If you would like to spend some time making a project with older children, why not try one of these? I wanted my students to enjoy some time relaxing (rather than stressing over exams) before Christmas. I made these scroll saw patterns and then provided a wooden cutout for each student. They sanded and painted their own decoration. The students were encouraged to pull out the movable parts and paint only the fronts and the backs, so that the pieces could slide back into the rest of the project easily.
If you have the ability to use a scroll saw, I would recommend relatively soft wood, such as basswood. If you don’t have access to a scroll saw (and don’t have a friend with one) you could use the patterns to make similar paper or fabric projects. These are also fun, especially for young children!
The Christmas Story is found in many places, my favorite is Luke 2:1-21. I love the joy the shepherds express as they run off to see what the angels told them! “And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:16) Invite children to share the message of Christmas by preparing this project.
Tools Needed for a Scroll Saw Project:
* wood (½ an inch thick; basswood or other relatively soft wood)
* design template (PDF and Word templates for both projects can be found under my “Learning: Tools and Ideas” tab. They are free. Enjoy!)
* scroll saw and extra saw blades (just in case one decides to break) Reminder: be safe when using tools such as a scroll saw (use protective eye wear and take other precautions for your safety)
* sand paper or a sanding block
* acrylic paint (any brand should be fine; note that yellow tends to separate out, mix it or buy a new one as needed)
* small paintbrushes
* a cup of water to rinse the brushes
* newspaper or a paper plate to place under the project (so that paint does not get on furniture)
How to make the Scroll Saw Nativity or Joy Project
1. Cut out all parts of the pattern.
2. Trace the pattern onto the wood.
3. Carefully use the scroll saw to cut out each detail. The sharp corners of the manger tend to be difficult so take it slow there.
4. Sand the edges of the wooden cut out. Some people like to sand until the project is round, other simply want to remove the slivers of wood.
5. Pull out the removable parts of the project.
6. Place paper on the table to protect the furniture.
7. Paint the pieces. Remember that the removable parts should only be painted on the front and back so that they can slide back into the main part of the project. When changing colors, remember to rinse off your paint brush. You may need to get fresh water in the cup from time to time. If you are painting layers, remember to allow each one to dry before adding the next.
8. Wash out the paintbrushes with soap and water. The water will be clear if the paint is fully removed.
9. Clean up the work area.
10. Wait for the project to dry fully.
11. Display the project by standing it up in a place the family can appreciate it.
One of the best parts of doing this project with your family is the natural conversation that can flower from it. If you are looking for some conversation starters, here are a few ideas:
What are three things you love about Christmas? Why?
What are three of your favorite parts of the Christmas story? Why?
How could I help you focus on Jesus this Christmas?