As a former teacher, now Sunday school teacher, I get ideas and all sorts of thoughts on things to do with kids. But then I remember that my time with our Sunday school kids is limited and I often don’t have the energy to follow through with my ideas. (ugh!) So I don’t often do many activities as much as I’d like to.
Here are two Nativity projects that are tried and tested. You can do these with your class/children/cousins/siblings/grandchildren or just yourself.
Please note, this isn’t going to turn this blog into a DIY centre. I’ll still mostly be writing thoughts and current lessons. 🙂
This is not my idea, a dear friend in North Carolina showed me her nativity collections (I’m guessing she has at least twenty??) and the one she kept on her mantel was her handmade set from her first classroom. It was made of paper and children’s drawings. I thought it was priceless and loved the idea.
Later that year I did this project with my class of second graders in North Carolina, it was so much fun. A few years later, I did the project again with my class in Sydney. That set now sits in our kitchen window for Christmas. It reminds me to pray for those kids in that class.
paper/card stock or thin cardboard
empty paper towel rolls/toilet paper rolls
glue (glue sticks probably work best) but (sticky) tape could also work
colouring implements (crayons, coloured pencils or markers).
Cut out different sized squares and rectangles from the card stock and pass them around to the class.
Cut up the paper towel rolls/tube into short rings, about an inch or two wide. These will be the bases to hold up the figures.
Write a list of the needed figures to make up a scene. My list included: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Sheep, Shepherds (1 or more), Angel, Wise men (any number needed), other animals or Angels, change up the total needed depending on the class size or energy available.
Write the names from the list on little strips of paper.
Each child gets to pull a strip of paper from a box or container and that name becomes their assigned task.
Have the children think about the Christmas story and draw the character how they imagine them.
When their drawings are complete, glue the paper towel roll rings to the back of the cardstock, the figures stand up all on their own.
Have each child sign their work. I did and now I have a wonderful memory of two separate classes. We enjoyed doing it both times. I don’t remember the discussions during this time, but we did try to talk about what Christmas is really about, and read through some of the Christmas story in the Bible.
I had a Facebook memory pop up a few weeks ago reminding me of this craft.
And when I pulled out our Christmas decorations this year, I set up my figures again. Each child wrote their name on their figure. That’s really special to me, now I can remember special things about each child, and pray for them. They’re all in high school and growing up tall and smart. I feel old. Some of the boys are even taller than me now.
Another paper towel roll craft. (Sorry, if you have a thing against them, you can make up rolls of your own…)
I was brainstorming last Christmas on what to do with my Sunday school class. They are littles and not as skilled in drawing as my 5th-6th graders were with the above project, so I decided to make the figures, and let the kids colour them in.
I have a pdf of the project in our Resources Page. Look for Nativity with Paper Towel Rolls.
If you make this, please just give credit where it came from. Thanks.
I traced a paper towel roll/toilet paper roll and then started drawing faces and figures. Something I found annoying was the rolls will vary in shape/circumference. Sorry about that. I don’t have any way of controlling how big around yours will be. There is some space for overlapping, and the rectangles can be trimmed down as needed. Or you could trace out the drawing or enlarge them when you print. Also please note these are in A4 size, which is more narrow and taller than regular paper (8.5″x11″) in the USA.
printed out figures (I made a set per child, so they need both pages printed)
toilet paper rolls/paper towel rolls (if you do a set per child, they need at least five rolls/tubes each)
glue (glue sticks probably work best, but (sticky) tape may also be needed)
implements colour (crayons, coloured pencils or markers).
Give a set of all the figures to each child, or give different children a different figure to colour.
Cut out the figures along the very dark lines.
Glue to paper towel rolls, trying to line up the edges and trim off excess paper or paper towel roll.
Allow to dry/glue to set.
Allow students to play with the figures, telling the Christmas story. Cardboard tears, but doesn’t shatter when dropped. So let them play with the pieces.
My Sunday School kids made this last year, and they enjoyed telling me the story from Luke 2.
It is also possible to read the passage from the Bible while the kids work quietly. I like this that the kids can do most of it on their own, if they have gluing and cutting skills. If not, they can still colour on their own. (Most of the time)
I didn’t embellish with extras, but you could add all sorts of glitter or glue or even fabrics as extras.
I discovered this article the other day on a probably progression of the Christmas story. Answers in Genesis has many free and valuable resources. I found this timeline helpful in putting everything into perspective.
I hope these crafts are helpful to you, and please let me know if you make these.
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15
© Elizabeth Messenger