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The Christmas Story: 4 Ways to Engage Kids With Special Needs

the Christmas story

The Christmas story is good news for all people, including kids! KidMin leaders can create a sensory experience and invite participation when celebrating Jesus’ birth. Engaging kids with special needs and learning differences is especially important.

Try these ideas in your children’s ministry. They’re great for involving youngsters with special needs in the Christmas story.

4 Activities About the Christmas Story

1. Angel Sock Puppet

Make angel sock puppets using white socks, gold pipe cleaners, hot glue and a Sharpie marker. Retell the Christmas story from Luke 1:26–33, 38, 46. Slip an angel puppet on one hand of each listener. While sharing about the angel’s visit to Mary, invite participants to mouth the angel’s words with their puppets. Be sure to have the storyteller look for opportunities to quote the angel.

Students with special needs will be more likely to remain attentive if their puppet has opportunities to perform, silently mimicking the angel’s words. You can use the sock angel for all parts of the Christmas story involving the appearance of an angel.

For a two-minute tutorial on making a sock angel puppet, see the video from Orange’s First Look curriculum team.

2. Natural Raffia

Provide each listener a handful of torn craft paper or natural raffia. For kids who have an aversion to touching scratchy materials, place the shredded paper inside a sandwich bag. Invite students to quietly manipulate the material (or feel their baggie of torn paper) as the storyteller reads Luke 2:1–7.

The shredded craft paper serves as both a fidget and a concrete tool for helping listeners connect with the Christmas story. The storyteller might say things like:

Feel the texture of the papers in your hand.
The papers in your hand (or bag) feel like hay.
Hay is on the ground in a stable instead of carpet.
Hay is placed in a manger for animals to eat.
Mary and Joseph could not find a place to spend the night in Bethlehem.
They had to sleep in a stable.
Baby Jesus was born while Joseph and Mary stayed in the stable.
There wasn’t a bed or a crib for Baby Jesus to lay in.
So Mary placed Baby Jesus on the hay in the manger.
Jesus slept on the soft hay in the manger.
The hay felt a lot like the crinkled paper you are holding.