If you know me, or have been reading this blog very long, you know that I am borderline obsessed with character education for kids. During Christmas, I am also obsessed with teaching my kids the real reason for Christmas. This activity is a favorite of mine, because it combines both.
As with many of my Christmas activities, this is a great craft for older children, but if you have little ones you can make this and then allow your children to participate in the activity that goes along with it.
To make your paper manger you will need:
-Brown paper bag (lunch size or grocery size is your choice)
-yellow card stock
-Either a baby doll or make your own doll with white felt and a wooden ball
Begin by cutting the top of your bag to your desired height, and cutting a circle in the center.
Now you will cut the sides out of your bag, approximately half of the remained height.
Glue the top of your bag together. Then decorate as desired. I simply added a paper star to the top.
Cut your yellow card stock into strips and fold accordion-style. Place these in a separate jar, bag or other container.
Now comes the character education part. Explain to your kids that each time they do something that embodies the true spirit of Christmas, they get to add a piece of "straw" to the manger. This could be anything from displaying generosity, kindness, keeping a joyful attitude or even doing a service project for others. Be sure to give examples, and stay on watch for this behavior. You could even enlist your kids to "catch" each other pleasing Jesus. You may decide to remove a piece of straw each time the behave selfishly, greedily or are unkind, but be sure that it doesn't become a tattling contest between your kids. On Christmas Eve, talk to your children about how their actions were pleasing to Jesus, and praise them for filling up the manger. Then you can add your doll "Baby Jesus" on top of the bed they made for him.
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