Kids love Christmas! The lights, the treats, the PRESENTS. But most of all we want our kids to know that Christmas is about Jesus. Here are 10 easy, low-prep ideas to help you focus your children’s hearts on Jesus as they anticipate Christmas. These ideas all came from our FREE Enjoying Advent! Activity Guide. It’s not too late to download it and use some of the ideas for your Christmas celebrations!
1. Musical Christmas Cards
Prepare: Write Luke 2:11 inside a Christmas card ahead of time.
Do: Have everyone gather around a table or in a circle on the floor. Pass the card around a circle while someone closes their eyes and hums or sings a Christmas carol (or you could play Christmas music from a phone or other device). When the person stops humming, whoever is holding the card opens it and reads or quotes the verse out loud. Have someone start humming again and resume passing the card to keep playing. Continue playing as long as interest and time allow.
Idea: Challenge the children to memorize the verse so they can say it without looking inside the card.
2. Pass the Present Game
Prepare: small gift box, small surprises (optional)
Do: Place a small gift box in the center of your dining room table as a decoration. At mealtimes, pass this present around the table as each person says “thank you” to God for something they appreciate. This is a fun and simple way to plan praise into your daily routine in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Ideas: You can also occasionally hide a small surprise (candy, stickers, a note announcing a fun activity, etc.) in the box for your family to discover and enjoy together.
3. Christmas Pictionary
Prepare: parts of Christmas story written on slips of paper, small gift box/bag, paper, crayons/pencils
Do: Write parts of the Christmas story on pieces of paper, cut them apart, and put them in a gift bag ahead of time. Have children take turns grabbing a piece of paper from the gift bag and drawing that part of the Christmas story while everyone else guesses what they are drawing. As you play, remind the children these are real events with real people from history and it all happened to fulfill God’s promise to send Christ Jesus, the promised Savior King.
Idea: After all the scenes have been drawn, you can play again, but this time have the children do charades to act out the scenes instead of drawing them.
(The FREE Enjoying Advent! activity guide includes the printable below to make it even easier to play this game with kids! Also, just in case you’re wondering, the drawing above is baby Jesus in a manger.)
4. Jumping for Joy Game
Prepare: Bible, paper, pencil
Do: Make a list of things the individuals in your family or class enjoys (i.e., walking, running, hiking, reading, dinosaurs, painting, talking, watching movies, chocolate, pizza, pumpkins, presents, popcorn, etc.) Read the list out loud and tell the children to “jump for joy!” each time you read something they enjoy.
Say: These things bring us a little bit of joy. We enjoy them a lot. But all these things we enjoy come from God. (Read James 1:17.) The greatest gift God gives us is Jesus! He is the one who brings us real joy. He wants us to enjoy him most of all!
Do: Close by sharing thoughts about how Jesus brings joy to you and your family. Pray and thank God for the many things you enjoy and especially for Jesus, the source of everlasting joy.
5. Joy to the World Game
Prepare: map or globe
Do: Have everyone look at a world map together as you quote John 3:16 and remind the children Jesus came to bring the JOY of salvation to people all around the world. Explain that many people around the world have still never heard the Good News about Jesus. Give the name of a country and have several children race to find it on the map. Once they find it, have everyone shout, “Jesus gives joy!” and then ask a volunteer to pray a sentence prayer asking God to help people in that country learn about the love and joy of Jesus. Continue finding countries and praying for them as long as time and interest allow.
6. Indoor Snowball Fight
Prepare: Write questions about Christmas on white pieces of paper and crumple them into snowballs ahead of time.
Do: Divide the room in half with one team on each side of the room. Set a timer for two minutes and have each team try to throw as many “snowballs” as possible onto the other team’s side of the room. When time runs out, the team with the fewest snowballs on their side of the room wins! They get to uncrumple one snowball and read the question for the other team to answer. Then set the timer and play again!
- What is your favorite thing to do when it snows?
- Do you prefer warmer or cooler weather?
- What’s something you enjoy about Christmas?
- Why do we talk about joy at Christmastime?
- What’s the difference between enjoying something and having joy?
- Can you think of a song or Bible verse that mentions joy?
- Can you think of ways Jesus brought joy to people in the Bible?
- Can you think of times Jesus had joy even when bad things happened to him?
- How can knowing Jesus help you have joy when bad things happen to you?
- Is it possible to feel sadness and joy at the same time? (Hint: Yes, it’s possible to feel sad about bad things while also having joy because you’re trusting Jesus will one day get rid of all sadness, sickness, pain, and death forever.)
