11 Simple Activities That Teach Children About Jesus’ Birth

11 Simple Activities That Teach Children About Jesus’ Birth December 24, 2023

Toy manger scene with Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus
Image Source: Jonathan_Fahrny/Pixabay

The reason for the season is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, but how do we make sure that we teach our kiddos about Jesus’ birth in the hustle and bustle of what is arguably the most commercialized holiday in modern society? I compiled a list of eleven activities we can do with our children to teach them the true meaning of Christmas. Our Savior’s birth was simple. In my opinion, this is one of the loveliest aspects of Jesus’ origin. His gift of salvation mirrors said simplicity as it is available to all who believe in Him. Now, that is the gift that keeps on giving…

1. The Book of Luke

The length of this gospel is twenty-four chapters. So, to keep the month of December manageable, we can read just one chapter a day between December 1st and December 24th. This allows us to teach about Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, and resurrection by Christmas. I forget where I learned this, but I remember seeing the suggestion as a meme on Facebook about five years ago. I thought to myself that it was a fun idea. Our now 13-year-old reminds me on Thanksgiving that it is time to start reading Luke. This year, he had more questions centering on Mary’s virginity, but that’s a topic for another article! However, it led to an interesting conversation about Joseph, which solidified that this simple activity had the desired effect and generated conversation that would not have been possible otherwise.  For younger kids, the passages that illustrate Jesus’ birth specifically is Luke 2:1-21.

2. Children’s Books

Books are a superpower for all, and I strongly believe they should be shared beginning in infancy. What better story could we offer to feed the minds and hearts of our wee ones than that of the birth of our Lord and Savior? Many children’s books about Jesus’ birth are available everywhere, from your local library to brick-and-mortar bookstores to Amazon. There are picture/board books for babies and toddlers, books with vibrant pop-up illustrations for preschoolers, and more detailed books for older children. This offers a free to minimum-cost simple way to be present with our children and teach them about Jesus while nurturing their literacy skills!

3. Small Screen and Hot Chocolate

As with books, there are many options for television and movie viewing that tell the story of Jesus’ birth with bright colors and fun music to bring the story to life. If you need ideas, my favorites are VeggieTales and the the film titled, The Star. VeggieTales has several Christmas titles to choose from. I’ll give the synopsis for one of them below; know that, in my opinion, they are all great.

VeggieTales: The Star of Christmas

IMdB summarizes the plot perfectly, “Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber appear as Cavis Appythart and Millward Phelps, respectively–two jingle writers based loosely on Gilbert and Sullivan. The setting is 1880s London, and they’ve written a musical called “The Princess and the Plumber,” which they plan to open on Christmas Eve. Cavis thinks the production will “teach London how to love.” But children at nearby St. Bart’s Church are planning a nativity play for the same evening, and they plan to feature the Star of Christmas, a religious artifact unseen by the public for decades. The London Post Gazette writes a front-page story about the nativity play and the Star, and Cavis and Millward hatch a plan to make their musical better than the children’s play. In the end, they learn about the true meaning of Christmas” (IMdB).

The Star: The Story of The First Christmas

This 2017 film is an hour and a half of time well spent. An all-star cast lent their voice talents to tell the story of Jesus’ birth from the unique perspective of the many animals who witnessed the event. The main narrator is Bo, a young donkey with big ambitions in life. He wants to be part of the royal carriage – to carry a king. He teams up with a dove named Dave and a sheep named Ruth. The three embark on an adventure of a lifetime as they follow the star. (IMdB)

4. Nativity Scenes

Many people have large scenes set up in their front yards as part of holiday decorations. Additionally, there are tons available for purchase, from breakables to plastic. Fisher-Price has a Little People Nativity Playset which includes Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the angel Gabriel, and six animals, including sheep and a donkey. As you set it up, you can use the figures to play the story out, and if the set is child-friendly or you know they are old enough to use with care, the kids can use the figures to tell you the story.

5. Visit a Petting Zoo

A fun way to piggyback on watching The Star and/or setting up your nativity scene could be to take the kids to a petting zoo. This fun idea is noted on Playlister as a neat way to teach about Jesus’ birth. As you walk through and practice gentle touches with the small livestock, the conversation can easily be geared toward Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. What was the weather like? How do you think Mary and Joseph were feeling? What must it have been like to deliver baby Jesus in a barn? What do you think the animals thought?

6. Stroll or Drive Through Christmas Lights

Lights can be captivating, and something about them feels particularly magical at Christmas. Pointing out Christian symbols along the way, such as nativity scenes, stars, and angels, opens the door to discussing the true meaning behind the celebration. Jesus tells the Pharisees in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life” (HCSB). Celebrating His birthday by talking about how He is the world’s light while enjoying twinkling lights as they brighten streets in the darkness of night is a natural and simple way to teach the reason for the season.

