Find & Fill Nativity Scene Game

We are a church going family and even though I am quite private about our faith I wanted to share this simple nativity activity with you. Every year since my son was 1 we have put out our Little People Christmas Story Nativity Scene Playset and played with it. I have tried to teach my son and now my daughter about who everyone is in it but it didn’t really stick. My 2 year old refuses to call the angel Gabriel anything other than the Tooth fairy .  I decided it was time to learn more about who these people were and the roles they played in the Christmas story. Kids play to learn so making it a game was just what we needed.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, pen , a basket, a nativity scene with figurines and a book about the Christmas story.
  2. Write out clues for each figure. Mine were super simple like ” I am the Son of God. I was born in a manger. Who am I? Find me in the dining room. ” Adjust the info about each person based on your child’s age and knowledge. I hand wrote mine because as always I decided to do this spur of the moment. My messy handwriting completely frustrated my son while he was reading . Type it out if you have the time.
  3. Read the story first ( see below for the story we read). I find that reading it first is the best way to create a connection with who each figure is. Let them identify the figures in the scene too.
  4. Next send the kids away and hide the figures. My favorite was the Angel on the soup can in the pantry.
  5. Put the basket of clues in the manger. Have your children tell you who is missing. Read the first clue.
  6. Find the missing pieces.  Ask your kids who they are and why they are important.
  7. Place them back in the manger and pull the next clue. My son read the clues but my daughter mimicked him much to my total pleasure. It was adorable and really great early literacy learning!
  8. Keep going until the nativity scene is complete.

Books About Christmas

What Is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great board book for little children about Christmas. It touches on all the fun and cultural aspects of Christmas in a positive way but reminds the readers that really it’s about Jesus’ birth. I like the book because it doesn’t make the rest of the traditions out to be wrong or bad but explains that the holiday’s Christian origin in a simple matter of fact way.

The Christmas Story: The Brick Bible for Kids by Brendan Powell Smith is actually one of my favorite Christmas books this year. I grabbed it at Costco because my son is all about Lego but I have read it over and over to my kids because it is a great telling of the Christmas story. Now it doesn’t sugar coat much so if you don’t want to read about mean old King Herod and how he ordered babies to be killed then skip it. It really helped explain the story of Jesus’ birth to my 6 year old and the Lego photographs were a great novelty.

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  1. Carrie says

    I would love to have a copy of your clues if possible. What a great idea! It’s a refreshing change from all the “elf on the shelf” activities and more focused on the true meaning of Christmas.

    • admin says

      Here are ours :

      Angel : I am an angel of the Lord. I came to Mary and told her she was with child. Who am I ?Find me in the kitchen.

      Mary: I am Jesus’ mother. Who Am I? Find me in the family room.

      Joseph : I am Mary’s husband. I am a carpenter by trade. Who am I ? Find me in the foyer.

      The 3 Wise Men : We traveled far to bring gifts to the new King. Herod asked us to report back to him but we did not. Who are we? Find us in the living room.

      The shepherds : We saw a bright start while we were tending to our sheep. Who are we? Find us in the bathroom.

      Jesus : I am the Son of God. I came to bring light into the world. Who am I? Find me in the dining room.

  2. Katrina says

    Thanks so much for this idea! My 2 year old son loves to play with his set and I was hoping to find a good way to make the Christmas story a little more meaningful to him this year. We will definitely be doing this!

  3. says

    Great idea! Had to pin this!

    We have had this set for years and my son loves it! And yes he also wants to play with it before and after Christmas. This year it came out around Halloween as I was down by the decorations and he saw it and begged for it to come out!!!
    I love the idea of getting reading involved. Great job!!

    Where did you get the pretty background pieces? My set didn’t come with those and I have never seen them before!

    • admin says

      It was a deluxe version released in 2007 – I am not sure if they still make it or not. It came with what you see here as well as the inn, Inn keeper and wife and a few extra animals. Honestly we don’t play with the extra pieces all that much.

  4. Cathy says

    This is a great game! Another game is played like “hot” and “cold”. Hide baby Jesus. Ask your kids to find him. If they are far away from the hiding place, tell them they are “freezing” as they move closer, “cold” and when they get closer “warm” and when they are closest “hot”! This is a family favorite, especially with smaller children (but older kids like hiding the baby).

  5. Leagh says

    I love this idea!!! I refuse to to the angel, or elf on a shelf and this is a perfect thing to do with my kiddos. We have nativity scenes in all rooms to remind us of why we celebrate this season. Thank you so much for sharing!! And my kids are free to touch and play with them.

