Do you ever wonder what it would have been like to be by the manger on the still, holy night that Christ was born? I love imagining the scene. The primary Christmas song, Stars Were Gleaming gives us a beautiful depiction of the Savior’s birth.
Bring this beautiful Christmas song to life in singing time with this Stars Were Gleaming Picture the Manger review idea! Create your own unique nativity scene in your primary room as you learn about the sights & sounds described in this song!
Stars Were Gleaming Picture the Manger
We hope you love this simple Christmas review idea! The basic idea behind this activity is to take a deep dive into the song lyrics to better understand and imagine the scene of Christ’s birth.
Before beginning this activity, read through the song lyrics. Underline or highlight all the descriptive words for each verse. For the first verse, focus on the words that pertain to the sense of sound. Look for words in the second verse that pertain to sight.
Then, set the scene by turning your primary room into a manger scene. You might consider dimming the lights and bringing a bright lamp or hanging Christmas lights around the room. You could also set up a wooden manger or bring in some fake hay.
Then, set up your board by writing the word, “Sights” on one side of the board and “Sounds” on the other side of the board.
Review both verses of Stars Were Gleaming (flip chart here) at the beginning of singing time. Then, sing through the first verse again. This time, listen for words that describe things you can hear.
After singing the first verse, have children raise their hand to come write a descriptive word on the board. Then, post the Picture the Manger “sounds” word cloud to compare your list.
Then, sing through the second verse and listen for words that descibe things you can see. Begin writing descriptive words associated with the sense of sight. Then, look at all the words you came up with! Sing through the song a few more times. You might even consider having the kids close their eyes and share how they imagine the scene!
Share your testimony of Christ and His humble birth. Even though we couldn’t be there when Christ was born, we can still enjoy sharing the story of His birth and learn about His life.
The “sounds” word cloud comes from lyrics in the first verse. Create your own word cloud with our printable or create your own on the chalkboard! Here’s a list of words I drew from the first verse that evoke different sounds:
- Rang with glory
- Angels’ story
The “sights” word cloud comes from words and phrases in the second verse of the song. This verse really helps me envision the scene!
- Dark and far
- Wisemen riding
- Christmas star
- Play the song while listening to a silent video of the nativity scene! I love The Christ Child nativity video that portays the Savior’s birth. Since this video is longer than the song, you’ll want to repeat the song until the end of the video.
- Draw the scene! Tape a large sheet of poster paper and bring in some crayons or markers. While you sing, have children come up and draw a nativity scene.
- Create a word cloud for all the actions in the song! What do these words tell us about how people prepared for Christ’s birth?
- Bring in a small nativity. Cut out strips of paper and write an action on each piece of paper. Tape each action to individuals in the nativity scene. While you review, choose a child to come pick a character from the nativity. Sing the verse using the action, then choose another movement!
For another visual activity, head over to see this Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus Finish the Picture singing time activity!
Stars Were Gleaming Picture the Manger Printable Song Helps
This free in-post printable includes a colorful word cloud for sights and sounds in each verse of the song!
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For another fun Christmas idea, head over to this Stars Were Gleaming Shadow Puppets activity!
What other fun ways will you use this picture the manger singing time activity in your Primary room?