7. Nativity Scavenger Hunt

I found this idea on the blog My Nativity. My kids love scavenger hunts, and I thought this was a creative way to teach about Jesus’ birth. It’s especially handy when you have young kids who are more receptive to learning while moving their bodies. There is no wrong way to do this, either. You could hide your plastic (not breakable nativity characters) or print/cut out pictures. Hide them as you would eggs on Easter and give the kids clues while they search. If you want to, this could be used along with the fridge/magnet board or a felt board as another way to tell the story. Putting a story in sequential order is an academic skill that this activity can allow children to practice.

8. Advent Calendar

Advent calendars are an easy way to build excitement while marking down the days to Christmas. There are a ton you can buy. You could even make your own. I homeschool our children. The younger two are in pre-k and kindergarten, and we use a large pocket calendar to learn and practice the days of the week and months of the year. They especially love turning over each of the cardboard numbered days working toward the Christmas tree cut out on December 25. Our seven-year-old delights in turning over the dated card daily and counts the remaining number until Christmas. Since this is a routine activity, the conversation about Christmas occurs naturally, allowing for simplicity in the instruction.

9. Drama

Kids, especially young kids, learn best through play and hands on activities. Why not lean into that method of learning through dramatic play and let them plan and perform their own reenactment of Jesus’ birth? You can help them or let them have free reign. It could be as simple or extravagant as you or they want it to be. After learning the story, they use their imagination and put the tale into their own words to tell it back to you. This is fun, and you know they will be adorable. But more importantly, this activity allows them to submit the information into their long-term memories. It’s a bonus that they can practice various academic and life skills along with this project.

I like to think Jesus would delight in watching them as well as he welcomed children to come to him while ministering to the adults – “Jesus, however invited them: ‘Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16, HCSB). Not only does He encourage the children to come to Him, but in Luke 18:17, he teaches the adults to be more like those innocent little ones – “I assure you: ‘Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (HCSB). This verse made my heart happy as I thought about the magic of Christmas and how adults could learn from our children as they experience all the wonders around them.

10. Christingle

When beginning research for this article I stumbled across the concept of Christingle.  I was completely unaware of this concept but found it interesting and as I read more about it I liked the visual representation aspect for children. This one is on my radar for next December’s activities.

An orange represents the world. Tie or tape red ribbon around the orange. This is to symbolize the blood of Jesus. Gather fruits and or sweets that your kids enjoy and skewer them into the orange. You should have four skewers. This is to represent God’s good gifts (the fruits of the earth as well as the four seasons). The last part needs to be either performed by the parent or heavily supervised depending on the age and need level of your kiddos. Push a lighted candle into the center of the orange to symbolize Jesus as the light of the world. This could be a standalone activity or even be part of viewing Christmas lights and enforcing the conversation about Jesus being born to be a light to the world, as we discussed earlier.

The origin of this activity is much more simplistic than the orange visual above and dates back to Germany in 1747.

11. Be a Gift

No matter what we say, actions will always speak loudest. Jesus was loving and consistently helped others. He embraced people from a place of love and acceptance. Christmas is a great time to be grateful for what we have and try to model Jesus in how we treat those around us. Many churches have ministries that help children and families during the holidays. Consider donating to a toy or clothing drive, Toys for Tots, or Salvation Army’s Angel Tree if possible. Encourage your children to help pick out items they think a boy or girl their age might like. This leads to a great discussion about how Jesus is THE gift for Christmas and how we celebrate that by exchanging gifts. It opens the door to talk about how we can try to be like Jesus by thinking about how we can give to others.

Many blogs discuss this option in teaching children about Jesus. I particularly enjoyed reading it along with other simple ways to teach the Christmas story at Love, Joy, Blessings.


There is no right or wrong way to teach kids about Jesus’ birth story. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or exhausting either. And some years, life gets in the way, and we just can’t do “all of the things.” We were all sick just before Thanksgiving. My physical and mental energies just weren’t up to par going into December this year. I kind of feel like I went to bed on Thanksgiving and woke up for Christmas. Certainly, we did not do all the things this year but in the end that didn’t matter. In fact, as I type this the day before Christmas Eve, we just put a tree up. Not THE tree (our kids named it Fluffy), an inflatable one that required no work.

I initially felt guilty about not putting up Fluffy. But, the kids love the inflatable one though, and it saved my energy for other, more important things. It helped to remember that the first Christmas was so simple…and perfect. Lifeway has a great guide to teaching kids in each age group about that first Christmas.  What I like best in the Lifeway article is that for each age group, the focus is conversation. We don’t have to spend money or use grand, elaborate gestures. At the end of the day, being present with our kids and talking in age-appropriate terms is all it takes to teach them.

About M.T. Mom
I am happily married to my college sweetheart and am a stay at home mama to our five boys; three human ones and two dogs who think they are human. We arrived at homeschooling by happenstance and due to our youngest son’s delayed sleep phase; we are often on what we call vampire hours. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing. The Child Development background prepared me for nothing when it came to keeping my own young alive, but I digress. In my spare time I hold regular toilet etiquette seminars (because…boys) and I'm a freelance writer and blogger. You can read more about the author here.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!