  6. says

    I was going to request clues, and here they are! Score! I LOOOOVE this activity! Totally doing it for our family night this week. I adore your blog. I used to teach elementary school before becoming a SAHM, so I am very appreciative of what you are doing here. I feel like I pin every post you put up, and every time I do a roundup of kid crafts and activities for my blog I have to actively force myself not to use more than 10 of your ideas. 🙂

    • admin says

      My Mondays are so busy and I read this comment while sitting in my car with a napping toddler waiting for the school bus feeling so drained and it picked me right up! Thank you so much, I am glad you like my stuff so much.

  7. says

    How you are able to think of all these wonderful activities is so amazing! I wish I could be a stay-at-home-mom to do them all. But let me tell you that as a working mom I really love all your posts and try to do them at home too. This is something I can definitely leave behind while I’m at work! Thank you and more energy to you!

    • admin says

      Thank you – I have long hoped to find things that all parents no matter their working situation could do. what makes an activity easier for you as a working parent? I would love to make sure we have more options for parents who work outside of the house.

  8. Monica says

    This is a wonderful idea! Lula, our elf on the shelf, has brought books, activities, a website (, and an occasional mischievous antic to our house. Thanks to Lula, several days ago we made a nativity wreath, to talk about the reason for Christmas, today she brought a book about Saint Nicholas that we talked about before going shopping for gifts for the local Angel Tree, and it looks like tomorrow will be this activity. I love incorporating both sides of Christmas..the heart felt meaning that belongs to our faith and life, and the fun secular version that surrounds us everywhere.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  9. Jennifer says

    I LOVE this idea! We have had the Little People nativity set since my oldest was a baby (7 years now) but have never done more than just play with it. We too go to church. I am definitely going to play this with my kids after play practice today (I have an angel and shephard :-))

  10. amy says

    Thanks so much for posting. We are using your idea for our Bible study’s Happy Birthday Jesus party. We usually have the kids put the pieces in the nativity as we read the story from the Bible, but this will be such a good twist to it this year.

  11. Lydia says

    This is SUCH a great idea! What kid doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? This would be a great project for our elf to “set up” one night this week. Thank you for sharing with us. I hope you and your sweet family have a wonderful Christmas!

  12. Robin says

    I love this!! We have several foster children, and introducing them to Jesus is always my first priority! Children learn best through play, & this is a great “game” to make the nativity make sense! Can’t wait to play this with them over Christmas break! Thanks for the ideas!

  13. says


    This is JUST what I was looking for!!! We always try for a balance of fun and spiritual on Christmas Eve and this is PERFECT. Thanks for all your hard work to make our Christmas more merry, fun and Christ Centered!

  14. says


    This is JUST what I was looking for!!! We always try for a balance of fun and spiritual on Christmas Eve and this is PERFECT. Thanks for all your hard work to make our Christmas more merry, fun and Christ Centered!

  15. sb says

    My co-op group recently posted a warning about the Brick Bible series by Brendan Powell Smith– apparently he is an athiest and is mocking the Bible and he openly makes fun of Christians who purchase his books. Please do research and read the reviews b/c apparently some of his books are extremely graphic and do not accurately depict scripture. Just fyi…

    • Allison McDonald says

      Every book I include has been reviewed by me.

      I like this book I don’t think it’s mocking in the least. I think it’s a good representation of the subject. One of his other books “The Brick Bible” is definitely not for kids anymore than the Bible is – there is a lot of mature content in both. I don’t think it’s fair to say anything doesn’t accurately depict scripture since there are countless interpretations of it.

      • Meghan Anderson says

        I totally agree. Yes’m the Brick Bible is written by an atheist, but it’s not inaccurate. It’s definitely NOT for young(er) children, but like you said, neither is the bible in its entirety. There are tons of stories in it that my children don’t need to know about just yet.

        I was sooo excited to see it at the bookstore, but the accurate-but-non-glossed-over depictions made me realize it’s not geared for kids.

  16. Llc says

    I know you posted this a few years back but thank you!!!
    My son received this playset last year for Christmas from someone. He played with it and then forgot about it. I fished all the pieces out of the toy box a month or so ago in hopes of doing something to help him appreciate Christmas better this year. I wasn’t even looking for an idea and lo and behold it just came across my feed on Pinterest. It’s a God thing!!! So excited!!!!


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