Away in a Manger – Draw & Trace

My primary children love creative activities! Get some crayons and have fun with this Away in a Manger – Draw & Trace activity!

I LOVE this simple watercolor of the nativity, especially because the shapes are very simple to recreate. This is a great painting to use for primary because children can trace the shapes or even try to draw in on their own!

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Away in a Manger – Draw & Trace

Creative activities are such a fun way to encourage children to use their imaginations in primary. Children have the biggest imaginations and often learn through active creating. This simple Draw the Song activity can be used in so many different ways.

The idea behind this activity is to create a simple outline of the nativity that children can trace or draw as they review the song. I’ve included below a printable lesson plan and copy of the image I’ll be using for this activity.

This painting idea originally came from Pinterest, but it was painted and made with our own touch and style! I thought it was great for this activity because of how simple the shapes are! Here are a few fun ways to use this activity.

Supplies to Consider:

Tracing Paper — This has 200 sheets for just $10! Cut them in half and they’ll last you FOREVER!

Gel Crayons — The colors with these are able to blend together to make them feel like painting and are super washable (don’t worry about the kids marking up the chairs or their church clothes!)

Washable Watercolor Paint Sets — I really prefer name brand for paints, but you may be able to go cheaper if you will only use them once. If you have some ward budget left to use for the year, these would be so fun to add to your Primary closet!!

On that note, we do have a great resource page with recommended supplies for Primary music leaders to help use up the budget. If your Primary doesn’t use their budget, it will be lower the next year. So don’t feel bad for utilizing those funds for meaningful and valuable supplies for your Primary children!

1. Artist of the Day

“Artist of the Day” is an adaptation of Draw the Song that allows children to trace the image independently. To play “Artist of the Day,” start by giving each child a copy of the drawing and some crayons.

For this activity, each child will trace the drawing in steps throughout the duration of the song. By the end of the song, they will have completed a beautiful drawing of the nativity scene that they can take home and share with their families.

How to Use this Activity:

  1. Sing the first line of the song, then invite the children to trace Mary. As the children draw, you might have the pianist play the first line again.
  2. After singing another line, invite them to trace Joseph.
  3. Next, they can trace the manger and baby Jesus. While they trace Jesus, invite them to think about how they can be like Jesus during the Christmas season.
  4. During the chorus, invite children to color their picture and add extra details. This might be a good time to sing acapella while the children draw.
  5. At the end of the song, you may invite a few children to share their drawings with the class.

2. Let’s Draw Together

“Let’s Draw Together” is a great way to encourage children to use their creativity to create something as a group. This activity keeps children engaged and keeps them singing!

For “Let’s Draw Together,” the idea is similar to “Artist of the Day,” except that everyone can trace one drawing together. This version is especially nice if you are looking to save on some paper! Start by taping this drawing of the nativity to the board.

While singing the song, invite a child who is singing reverently to come up and trace one element of the drawing. Continue to add to the drawing until it is completed. After completing the drawing, sing the song through at least once more.

3. Drawing Lesson

This adaptation is a little different from the first two because there is no tracing allowed! I am by no means a visual artist. However, I am so excited to use this activity with my primary kids! This “Drawing Lesson” adaptation of Draw the Song is awesome because it involves such a simple drawing that will be easy to draw.

For this activity, you can tape the drawing close to the whiteboard as a reference. Start by drawing one of the shapes on the board to start the picture. Sing the first verse of the song, then invite a child to come up and draw another element of the picture.

If children are struggling to draw the shapes, you may help them by describing the shapes and simplifying the drawing. Continue singing the next verses of the song or repeat the verse.

Extension Ideas:

  • Have a child volunteer to be blindfolded. This child will be the artist. Choose another child to give directions for drawing the picture to the artist.
  • Place the finished pictures around the room for an “art gallery.” Have the children walk around the room to view the pictures as they sing “Away in a Manger.”
  • If your primary allows for paints, use some watercolor to paint the pictures!

Away in a Manger
Draw & Trace Printable
Lesson Plan & Drawing

To help you replicate this activity with your own primary, I scanned the watercolor painting I made and have it available in this printable lesson plan for your use.

The Away in a Manger Draw & Trace printable includes an overview of the activity ideas as well as a full page and a half-page copy of the watercolor for you to print and use as needed for personal and church use.

For another fun review activity, check out this fun Away in a Manger – Paper Plates activity!

Which Draw the Song activity will you choose? Share in the comments!

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