Since I was a kid, one of my favorite Christmas songs has been, “Away in a Manger.” I love the imagery of baby Jesus, the greatest gift we will ever receive, peacefully asleep on the hay. 

It’s no secret that the holidays are busy and it’s hard enough for us to keep our focus on the true meaning of Christmas. But it’s just as hard if not harder, to help our kids stay focused on Jesus throughout the season when there are so many fun things going on.

It may be tricky, but it’s so important to teach our kids to prioritize the best thing over other good things. And an easy way to do that is to lead them through a Jesus-centered craft!

So to help you do just that, here’s an easy, no-prep baby Jesus in the hay craft that kids of any age can do.

For this craft, you will need 4 paper plates (I recommend the really cheap ones for this craft), scissors, glue or tape, a permanent marker, and crayons or markers.

Alternatively, you could use paper or cardstock instead of the plates if you don’t have any on hand. But there is something fun about using different materials in simple crafts that make them seem more interesting to kids.

If your child is extra crafty or you don’t mind extra cleanup, you could use paint instead of crayons or markers. Allow the plates to dry fully before cutting and gluing them.

First, outline shapes on the plates with your permanent marker. Leave the first plate blank, draw a circle on the second plate, a heart on the third plate, and a large oval on the fourth.

Then, your child will color or paint the plates. Encourage your child to color in the shape fully and not leave a lot of white.

For the blank plate, give your child browns and yellows for hay. For the circle plate, give your child a skin tone color. For the heart plate, give your child reds and pinks. And for the oval plate, let them choose a few of their favorite colors. 

Next, cut out the shapes you traced. Depending on your child’s age or ability level, they can help with this or do it themselves. On the blank plate, make 1-inch cuts from the edge towards the center around the edge to look like hay.

Finally, glue or tape the pieces together. Glue the oval (Jesus’ blanket) to the center of the hay. Then, glue the circle (Jesus’ face) to the top of one end of the oval. Next, glue the heart just below the circle on top of the oval.

Add eyes and a mouth to Jesus’ face and you’re done!

As a bonus, put the baby Jesus beneath the Christmas tree and have a conversation with your child about Christmas gifts. Talk about what they are hoping to get for Christmas, and talk about what you want for Christmas. And then, talk about how we already have the greatest gift we could ever receive: Jesus!

Check out our website for more information. We always welcome new friends to worship with us. Find a location that’s close to you! You can learn more about our beliefs and visit our video library to explore more topics like this one. You can also check out our events page to find out what fun new things we’re doing this season.

About the Author: Anna DuBois
Anna DuBois is one of the kids pastors on staff at the Brighton campus. She is passionate about kids knowing God and growing in their relationship with Him through fun, engaging experiences. In her free time, Anna enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time outside with her husband, Caleb, and dog, Hank.

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