Friends of my family growing up had a manger in their house in place of a tree and they filled the manger in the days leading up to Christmas with gifts for Jesus which is a great way to learn about the Nativity.

I love how that symbolizes the meaning of the season. Nativities are another great way to help tell kids the Christmas story.

20+ nativity play ideas

There are so many ways to teach the Nativity to your children. While church is a great place to learn it, as is Christmas songs, and reading it out of a book, sometimes a more hands on approach can make a greater impact.

Related: Baby Jesus & Three Wisemen Christmas Coloring Pages

So we gathered a number of activities, snacks, and other preschool Christmas Nativity play ideas, and even ideas for older kids to help you teach your child the reason for the season.

The Nativity

Christmas creche with Joseph Mary and small Jesus

Many of us have probably seen Christmas nativity pictures or have seen the preschool Christmas nativity that many churches put on during the Christmas season, but for those who haven’t….what is the Nativity?

The Nativity is the birth of Christ that can be found in the Biblical gospels of Matthew and Luke. It describes the birth of Christ in Bethlehem and that he was born of a virgin, in a manger, and that wise men travelled to see him.

This, to many, is a pinnacle moment and one of the most important Bible stories and if you are a believer, there are so many ways to teach your child about the birth of Christ.

We have put together a fun list of preschool Christmas nativity play ideas complete with Christmas nativity pictures, to help you teach your child about the Nativity in a fun way they can understand.

Preschool Christmas Activities

The Christmas story told by recreating Jesus in a manger, kids acting out the Nativity story, a German Christmas spinner, and a wooden Baby Jesus swaddled in a manger.

Make your own baby Jesus and manger with simple items, many of which you might have already at home. The manger is made of a toilet paper roll and baby Jesus is made from a popsicle stick and swaddled in white felt.

Away In The Manger

Everyone loves the song ‘Away In The Manger‘ and now you can add a craft to this beautiful song. Using the printable template you can make your own manger and baby Jesus is made from a wooden peg and is swaddled.

Preschool Christmas Nativity Play

Re-enact the night Jesus was born! Acting out the wise men coming to visit Jesus and bringing Him gifts is a great way to teach your children about the Nativity.

German Christmas Pyramid

My father actually sells these, and I love them. Make a new tradition with your family, and teach your little one about the Nativity, with this German Christmas Pyramid. Watch the Nativity spin!

Free Printable Nativity

Here is another great toddler Nativity set you can make. This free printable lets you make the entire scene! Not only does it include all the people, animals, and yes, Jesus, but your child can color in the printables while you teach them about the Christmas story.

The Nativity story told by an advent calendar, a craft using paper and popsicle sticks, a Nativity salt dough ornament, and free printable Nativity set.

Nativity Advent Calendar

This Nativity advent calendar is not only a fun way to countdown how many days till Christmas, but it is a fun way to teach your child about the Nativity. Each day has a different piece of the story and as the month progresses they will eventually put together the entire Christmas story.

Nativity Salt Dough Handprint Ornament

What better way to talk about the Reason for the Season than making an ornament!  This Nativity salt dough ornament is super simple to make, can be kept as a keepsake, and teaches about the birth of Christ!

Nativity Craft

Tell the story of Christ and let your little one recreate the manger, Mary, and Joseph. Don’t forget the great star that shined bright to lead the wise men to Christ. Once you have that drawn out then you can make the stable using popsicle sticks!

Stained Glass Nativity Craft

I adore this Nativity craft! I think it is absolutely beautiful as the colors shine through on the nativity scene. Plus, it is made easy with a free printable! This will require a little help from mom and dad, but it can be a fun craft to do together as a family.

Nativity Crafts For Kids

Looking for even more toddler nativity set ideas you and your children can make? Look no further! Montessorinature has got you covered with a number of Nativity ideas.

Baby Jesus In A Manger

Finger painting is such a fun craft. I feel like it often gets overlooked because it is a messy craft, but there is nothing more fun in my opinion. Have fun finger painting and recreating the Christmas story by making the stable, manger, Jesus, and the Star of Bethlehem.

