There's just something magical about nostalgic Christmas decorations and toys. Making a popcorn garland and hot cocoa bombs are favorite activities at our house this time of year. This wooden kids nativity set was inspired and copied from the one made for my brother and I when we were kiddos. My mom worked from a pattern by Leisure Arts called 'My Very Own Nativity) (here's one on ebay), and then added her own characters and patterns for 6 years. It's such a fun tradition.
This kids nativity set is great because kids can actually play with it and re-arrange the characters. A lot of times nativity sets are more hands off, but this one is perfect for kiddos to get to know the characters from the nativity story.
Other Christmas Crafts
- Make a Popcorn Garland for your Christmas Tree
- Pom Pom Christmas Wreath- Anthro Inspired!
- Bottle Brush Christmas Tree DIY Ideas
- Gingerbread Wreath Tutorial
- felt (I got a variety pack, but you could pick out colors at your local craft store)
- wood blocks- I had Home Depot cut mine for me in store.
- tacky glue- you can use hot glue but this tacky glue holds up really well.
- transfer paper (or you could use printer paper)
- envelopes (to label all your pieces)
Prepping Your Project
The first step is to cut your blocks to size. The pattern did include recommended sizes, but you can customize this to your specifications around how big you want it to be. I went to Home Depot and had them cut the 2x4 into the sizes, (8" is the most common) and then my dad sanded them down for me. The sanding was the most tedious part and I was super grateful to have his help! You want them to be as smooth as possible since little hands will be playing with these.
Directions for Felt Characters
- Pick out your felt colors. There are recommended ones with the pattern but you can customize or even let your kiddos help.
- Using your paper transfers, cut out rough shapes to coordinate with the nativity character you're working on. I put these in their corresponding envelopes and set aside. That way I was laying out all my felt pieces and then could do the more defined cuts in one separate setting. This helps makes sure you have enough of the felt in the color you want too!
- Cut the details.
- Glue together to 'build' your character.
- Glue onto the wooden block.
- Add face and any embellishments.
The nativity pattern has the nativity set including Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, a Shephard and lamb, three wise men, and angel and star and some farmyard animals. My mom added several custom pieces that I plan to add over the next several years!
Storing your Nativity
We store these in a rubbermaid tote all together. It was always exciting as a kid to get that tote up and set the nativity up in different ways.
This was a really fun tradition for me to start this year, if you make one I'd love to see it!
The original set lives at my parents' home, but I decided to make one for my kiddo so he'd have his own wooden nativity set. I used my mom's pattern and templates but made modifications to colors and plan to add a few unique characters too!