The Cardboard Christmas!

The Cardboard Christmas!


The Cardboard Christmas!

The Cardboard Christmas! 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.

  • Lesson 1: The Promised Savior Make a Bethlehem building as you marvel at Old Testament prophecies about Christ’s birth.
  • Lesson 2: Jesus is the Savior – Read and recreate Gabriel’s messages to Mary and Joseph about the virgin birth of Jesus.
  • Lesson 3: The Savior is Here – Read Luke 2:1-7 and journey to Bethlehem with cardboard characters for the birth of the Savior!
  • Lesson 4: Celebrate the Savior – Celebrate with the shepherds and angels as you read and recreate the events of Luke 2:8-20.
  • Lesson 5: Worship the Savior Follow the star and worship with the wise men as you read and respond to Matthew 2:1-12.

This free digital download also includes a Cardboard Christmas Bash! leader’s guide with instructions, ideas, and printables to help you adapt this printable nativity kit into an epic cardboard Christmas party for your whole church or community!


Welcome to the build-it-yourself Cardboard Christmas Kit.
This kit will be delivered as a zip file. You must save and unzip the file to access the leader’s guides and printables. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to gather your supplies and let the fun begin! All you need is a small cardboard box (a shoebox works well), cardstock for printing the characters, craft supplies (tape, scissors, crayons, markers, etc.), and a piece of cardboard cut into the shape of a cross. In addition to the kit, this free download includes a separate PDF with review game ideas and review questions to accompany each lesson that can be used to extend your teaching time in a classroom or to reinforce the lessons at home.

This kit is divided into five lessons, using a primary Scripture passage for each section. After reading part of the Christmas story with the children, you will create the corresponding characters and discuss the meaning of the story as you gradually build your own cardboard nativity set to play with and enjoy.

How to Build the Christmas Characters

  1. Choose whether you’re using the full-color or black and white characters (or both) and print them on cardstock.
  2. Use crayons, markers, stickers, etc. to decorate each character. (Depending on the age of the children, you may want to cut out the characters ahead of time.)
  3. Use scissors to cut out the characters, roll them into a cone with the tab on the inside and tape the back edges together.
  4. Arrange, enjoy, and play with your character creations as you re-enact and discuss the story of the Savior’s birth.

After acting out the story with the cardboard nativity set, you will gradually write John 3:16 on a cardboard cross and use the words of the verse to explain the gospel and help the children see how the Christmas story culminates in the cross of Christ. A suggested prayer and Christmas worship song are included at the end of each lesson to help you respond to God in worship together.

How to Build the Cardboard Cross

  1. Trace a cross on a piece of cardboard (a template is provided that can be printed and traced if needed)
  2. Have an adult carefully cut out the cross with a utility knife.
  3. It’s helpful to lightly write all the words of John 3:16 on the cross with a pencil ahead of time so all you have to do when teaching is trace over the pencil with a permanent marker.
  4. If desired, the cardboard cross template can be glued/taped to a piece of cardboard

You can use the Cardboard Christmas kit at home or church to help children understand and celebrate the good news that Jesus Christ was born to be the Savior of the world! You may choose to use this as a weekly devotional activity or do one activity every day to have a Cardboard Christmas countdown as part of your Advent celebrations. You could also combine all the lessons into one and use this kit to plan a Cardboard Christmas bash for the families in your church or community! The goal is to experience the Christmas story in a new, hands-on way as you enjoy celebrating Jesus together!


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