The Nativity told by making the Nativity scene with faux stained glass, glitter paintings, finger paint, hand prints, and a pop up Christmas card.

Silhouette Nativity Painting

Heads up, you’ll want some kind of bin or container for this one. Trace and cut out the scene from the Nativity, tape it to paper, then let your little one paint over it! Once it is all covered and wet from paint, add the glitter! Once the paint is dry, peel off the silhouettes and you are left with a gorgeous piece of art!

DIY Baby Jesus In A Manger

Another fun paint idea! Using paint you can recreate the manger and baby Jesus! The handprint as a whole makes the manger and you’ll use your fingers or even brushes to make the hay and Jesus.

Easy Christmas Pop-Up Card

This is not only a fun preschool Christmas nativity play idea, but can be turned into a great gift for someone as well. The instructions are super easy to make this pop-up card, and it’s a fun way to paint. You paint the hay in the manger with yarn.

Vegetable Printing Nativity

Did you know you can paint with vegetables? Me either. But it’s such a cool idea to use vegetables as stamps. Even cooler, you can use them to make the stables, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph using potatoes and carrots.

The Nativity

This is a great reading comprehension activity that would be great not only for preschoolers, but even kindergarteners as well. Read them the Nativity story then use these free printable sequencing cards to let them recreate the story in the right order.

Nativity Sensory Bin

It’s never to early to share the story of Christ! While your toddler may not understand the story, this Nativity sensory bin is a fun way for them to become familiar with the story and different textures!

Nativity Crafts including vegetable stamping, story sequencing, a Nativity sensory bin, a Nativity graham cracker house, a lunch Nativity idea, and a Nativity poem and necklace.

Christmas Nativity Snack

Make snack time a religious experience with this Christmas Nativity snack idea! It includes all of your child’s favorite foods like: a sandwich, carrots, graham crackers, shoestring potato chips ( I love these things), and cheese! It will take a minute to set up, but it is super cute.

Christmas Story Bracelet And Poem

Learn about the Christmas story with this poem (that you can print for free) and create a bracelet (or necklace) to remind you of the Christmas story. This is a great Christmas craft for preschoolers, kindergartners, and even first grade students.

Graham Cracker Nativity Scene

Move over gingerbread house this graham cracker nativity scene is taking your place. This definitely takes some time to set up, but it is so cute, and tasty might I add. You will use things like: peanut butter (or frosting), gum drops, candy canes, fruit leather, shredded coconut, and animal crackers, yum!

Nativity Worksheet Packet

We have a lot of preschool Christmas nativity play ideas, but are you looking for something for older kids? This Nativity worksheet packet is perfect for kindergarteners and first graders. This packet comes with 30 printable pages and 29 different activities from spelling, reading, to math, and riddles!

Christmas Nativity Preschool Pack

We also found a Nativity worksheet pack for preschoolers as well. These worksheets not only teach about the Nativity, but work on skills with: fine motor practice, matching, learning the alphabet (both upper case and lower case), sounds, sight words, and counting!

Nativity Sensory Activities 

Looking for more Nativity sensory activities? We’ve got you covered. Here is a list of sensory bin ideas both for toddlers and preschoolers. All of them center around the Nativity and are a great way to learn the Nativity story and about different senses.

Nativity Crafts For Kids with worksheets, sensory bins, and a Nativity booklet that you can color.

Nativity Themed Easy Reader Book

Let your child learn about the Nativity by having them read it themselves! You can set the Nativity book up for them with this free printable, and then have them read out the story in simple terms and the best part is, they can even color the book.

More Christmas Fun

DIY Christmas Tree Decoration

Make your Christmas tree that much special by making this Guardian Angel Christmas tree ornament.

We have over 250+ Christmas craft ideas that include Nativity activities, traditional Christmas crafts, treats, and more!

How much longer till Christmas? Help answer your child’s question with these Christmas advent activities.

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