Christmas comes alive in homes when parents actively invite their children to participate in the account of the Savior’s birth. Effective learning happens when children are allowed to discover, imagine, and create in a way that engages the whole child. Distribute this idea list to families with preschool-aged children to assist them in grasping the beauty of Christ’s entrance into the world. Here are some ways to engage young children in the account of Christmas.
12 Way to Make the Christmas Story Come Alive for Kids
1. Interview an expecting mother.
Mary made the trek to Bethlehem, while great with child. Have a pregnant woman (late in her pregnancy) talk to your children about what that would be like! Imagine her discomfort!
2. Give up your comfortable beds.
When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room in the inn. They had to sleep out in a stable. Have your children sleep outside (only if weather permits!) or have them pitch a tent in your home and sleep inside with sleeping bags. Jesus left heaven to be born in a barn!
3. Spend time with a newborn baby.
Jesus would have cried, like any other newborn when he was born. Take your child to visit a newborn baby. Imagine how weak and vulnerable God’s son became for us. Mary would have had to do everything for him – rock him to sleep, feed him, change his diapers, etc!
4. Visit a farm and meet some animals.
Imagine the animals praising God for baby Jesus. Can you hear the loud, “Moos,” “Neighs,” and “Eee Awws!” Sing a version of “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and substitute the words to say, “With an oink-praise here and an oink-praise there, here a praise, there a praise, everywhere an oink-praise…”
5. Ask a farmer or petting zoo employee to talk to you about sheep.
The shepherds were taking care of sheep when an angel of the Lord told them the good news about Jesus. They had an ordinary job, but God blessed them with being part of an extraordinary moment in history!
6. Take your children out for stargazing.
Be like the wise men followed the star in the night sky. Have them play an imaginary connect the dots game. Imagine following a star for directions, instead of a map or a GPS!
7. Imagine the choirs of Angels.
The angels glorified God with praises to announce the coming of the Lord Jesus. What would that have sounded like? Take your children to a performance of Handel’s Messiah or any other Christmas Cantata.
8. Create your own choir of praise, as the angels did!
Give your child suggestions for songs and sing praises as a family. (Even better if you can include some instruments for your worship!)
9. Have a sturdy nativity set available for your children
Read them the Christmas story and have them find the characters and act it out with figurines.
10. Dress up and role play
Have your children dress up (with towels and sheets) and act out the Christmas story themselves with friends.
11. Give gifts
As the wise men presented gifts to the newborn King, have your children present gifts to Jesus. Give them suggestions such as your time, heart, praises, thankfulness, talents, and money. Think of a tangible object that represents each gift and wrap it up. Keep the gift on display as a reminder all year-round.
12. Share the good news
When the shepherds returned from visiting Christ, they spread the word about all that they had seen and heard. Model this with your children by inviting friends and family members to church for a special Christmas service. If they won’t come to church, invite them to be a part of your Christmas celebrations and honor Christ as Lord!
In Luke 2:18-19, it says, “And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” When the account of Christ’s birth comes alive off of the pages of our Bibles, our natural reaction should be one of wonder and joy. His arrival into the world is our treasure, to be pondered our whole life through.
What ideas have you used in your home or ministry to teach about Christ’s birth?