Each year we set up some kind of nativity small world. It’s a great way to get into the spirit of Christmas: decorating the tree and creating a nativity scene.
Last year we crafted our own stable and figurines from recyclables. This year we’re using our Saint Nicholas presents: Grimm’s wooden toys. These colourful, open ended toys are absolutely gorgeous and incredibly inviting.
The kids have been feeling, rocking, stacking, holding, balancing and positioning them in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways over the last couple of days. After a whole lot of experimenting, we eventually settled on this nativity small world set up. Isn’t it beautiful?? Scroll on to see all of the details!
Setting up a Nativity Small World with Grimm’s Wooden Toys
We seem to have these fixed ideas of what a nativity scene should look like. So it seems a bit counter-intuitive to create a nativity small world with a highly opinionated 6 year old and a 3 year old lover of randomness. I try to build up to it by reading the story and so on, but each year we have the same kind of discussions. They want to know why there can’t be a unicorn in the stable or why Mary doesn’t wear her pink sparkly dress? My son demanded the other day that he wanted to park his cars in the stable and wondered why there weren’t any dinosaurs? Sigh. We could be here a while.
Then this year I read something my friend wrote about setting up a nativity scene with her 3 children. “All you need is Jesus”, she said. And the rest are details that don’t matter all that much. It made me laugh and sigh with relief. I decided to let it all go, give the children a baby Jesus and see what happens with the rest of the nativity scene.
A Nativity Small World in Detail
For this nativity small world we used the Grimm’s small rainbow and the flower puzzle (affiliate links). We added these hand painted trees by Melanie from My Big World, some yarn from my craft box, wooden star shaped chips from the local dollar shop and our beloved Playmobil (affiliate link) figurines and animals.
After I gave the kids their baby Jesus, my daughter dove into the Playmobil box to look for a suitable Joseph, Mary, wise men and an angel. It took a lot longer than you’d think. It was an interesting conversation she was having with herself about wardrobe choices, hair colours and accesories. Note that one of the wise men is a woman (a princess at that) and another one is carrying a trolley for all of the gold they’re bringing. She also chose to put an “angel star” up on the beam of light who would both sing hallelujah and point everyone in the right direction.
I helped my son finish the stable and giant light tree construction (so it would crash down every 3 seconds) and we added the trees and wooden chips. He moved in the animals but felt strongly about the cow staying outside in his own stable as it might be dangerous for baby Jesus. (My sweet considerate little boy!) The lambs were allowed in, since they’re only babies themselves who just lost their mommy. The chicken got a home under the roof and the cat got permission to have a quick look at the baby. He then later quietly added two rabbits who live under the tree outside.
The details of this scene are as much in the stories you hear during play then in all of the little elements they add. This nativity small world is also an evolving on and will undergo many changes before the 24th. And I’m learning to love that a little bit more each year. Having three kids will do that to a type A person!
Have a look at this year’s nativity scene as created on day one:
Make your own Nativity Small World
I’m very curious to hear what other family traditions are out there. What do you do for Christmas? Do you have a nativity scene? What does it look like? Or do you have other crafts or activities you do as a family in the weeks leading up to Christmas?
I’d love to know!
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