Nativity Set for Kids
One of my mom’s most treasured possessions is an incredible, ceramic Nativity set my talented Grandma made her. She displays it on her coffee table every Christmas season, but she is constantly tending it.
She has to keep the dog and her grandchildren (and all kids in general) out of the front room, and when she does let anyone in the front room, she lays the taller pieces down and then hovers around the nativity set to protect it from accidents. She can’t really relax and enjoy it.
That’s why, when I started my own family, one of my first Christmas purchases was a Little People Nativity. I wanted the Nativity to be front and center in our Christmas celebration, and I wanted my kids to be able to handle and love all of the characters.
Over the years my children schlepped baby Jesus to piano lessons in their pockets and cuddled the paint off the littlest sheep and I think the donkey with the adorable cart abdicated his responsibilities to party with the Little People farm set because he disappeared entirely. I don’t blame my kids for absconding with the animals, they are stinking rotten cute!
So I purchased another Little People Nativity set. It’s become an essential component of our celebration and we can’t do without it.
I also have an exquisite, fragile nativity set, which I keep on the highest shelf in a glass-front bookcase to keep it away from my kids. It’s not very visible there, but I don’t want to risk it getting broken.
Our Little People Nativity set is always front and center, though, right at eye level for the midget crowd — practically begging to be played with by my kids. That’s just how I like it.
Two years ago we had again reached the point of needing yet another nativity set for the kids when I had a brilliant idea.
I love DIY projects and always have a bin full of scrap wood in my garage. I grabbed some of the smaller scraps and had my kids sand them and stain them while I drew a few simple characters on paper. I let my children color the characters and cut them out, then we all mod-podged them onto the wood blocks.
We also stained a couple of long, thin, plain wood block with which to build the nativity. Talk about easy! And it’s sturdy enough for the chubbiest of hands to love on!
All in all, this project took us about 3 hours, and it only took that long because I mod-podged several layers so our nativity characters would be waterproof and durable.
(Please note that this post includes affiliate links. They’re boring, but you can read my full disclosures here if you want.)
I scanned the characters I drew so you can make your own nativity set for your kids to enjoy. I’ve also included some professionally drawn nativity characters, which are cuter than the ones I drew, but they’re already colored. My kids wanted to color ours. Both printables are included below (look for the red buttons) so you can choose which you want to use for your nativity set.
Make Your Own Simple Nativity for Kids
Instructions for your kid-friendly nativity set:
1. Cut the blocks from leftover scrap wood. Or you could get a couple of sets from one pine board (about $2 at Home Depot) if you don’t have scrap wood. Print your characters first and lay them out on the wood to decide where to make your cuts. I also cut three plain lengths, two 7″ long and one 9″ long from which we build our stable.
2. Sand the block lightly so nobody gets slivers. Then stain them with whatever you have around, or you can leave them unstained. I just feel like they’re more durable stained. Allow them to dry thoroughly while you prepare the characters.
3. Color and cut out your characters. Or use the already-colored set. If you are coloring them yourselves, I suggest using colored pencils or crayons because watercolor markers will smear when you try to mod-podge them.
4. Use a foam brush to mod-podge your nativity characters onto your blocks. If you use several coats, allowing the mod-podge to dry fully in between, your blocks will be completely waterproof and drool-proof and chewing proof and practically indestructible.
Ta da! A practically indestructible Nativity set your kids can play with! This year, my kids want to add a holy ton of animals to our nativity (this set only includes a camel and two sheep) so it can be like a “real” stable. It’s easy enough, I think I’ll just turn them loose and see what they come up with.
Here are the free pdf’s so you don’t have to draw your own. Both pdf’s are different, just choose the one you want.
The photos in this post used my hand drawn, black line nativity characters.
I purchased the full color nativity characters. They include Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, an angel, a star, two shepherds, sheep, three wise men and two camels. They are a little larger than the set I drew, but you could always print them smaller. I think I prefer them smaller for little hands. This is what they look like:
I thought I’d share a few of our favorite commercial Nativity sets for kids. Here is our beloved, absolute favorite, the Little People Nativity. It hasn’t changed at all over the years! I love how it all fits together and how it includes all of the characters so you can actually use it tell the Christmas story.
Little People Nativity Set
These guys are about the same size as polly pocket dolls, plus they’re incredibly detailed and adorable, so don’t be too surprised if they up and disappear! Also, if you have toddlers, they could be a choking hazard.
Your kiddos might not let you put this one away after Christmas — it’s that cute. It includes so many incredibly detailed pieces (FOUR different animals!) that your kids will definitely use it to enact more than just the Christmas story! My kids especially love that baby Jesus is detachable from the manger in this set, though it means I have to work extra hard to keep track of him.Bible Toys for Kids Nativity Set
This reusable sticker nativity scene looks like a great quiet activity for kids. We don’t have this set, but we have a fun set of nativity window clings that my kids love to play with. I couldn’t find the cling set online anymore (though I did see a set at the dollar store last year) but these sticker scenes are similar and look fun.Nativity Sticker Scene for Kids
I hope you enjoy your brand new, kid-friendly Nativity Set! May you and your family be blessed with the true spirit of Christmas this year as we all remember together the reason for the season!
Pin this simple, DIY Nativity Set for Kids so you can find it later!
Bonus! Here are a few more simple, fun, and even educational Christmas activities you can use in your homeschool and in your home!
I love the sensory friendly idea (and the beautiful finished product) shared by Our Crazy Adventures In Autismland in her post, How to make a fork painted manger set.
Check out these Holiday-Themed Science Projects from Homeschool On the Range if you want to add some Christmas excitement to your homeschool day.
Math is always fun, but this activity, Christmas Cakes One More One Less Printable Worksheet from The Art Kit increases the fun factor with the holiday theme!
Start a new family tradition with An Advent Tree from Whole Child Homeschool.
Thrive at Home has compiled a list of Simple Christmas Activities for Busy Working Homeschool Moms. I’ll be putting a few of her ideas to good use!
Looking for a few Easy, Cheap, Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids? Julie Naturally has some great ideas.
My kids will be excited about this Woodland Birds Ornament from Heart and Soul Homeschooling!
Stand Up, Reach Out shares some excellent thoughts about the importance of traditions and ways your kiddos benefit in Cultural Family Night: Christmas edition.
How cute is this Scrabble Tile Christmas Ornament from I Choose Joy? I especially love that it’s simple enough for little hands to assemble.
DIY Firestarter Gifts from Making Room 4 One More would make a thoughtful gift for friends and family.
These Gingerbread Nativities from Hess Un-Academy are a fun, spiritual take on the old Gingerbread house activities.
Board games are a great way to spend time together as a family during the holidays, and this list of Christmas-Twisted Classic Board Games from The WOLFe Pack is a great place to start building your collection.
Kimberly from Homegrown Motherhood shares her thoughts on teaching your children how to be generous, thoughtful, and cheerful givers with her Handprint Candy Cane Ornament.
All of the Outdoor Christmas Activities for the Whole Family from An Off Grid Life look fun and exciting! I can’t wait to try a few with my own family.
My Joy-Filled Life has a beautiful, printable Heart Nativity Paper Craft to keep your kiddos happily crafting for an afternoon.