10 Crazy-Awesome Christmas Activities for Sunday School:
1. Transform Your Classroom
This one takes a bit more prep time, but it will be incredibly memorable if you can pull it off.
Decorate your classroom with brown paper and hay to make a pretend “stable” or “cave”, representing the place where Jesus was born. Tell your kids to imagine that they are the shepherds who have just seen angels in the sky, announcing Jesus’ birth.
Turn off the lights, light a few candles here and there, and have the kids sit on the floor surrounded by hay bales and straw. Tell them the Christmas story. Or, you could ask a friend or two to play the parts of Mary and Joseph, and give “first-hand accounts” of the night Jesus was born! (Extra points if “Mary” brings a baby along!)
- Keep your decor up for a few weeks, and have various “guests” dress up and come and tell the kids their stories each week (shepherds, Mary & Joseph, wise men, Herod).
- Procure a few farm animals (even smaller ones like chicks will do!)
2. Build a Thankfulness Tree
This activity is a lesson and craft rolled all into one. Get a small to medium-sized tree (real or fake) and some cheap plastic spherical decorations.
While you make paper or popcorn chains with the kids and put them on the tree (or put lights on it), tell them that most kids make lists of things that they want for Christmas. But today, they are going to make a “thankfulness tree”, full of all the things that they already have.
When you’re ready, have the kids right things that they are thankful for on the spherical ornaments using white paint markers. They can also draw pictures. Let each kid do more than one ornament if you have enough. Leave the tree up throughout December so kids can be reminded of how much God has already given us!
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3. Give back
Here’s a great way to SHOW kids what Christmas should be all about, instead of just telling them:
Organize an outing during the Sunday School hour! (You’ll need to plan it a few weeks ahead of time to get permission, transportation, etc.) Have kids make Christmas cards the week before, and deliver them to a Respite Care center, community for the elderly, or a hospital. Or, prepare some Christmas carols or cookies to share.
- Collect non-perishable food items for a few weeks and deliver them to a shelter.
- Collect money over a few weeks to send to missionary kids as a Christmas gift (or purchase gifts to send). Do a facetime or skype call with some missionary kids so that your students can wish them a Merry Christmas.
4. Make a Movie!
Make a stop-motion mini-movie! Don’t worry– it really doesn’t get too technical. However, you’ll need to do this with slightly older kids (ages 8 and up).
Get some modeling clay, and let kids make the characters from the Biblical Christmas story while you tell it to them. (It’s a great way to keep their hands busy and help them pay attention to you!)
Make sure you assign a specific character (i.e. Mary, Joseph, shepherd, animal, King Herod, wise man, etc) to each kid.
Here's an example using LEGO
Next, place the characters in the “scene” (you could use a stable from a manger set, a poster backdrop, or nothing at all). Take pictures with a camera, or even your phone, moving the characters slightly each time.
At home, use video editing software to put all the images together. Most computers come with video editing software built in (Windows Movie Maker, or iMovie for Macs).
Next, you’ll need to add voiceover narration. Simply record it yourself, or let kids record pieces of narration during Sunday School. You could even just read the Biblical account from Luke 2. Add music, and when the video is ready, play it for kids during the next Sunday School class. You can also invite parents to attend the “showing”, and share the video on social media.
5. Hold a Snow Party
This activity is especially successful in countries/climates where snow doesn’t naturally fall. Snow has long been associated with Christmas in general. But did you know that it’s associated with Jesus, too? Isaiah 1:18 says “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Jesus came to earth in order to one day die for our sins and make us “as white as snow”. Freshly fallen snow makes everything around look pure and clean.
Here are a few types of indoor snow:
- Use powdered “insta-snow” like this one.
- Mix white hair conditioner with baking soda. You’ll need about 2 1/2 cups of baking soda for every 1/2 cup of conditioner. This kind of snow is moldeable. You can use it to create small snowmen and hold a snowman building competition. Keep in mind that it can get slippery when used on a hard tile floor, so put down tarps or use it outdoors.
You can make the snow as part of an object lesson, use it in games, and allow kids to play with it– the possibilities are endless.
SHOW kids what Christmas should be all about, instead of just telling them.
6. Revise Christmas tunes
It can be a lot of fun to change the lyrics of popular Christmas songs. You can use this activity as an ice-breaker, as a means of reviewing the Christmas story from the Bible, or as a fun competition.
Simply select a few Christmas songs, like “The 12 Days of Christmas” or “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. Challenge kids to replace the lyrics with ones that talk about Jesus’ birth, the shepherds, the wise men’s visit, etc.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
I’ll be born on Christmas
You can count on me
It’s in my book
I’ll come as a small baby.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas”
On the first day of Christmas, the true God gave to me
A Savior for eternity.
On the second day of Christmas, the true God gave to me
Two loving parents (or Mary and Joseph), and a Savior for eternity.
You can divide the kids into teams and see who can come up with the best song. Give them the examples above and let them finish the songs, or use them as inspiration.
7. Have Christmas show-and-tell
A few weeks ahead of time, ask the students to think of one special Christmas tradition that his or her family does every year, and if possible, to bring an object representing that tradition. (If you’re worried that they might forget, offer a prize to those who bring something to class).
You can use this activity as an opener to a lesson about the importance of family. Jesus’ birth represents the addition of a family member (Mary, Joseph, and Jesus). However, it also made a way for us to become part of God’s family, through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
This is a great time to invite kids to make Christmas their “spiritual birthday” and accept Jesus into their lives if they haven’t done so already.
Invite those who are already Christians to consider what “traditions” they have with God. In other words, how do they treat God? How they talk to Him, and what activities do they do with Him, if at all? Perhaps it’s time to change those traditions to spend more time with God, and to show him how much we love Him.
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8. Sing Midnight Praise
This activity isn’t that hard to pull off, and your students probably won’t be expecting it!
Cover all the windows with black paper or heavy black sheets, making the room completely dark. Use candles, LED “candles”, Christmas lights, or glow-in-the-dark stars to create a “starry night” atmosphere. Place percussion instruments around the room.
Speak in a low voice or whisper as the kids begin to arrive. Then, begin by telling students the story of the angels announcing Jesus’ birth, and the shepherds awe when they saw them. Then, let each kid grab an instrument and sing Christmas hymns/songs together to praise God for sending His Son.
9. Make a “Christmas miracle”
Here’s an object lesson that each of your kids can do with you! Basically, you’ll use static electricity to make some tinsel fly. You’ll need some PVC pipes (at least one) and some tinsel (if you have some for each student, even better!)
First, demonstrate how to do this trick yourself, as you explain why Christmas is the biggest miracle of all. Then, help your students do it too. You can then turn this activity into a game: the kid who can keep his tinsel orb in the air the longest wins!
Watch this video for instructions:
10. Host a Christmas “Fashion Show”
Ok, this one can get downright silly, but it’s loads of fun. Tell your kids to come dressed in their ugliest Christmas sweaters, or most outrageous outfits featuring Christmas colors or symbols. Give out prizes like “Most lint” and “Most Mismatched” for example.
Play games such as a winter clothing relay race (players must run across the room and put on a hat, scarf, boots, coat, etc., and then pass it on to the next player in line, who will then do the same, until the last player must run across the room wearing ALL the items.)
Tie the fashion show into the lesson by speaking about how Jesus lived His life while here on earth (he was wrapped in “swaddling clothes”, not a couture baby outfit, had few possessions, did not own a house (Matt. 8:20). His focus was on spiritual things, not material ones.
Jesus came to GIVE, and not to receive– and that’s what we should focus on during Christmas too!