Kids love countdowns. And I love when we can combine anticipation and chocolate with learning. That is the sort of thing that kids don’t forget. So I created a countdown to Valentines Day that helps us learn the famous love chapter in the Bible, I Corinthians 13, and rewards each day’s effort with a bit of chocolate!
Our countdown starts on February 1st and counts until February 14th. It can be done in may different ways. I chose a piece of scrap booking cardstock with candy printed all over it. Any cardboard will do. The main thing you need is small envelopes to put treats in. I made tiny envelopes, but they can certainly be bought. I sewed velvet ribbons for each envelope to hang on, because I wanted to reuse this calendar each year. A wad of tape to stick envelopes onto cardboard is just fine, or even fancier, colorful washi tape to tape over the corners of each envelope.
Before sticking the envelopes to the cardboard you will need to number one side, 1 through 14, and write parts of the Bible verses on the other side. I titled my poster “LOVE”. Then on the back of envelope 1, I wrote “is patient”. On the back of envelope 2, I wrote “is kind”. Envelope 3 says “does not envy”, etc. I wrote “NEVER FAILS” along the bottom of the poster. We only used verses 4 through 7. This section is a sort of list of what love is and is not, and lends itself well to the countdown calendar format.
I put an M & M into each envelope for my 2 year old. When I did it with my older girls, they sometimes got a piece of Chiclet gum or a Hershey’s miniature candy bar. Some years they got a coupon in the envelope for some fun activity.
Each evening my girls would open the appropriate envelope, flip it over and tie it back on the board. Then we would read the newest part of the verse and add it to the rest of the passage we were reciting. Finally, they could eat the sweet treat. My two year old is probably not going to memorize the passage from 1 Corinthians 13, but she is certainly becoming familiar with it. This helps when I talk to her about sharing. I remind her that “love does not insist on its own way” and she recognizes the verse.
Everything around our kids will tell them this holiday is about love. We can enjoy the fun and candy, but if we do not teach them what love really is, we are setting them up for failure. If they think relationships are about getting tasty stuff and having happy feelings, they will have a lifetime of hurt and not even know why. If we teach them that love is sacrifice and involves self control, we teach them to be a good friend, a marriageable spouse, a welcomed neighbor, and a productive citizen. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
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