Home is the perfect place to have a nativity scene which children can play with. Often sets are so beautiful and delicate that they aren’t appropriate for children’s touch, which is a shame. There isn’t any other Bible story which has so many versions available, and play is a wonderful way for children (and adults!) to explore the meaning of this incredible story – the one which changed everything – when God became human and lived with us.
This year we have a LOT of nativity toys. I loved them, but now even more. This year I’ve seen how having heard the story, the children then go on to play and explore the story using the toys. For example, the other day I saw my 2 year old daughter very gently kissing the 3cm image of baby Jesus in a manger in the picture. How beautiful! It would be easy to miss or dismiss such behaviours, but I think children are capable of great spiritual things, and are less inhibited than most adults. Could this be her worship?
Last year I bought this really baby friendly nativity set, which is now fabulous for both daughters. It’s wooden, brightly coloured, and pretty hard to break (although I could probably do some damage if used as a weapon!). It’s now out for them to play with and I’m going to take it for a visit to their nursery later this week too.
We also have the play mobil set, which is currently being released one piece per day from our Advent pockets. This is working well, and, unlike the chocolate calendar we were given, isn’t causing fights over wanting to do more than one pocket each day. We just take out the new piece and I tell them the story of that piece. So far we have Mary, the angel and Joseph, so we’ve covered the angel appearances. Lots of stories don’t cover the angel coming to Joseph, which I could tell by the focus on the story this morning when I was telling it. It’s also different because the angel comes in a dream which is exciting!
Our nativities are very under 5 themed, as our children are that age. But you could make nativity scenes out of whatever your family has and enjoys working with. Enjoy creating your own ones appropriate to your family.