A Christ-Filled Classroom Holiday Season

I love celebrating the Christmas season in my kindergarten classroom. Yes, the kids are wound up and excited, but it is such a joyful time of year. We talk about Santa, elves, and most importantly – Jesus. As a Catholic educator, Advent is one of my favorite seasons in the classroom. Especially in kindergarten. The little ones talk about baby Jesus with a sweetness and a reverence that melts my heart. I am so excited to share some of the resources I used in my classroom to help students interact with the Christmas story in a hands-on way.

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resources and ideas for a Christ-centered Christmas with children

Nativity Playset

My first purchase was a nativity play set from Fisher Price. This 12-piece set includes figures of the Holy family, 3 wiremen, 4 animals, an angel, and a stable. I placed the set on my prayer table, right beside our Advent Wreath. My students LOVE coming to the table to reenact this blessed event.
Fisher price Nativity play setFisher price Nativity play set
If you noticed, the play set did not include any shepherds (I know, it’s crazy). I also purchased a Fisher Price Lil’ Shepherds set to finally get a shepherd. It was worth the extra expense. My kids really needed a shepherd!

Nativity Sticker Books

Next on my shopping list were a few copies of The Very First Christmas (Sticker Stories).
The Very First Christmas sticker book
This sweet book contained a blank scene on each page (perfect for teaching story setting!). Students added the appropriate characters and decorative elements to each page in accordance with the text on the page. My kindergarteners were completely ENTHRALLED.
Nativity sticker book for teaching about the First ChristmasNativity sticker book for teaching about the First ChristmasNativity sticker book for teaching about the First ChristmasAMAZING resources and ideas for Christ-centered Religion instruction

Nativity Stick Puppet Kit

The hands-on fun continued with this cute set of stick puppets that I picked up at Michaels. Each box created 2 full sets of 8 characters from the First Christmas (16 puppets total).
foam Nativity stick puppets
The set included all materials to create the puppets (except assembly instructions). It was a little confusing at first but we did the bet we could and my students loved making the puppets.
foam Nativity stick puppetsfoam Nativity stick puppetsfoam Nativity stick puppets

Classroom Advent Wreath

Even my Advent Wreath was hands-on. I use battery powered candles so that my students could help me “light” the Advent candles during prayer each morning.
precious ideas for Advent and Christmas in a Catholic classroom
We always turn the lights off while we light the wreath. It makes the moment feel extra-special.
precious ideas for Advent and Christmas in a Catholic classroom

Advent Calendar for Young Children

Of course our class needed an Advent Calendar too! I bought the Fisher Price Little People Nativity Advent Calendar. I love how each fabric pocket includes a small plush piece to add to the nativity scene. The pieces attach to little velcro circles on the stable.
Fisher Price plush Advent Calendarplush Advent calendar from Fisher Price

Kindergarten Nativity Pageant

Of course, in the tradition of any Catholic elementary school, my students also performed in a seasonal Christmas pageant. They worked SO hard on the musical performance and I was so proud of them! All costumes were purchased from Oriental Trading.
AMAZING resources and ideas for a Christ-centered Christmas with children

Christ-Centered Parent Gifts for Christmas

Even the children’s gifts to their parents were Christ-centered. If you recall from last year’s blog post, I recorded my students reciting lyrics to “Away in a Manger” and arranged their voices over an instrumental version of the song. Hearing to their voices gives me the chills and melts my heart every single time I listen to the recording. You can listen to last year’s recording by clicking the link below.

This year’s gift to my parents will be a similar recording featuring the song “Still, Still, Still”. This song is actually a lullaby and it has a beautiful sweet melody that enourgages the listener to be still, sleep, and dream because it is “‘the Eve of our Savior’s birth”. I searched for a version of the song with simple vocals so you could appreciate the lyrics. This is the best I was able to find. My class gift has an instrumental version playing softly in the background.
I always get so excited prepping and wrapping this project for my students to take home.

audio CDs of children's voices cute idea for parent gifts

Integrating Literacy and Religion Instruction

I was also thrilled to purchase a few Nativity books that were easy enough for many my kindergarten students to read. If you purchase many books for five year olds, you know how difficult it can be to find books with easy text. I recently discovered the adorable book Christmas in the Manger and it has been a great addition to my classroom library. My students love the sweet illustrations and simple text.

AMAZING resources and ideas for Christ-centered Religion instruction
12 books to teach the True Meaning of Christmas
12 books to teach young children the True Meaning of Christmas
Stock your classroom library with 12 great books to teach young children about the True Meaning of Christmas:

1. The Very First Christmas (Sticker Stories)
2. Room for a Little One
3. Baby Jesus and the Noisy Stable (All Join In)
4. Happy Birthday Jesus<
5. Jesus Christmas Party
6. Baby Jesus is Born
7. Who is Coming to Our House?
8. The Story of Christmas
9. The Nativity Story
10. A Christmas Goodnight
11. My First Book of Christmas
12. Christmas in the Manger

FREE Interactive Sight Word Reader

Many religious products are available for FREE in my TpT store, including a Nativity-based Interactive Sight Word Reader called “Who is with Baby Jesus?”. Help students master the sight word “with” while learning about the First Christmas with this free emergent reader.

FREE Nativity-based Interactive Sight Word Reader

Wishing you a very BLESSED Christmas.

Celebrate the Holidays With Kindercraze

Looking to get into the spirit of the holidays? These posts offer great fun ideas for all while emphasizing the magic of the season.

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

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16 Responses

  1. Loved Loved Loved this post! I’m a Catholic educator as well and it’s tough getting everything in and making it fun too! I am definitely going to look into purchasing some of these items and books for my room! Can I ask you if your school uses a Religion curriculum through the year or if you create your own?

  2. This was a wonderful post and makes me want to change schools so that I too could teach the real meaning of Christmas. The voices on your cd were adorable and will be such a memorable gift, I will have to think of some special way to try that with my students this year. Thanks so for sharing.

  3. Maria, I loved this post! I also use the Fisher-Price nativity set in my preschool classroom, and agree that it is a MUST! I would like to add my favorite book to your list, This Is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten. It has a sweet, rhyming rhythm and repetitive verse, perfect for little ones. I also used your Advent is for Waiting interactive sight word reader this year with great success. Thanks so much for making these available at no cost. Wishing you and yours a Christmas of peace and joy!

  4. So jealous of your ability to teach what Christmas is all about. I read a story about a little girl making a blanket for the baby Jesus in her church and all my students said “who is Jesus?”. ( all celebrate Christmas though)

  5. I have been a Catholic educator for 27 years and there is no place I would rather teach. There are so many wonderful Christmas stories. One I wanted to share is The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, such a sweet story.

  6. Maria, I love all of your creative ideas, especially those that involve teaching about our Catholic faith. I’ve been a Catholic school teacher for 14 years and I wouldn’t want to teach anywhere else. I would love to get more details on how you did your Away in the Manger Christmas gift. What a beautiful idea!!!

  7. I have another book for you. My favorite is This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten. The illustrations are beautiful and I feel that they did a good job showing what Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus might have actually looked like. The page with the angels appearing to the shepherds is gorgeous.

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)

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