I love celebrating the Christmas season in my kindergarten classroom. Yes, the kids are wound up and excited, but it is such a joyful time of year. We talk about Santa, elves, and most importantly - Jesus. As a Catholic educator, Advent is one of my favorite seasons in the classroom. Especially in kindergarten. The little ones talk about baby Jesus with a sweetness and a reverence that melts my heart. I am so excited to share some of the resources I used in my classroom to help students interact with the Christmas story in a hands-on way.
My first purchase was a nativity play set from Fisher Price. This 12-piece set includes figures of the Holy family, 3 wiremen, 4 animals, an angel, and a stable. I placed the set on my prayer table, right beside our Advent Wreath. My students LOVE coming to the table to reenact this blessed event.
If you noticed, the play set did not include any shepherds (I know, it's crazy). I also purchased a Fisher Price Lil' Shepherds set to finally get a shepherd. It was worth the extra expense. My kids really needed a shepherd!
Nativity Sticker Books
Next on my shopping list were a few copies of The Very First Christmas (Sticker Stories).
This sweet book contained a blank scene on each page (perfect for teaching story setting!). Students added the appropriate characters and decorative elements to each page in accordance with the text on the page. My kindergarteners were completely ENTHRALLED.
Nativity Stick Puppet KitThe hands-on fun continued with this cute set of stick puppets that I picked up at Michaels. Each box created 2 full sets of 8 characters from the First Christmas (16 puppets total).
The set included all materials to create the puppets (except assembly instructions). It was a little confusing at first but we did the bet we could and my students loved making the puppets.
Classroom Advent Wreath
Even my Advent Wreath was hands-on. I use battery powered candles so that my students could help me "light" the Advent candles during prayer each morning.
We always turn the lights off while we light the wreath. It makes the moment feel extra-special.
Advent Calendar for Young Children
Of course our class needed an Advent Calendar too! I bought the Fisher Price Little People Nativity Advent Calendar. I love how each fabric pocket includes a small plush piece to add to the nativity scene. The pieces attach to little velcro circles on the stable.
Kindergarten Nativity PageantOf course, in the tradition of any Catholic elementary school, my students also performed in a seasonal Christmas pageant. They worked SO hard on the musical performance and I was so proud of them! All costumes were purchased from Oriental Trading.
Christ-Centered Parent Gifts for Christmas
Even the children's gifts to their parents were Christ-centered. If you recall from last year's blog post, I recorded my students reciting lyrics to "Away in a Manger" and arranged their voices over an instrumental version of the song. Hearing to their voices gives me the chills and melts my heart every single time I listen to the recording. You can listen to last year's recording by clicking the link below:
This year's gift to my parents will be a similar recording featuring the song "Still, Still, Still". This song is actually a lullaby and it has a beautiful sweet melody that enourgages the listener to be still, sleep, and dream because it is "'the Eve of our Savior's birth". I searched for a version of the song with simple vocals so you could appreciate the lyrics. This is the best I was able to find. My class gift has an instrumental version playing softly in the background.
I always get so excited prepping and wrapping this project for my students to take home.
Integrating Literacy and Religion InstructionI was also thrilled to purchase a few Nativity books that were easy enough for many my kindergarten students to read. If you purchase many books for five year olds, you know how difficult it can be to find books with easy text. I recently discovered the adorable book Christmas in the Manger and it has been a great addition to my classroom library. My students love the sweet illustrations and simple text.
Stock your classroom library with 12 great books to teach young children about the True Meaning of Christmas:
1. The Very First Christmas (Sticker Stories)
3. Baby Jesus and the Noisy Stable (All Join In)
FREE Interactive Sight Word ReaderMany religious products are available for FREE in my TpT store, including a Nativity-based Interactive Sight Word Reader called "Who is with Baby Jesus?". Help students master the sight word "with" while learning about the First Christmas with this free emergent reader.
Wishing you a very BLESSED Christmas,