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EPIPHANY KING CAKE
You will need: 320g puff pastry; 200g golden syrup; 50g white breadcrumbs; egg or milk to glaze; a ceramic baking bean wrapped in foil; people-shaped cookie cutters; greaseproof paper; a baking tray; an oven
This baking craft went down very well when we did it at church last year! It’s an adaptation of a traditional French cake baked to celebrate the visit of the wise men at Epiphany, and involves a foil-wrapped bean ‘Jesus’ to find.
Preheat the oven to 170oC / 340oF / gas mark 4. Roll or open out the pastry sheet and cut off a section from the end for decorations. Cut what is left into rough halves and place on a baking tray that has been lined with greaseproof paper. Mix the breadcrumbs and golden syrup together. Spread the golden syrup mixture onto one half of the pastry sheet, leaving wide margins around the edges. Wrap the ceramic bean in foil so it is a good size and unlikely to be swallowed accidentally. Place the foil-packaged ‘Jesus’ on the mixture.
Lay the second half of the pastry sheet on top of the golden syrup sheet. Press the sides together with a fork and decorate with the spare section of pastry you cut off earlier. You might want to show people following a star, for example. Make a hole in the top of the pie for steam to escape. Brush the top of the pastry with a beaten egg or milk, then bake the king cake for 30 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.
Remember to let people know that one of the pieces will contain the foil-wrapped ceramic ‘Jesus’! Traditionally, whoever finds Jesus is pronounced ‘king’ for the rest of the day.
SHEPHERDS PLAYDOUGH MATS
You will need: playdough mats from youthandchildrens.work/links; playdough
Explore the experience of the shepherds in a very hands-on way!
Before the session, print off copies of the playdough mat and laminate them. This will allow for easy clean-up and repeated use of the mat. Let the children use playdough to fill in the angel shapes. As they create, use the time to chat about what the shepherds saw, and what ‘glory’ and ‘peace’ mean.
ADVENT JOURNEY SPIRALS
You will need: air-drying clay; small candles (Christingle candles are ideal)
This craft explores the idea of a journey toward the birth of Jesus, echoing the journey Mary and Joseph take to Bethlehem and our own waiting for Jesus to come again. It might helpful to do a test run before the session to see roughly how much clay each person will need.
Roll the clay into a long, thick sausage shape and slightly flatten out the top. Make a spiral with the clay. Take your candle and, starting at the centre of the spiral, make 25 indentations that are deep enough to let the candle stand up securely. Leave the spiral to dry. Every day during Advent move the candle one place along the spiral and light it, ending at the centre on Christmas day.
NATIVITY STONE PAINTING
You will need: stones; paint or paint pens; varnish (optional)
This craft helps children think about the characters of the Nativity story and also gives an opportunity to retell the story using the stones.
Paint each stone with a character or item from the Nativity story. Each child might like to make their own set, or you could make a group collection with each person painting part of it. Possibilities include: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, angel, star, manger, wise men, shepherds, sheep, gold, frankincense, myrrh and anything else the children can think of. When the paint is dry, varnish the stones to preserve the colours.
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