Saturday, December 19, 2015

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Birthdays are a major highlight in the life of a preschooler, so what better way to convey the glory of Christmas to them than to have a birthday party for Jesus?!  This birthday party has become a cherished Christmas tradition in my classroom, and I'd like to share that tradition with you and your little ones.

Bible Truth: Christmas is Jesus' Birthday.
Bible Story: Jesus our Savior is born.
Bible Study: Luke 2:17-20; John 3:16


I've learned over years to keep this very simple by following our same service schedule/routine, with some extra special touches.



decorate


The first step is to decorate the classroom with lights, a Happy Birthday Jesus Banner, balloons, garland, and whatever else you may have on hand.  I also like to have Christmas music praising Jesus as the kids are signing in and engaging in free play, which will include a child-friendly nativity set for them to play with. When they walk into the classroom, I want them to know that this is an extra special day to set the tone for our birthday party.  They typically have lots of questions about what the banner says, why I put up Christmas lights, etc.  All perfect opportunities to explain that it is a special day to celebrate Jesus' birthday!




sing


Through the Christmas unit we've taught the children several songs and rhymes that correspond to different parts of the Christmas story.  For our worship time, I like to repeat these  sing these songs as we also review the lessons.


teach & play


Fun parties include fun games, and this party is no exception!  This is a game that also teaches the kiddos John 3:16a, which is the very heart of Christmas.  So instead of our typical lesson time, we will be playing a game.  (Shh, don't tell the kids, but the game is actually a lesson in itself!)

john 3:16 scripture pass


For this game you will need:
  • a bible
  • a heart pillow (or other heart shaped object)
  • an inflatable globe (or another type of globe)
  • a nice gift box
  • a baby Jesus figurine
  • Christmas music


Gather the children into a circle.  Explain that the Bible has a very special verse about Jesus that they are going to learn.  As you hold your Bible open, invite the children to repeat after you, "John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son."  Then, show them each of the objects as you briefly talk about the verse and what it means to them.  Keep the baby Jesus figurine in the gift box to bring out at the right time.
  • heart - For God so loved
  • globe - the world
  • gift - that he gave
  • Jesus - His only Son
Now to play the game, give the heart, globe and gift (with Jesus inside) each to a different child to hold. Play the music that you have selected.  When the music starts, the children begin passing the objects around the circle.  Randomly stop the music.  When the music stops, whoever is holding one of the objects stands up.  Repeat the verse with all the children, pointing to the corresponding objects.  "John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave," pause to ask, "What did God give?"  The child holding the gift can open the gift and take out baby Jesus as everyone says, "His only Son!"  Ask the children to sit back down, put Jesus back inside the gift box, and get ready to pass.  Start the music, and continue to play the game as time allows.  I guarantee that your little ones will want to keep playing this again and again!

cake


The hallmark event at a birthday party is singing Happy Birthday and eating cake!  I've found cupcakes to be the easiest way to serve cake to preschoolers.  I top our cupcakes with Happy Birthday Jesus toppers from Hobby Lobby.  We sing the traditional Happy Birthday song to Jesus, and then enjoy our cupcake treats!  Since there are little candles on the cupcake picks, they can even pretend to blow out the candle on their cupcake when we finish singing.



craft


birthday card


To top it all off, here is a sweet little birthday card for the kids to decorate for Jesus, and display in their home as a reminder of the greatest gift that we celebrate at Christmas.  You will need:
  • this printable (print double-sided and fold into a card)
  • card stock
  • crayons
  • various crafting items
  • glue



Decorating the card is very open ended, depending on the materials that you have available to you.  Be creative with whatever you have on hand.  Here is what I used:
  • heart - red glitter Foamie
  • circle - blue paper with green sequins
  • square - wrapping paper and ribbon
  • baby Jesus - white cloth, and paper shreds




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