Monday, December 3, 2012
My preschooler loves the nativity scene that has been displayed on our bookshelf for a few days now. He is always spying the baby, the wise men, and especially the animals. Today was a perfect day to explore our nativity animals including sheep, a camel, and a donkey.
I explained to him that shepherds kept sheep for their wool, hides, and meat.
Camels helped move people and their things through the dessert in a time before cars and trucks.
Donkeys were also used as a form of transportation, perhaps even carrying a very pregnant Mary to Bethlehem.
We wanted to create a few hand print animals (here was our inspiration). So I painted my little guy's hands, one brown and one gray, then pressed them onto paper. For the donkey, we drew a face and a tail onto the thumb with a black marker. For the camel, we added a brown hump to the palm print and drew a face.
Donkeys and camels are very common residents of petting zoos; many petting zoos will even host or participate in live nativities this time of year. If you can, visit one with your preschooler and talk about the animals that you meet there.
Older children may also enjoy learning more about camels at the Answers is Genesis site.
Go to Google Maps (or something similar) and get walking directions from Nazareth, Israel to Bethlehem, Israel. How long do you think it took Joseph and a pregnant Mary to make that trip 2000 years ago?
Talk to your kids about what that journey would have been like without major roads and modern transportation. While camels and donkeys were often used as transportation in biblical times, they were not mentioned in the story of Jesus' birth. Can you imagine walking for 33 hours!
Take a walk together outside. Pretend that you are walking to a city very far away from your home. What do you eat? Where do you sleep?
Send a Christmas card to the staff at your vet's office or the local Humane Society thanking them for all they do caring for the animals there.
Enjoy a donkey's favorite snack - a pile of hay, otherwise known as pretzel sticks.
Can't Smile Without Ewe, Veggie Tales
Dominick the Donkey
Ronta the Lucky Donkey
Christmas in the Barn
Clopper the Christmas Donkey