Celebrating Christmas with Preschoolers
What does Christmas look like where you live? Is the weather hot, cold, or snowy? Are the fir trees the only green trees or are there other kinds like palms or eucalyptus? Do you wear heavy coats, shorts, or T-shirts? No matter what Christmas looks like where you live, there may not be much evidence of the biblical story of Christmas: the birth of God’s one and only Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Do these seem like silly questions? Maybe at first, but the Christmas preschoolers see and understand is limited by what is around them—mittens, sweaters, bathing suits, snowmen, or candy canes. As leaders, you are in the unique position to teach preschoolers the true meaning of Christmas: God sent His Son, Jesus, because He loves us.
Help preschoolers celebrate Christmas by using some of the following ideas.
*Read the Christmas story from a picture Bible. Show pictures and share biblical truths about Jesus being born in Bethlehem. Use Bible thoughts based on Jesus. Tell preschoolers about Jesus being born and the Bible telling us true stories about Jesus. Share that we celebrate Christmas because God loved us and sent his Son.
*Let preschoolers use a child-friendly nativity set. Display teaching pictures about Jesus being born. Help preschoolers learn about Jesus’ family and how his family cared for him. Share how God told the shepherds about Jesus’ birth and how the angels sang with joy after Jesus was born.
*Reinforce the truth that Jesus was God’s gift to us. Place a Bible and nativity figures in a gift box. Encourage preschoolers to open the gift to find what God sent to us. Retell the story of Jesus’ birth and where we can read in the Bible to learn about Jesus. Tell preschoolers that Christmas is about Jesus’ birthday and God’s gift to us. Talk about the wise men who celebrated the birth of Jesus by giving gifts to his family.
*Ask preschoolers to share what they do at home for Christmas. Be sensitive to preschoolers’ whose families might not share the Christmas story at home. Tell how you celebrate Christmas by going to church to worship Jesus, learn about Jesus, and give thanks to God for sending Jesus. Sing songs about Jesus found in Sing to the Tune, pages 14-16.
*Plan activities focused on the birth of Jesus. Tell how Jesus was born and placed in a manger because there was no room for Mary and Joseph anywhere else. Provide a box filled with shredded paper, a baby doll, and plain receiving blankets for preschoolers to pretend to care for a baby as you share the story of Jesus’ birth. Show a teaching picture so preschoolers can see how people at that time and place dressed. Always share factual information gleaned from the Bible and Bible study.
*Look at activity areas and consider ways to include the story of Jesus’ birth in new ways, such as looking at preschoolers’ baby pictures while talking about Jesus as a baby, serving birthday cupcakes and singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, or playing instrumental Christmas hymns as preschoolers work puzzles about Jesus.
What does Christmas look like where you live? Let Jesus shine as you intentionally plan your time with preschoolers to help them celebrate Christmas and learn about the birth of Jesus.
Bible Thoughts about Jesus:
Jesus was born in Bethlehem (see Matt. 2:1).
Tell people about Jesus (see Matt. 28:19).
Jesus’ family went to church (see Luke 2:27).
Jesus grew (see Luke 2:52).
Jesus loves you (see John 15:12).
Jesus went about doing good (see Acts 10:38).
God loved us and sent his Son (see 1 John 4:10).
by Gina Smith