A nativity for children? People may ask…There is no need for one, they may argue. But as a mother I can share with you that my son derives great pleasure from setting up and playing with his own pesebre.
Why Is It Important to Have a Nativity for Children
Having a nativity for your children allows them to role play with it. They can take it to other places in the household, re-arrange it at any time, and simply play with it while knowing there is nothing to worry about because it is not going to break.
The most valuable aspect of having a nativity for your child is that it makes the process of explaining the nativity story easier.
I take our children’s nativity while asking my son to please set his pesebre. We play Hispanic Christmas music while I tell him the birth of Jesus as a story not as a religious lecture. He loves it!
Amongst many Hispanic traditions, one of the most important ones is to set up the nativity every year. This is a fun process for children because we set up the nativity not only with the pieces that come with it, but also with elements we find in nature to go with the nativity.
What are the natural elements we use in Hispanic culture to set up the pesebre? The main are moss, roots, stones or pebbles, pieces of bark, leaves, and straw.
We also create ponds with aluminum foil, and use extra animals from his toys. Some of my son’s nativities have ended up with dinosaurs! Yes…I know but he loves it and enjoys it.
How To Choose a Nativity for Children
Lets start from saying the nativity is for children to enjoy and use it. For display we can use our traditional nativity.
- Look for three basic materials: Resin (which is a kind of plastic) and wood. I don’t prefer nativities that depict the characters like toys becuase it seems unnatural, and I like to keep it a bit traditional.
- The size of the nativity figures should be appropriate for a child to hold, manipulate and feel. They love tactil experiences and a nativity for children can provide that.
- Make sure the nativities don’t contain lead paint. I love wood and resin nativities made in the U.S. or that disclose in their sale information they are NOT made with lead paint.
- Look for a nativity for children that comes with at least 5 pieces amongst them Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, some animals or the Three Wise Men. The more the merrier. Having more pieces allows children to create scenarios for them, helping creativity.
Here are my top choices for nativities for your little ones. I like them because they have all the requirements listed above for finding a good nativity for children. They also don’t break the piggy bank, and you can keep using them year after year!
Meaning of the Nativity Elements
Ready to explain to your child the elements of the nativity? Here they are in simple words in English and Spanish, so you can share with your children what each element signifies.
While placing the figures explain and tell the nativity story. Play Villancicos while setting up the nativity, many of them tell the story of the birth of Jesus which makes it fun for your children.
- Manger – Choza : Represents humility.
- Joseph – José: Is the man who inspires obedience and fortitude.
- Mary – María: Represents fidelity, the love of God, and an understanding and gracious woman.
- Baby Jesus – Niñ:o Jesús: Spiritual guide, the one who stays in your heart to give love to the world.
- Ox – Buey: His mission was to give warmth with his breath to baby Jesus. Example to mankind, to maintain a warm heart and home.
- Donkey – Burro: Reminds you to be humble.
- The Angel – El ángel: Symbolizes kindness, love and mercy.
- Three Wise Men – Los Tres Reyes Magos: Through their offerings gold, frankincense and myrrh they show Jesus’ kingship, divinity of Christ, and the bitterness Christ had to go through in suffering for our sins.
- Shepherds – Pastores: Represent humility, service, help, and happiness.
- Sheep – Ovejas: Signify obedience, docility, and inspire trust.
- Star – Estrella: Signifies renovation, represents the light that never ends, and what helps us in the darkness to give us hope.