Help your kids consider the wonder of the human birth of Jesus with this fun air dry clay kids’ Nativity craft.
One of the amazing things about Christmas is the truth remember. It’s not just that there was a miraculous birth a little over 2,000 years ago.
We remember why that birth was miraculous.
Jesus was not just any baby who went on to live an outstanding life. No, Jesus was God the Son. God became man–fully God and fully man–so that he could take the punishment for our sins on himself, dying on a cross for the atrocities we committed against him. He did that so we could spend eternity with him if we believe on him, confess him with our mouths, and turn from our sin.
Consider what Paul writes in Philippians 2:1-11, ESV:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
I love this passage. It is beyond humbling to remember what Jesus did on my behalf.
As our kids learn who Jesus is, what he did for us, and how we are called to respond to that sacrifice, Christmas takes on a whole new meaning.
This kids’ Nativity craft is the perfect simple activity to do together while you discuss Jesus’ amazing act of love. Remembering his love for us is what Christmas is all about.
Kids’ Nativity Craft
Before making your clay ornaments, read Philippians 2:1-11 and discuss:
- How does Paul encourage us to live our lives? (Philippians 2:1-4)
- What did Jesus do for us that showed incredible humility? (Philippians 2:5-7)
- How would it be humbling for God to become man? (Think of some limitations of being human!)
- Jesus modeled even more humility, obedience to God, and sacrifice for us by taking the punishment for our sin on himself. What did he do for us? (Philippians 2:8)
- How did God the Father honor Jesus, God the Son? Who will honor Jesus later? (Philippians 2:9-11)
- Can you share the gospel with a friend, explaining what Jesus did for us and what he calls us to do for him? (Use this poster and memory card set to practice the gospel.)
- How it look if you lived your life always considering others more significant than yourself, like Jesus modeled for us? What would that change in your day today?
Jesus loved us so much he humbled himself, becoming man, for those he calls. Talk about this amazing truth as you build this Nativity scene with your kids.
Nativity Craft for Kids
Check out this fun video of the kids’ Nativity craft!
Tips for Making Bible Crafts with Kids
Doing art projects with kids can be a challenge. For that reason, many parents forgo this valuable time altogether. As an art major and a parent who has done frequent art projects with my four children, I have a few suggestions for you.
- Cover your space. Use painting drop cloths and plastic to keep your furniture and flooring protected.
- Cover your kids. Grab a couple of your old T-shirts and throw them over your kids, buy them painting aprons, or designate clothes specifically for crafting.
- Do the prep work in advance. Do as much prep work for a project as you can before you get the kids involved. Not everything on the page needs to be their work. It’s OK to help.
- Schedule several short sessions for one project. Children need several days to be able to create larger projects. Art is time-consuming and requires energy.
- Encourage your kids. Children are likely to be frustrated by the disconnect in the artwork they envision and the art they actually create. Remind your kids that they improve every time they create, and tell them how much you love their work (even if you don’t know what it is!). Also, stick figures are fabulous.
- Operate the hot glue gun and X-ACTO knife. Hot glue burns are terrible and X-ACTO knives are razor sharp. Until your kids are old enough to cook, I’d advise you do the hot gluing and razor cutting. For this project, you may want to pre-cut the Nativity Scene.
Supplies Needed to Make Your Nativity Craft
You’ll need a few supplies to make your project. You may have a few of these items already. If not, these are all fairly inexpensive and will serve you well for multiple projects.
- Air Dry Clay (Terracotta)
- Rolling Pins and Mat
- Clay Cutting Knife
Make Your Kids’ Nativity Craft
Here are the steps for your clay Nativity scene:
1) Create your Mary and Joseph Nativity figures.
For the Joseph figure (you will repeat for the Mary figure): cut four pieces of clay.
Two pieces should be roughly the same size. The third piece should be 1/4 the size of the first two, and the fourth piece should be slightly bigger than the third.
Use the two large pieces for the robe and the body. The medium piece will be used for the head. Use the smallest piece for the rope to tie around the waist of your figure.
Knead each piece of clay separately on your rolling pin board, then roll each piece of clay into a ball.
Roll the smallest clay ball into a thin and long piece of clay rope.
Keep the medium sized clay ball for the head in the ball you’ve made.
For the two largest clay balls, roll one into a flat, thin round piece. Shape the other clay ball into a cylinder-like shape for the body.
As shown above, place your clay head and body on the flat circle, which will be your robe.
Wrap the robe around the clay head and body as shown.
Next, carefully wrap the clay rope around the waist of the clay figure and tie it in the middle. If it breaks, patch it back together.
Cut off extra parts of the rope and use the extra clay to form a staff for Joseph. Attach the staff to the Joseph figure.
Repeat these steps for Mary, but make her a little smaller, and without a staff.
Books Make Great Christmas Gifts!
Help Your Kids Learn and Love the BibleWho was Martin Luther? (Who What Why)What was the Gutenberg Bible? (Who What Why)Why did the Reformation Happen? (Who What Why)When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin LutherWonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth
2) Create the manger for your Nativity scene.
Roll the ball of clay into an oval. Press your finger into the oval to create a depression. Your manger should resemble a shallow basket.
Next, use a third of the clay used for the manger to make two cylindrical shapes. Attach the legs of the manger to the bottom of the manger as shown.
3) Create the baby for your Nativity scene.
Cut three clay pieces for the baby figure’s head, body, and for the swaddling cloth.
Roll the head into a ball. Roll the body into an oval. Roll the swaddling cloth into a round, flat shape.
Place the clay head and the body on the flat clay piece. Then, wrap the baby figure in the swaddling cloth. Cut off any extra clay after you’ve wrapped the baby Jesus figure.
Place the baby in the manger.
4) Assemble the pieces of your kids’ Nativity craft.
Create a rectangular base out of clay that is large enough to support your kids’ Nativity craft. Carefully press each clay figure onto the base.
Allow your clay nativity scene to dry overnight somewhere safe and warm.
Your kids can place their Nativity craft somewhere they’ll see it often and remember the wonder of what Jesus did for us!
Great Books about Jesus, the Reason for Christmas
30 Prophecies: One Story: How God’s Word Points to JesusThe History of Christmas: 2,000 Years of Faith, Fable and FestivityI Spy At Christmas: Jesus is More Important than Crackers and TinselThe Christmas Story: The Bible VersionThe Very First ChristmasThe Very First Christmas
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