This is more than a nativity craft for kids it’s also a lesson in shapes. My son did a similar cut and paste craft in preschool a few years ago and have always thought it would make a cute suncatcher. Well I think it does. I kept this bare bones with simple shapes that my daughter can identify and explore how when shapes work together they can make figures. We have been practicing our parts for our Church pageant and have just set up our nativity , so nativity scenes are very current around here. I was surprised that I didn’t have to help her at all. The addition of glitter didn’t just thrill my daughter they really added a celestial quality to the air in the manger.
Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper in brown ( full sheet), blue, green, yellow and white. The last four colors only use a little so if you have a scrap paper bin I would dig through it and see if you have the colors you want. You will also need contact paper, glitter and scissors. A circle paper punch is optional.
Start by making your manger. You will need to fold your brown paper in half lengthwise and cut from the inside corner to the middle of the outside. Next cut the middle out so you have a frame. Peel the backing off of the contact paper and pop the manger frame on so the sticky side of the contact paper if facing up.
Start popping them on. As your child does this label the shapes for them. I asked her ” What shape is Mary’s head?” ” What shapes make up the cradle?” I don’t do this a ton because I want her to be enjoying the activity but here and there working it into the conversation. Kids don’t need to be quizzed like this to be learning about the shapes they are using. Just by using them they are learning so much.
Once all the pieces are on ( oh and I forgot to mention we used a little tape on baby Jesus’s head because my daughter wanted to place it on top of the oval body). It’s time to add glitter. Think she was happy to hear that?
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Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown will sound very familiar to you if you are a fan of her book The Big Red Barn, which both my son and I am. I like this book but my son kept saying “That’s not right” thinking that this was the other book. They are that similar. In this book, though there is something that the other doesn’t have, most notably Baby Jesus. It’s a calm and gentle book about the birth of Jesus in a way only Margaret Wise Brown could accomplish. I would like to read it next year to my son when he can appreciate that it’s not supposed to be exactly the same as the Big Red Barn. Great book for toddlers and preschoolers alike!
Cock-A-Doodle Christmas by Will Hillenbrand is a really unique Christmas story. A little rooster is at the center of this book, he is so little that his cock-a-doodle doesn’t wake anyone up. He is very sad about his inability until that night he finds himself in the manger with Baby Jesus and finds his voice. It’s a simple book, with profound meanings. This is a great book for a Christan family or to read at Sunday school.
Who Is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate is a sweet look at the animals in the manger preparing for Baby Jesus’ arrival. The animals aren’t sure who is coming but at the insistence of the mouse, they clean and prepare the manger until finally a very pregnant Mary on a donkey with Joseph by her side. The next page is probably my favorite image of the Baby Jesus image in any children’s book. Mary’s hair is down, feet bare and Joseph is protective by, the animals are watching and alert. Illustrator Ashley Wolff does a perfect job with this simple but fantastic book!