Amy’s Free Ideas

The advantage of this advent wreath is that it does not have real flames or electric batteries to worry about. But the best thing is that the mint “candies” are ping-pong balls that you can use to play more than 20 different games. So as you count down the weeks till Christmas, you can have loads of fun paying together as a family, and make lots of happy memories!

To use an advent wreath, count four Sundays back from Christmas (sometimes the first Sunday of the advent season is the last Sunday of November.) Then choose a time on that first Sunday to “light” just one candle to mark the first Sunday of advent. You can light it during Sunday dinner, or during family devotions when you read the Bible and talk about the true meaning of Christmas. Each Sunday, “light” a new candle  If you have several children, they can take turns “lighting” the candles.

view 20+ games to play with ping-pong balls

You will need:

  1. 1.One plastic bag (white shown here)

  2. 2.One plastic plate (green shown here)

  3. 3.Four toilet paper tubes

  4. 4.Four ping-pong balls

  5. 5.Red ribbon to tie 4 bows

  6. 6.Red paint and/or red paper

Paint the top 2 inches (4 cm) of the inside of all 4 toilet paper tubes. Since the flames will be pushed up and down, it is better to paint this area rather than glue paper on the inside of the tube because it will be easy to tear, and get in the way of the “flame” moving up and down.

Make the outside of the “candles” red by either painting them, or gluing red paper to the outside.

Making the flame that can be raised and lowered, to “light” and “blow out” the flame is a little complicated, but you can do it!

Cut 4 circles out of red paper the size of the toilet paper tube hole. Glue it onto a piece of cardboard such as an empty cracker or cereal box.

Cut the cardboard about an inch or more around the red circle. Cut notches all around the cardboard: cut right up to the circle.

Fold all of the strips down as shown in the photo.

Cut strips of cardboard (left over from the circles) about 3 inches long (6 cm.) and about a half inch wide (1.5 cm.) Fold each strip in half, to make a “mountain” then fold the half inch at each end of strip as the base. Cut the “mountain into a flame shape.

Use a box cutter or sharp knife to cut a slit in each red circle.

Push the “flame” through the slit. Glue yellow paper onto both sides of each flame.

Glue the flaps of the “flame” to the bottom of the circle.

Optional: cut from a yellow shopping bag in the shape of the flame, and glue the bottom half inch to the yellow paper “flame.”

Push the flame in from the bottom of the toilet paper tube. You may need to use a pencil or ruler to finish pushing it up to the top.

You can finish pulling the flame from the top.

To turn the the ping-pong balls into mints, you need a steady hand, and the ability to draw free-hand. If this sounds impossible to you, scroll below for a supper simple way to decorate the balls.

Cut a strip of notebook paper that exactly fits around the ping-pong ball. It must have  an odd number of spaces because if it is an even number, you will end up with 2 red lines next to each other. If you don’t have lined paper that fits, measure and draw your own lines.

Use a pencil to draw dots on both sides of the strip of paper.

Draw lines between the dots.

Continue to draw  each line from the middle up into an “S” shaped swirl up to the top of the ball. Repeat on the bottom of the ball.

Use a permanent marker to draw the lines in red ink.

Continue drawing all the lines on the top and bottom. It might help to put a red dot on each section you plan to fill in with red, to help not get confused.

Fill in alternating areas red, and leave the alternating stripes white. The ink can transfer to your hand, and rub off on a white section, so you may want to fill in one section, put that ball down to let the ink dry, and fill in one red section of another ball.

If the balls have writing printed on them, be sure that those end up on the bottom when you put the balls on the wreath.

Super Simple way to decorate the balls: cut up colored shopping bags, and twist it around the balls to make them look like giant candy! Or buy colored cellophane (usually sold with gift wrap or craft supplies.)

Another alternative might be to put real candy on the advent wreath. Kids are always excited to get candy to eat!

To set up the advent wreath, arrange the 4 candles on the plastic plate.

Cut up a plastic bag into about 4 by 6 inch rectangles (10 x 15 cm.). Tie a knot in the middle of each rectangle.

Glue the plastic knots around the edge of the plastic plate.

Lay the candy balls between the candles, nestled into the plastic knots.

Glue a bow in front of each candle.

Start with the flames pushed down so you can’t see them. To “light” a candle, pull the flame until it is visible.