Exploring the Christmas Story
With Quizzes and Party Games
(Sent in by Marianne Bouwmeester, parish coordinator for the
Anglican Parish of Long Point Bay, Port Rowan, Ontario)
Divide children into (age and ability balanced) teams and assign the leadership of each team to one of the children (perhaps the oldest?) Each team will have a “home base” (i.e. the front left pew and the front right pew). Each team will be provided with:
- A score card to keep score throughout the activities. Stars will be awarded for questions answered and races won.
- Each team will also have a basic craft kit of scissors, tape, glue sticks to complete some of the activities.
Explain the process. We will be reading small segments of the Christmas story from Luke and Matthew. Children are to listen carefully because there will be five quiz questions after each reading. Following the quiz there will be a relay race or other activity.
For each quiz: If you think you know the answer, stand up, raise your hands and clap three times. First one to do so may give the answer on behalf of their team. If the answer is correct, your team gets a star, if the answer is wrong, the other team may answer (and receive a star if their answer is correct).
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
- Who went traveling in this story?
- Why did they have to travel?
- Where did they travel to?
- What happened to Mary when they were in Bethlehem?
- What happened when they tried to get a place to rest in the inn?
Game 1 - Musical Chairs (or pews since our party is in the church).
Throughout the church, place colored papers (or anything else to identify a spot as a “resting place” on the pews. (The number of children minus one). Have children walk around the outside isles and when the music stops, children need to find a resting place to sit down. Whoever did not find a resting place is out. Take away a “resting place” after each time, until just one child remains. (We will have pink and blue sheets of paper, the girls will have to sit on a pink sheet, the boys on a blue sheet, until we are down to two children, who will try for the one remaining resting place)
Luke 2: 8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
- Who were living out in the fields nearby and what were they doing??
- Who appeared to them?
- How did that make them feel?
- What’s the first thing the angel said to them?
- A great company of angels then filled the sky. What did they say or sing?
Game 2 - Halo Toss
Each team will be given materials to create an angel (tall bottles, white tissue paper, tape, large pompom, gold pipe cleaner) and is given 3 minutes to create an angel. (Minister will be the judge for best looking angel). Each child then receives a number halo (tinsel around wire, or card board circles with tinsel wound around them). Let every one on the team have three turns tossing their halo to see if they could land it around the angel. One star will be given for each successful toss.
Luke 2: 8-14
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
- What did the shepherds say when the angels left?
- What did they do?
- They started telling others what they had seen. What was people’s reaction?
- What was Mary’s reaction? What did she do?
- What did the shepherds do as they returned?
Game 3 - Shepherds’ Race.
Provide each child with materials to make a sheep (one large marshmallow, and 5 little ones, and tooth picks; or pompon, sheep face and feet and a glue stick) and ask them to make a sheep. Provide each team with a staff (candy cane) and explain they will have to guide their sheep into a sheepfold before they could leave for Bethlehem. Place sheep on the floor, move sheep forward with candy cane staff and into a sheepfold placed at the end of the room. As soon as the first shepherd is back, pass the staff to the next shepherd etc. First team who has all their sheep safely in the fold wins.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
- After Jesus was born some important visitors traveled to Jerusalem to visit the new king that was born.. Who were they?
- How did they know that Jesus was born?
- When they asked around where they could find the new king, what was the answer?
- How did King Herod’s advisors know that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem?
- How did the prophet describe the ruler who would be born in Bethlehem?
Game 4 - Star Gazing Puzzle
Each team gets an envelope with a number of stars, a glue stick and a strip of construction paper to make a banner. Each star has a word on it. When put in the right order it will show a sentence. Glue the stars on the banner in the right order. Have your team run to the chancel steps, hold up the banner and shout out what the magi said to Herod.
Matthew 2: 9-11
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, and of incense, and of myrrh.
- After they got the answer from King Herod, what did the Magi do?
- How did they find their way?
- How did they feel when they saw the child?
- What did they do as they came close to the child?
- What presents did they bring?
Game 5 - Magi Gift Delivery Race
The Magi who brought presents to Jesus traveled by camel. Each team will take a present (in our case a box with rice crispy squares, wrapped up in Christmas paper) to deliver to a specific spot. It too will have to travel by camel. Teams will line up all players behind each other and pass the present from person to person by handing it alternately overhead or down through the legs (as in the "over and under" pass the ball game). After The last person takes the present and runs back to the front of the line and the string repeats - continue until the person who started is back in the front position. Let team captain share the treats inside the present with the rest of the team members. (If teams are very small, adapt the rules. Perhaps they all have to take 3 or 4 turns…
It’s not easy to judge how long this will all take. There’s an extra relay race if we have more time. (Advent Symbol Relay race) By 5:15 we need to, count up the stars each team has earned. The winning team gets to visit the treasure chest first to choose a prize. Second team will choose next.
As it turned out……
We completed the entire plan in an hour and twenty minutes, and had just enough time after the last game to eat the treat, have a drink (juice boxes), and choose a prize from the treasure chest, before we joined the rest of the congregation who had gathered in the Parish Hall where things were all ready and set up for our congregational pot luck supper.
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