Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Martinmas Playset

Next Monday is Martinmas.  The legend is that St. Martin was riding through cold wintery weather on his way to join the army when he came across a beggar, shivering out in the cold.  He drew his sword while the beggar flinched away, thinking he'd met his end.  Instead, St. Martin cut his cloak in two and used one half to wrap around the beggar.  Later in a dream St. Martin discovered that it was Christ he had put the cloak around.

Whether this story is true or a legend, I don't really know.  But the principle is Biblical--Jesus says that what we do for the least of these we are also doing for him.  So Martinmas is a holiday we happily celebrate in our home!  

We'll spend the  week focusing on the story of St. Martin and of Jesus' admonitions to be a light in the world.  Our memory verse for the week is MATTHEW 5:16.  We practice this each day and spend a little time talking about what this means.  We've also talked about many of the stories from the gospels where we saw Jesus' followers being lights in the world.  Quinn has been pointing out things she and her brother have done to be lights.  

Traditions that surround Martinmas are lanterns and participating in a lantern walk.  For my little family, as Christ-followers, the purpose of this is to remind us of our callings--to let the light of Christ shine through us and to be His lights in a dark world.  

Seasonally, with the time change and the approach of winter solstace, the days are getting much shorter and it is dark by the time we are eating dinner.  My children are discovering this and commenting on it.  We are eating dinner by lanternlight this week!

I made each of the kids a little basket filled with playset materials to tell the story of St. Martin.  We have some little figures from a Royality playset (I think it's Melissa and Doug) that was an awesome Christmas gift last year.  Each kiddo chose one figure to be their "St. Martin."  They each chose a horse from that set, too.  You could use any play figures you have at home, or even make one from a clothespin or peg doll. 

 I also put out some wood rounds in varying sizes.  Little Man got to work putting one candle on each round!  Great pre-math skill of one-to-one correspondence.  As you can see, I also got out our stash of LED candles.  These are a hit during the fall/winter season in our home.  Great fine motor turning them on and off using the little switch. 
 You can see one of the lanterns we made last year on the table.  We have 3 from last year that we light each night while we eat dinner. 

 I also made each kiddo a cloak.  It's just felt--I cut it in half and put some velcro so it could be put back together. 
St. Martin can either wear it whole or it can be "cut" in half and put on the beggar.  For beggars we are using some plain peg people. 
 My kids had a wonderful time playing and exploring with the materials yesterday.  Quinn went and got a little leaf baby from her nature shelf and started a whole new story of St. Martin taking care of his baby.  So fun to see her dramatic play! 

Stay tuned for more post on our week of celebration of Martinmas, and our lantern walk on Friday night!