The following is the article written for the October Georgia Preschool Association Newsletter specifically prepared for weekday ministry to little people. Any opportunity I get to share Jesus with little people through taller people, I am all in. But I have used this tree and the box of goodies to dress it every year in ministry with children. I hope this provides a way to tell His story that is memorable, helpful, and sticky!
Telling the Christmas story with a small lighted tree in any classroom can take the whole season if you use the following fun ornaments by hot gluing a pipe cleaner or ornament hanger to these everyday items:
A white feather (Angel) Luke 1:28 “The angel went to her (Mary) and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! Do not be afraid, the Lord is with you.”
Drape a long pastel ribbon through the branches to represent Mary, a young girl about 14 years old, who may have worn a ribbon in her hair (Luke 1:26).
Attach a hanger to a wooden bench (found at Hobby Lobby doll house area) to represent Joseph, baby Jesus’ earth father who was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55).
Hot glue a hanger between 2 plastic coins to share that Mary & Joseph went to Bethlehem to sign up at the census to pay taxes (Luke 2:2).
Small hotel soap in a box/bag is hung as there was no room for them at the inn/hotel (Luke 2:7).
Take strips of white cloth that are tied into knots for a long garland to drape around the whole tree as swaddling clothes (Luke 2:7).
A candy cane can be used as a shepherd’s staff (Luke 2:8). Find a sheep/lamb that can be hung to speak of a shepherd’s job (Luke 2:8).
Another feather for when angel announced the birth of the baby to the shepherds, saying, “Do not be afraid!”(Luke 2:10).
This is my favorite part:
Make an aluminum foil star (this is a kid’s tree, remember) to place atop the tree (Matthew 2:1-2).
I found a great little teddy bear ornament to hang to represent Jesus as a child for when the wise men actually arrived at the house where the child and his mother lived (Matthew 2:11a).
Then add 3 gift boxes beneath tree with items of gold, and cotton balls or items that smell to represent frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).
Be sure to add a beautiful cross on a ribbon, chain, rope to share that Jesus came to take the punishment for our sins when He grew up so we could all go to the big party in heaven (Matthew 28:5). This will certainly help with the transition in a few months of Jesus as a baby and then His resurrection in just a few short months.
Here are a few of my favorite Christmas centers to share all month long:
Fine Motor – Punch holes around Christmas cards and tape a piece of ribbon to back and pull the ribbon through first hole and leave hanging for lacing; overturn a butter dish, spread minted-scented shaving cream frosting with a craft stick for a birthday cake for Jesus; children spoon cotton ball marshmallows across midline into plastic Christmas mugs filled with brown paper/cocoa for guests that come to visit during the holidays.
Science – Tint water green or red with food coloring, and scent the water table with mint, cinnamon, or vanilla.
Art – Show children how to make baby footprints by placing the outside edge of their fist on a stamp pad, then carefully press them onto the paper along with fingerprints; make texture pictures by inviting students to glue stray or hay onto paper for prickly texture picture.
Indoor Play – tour the building for significant symbols of Christmas that you have discussed in class i.e. angels, candles, crèche, nativity, stars, bells, etc.; play “Looking for the Baby” by hiding a nativity baby Jesus from one of the nativity sets and let the students look to find the figure and use spatial vocabulary to tell where it is.
Pre-Math – Tape a piece of blue painters tape along the floor and invite students to make ABAB patterns with Christmas candy, wrapping bows, stars, etc.
Blocks – Turn your block area into a wrapping station with multiple rolls of tape from the Dollar store and pre-cut pieces of wrapping paper and the students wrap the blocks; sand paper or sanding blocks make for great conversation as students sand the rough edges of wood scraps like a carpenter.
Jesus came to save the lost, so we can go to the big party in Heaven. And who doesn’t want to go to a big party? And He’s coming back! Wouldn’t it be cool if He chose to come back during the Advent/Christmas season, the season when the whole world celebrates His coming?