Telling the Nativity Story with Lolly Stick Puppets

Talitha was ill and grumpy most of the day yesterday. Ill and grumpy in a way only a two-and-a-half-year-old can be. She spent quite a lot of it sitting on the couch and admonishing the cat not to look at her. Still, she lit up when I suggested we make something. “Make something”, “paint something”, “bake something” – I can count on these for a brightening of just about any mood.

I’d picked up some lolly sticks over the weekend so I thought – puppets? It made sense to do the Nativity since we’re having lots of chats about Christmas and I’m trying to dissuade her from thinking that it is, in fact, her birthday. So we got her children’s Bible out and started deciding what characters we’d make and with what. She mainly decided what colours we were going to use and insisted they all needed googly eyes.

Telling the Nativity Story with Lolly Stick Puppets

I was surprised by how much she got into it, particularly considering how out of sorts she was. I’d say, “Let’s make the donkey” and she’d go flipping through the pages to find the donkey. We had a minor falling out over how many angels to make. I’ve promised her we’ll make more later. She wanted to make hundreds like in the picture. We finally agreed on one when I suggested we could also make the star.

Lolly stick Mary and Jesus

They’re not the fanciest things you’ve ever seen but we’ve had such a good time making them and just grabbing bits and bobs from our craft and recycling cupboards to figure what could make the angel’s wings (white pipe cleaners from my days of dabbling in pipe smoking) or what would do for Mary’s hair (green yarn, of course). She got to be really hands on and do most of the sticking herself too, which made her even prouder of the finished product.

Lolly stick nativity puppets

It was a little tricky explaining to Talitha that we can’t make a puppet for God because He’s invisible. She flipped through the Bible and was convinced that anyone with a beard was God. I could see her point. God gets talked about in the story so where was he?

Lolly stick shepherd and angel

The best bit was reading the story and acting it out with the puppets together. When Laurence got home, she wanted to show him which puppet was which. I’m not entirely sure he would have figured it out on his own but to her it was all very obvious. Of course the pipe cleaner twisted around Jesus was his blanket. After all, the story says he was wrapped in swaddling clothes.

We had such fun with these it made me realise that we really need to do more with puppets. They add another dimension to our storytelling and are a much richer tool for comprehension than simply asking questions at the end, which she sometimes finds frustrating.

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