Monday, December 6, 2010

Nativity Play

Kids Nativity Play

Last year I made an Oma Nativity Kit. It contained everything necessary for the grandkids to act out the first Christmas at the family Christmas party: a simple nativity script in rhyme, no-sew costumes, easy-to-store props and scenery. (It all fit in a $7.00 Rubbermaid box from Target.) Here my how-to for a family nativity play.

I assigned the kids their parts ahead of time. At the party, while a couple of moms helped them get their costumes on, the adults were divided into two groups—choir and scenery.

Kids are the stars of Christmas

The Nativity Scenery Committee got a tri-fold display board (it's like three sides of a cardboard box, navy blue, and I got it at Michael's Crafts for $8.00) plus a baggie full of star-shaped foam stickers. (I got three bags of 30 multi-colored, multi-sized stars for $2.00 each and picked out the yellow ones.) They stuck on the stars to make scenery that looked like a night sky. Two of the scenery people held up the scenery during the play.

The Impromptu Nativity Choir practiced singing Away in a Manger and Silent Night.

Shepherd costumes for one, or a whole herd.

No-sew nativity costumes: At the fabric store I searched for very cheap remnants. I got a couple of yards of several different fabrics (a black and white cow print, gray fuzzy wool, white terry cloth, light blue silky something, tan jersey knit, striped drapery stuff, etc.) I cut the material into 45"x 45" squares (roughly, depending on the width) and then cut a hole in the middle for a head. The actors slip them on like a cape, and tie them around the waist with a length of rope. Or they can be draped over their heads and shoulders like a shawl.

Because of a great deal on cow fabric, we had a several cows as well as a camel, a donkey and two lambs in the cast.

We're short on short people in our group, so a few adults had extra roles. From year to year we could add or subtract animals, shepherds, angels, wise men and shift around the speaking parts. Hopefully the kids full-length costumes can be adapted to a shawl or shoulder drape on a bigger actor.

Left over strips of material were for head coverings and belts to hold them on. Mary wore a silk scarf draped over her head. I twisted some gold pipe-cleaners together and made a halo for the angel. She wore white and carried a star, made by gluing a large yellow foam star to a dowel.

All illustrations by Wendy Edelson from One Baby Jesus.

Props included some fake jeweled pins, two boxes wrapped in gold and silver foil, an empty perfume bottle, a broom-stick for a staff, a few stuffed animals (lambs, a camel, and a cow) and a doll. Last year we had a real baby, so a fleece covered his car-seat which was the manger.

So, when everybody was dressed and standing in their places, with the artistic scenery behind them, we were ready. I wrote the lines in rhyme so they're easy to remember; no rehearsal necessary. (Please feel free to use or adapt my poem for your own nativity play.)

Short and Sweet Nativity Script

(Choir sings "Away in a Manger" to set the mood.)

  • Joseph: My name is Joseph. I've been walking all day. In Bethlehem I hope there's a place to stay.
  • Mary: My name is Mary. I'm tired and worn. I need a place for my babe to be born.
  • Donkey: I carried Mary until she could lie down. There is no room in this whole town.
  • Innkeeper: No, no. I haven't a place. In the back with the animals there's some space.
  • Camel: We have a place where it's safe and sound, with loving animals all around. "Can my baby sleep there?" Mary said.
  • Cow: Let my manger be his bed.
  • Baby Jesus: (Sleeps peacefully.)
  • Shepherd 1: I am a shepherd watching my sheep. I think I hear singing in my sleep.
  • Shepherd 2: There's an angel above us. I'm filled with fear. But peace is the message that I hear.
  • Angel: Jesus is born today. He's sleeping in a bed of hay.
  • Lamb 1: Let's follow the star.
  • Lamb 2: It's not very far.
  • Wise Man 1: I'm a king from far away. I've looked forward to this day.
  • Wise Man 2: In the east a star shone bright, on that sacred, holy night.
  • Wise Man 3: Gifts of love we all can bring to worship Jesus Christ, our king.
  • Reader: The Bible tells the story like this: (Reads Luke 2:1-16.)
Choir sings Silent Night.

♫ Away in a manger ♫
no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his wee head, ♫

♫ The stars in the heaven looked down where he lay ♫
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. ♫

♫ Sleep in Heavenly Peace . . .♫


Diane said...

I saved this post from last year, planning on doing it this year. I don't know if I'll get to it! But, it's still on my list. It's a wonderful idea.

Grandma Shelley said...

Very, very nice! Thanks for sharing the script, and your prop and costume ideas.

My grands are creating the nativity on Friday night for our church group. It is an outdoor party so the stars will already be there for us.

Misty said...

This is so beautiful! Even your short and sweet script brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful tradition! Thanks for sharing. (I'll definitely be using your great ideas!) :)

Tracy said...

Oh how much fun! you know I actually was thinking yesterday when I first started teaching and Christmas was in 'vogue'. I taught a special needs class and we put on a play wher my non-verbal little girl played 'Rosie, the lost Reindeer' and one of my kids wrote a poem and we all 'signed' Silent Night to Johnny Mathis' version of the same. It was so special and gosh, I miss when we could actually celebrate this special day in school!

Kay Dennison said...

Tres cute!!!!!!!!

Christie said...

Such an awesome idea...

Susan Adcox said...

This is a wonderful tradition, and I am in awe of Oma for being able to pull it all together so well.