This simple activity is a lovely way for young children to explore the characters from the Nativity during Advent.
For this activity, I collected Christmas decorations each depicting a character from the Christmas Story & placed them in a small wooden bowl. If you don't have any Nativity decorations, you could print off some characters on card, or ask children if they'd like to draw the characters themselves, just add a loop of ribbon to each image to attach to the tree.
We collected some large sticks to make a tree & a tall vase. I've since substituted this for a tin container, as the vase fell a few times with Minnie's eager decorating!
Minnie created the tree by arranging the twigs in the vase.
She started to add the figures by picking them from the bowl, but soon they were spread out on the table so she could clearly see each one.
Great to see her skill & care as she manipulated & added each figure to the tree.
She placed baby 'Gegus', Mary & Joseph on the same branch, explaining that Mary & Joseph needed to stay with Jesus to look after him! She sorted all the angels together, & then all the Kings, before adding the star to the highest branch she could find.
As she found & added the characters she was able to name them, & I was quite surprised at just how much of the story she could recall & the order in which she sequenced the key events.
We've left the tree for Minnie to explore. She's free to redecorate it, play with the characters or just leave it as it is.
Earlier today I found that she had been looking at this book by the tree. I love that she is exploring the Nativity story in her own way, & making connections herself.
The great thing about this tree is that it gives children freedom to explore particular parts of the Nativity that interest them, & it also allows new stories to be discovered & shared. Great too for encouraging imagination, creativity, motor skills, recall & recognition, sorting, predicting & other maths skills, but maybe most importantly it offers children space to wonder.