If you’ve found yourself on this page, then you’re probably looking for a felt nativity for your children to enjoy during your Christmas preschool theme. Look no further.
This felt nativity includes a free template that you can snag from the end of this post.
Felt Nativity with FREE Pattern Template
I have spent some time over the last few years looking for a nativity set for my children to play with during the holiday season. While we have a porcelain nativity that sits upon our mantle, it was important to me that my children have their own nativity we could set up next to our bin of 25 Christmas picture books about Christ.
And being an in-home preschool, I also have the choice to be able to offer my preschoolers a nativity to play with, to.
Now, there are a lot of nativity toys available, and I looked at all of them. All. of. them.
But there were a few things I was looking for specifically:
- softness (I wanted a soft toy so that their play might be “softer” as well)
- different (so my kids knew the nativity was not just another set of toys)
I settled on wanting a felt nativity. I felt like the felt would be soft but durable, and require minimal sewing. (In fact, you can make this felt nativity completely no-sew if you choose). And having a lack of felt toys in our home, I knew my children would view this nativity scene with a bit more reverence than a typical plastic toy.
Admittedly, we do have a few traditional toy nativity sets, too.
So, I scoured the internet for a felt nativity, but couldn’t find one that wasn’t sold in an Etsy shop. (I didn’t have an arm and a leg to spend on a hand-made scene). So, I set out to make my own instead.
Felt Nativity Craft with FREE Template
You just need a few materials for this felt nativity. It’s simple enough even for a novice crafter, like myself.
Materials for Felt Nativity
- high-quality craft felt in a variety of colors
- cotton embroidery floss
- hot glue
- sharp sewing scissors
- FREE template (found at the end of this post)
About the Felt Nativity Craft
I’ll be completely honest.
This project took a number of hours to complete. I think part of this was due to having to make up my own pattern as I went along. Don’t worry, you don’t have to. You can grab a copy of my felt nativity template at the end of this post.
There is also hand stitching detail on nearly every piece. The hand stitching is not mandatory. You can choose to not do the hand stitching at all, or you can save it for another year!
Making it Movable
Because I wanted my children to be able to move the pieces to tell the Christmas story, nothing but the stable and trees are actually glued down. I mounted some light blue felt on a large, heavy-duty tri-fold display board. This way, all the pieces had a home when not in use, and the nativity could stay on display while not being played with.
Each piece is backed in an additional piece of felt, for added durability, and to keep my baby from picking at the threading.
Stitching the Pieces
I used cotton embroidery floss for the stitching details and stored the extra string in this thread organizer. They are somewhat contrasting colors to add some special detail. Also to make the felt pieces look a little more hand-made and a little less home-made, if you know what I mean.
The hand stitching took the longest because I used so many different thread colors on each piece. You can simplify that by using a single color, like a medium gray, on all the pieces. But, put the kiddies to bed and after a few movies, you’ll be surprised at how quickly this project can move along. I do think the many different colors of threading brings a bit of richness to the felt nativity.
All of the main pieces of felt are actually hot glued together. If you are a super crafty and patient seamstress, then I definitely recommend using a sewing machine.
The downside of using hot glue is that it is difficult to stitch through. Leave a thin border around the edge of each piece where there is no glue so that you still have a clean line of felt to add the hand stitching to.
A Tip about Felt Quality
One thing I did learn, which is the most important tip I can offer, is to use the high quality felt found at craft stores, or like this cotton embroidery floss. You’ll pay about $0.12 more per piece of felt, but the quality is so much better than the felt found elsewhere.
And yes, I bought the felt in sheets, not from the bolt. For the actual nativity pieces I probably used less than twenty sheets of felt. I used about twelve different colors, so buying from the bolt wouldn’t have been practical.
Using the Felt Nativity with Your Kids
My kiddies play with our homemade felt nativity set every day. Sometimes they retell the Christmas story, sometimes I tell it to them.
Sometimes I use the pieces to illustrate the scenes from that bin of Christmas books sitting next to it. And sometimes the pieces are just used for pretend play, which is okay with me too.
My little boys like to match the felt nativity pieces with the pictures in the books. And my baby holds the felt baby Jesus in his hand, next to his chubby cheek, and says, “Shhh, shhh” while he rocks back and forth.
What I can tell you definitively is that all my children have heard the Christmas story more times than ever before, which is a complete win in my book!
Get your FREE Felt Nativity Template
If you think your own kiddies would enjoy this felt nativity, click the download button below and the free template will be sent to your email!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.