Here’s how to do it:
1. Choose your felt colours. You could cut all the shapes out of one colour sheet, or choose different colours. I chose colours which lent themselves towards certain parts of the story, but you could do whichever colours you like! You will also need one full sheet for your board, so make it one on which your other colours stand out. I choose bright green for my board, with white, brown, pink, purple and yellow for my shapes. See my template here with the colours I used
2. Glue your background colour sheet of felt onto a board. I glued mine using PVA onto the inside of the lid to a shallow cardboard box. This way pictures can be made in the box, and pieces be stored them when it’s not in use.
3. Cut out your pieces either freehand or using this template [link]. The template just gives you some ideas on sizing and shapes. I cut mine into strips of which shapes I wanted in the same colour. In white I wanted large and small triangles to make stars, white circles to add to triangles to make angels, and small triangles and ovals to make sheep. In brown I wanted some small circles, ovals and small rectangles to create animals (donkey, cow, camels), and the rest of the shapes I did a bit in each of the remaining colours. You can see which colours I used here. [link]
I also added two rectangles in brown about 13x10cm and 18x2cm to be my stable and roof.
There are some tips for cutting out felt here. My top tip is to use the sharpest scissors you have!
4. Once you have all your pieces, have fun creating scenes of the Christmas story.
You could use this set to:
1. Tell the story, moving the pieces or better, asking someone else to move the pieces as you read it from the Bible or re-tell it in your own words.
2. Invite children to use to play. They might like to re-tell the story, adding in their own embelishments. This is an important way for children to develop their own thinking about God, so encourage them to be creative. You could ask open ended, exploratory questions such as, “What part of the story could we miss out and still have all the story we need?”
3. Make a few sets of pieces and a few boards and invite everyone to join in and create one scene from the story. You could allocate scenes and use them to tell the story, or give them choice which will encourage them to explore their own ideas about the story as they create their scene.
4. Photograph your scenes and use them to create a mini book or video.
5. Make a tableau with your scenes, putting them in order, each one showing the next section of the story.
Or you could cut out a giant set and use it in a group or service setting.
Or you could use foam instead of felt, although foam won’t cling to foam as nicely as felt clings to felt.
How will you use yours?