Wednesday, December 14, 2011

5 Creative Ways to Teach the Christmas Nativity Story to Children

"I guess I don't really understand what Christmas is all about. Can anyone tell me what the true meaning of Christmas is?"

"I can, Charlie Brown," Linus said. Then he stepped to the front of the stage, and he quietly told the story of Christmas, the day the baby Jesus was born." -A Charlie Brown Christmas
I spend a lot of time each December teaching my children the story of the birth of Jesus. As Christians, the story is important to our faith so I really want my children to know and understand what happened.

To help them remember the story I have used 5 creative methods (as in, not reading the Bible) to tell the story.

Nativity Finger Puppets for Elementary Students

My oldest son (age 8) is starting to think the Little People are kind of babyish. Thankfully he still thinks our finger puppets are fun.

We bought our set when he was a baby, which is a good thing because good ol' Amazon has finally failed me. A thorough search of the internet has not produced a single place where you can buy our set, but there are plenty of other finger puppet Nativities you can purchase.

I like using the finger puppets because they are unusual and fun for little hands. They also require audience participation since my 10 fingers are not adequate for all the characters in our reenactments!

Story Blocks for Visual Learners

Years ago I purchased Bible Storytelling Blocks. Nine blocks are used to tell 6 different biblical stories. Each block has one illustration for each of the stories.

You can use the blocks in a bunch of different ways. Children can put the blocks in their box like a puzzle. You can hold up each block for kids to describe the part of the story they see. Or you can tell the story and hold up the corresponding block.

Bible Storytelling Blocks are especially wonderful for visual learners who need to SEE what they are being told.

Side note: There only seem to be 3 sets of the storytelling blocks I own available on Amazon, so I don't think they are produced any more. Keep your eyes open for them at used curriculum sales and Goodwill!

Homemade Christmas Play

Last year we spent an early Christmas with my husband's family. My mother-in-law organized all seven of the grandchildren to put on a homemade Christmas play. She bought costumes but you could easily make them.

My kids loved putting on a play! Well, the 3 big kids did. Sam wasn't so sure about his role as the donkey but he looked really adorable.

Little People for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Children learn by repeating what they've been told during play time. That's why the Little People Christmas Story Nativity Scene is so perfect.

Our set (the manager scene, wise men, and shepherds) live in a basket by our Christmas tree. My children pull the basket out almost everyday and reenact the Christmas story with the sturdy plastic figures.

I really like that my preschooler can play with Baby Jesus and the Angels while my ceramic Nativity set from Thailand stays safely out of reach!

A Charlie Brown Christmas Movie

I would have never thought to use a secular video to teach my children a Bible story. But one day my oldest son (age 8) just started quoting the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus. When I asked him where he'd learned the verses he said from our Charlie Brown DVD. Imagine my surprise!

Linus quotes the verses from the book of Luke after Charlie Brown asks if anyone can tell him the true meaning of Christmas. After watching the video a few times all of my children could quote pieces of Linus' monologue.
It's definitely not a traditional way of memorizing the story of Jesus' birth but it sure is fun!

I hope that my children could answer Charlie Brown's question like Linus did. I want them to understand the real meaning of Christmas isn't "peace on Earth" but that Jesus was born on that day so he could die for our sins. Using these various methods have helped my children remember and understand the Nativity story.

What are some creative ways you teach the Christmas story to your children?

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Amy said...

We enjoy many of the same activities! :) We purchased Charlie Brown a few years ago and it is a favorite!

Stephanie said...

We added Charlie Brown to our video collection this year. I'm glad we did. :)

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