Here is our completed tree, with all forty-eight symbols attached, (you can definitely tell what parts of the tree were easier for the children to reach!). I’m going to leave it up for as much of the Easter season as possible, but the tape on the backs of a lot of the symbols is starting to wear out, so if the symbols keep falling off, I’m going to have to put it away. Next year, I may get some spray adhesive–according to the instructions that came with the kit, you can lightly spray the back of the symbol before placing it to help it stick, but it’s not permanent. I am a little worried about it pulling up the fibers of the banner too much, but we’ll have to see, because tape didn’t really cut it, especially for some of the heavier symbols.
I know I’ve said it before, but this was a fantastic activity. I really liked the suggestion in the kit to read out of a standard Bible in the morning, and a children’s Bible in the evening. While I don’t think a simpler version of the story was always necessary, hearing the story multiple times, and in different ways really makes it “stick,” and is good for discussion. Same logic applies to reading the story from multiple Gospels whenever possible–it may be repetitive, but you also pick up extra details you might otherwise have missed if you stuck with only one Gospel reading. I’m going to use this pattern of morning Bible readings and evening children’s Bible readings with our Jesse Tree next Advent, as well–I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me before, but I’m glad I have the idea now!
I’m not going to lie–putting together this project was a huge commitment. Between cutting and assembling the banner and all of the symbols, and creating a reading schedule for the children’s Bible readings, I probably put between 20 and 30 hours into creating this resource–and that’s with having patterns for all of the symbols, and the Bible readings prepared for me! It was well worth it, however, because of how much we enjoyed it and learned from it, (yes, even I learned some new things as we went through the Scripture readings!), and knowing that I’ll be able to use it for years to come really puts into perspective how worthwhile the effort put into it was.