Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Jesus! A Storytime Christmas Party

Happy Birthday Jesus! Christmas Lesson Plan for Preschool
A Storytime Christmas Party

Introduction: Before the children arrive, decorate the storytime area for a birthday party. Use lots of colorful streamers, balloons, a "Happy Birthday" banner, and other decorations to give the room a festive flair. The children will be surprised when they arrive, especially if they are expecting a Christmas storytime. Ask the children who they think the party decorations are for. Explain that it is Jesus' birthday at Christmas. Spend some time talking about other things we do at Christmas, and explain the true reason we celebrate Christmas.

 (To the tune of "Jesus Loves Me")
"Happy birthday Jesus!
I'm so glad it's Christmas!
All the tinsel and the lights,
All the presents are so nice.
But, the real gift is You,
Thank you God, we know it's true!
Happy birthday Jesus!
Jesus, we love you!"

Story: God Gave us Christmas, by Lisa T. Bergren.

Bible Verse Bracelets: Luke 2:11
"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord."

(Print out, on a brightly-colored sheet of paper, today's verse repeated down the page. Cut between each verse so that you have 10-15 strips, each with the verse printed on it. Ask the children to form a line, and using tape to stick the ends together, wrap a "Bible Verse Bracelet" round each little wrist. Some children do not want to wear it; in that case, hand it to them and tell them to use the verse as a bookmark. The children love these, and come to expect them at each session! The verses also find their way home to parents and siblings, and help to spread the news about that day's storytime.)

 "One Night in Bethlehem:"
"One night in Bethlehem,
Mary and Joseph slept on the hay. (Rest head in hands.)
The cows said 'Moo,' and the donkeys said, 'Neigh.' (Make sounds like the animals.)
Then baby Jesus was born for all. (Outstretch arms.)
He was a baby, so tiny and small. (Cradle arms as if holding a tiny baby.)
Angels sang, 'Jesus is born tonight!' (Cup hands around mouth as if shouting.)
Shepherds hurried to see the great sight. (Place hand over eyes as if seeking.)
Mary rocked baby Jesus so new. (Rock baby.)
He was born for me and for you." (Point to self, then others.)

Story with Music:
 "Little Drummer Boy"

Use the book, The Little Drummer Boy, by Ezra Jack Keats.  Cue up the song "The Little Drummer Boy," (I like to use this version.)  Show the children the pages of the book as the song unfolds.  There's no need to say a word. The song and the pages of the book speak a wonderfully concise Christmas message!

Art Activity: "Birthday" presents for Jesus 
Give each child a shoe box or other small box with lid. Provide photocopied cut-outs of hearts, praying hands, treble clefs, and pictures of children helping each other. Explain that we can give Jesus the gift of our heart (that we can love Him and each other,) we can spend time with Him in prayer, we can give him the gift of praise (and one way to do that is through music,) and we can treat one another kindly and helpfully. Have the children place these "gifts" in their boxes. Then provide lots of decorative things to cover the boxes with: foil wrapping paper, shiny ribbons, glitter glue, sequins, beads, buttons, and anything else shiny and festive. Tell children to take the gifts home and place them under their Christmas tree to remind them that Christmas is not about what we get from others, but how we give ourselves to God.

Snack-time: Birthday cake for Jesus
Since this is a birthday celebration, and more than just a regular storytime, have a special snack-time for Jesus' birthday. Have a cake, light candles (try three candles for the trinity,) and sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. Don't forget to say a prayer of thanks for the cake and the real reason for Christmas! Have birthday games like "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," "Pass the Parcel," etc.. Hand out treat bags to the children as they leave. Enjoy the party!