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Friday, December 16, 2011
Playing with Jesus
Kids learn by playing. When you add story to play you multiply the effectiveness. Each Christmas we have had multiple nativity scenes in our home. From ornaments on the tree to the latest addition the Willow Tree Nativity. There are a lot of things that we put out at Christmas that are fragile (the leg lamp leaps to mind – must be Italian! – ok sorry for the “A Christmas Story” reference.) So there were a lot of thing that we either put out of reach or else were “no” when the kids were little.
My aunt and uncle gave us a wooden nativity puzzle that was made by one of their neighbors. That puzzle has been the center of the kids Christmas play for many years.
They could dump it, write on it (note the “man” drawn on the shepherd or wise man, and the crayon marks on the camel), break it (the cow has lost its head, we tried therapy to no avail), and act out the Christmas story. That allowed them to process the story at their level. It was also a fine motor exercise to put it back together.
There was another nativity scene that was my wife’s since childhood. The kids played with that one as well. The figures are much the worse for wear now and that set has been retired. Christmas is a special time. Involve the kids in learning about the birth of Christ with hands on play is an important way for them to begin to understand the sacrifice Christ made for them.