We're big fans of small world play in our house & as my preschooler is currently exploring the Christmas Story it seemed appropriate to make a Nativity-themed scene. We made this eco-friendly version from a variety of recycled items & old fabric, & the final result was beautiful.
Small recycled cardboard boxes
White & yellow paint
Brown paper packaging
We started by wrapping our selection of small boxes in the plain white paper & masking tape.
Once all the boxes were covered, we mixed our yellow & white paint to create a sand colour. To create a grainy stone-like texture for our buildings we added table salt & mixed well into the paint. My 3 year old loved mixing this & applying the grainy paint to the boxes! When the boxes were covered we left them to dry overnight.
The rough texture of each box felt just like a rough stone wall. For our shutters & doors we used recycled brown paper, attaching these with double-sided tape.
We pinned up a navy bed sheet to create a night sky backdrop for our town, & stuck on a few stars that we had from a previous craft.
The special bright star was created by my girl at her toddler group.
Our Bethlehem scene was ready! Thank goodness we had just got it set up, as a young couple with a donkey arrived in town!!
My girl has enjoyed moving Mary & Joseph around this play scene, & continued their journey around the living room. As she plays with them she recounts the Nativity story, adding a few extra details here & there! For example, I never knew the houses in Bethlehem had doormats outside, or that Mary had snack stops along the journey to eat grapes!
The donkey has galloped, danced, & even carried Mary on it's back!
My preschooler's creativity, imagination & storytelling have been a joy to observe, & I love watching her engage with the Nativity Story in a way which is totally relevant to her!
We're leaving this play scene up to be explored over the next few weeks, & we'll be adding more figures as we explore the story. You might also like the stable & shepherds hillside that we made to complete our Nativity Scene.