Introductory Activity— Tree Trimming
Materials: Christmas garland or tinsel, plastic Christmas decorations (You will need a set of tinsel/garland and decorations for each team.)
Group kids into two or more teams. Guide each team to choose a “tree” (one of the kids). The “tree” will stand in the middle of his team. On your signal, team members wrap their trees with garland and hang decorations on the garland. The first team to complete decorating the tree wins. Undecorate, choose another tree, and play again as time permits. Tell kids that decorating is a fun part of Christmas, but today they will hear about the reason we celebrate Christmas; they will hear that Jesus was born.
Live It Out
Invite a kid to act out a barn animal (examples: donkeys, cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, goats) without making any sounds. The rest of the group should guess what animal he is pretending to be. Allow the first kid who guesses correctly to act out the next animal. Explain to kids that Mary and Joseph were in a place with animals like these. It wasn’t a clean place to have a baby, but it’s exactly where God planned for Jesus to be born!
Materials: Various colors of finger paint (ensuring that brown and yellow are options), water, white paper
Show kids how to paint a manger scene with their thumbprints. Using thumbs, kids should make dots to draw a shelter, a manger with a baby inside, and a star on top. Tell them that every person has an individual thumbprint. God came to earth as a person through Jesus and even he had a thumbprint, too. God sent Jesus to be the Savior, but He sent Jesus as a baby.
Introductory Activity— Face to Face
Materials: athletic headbands, large index cards, markers, tape
Guide kids to print Christmas words on the index cards, one word per card. Kids should print the words in large, clear letters. (You can print words beforehand.) Take up the cards and mix the words. Choose three kids to come forward. Put a headband on each kid and tape a word to the headband. The first kid should turn and face the second kid. The second kid gives clues for the first kid to guess the word on his own head. When the word is guessed, the second kid turns around to face the third kid. The third kid gives clues for the second kid to guess his own word. The first kid chooses a seated kid to move behind the third kid and be next. Continue until all kids have a chance to guess a word. Say: “These words were about Christmas. But today we will talk about what Christmas is really about.”
Live It Out
Game—High Five Review
Create two teams of kids and line them up in the back of the space. Stand at the front of the room with both hands out. Ask a review question from this week or either of the previous two lessons. Teams should race up front and give you a high five. The first person to high five gets to answer first, and then the second student should answer if the first cannot. The team with the most points when all the questions have been asked wins!
Craft— Nativity Scene
Materials: Wide craft sticks, thin-line markers, paper, scissors, tape or glue, ziplock bags
Provide four craft sticks for each kid. Tell kids that they can make nativity figures with their craft sticks. They can draw faces on one end of the sticks. They can cut paper into triangle shapes and tape or glue to the tops of the sticks for head-coverings for Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. They can cut a paper oval and draw a face to be the baby; they can tape or glue the baby to the middle of the Mary craft stick to show her holding the baby. They can cut sheep shapes and glue or tape them to the bottom of the shepherd shapes. They may want to make more detailed clothing or other items for their figures. Talk about the Bible story as kids work. Group the kids into pairs; ask kids to use their figures to tell the story to their partners. Provide time for both partners to tell the story. Provide ziplock bags to hold a kid’s set of craft stick figures. Suggest kids print the Weekly Verse on a piece of paper and tape it to the bag or insert it in the bag with the figures.