7. Birthday Party for Jesus
Prepare: cake, frosting, balloons, party streamers, party food, special party plates, etc.
Do: Have a birthday party for Jesus during the week before Christmas (or Christmas Eve or Christmas Day). As you enjoy your party, ask questions to connect with the children and also review what they’ve learned about the love Jesus gives.
- What do you like most about parties?
- Why is Jesus’ birth something worth celebrating?
- Why do many people give gifts to each other on Jesus’ birthday?
- How did God show love to people when Jesus was born?
- How is God’s love the best kind of love in the universe?
- How did Jesus show his love for us when he grew up?
- How can you show God’s love to someone else this week?
- What could you sing or pray to God to thank him for his love?
8. Christmas Hide & Seek
Prepare: nativity set characters (preferably non-ceramic), Bible
Do: In the days leading up to Christmas, or on Christmas day, hide a different character from your nativity set (or a picture of the character) somewhere in your home every day. Have the children search and find it and let them tell you what they know about that character.
Idea: If needed, use the Bible to read a few verses from the beginning chapters of Matthew or Luke about each character and how they fit into the Christmas story.
9. Searching Shepherds Game
Prepare: toy sheep (or picture of a sheep)
Do: Have the children pretend to be the shepherds who heard the good news of Jesus’ birth. Have one child close his eyes while you hide a toy sheep or picture of a sheep somewhere in the room. Have the child open his eyes and pretend to be a shepherd searching for the lost sheep. Have everyone else guide him to the correct location by saying Luke 2:11 in a soft voice when he is far from the sheep and gradually growing louder and louder as he gets closer and closer to the sheep. When they find the sheep, have everyone pretend to be the angels joyfully shouting the verse together!
(The FREE Enjoying Advent! activity guide includes the printable below to make it even easier to play this game with kids!)
10. Christ Is Born Lesson
Prepare: golden/shiny item, scented perfume, and a fragrant spice each wrapped in a gift box, Bible or storybook Bible
Say: What’s your last name? People sometimes think Christ is Jesus’ last name, but Christ is actually an important title that tells something special about who Jesus is. Christ means “the anointed one.” It’s a special way of saying Jesus is the chosen one. There’s never been and never will be another person like him. A little while after Christ Jesus was born, something special happened that shows he wasn’t just an ordinary baby—he was the one and only chosen Savior King!
Do: Read the story of the Magi from Matthew 2:1-11 or a children’s storybook Bible. Let children take turns carrying a gift and pretending to follow the star to King Jesus. Open the gifts so the children can see and touch the gold and smell the perfume.
Say: In this true story, Jesus is called a king, a ruler, and the Christ even though he was still a little child. (See Matt. 2:2, 4, 6.) What kind of gifts do people usually give to babies and toddlers? The wise men gave Jesus expensive and fancy gifts because they knew he was God’s promised King. And that’s not all! They bowed down and worshipped this little boy because he is God’s Son, the Christ—the one and only chosen Savior King! Do you know what he was chosen for? Christ Jesus was chosen to rescue people from the worst problem of all time, sin! When Christ Jesus grew up, he lived a perfect life and then died a terrible death to take the punishment you and I deserve for sin. Then he came back to life and rules in Heaven today as the greatest king of all time. As we celebrate Christmas, we remember that Jesus is the Christ, the one and only chosen Savior King who came to rescue people from sin and rule forever. Say with me, “Christ is Born!”
(The FREE Enjoying Advent! activity guide includes the coloring page below that kids can enjoy while you teach this lesson.)
Which one of these ideas will you try? Tell us in the comments!
Oh! And did I already mention we have a FREE Enjoying Advent! activity guide? Enjoying Advent! has 50 ideas and printable games, crafts, coloring pages, and object lessons to help families celebrate Christmas in meaningful ways! It also includes a free Advent celebration guide for adults! Check out the video below to watch one of these activities in action!
If you’re looking for MORE ideas and activities to help kids enjoy and celebrate that birth of Jesus Christ in a meaningful way, you should also check out the free build-it-yourself nativity kit, The Cardboard Christmas! This is a printable nativity kit for kids! Children can build and play with the characters as you use the five play-based lessons to teach them what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, the promised Savior. Instructions and printables are provided to help you teach and discuss the meaning of the Christmas story from Scripture as you gradually build your own cardboard nativity set to play with and enjoy.