Preschool children love hands-on nativity sets that they can arrange and play with. Our favorite one is the Fischer Price Nativity Set because it’s chubby plastic characters and animals are the perfect size for little fingers. During center time, we love to watch the children talk to and with the characters using their imagination and what they are learning about the first Christmas story.
At home, here are four things you can do with a child-friendly nativity set to bring the Christmas Story to life.
1. Act It Out. Read the Christmas story from a children’s Bible such as The Beginner’s Bible or the Jesus Storybook Bible. Then use the figures to act out the story letting your child help you retell it as you go along. (Bonus: Recalling and retelling stories are great preschool literacy skills.)
2. Hide Baby Jesus. Consider hiding Baby Jesus until Christmas morning (just remember your hiding place), bring him out on Christmas morning, sing Happy Birthday to him, and set him in his place of honor in the nativity set. (You might even try this strategy to keep your kids in bed on Christmas morning.)
3. Move the Wise Men. Place your 3 wise men figures in the farthest room of your house. Each day, move the wise men closer to the nativity. When Christmas arrives, so do the wisemen. (FYI, tradition dates the arrival of the wise men on January 6th, 12 days after Christmas a.k.a. Epiphany)
4. What’s Missing Game. Place your nativity set in the center of the table after dinner one night. Have your child take a close look at it. Then have her close her eyes (this is the hardest part for preschoolers). While eyes are close, remove one piece from the scene. Tell her to open her eyes, and guess which piece is missing. (This game helps your child build their memory skills now which helps with information retention later.)