Church’s New Year!—and typically we put aside most of our regular lessons in December, save math and a reading book, and do some sort of unit study instead. In the past we’ve done the names of Jesus, Jesse trees, Christmas around the world, things of that nature. This year the children wanted to center the entire month around cookies, but that didn’t seem wise, although we will be working in quite a bit of baking. Instead, we’re going to center our Advent studies around the 4 kingdoms represented in the Steiner poem often quoted during Advent—mineral, plant, animal, and man.

The first week is the mineral kingdom—stones, crystals, shells, stars, and gems. We’re throwing gnomes in there too, just for fun.

Winter Saint: St. Francis Xavier
          Geography: Mapping Out Missions (PDF alert)
          Cooking: Xavier Soup
          Copywork: “Give me souls.” (St. Francis’s favorite prayer)
          Art: Enter the artwork contest from the Missionary Childhood Association
Jesse Tree Story: Creation
          Sun ornament
          Sun and Moon ornament—this one is too cute!
Mini Unit: Stones
          Lots of ideas on this Pinterest board
          Kindergarten: Gnomes and their rocks for sorting
          Kindergarten: Coloring with crayon rocks
          Science: Chalkboard drawing
          Add rocks and stones to the nature table
          Work on rocks and gems museum
          Science: Rocks and minerals main lesson book page
          Science: Chalkboard drawing and crayon drawing of the rock cycle, which is really the main point I’m hoping to drive home today. And here’s one more pencil drawing!
In the Kitchen: Rock cookies and Stone Soup
Giftmaking: Stepping stones or maybe felted rocks
Crafting: Story stones

Winter Saint: St. Maruthus
Jesse Tree Story: Adam and Eve/The Fall
          Snake ornament
Mini Unit: Gnomes
          Handwork: Carving tree branch gnomes
          Handwork: Santa peg gnome
In the Kitchen: Sesame Candy
Giftmaking: Boot gnomes, gnome catapult game, or treasure pouches for stockings
Crafting: Sewing gnomes or treasure pouches, shelf elf
Special Activity: Blackout Night (A night with no electricity)

Winter Saint: St. Crispina
Jesse Tree Story: Noah
          Rainbow and ark ornament
          Bring up ark and animals to play with
          Math: Practice counting by twos
Mini Unit: Crystals
          Art: Drawing crystals
          Science: Making three kinds of crystals
          Science: Crystals experiment
          Math: Cut and fold crystal patterns
          Add crystals to nature table
In the Kitchen: Stained glass cookies and rock candy
Giftmaking: Bath crystals
Crafting: Crystal snowflakes, paper snowflakes, watercolor with salt, stained glass transparencies
Special Activity: Mineral exhibit at the Natural History Museum

Winter Saint: St. Nicholas
          St. Nicholas promise card (PDF alert)
          How to draw St. Nicholas
          St. Nicholas ornament
          St. Nicholas figures
Jesse Tree Story: Abraham and Sarah
          Ornament: Learn to embroider stars on a dark night sky
Mini Unit: Shells
          Science: Looking at shells
          Form Drawing: Spiral forms
          Math: Fibonacci sequence in shell spirals
         Add shells to nature table
          Seashells tongue twister
          Writing: A seashell lesson
In the Kitchen: St. Nicholas recipes
Giftmaking: Seashell ornaments
Special Activity: St. Nicholas Day!

Winter Saint: St. Ambrose
Jesse Tree Story: Isaac 
          Make a pom pom lamb to represent Isaac
Mini Unit: Stars
          Form Drawing: Star forms
          Story: Star Money
          Learn how to draw stars
          Art Appreciation: Starry Night
In the Kitchen: Chocolate star cookies
Giftmaking: Star lanterns
Crafting: Window stars, star felt centerpiece, vase and stars
Special Activity: Trip to the planetarium

Winter Saint: Immaculate Conception
          Coloring sheet
Mini Unit: Gems
          Discovery: Gems and light box
In the Kitchen: Gem cookies
Giftmaking: Gem magnets

Stories to Tell:
Mother Mary’s Cloak from Seasons of Joy: Advent
Advent Table Story from Seasons of Joy: Advent
The Smallest Star from Seasons of Joy: Advent
The Legend of the Lightning Bug

Songs to Sing:
People Look East
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Traditions to Keep:
Adding stones and gems to the nature table
Good deed manger
Bowl for stones and treasures

Mother Work:
Needle-felted Advent pockets (inspired by this)
Make an Advent calendar
Start twins’ dolls
Make gnomes

Will I get it all done? HA! Not even close. But for me, it’s helpful to have a list of ideas I can pull from.

What are you doing this week?


  1. //

    Oh wow!! this is amazing. So many links to check out I can’t wait to see them all :) We are reading scripture for advent each day and this week making cookies and crafts for Saint Nicholas day and we pack a special tin of goodies to surprise an unsuspecting neighbor with some but I’m looking forward to having a look at the unit study links you have shared and we may have to add something extra into our days :)

  2. //

    I love how you’ve broken down each day. Thanks for the links!

  3. //

    Have you done the seashell ornaments? Wondering if you know what kind of clay to use and where to find it. That one is perfect for us!

  4. //

    Wow, such a great list! However do you find all these sources and inspiration?

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