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There is no shortage of Christmas craft ideas in books and on the internet, but here are some great activities to help children think more deeply about the Christmas story.
EPIPHANY PLAYDOUGH MAT
You will need: a printout of the playdough mat (PDF here); a laminator and laminating pouches; playdough
This craft helps children think about the journey of the wise men and the meaning of the gifts they brought Jesus. It’s best to do it in a group so you can talk together as you are doing so.
Print out the playdough mat and laminate it for easy clean-up and future use. Use playdough to explore the mat’s ideas about gifts and use the creative time to talk about the journey of the wise men, the gifts they brought to Jesus, the gifts we are given and the gifts we would like to give.
NATIVITY STORY FUZZY FELT
You will need: felt sheets to use as backdrops; pieces of felt in various shapes; scissors (optional)
It’s always fascinating to watch children retell the stories they hear and to see their imaginations and ingenuity at work when they have a set of open-ended materials to use. This craft gives them the freedom to produce their own visual recreations of the Christmas story.
After telling the Christmas story, let the children make pictures of the story using felt pieces arranged on a felt backing. They might want to cut out their own pieces, so have some scissors on hand just in case. Leave some time so that when they have finished making their pictures you can have a chat about what they show.
CHRISTMAS PICTURE GLITTER GLOBE
You will need: clean jam jars and lids (labels removed); sticky dots or strong glue; glitter (the finer the glitter flakes are the better as bigger glitter flakes can clump – use white for a snowier effect); a laminated piece of Nativity-related Christmas card that will fit inside the jam jar; water
This is a lovely way to use up some Nativity-style Christmas cards or to make use of Nativity-themed pictures the children have drawn. Every time they play with the glitter globe it will remind them of the Christmas story.
Choose a Christmas card picture you like and cut it so that it’s the right size to fit inside your jam jar. Laminate the piece of Christmas card and leave a border at the bottom that you can bend over to make a ‘stand’, so the card can be glued to the jam jar lid. Stick glue dots or strong glue to the bottom of the stand piece.
Stick the stand onto the inside part of the lid (the middle of the lid works better than right at the edge). Then put a teaspoon of glitter at the bottom of the jar and add water. Mix together. Leave a little pocket of space at the top of the jar so that it is not completely filled with water. Take your lid and put the laminated picture into the water (it will be upside down).
Screw the jar lid on firmly. If you’re going to glue it in place, wait until you’ve done a trial run! Turn the jar right side up and shake. Watch the glitter swirl around your Christmas picture!
JESUS IN THE MANGER DECORATED BISCUITS
You will need: plain biscuits; icing sugar; water; shredded wheat; jelly babies; white fondant icing; a rolling pin; a knife; spoons; bowls
Everybody loves an edible craft! This one is especially suitable for younger children and is a good way to prompt conversation about the special baby who has been born.
Make some icing with the icing sugar and water. Roll out the fondant icing into a thin sheet and cut it into squares that are big enough to cover a jelly baby. Cover the top of a biscuit with icing and sprinkle on some crumbled shredded wheat to look like hay. Put a jelly baby in the middle of the shredded wheat, then cover it with a fondant icing blanket.