by Melissa Morgan
n the first day of Christmas my toddler gave to me: a froggie under a tree!
Toddlers give us the gift of seeing things all thing new; we give them the gift
of our love and wisdom. Holidays such as Christmas provide unique learning
opportunities for all ages, from preschool to high school. Preschoolers learn
best by doing, and will carry Christmas memories with them for a lifetime.
Rhymes and songs effectively aid memory. You will never forget what you sing.
Use a treasured old song—“The Twelve Days of Christmas”—as a memory tool to
teach about Jesus and the Bible. Add this allegorical thought: Christ gives the
gifts, and the church gets the gifts.
Draw a Christmas picture with your child to illustrate the Twelve Days of
Christmas. Draw a different picture every day. Search in an encyclopedia or on
the Internet to find picture ideas. For instance, look in your favorite search
engine for “Partridge in a pear tree picture.” If drawing is difficult, cut out
pictures from old magazines or find an appropriate picture on the Internet to
print up. Trace and color your Christmas pictures with your child. Share your
picture, along with a Bible verse, during family Advent devotions at dinnertime.
Or wait until after Christmas, according to tradition, to celebrate the Twelve
Days of Christmas.
“On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . A Partridge in a
Pear Tree.” This symbolizes Christ’s love, as in Luke 13:34. (“How often would I
have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not
have it so . . .”)
“On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Two Turtle Doves.”
Doves represent The Old and New Testaments of the Bible, God’s Word to mankind.
Teach your child where to find the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.
“On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Three French
Hens.” On the hens, write the words Faith, Hope, and Love—see 1 Corinthians
“On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Four Calling
Birds.” Name the birds after the Four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
calling out God’s Good News. Read the story of Christ’s birth in Luke 2: 1–20.
“On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Five Golden
Rings.” These gold rings represent the first Five Books of the Old
Testament—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy—also known as the
Torah. Take turns finding the first five books in the Old Testament.
“On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Six Geese
A-Laying.” There are six creation days in Genesis 1. Draw eggs to symbolize
creation days. Read Genesis 1 together.
“On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Seven Swans
A-Swimming.” Learn seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, ministry, teaching,
exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion. Read Romans 12:6–8 and 1
“On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Eight Maids
A-Milking.” Single-serving milk cartons could help you remember eight blessed
Beatitudes from Matthew 5:3–10: Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn,
the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure
in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
“On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Nine Ladies
Dancing.” Draw the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit named in Galatians 5:22,
dancing with joy: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Ten Lords
A-Leaping.” Lords make laws or rules. Picture the Ten Commandments in Exodus
20:1–17. Draw a number and a “Lord” face beside each Commandment, and read them
aloud at dinner.
“On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Eleven Pipers
Piping.” Pipers play instruments, such as flutes, to lead the faithful, as did
the eleven Faithful Apostles. Draw eleven flutes and read Luke 6:14–16. Judas
betrayed Jesus, or there would have been twelve. Can you name all the Faithful
“On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . Twelve Drummers
Drumming.” Drummers announce important events, and the Apostles’ Creed heralds
twelve Christian doctrines. Read the Apostles’ Creed together.
Dennis Bratcher notes that “these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but
in most of the Western Church the twelve days are from Christmas until the
beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until
January 5th).” Listen to Christmas songs, view animated pictures, and read more
about the Twelve Days of Christmas: cresourcei.org/cy12days.html.
homeschoolers know how to “Google it” using google.com. Try out these less
common resources to research more on the Twelve Days of Christmas:
- Type in your questions, such as “Who wrote the Twelve Days of Christmas?” at Ask Jeeves,
- Dog Pile searches a variety of search engines at once, dogpile.com
- HotBot, filter option, hotbot.com
- Research-It!, iTools.com/research-it
- Yahoo Directory, yahoo.com/Education, will narrow your
results, and Yahooligans, yahooligans.com, is designed for kids (but as always,
adult supervision is encouraged).
After Christmas holidays, take The Twelve Days
of Christmas back to homeschool. Use your imagination: rhymes, songs and memory
tools make all your subjects more fun and memorable.
Try key words and picture
clues to learn and remember ordinal numbers in math. Associate key words such as
a partridge (for first) or drums (for twelfth). For tenth, think of leaping
lords or men, or imagine the lords as frogs, leaping. Use whatever number word
picture clue you remember best.