Nativity Ideas for Kids

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Christmas with the kids just seems to get more fun each year as they really start to grasp and enjoy the traditions and stories we know and love.  Noodle came home from preschool singing about  shepherds and kings last week {with a rousing chorus of “MY LORD!” that had us all giggling}, and when 2-year old Bee started joining in I knew it wasn’t too early to share nativity stories and activities with them.  I pulled out a few favorite nativity books written just for kids and they’ve been enjoying learning about the Christmas story and especially playing with our nativity set.

Nativity Sets, Books, and activities kids will love

Speaking of our nativity set, it’s nothing fancy.  I picked it up at the Christmas Village in Philadelphia last weekend in the Kaethe Wohlfahrt tent– I think it was the least expensive thing there, truth be told.  A few hours later, I walked into the kitchen to find this scene {with about .65 seconds to snap a blurry pic before those adorable teeny hands rearranged it}, all the figurines facing baby Jesus in adoration:

Nativity and Advent Ideas and Activities for Kids

They get it, they really get it!  Amazing.

While we don’t have this Little People Nativity Set (yet), my friends have told me their kids absolutely love it.  The benefit is it’s perfect for little hands and totally unbreakable.  I suppose the con is that it won’t look pretty on a mantle when the kids are older, but there’s always the pro of storing it away for the grandkids to love someday.  {is it weird I’m planning for grandkids already? does anyone else think this way?}

Little People Nativity Set

As for books, I’ll admit I hoard them.  Give me a topic, I’ve got three books on that subject.  The nativity is no exception, and my favorite kids’ nativity book is Who is Coming to our House?  The simple woodblock-esque illustrations show the animals preparing for the arrival of a very special guest.

Nativity and Advent Ideas and Activities for Kids

Nativity and Advent Ideas and Activities for Kids

Another book I picked up recently (at a kids consignment sale, of course) 😉 is The Stable Where Jesus Was Born.  It has a pleasing rhyme and beautiful illustrations with a simple retelling of the Christmas story.  With lots of animal illustrations for my animal obsessed kiddos, which is always a bonus in this house.

Nativity and Advent Ideas and Activities for Kids

My son’s preschool teacher tells them advent is a time of waiting.  I think that’s the perfect analogy to use with little ones– instead of merely counting down, we are waiting for Christmas.  Waiting takes more patience, a virtue you can never start teaching too young!

One last story that helps teach waiting over counting down is the Advent Storybook: 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas.  It’s the story of Benjamin bear and it shares a story a day featuring another little bear and his journey to Bethlehem.  For every day in December until December 24th, it has a short tale with a simple moral that helps guide you to finding the true spirit of Christmas.  We read it each day before turning over the tag in our family photo advent calendar.

Nativity and Advent Ideas and Activities for Kids

Nativity and Advent Ideas and Activities for Kids

Just in case that’s not enough, check out these other beautiful nativity scenes and sets for kids from around the web:

Wooden Block Nativity Scene: pretty ingenious, since it’s easy to make and unbreakable.  Kids love playing with blocks, and this attractive set looks just as great on the mantel as it does in the playroom!

DIY Kids Nativity Sets and Nativity Ideas

Popsicle Stick Nativity Scene from Today’s Fabulous Finds: made from popsicle sticks, clay pots, scrap fabric, and moss– full of things you probably have around the house anyways.

DIY Kids Nativity Sets and Ideas

DIY Printable Nativity Set for Kids: Print, color, fold, and glue.  It’s free to make, since it’s a simple printable.  Then you can recycle it at the end of the season and make a new one next year.

DIY Kids Nativity Sets and Nativity Craft Ideas

There are several easy wooden nativity sets out there, including this Spool Doll Nativity from Holes in my Shiny Veneer and a DIY Wooden Doll version from Little Inspirations made from unfinished wooden dolls from the craft store.  Beautiful, and fun to make as well.

DIY Kids Nativity Sets and Nativity Craft Ideas

DIY Kids Nativity Sets and Nativity Craft Ideas

Hopefully you found some ideas to celebrate the nativity with your kids.  What are some traditions and activities that you use in your family when it comes to the nativity, creches, and advent?  Do you have a nativity set you cherish?  And how weird am I for planning for grandkids when my kids are still only 2 and 4?!

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  1. I was just in the library yesterday and they had a nice little cart set aside with all their Christmas-themed material (which you would have loved, of course!). They had the Charles Santore-illustrated “Life & Adventures of Santa Claus” (an adaption of L. Frank Baum’s story), and it is gorgeous. And, with its mythological, non-consumerist themes, palatable even to an anti-Santa gal like me. (Also, we totally checked out the 20 best books from that cart. There’s nothing decent left for anyone else.)

  2. ALSO, this post has jogged my memory and made me realize that we had a homemade wood block nativity set with felt characters on it as a kid. IT WAS THE BOMB.

  3. No! You’re not strange! I am now a grandmother of a three year old and I have been so happy to be able to share her Daddy and Aunt Britt’s Legos and PlaySkool toys with her. She has built towers just like her Daddy with his blocks and it warms my heart to see her enjoying them as he did. I have started reading her Aunt Britt’s books and she is almost able to sit still long enough to enjoy them. She is, however, a child of this techno age and is well versed on the iPhone and iPad, those being her primary media for listening and learning. And, thank you for the ideas- I decided on a sort of Advent tree, where she gets to open three little packages whenever she’s at our house. One is a piece of chocolate, one is a trinket gift and one is a figure of our small Nativity Scene. We have two kings out so far. Thanks for sharing all the ideas!

    1. Sue, I love the idea of an advent tree! Your grandkids are going to love it. Those memories are so special for them!

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