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The Nativity: A Preschool Religious Christmas Play

written by: Marlene Gundlach • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 9/11/2012

Trying to get your students to focus on the real meaning of Christmas can be an uphill battle when they are faced with nothing but toy ads starting in November! Putting on a preschool religious Christmas Nativity play for the holidays can help put the Christ back in Christmas.

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    The Nativity

    As you prepare for the Christmas holiday and producing a preschool religious Christmas play, read your students as many different versions of the Nativity you can find. This helps them to understand the meaning behind the Christmas holiday and where it all began. Beginning in early November, you may want to start teaching your students the songs that you will perform in the play. The song lyrics can be downloaded from the media gallery, the titles include:

    • This Little Light of Mine
    • Mary and the Angel
    • Mary Rode a Donkey
    • Rock Baby Jesus
    • Long Ago at Christmastime
    • The Shepherds Walked on Tiptoe
    • Twinkle, Twinkle, Special Star
    • The Wiseman Rode Their Camels
    • Gospel Bells

    Depending on your time constraints and the ability of your students, you can pair down the number of songs you use and not adversely affect the meaning of the play.

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    Parts and Costumes

    There are 8 different parts in this preschool religious Christmas play, but some can have multiple students participating. The parts, with the number of studentsBethlehem Star  needed for each, includes:

    • Mary (1)
    • Joseph (1)
    • Donkey (1)
    • Wisemen (3)
    • Shepherds (as many as needed)
    • Star (1)
    • Angels (as many as needed)
    • Sheep (as many as needed)

    A teacher will serve as the narrator and will read the entire play. Students will just act out the play, with the songs sprinkled in between. Keep costumes simple. The wisemen can carry small wrapped gifts to present to baby Jesus. Angels don't all need wings and halos, even just dressing in white will do the trick. The only scenery needed is a small crib for the baby Jesus (just use a doll). By keeping things simple, you are focusing on the story. The script for the Nativity can be downloaded from our media gallery

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    Tips for a Successful Production

    When working with preschoolers, you will encounter some fear with going on stage. If you have a student who is crying, just let them go and sit with his/her family. It really causes too much commotion to keep a crying student on stage, and it really isn't meant to be a traumatic event! Maybe if they sit in the audience for a few minutes and watch their friends enjoying themselves, he/she may decide to join in. Let parents know this ahead of time so that they do not panic and try to force their child back on stage. At all times, keep the focus on the story and the message. Make the preschool religious Christmas play fun and simple; your students and families will surely receive the intended message.