Christmas Activity: Play Dough Manger

As I was prepping dinner one night, this fun Family Christmas Activity came to mind. I had recently acquired the sweetest little wooden stable, but it was empty! Not being sure what to do with it, I had been brainstorming ways we could put it to use this Christmas season! So without further ado, may I introduce you to our Play Dough Manger Scene?

Playdough Characters Arranged in a Wooden Stable

It may not look like much to anyone else. In fact, it might look a little silly. But for our family, this little activity made for a really sweet time together.


Delivered directly to your inbox!

Please wait...

Thank you! You have successfully joined the This Little Home of Mine community!

One-Step Prep for a Play Dough Manger

As I was finishing up dinner that night, I quickly wrote the following on a piece of paper:

  • Mary
  • Joseph
  • Baby Jesus
  • Shepherd
  • Sheep
  • Horse
  • Angel
  • Star

Then I tore the paper into strips, folded them up, and tossed them in a bowl.

Nothing fancy!

Truly, the best memories are made when I’m not worrying about things being fancy.

Bowl of Paper Sitting on Table

After dinner, each person in my family drew a piece of paper from the bowl.

Bowl of Paper Sitting on a Table

I had created options to where the older kids could create a second playdough character for the scene if they finished with their first one before their younger siblings were done creating.

Building a Play Dough Manger Together

Now it was time to start creating!

Containers of Play Dough sitting on the kitchen counter

Full disclosure: In my journey to simplify our things, I was really excited to have come up with an idea that would gift us with a way to use up some of our Play-doh!

There are so many benefits to kids playing with play dough, but there are only certain times of the month when my hormones can handle it.

Thankfully, my oldest daughter gets lots of play dough work with her different therapists, and both of my younger kids get to play with it lots when they’re at various different activities.

I have gotten so much better about releasing myself from the pressure of owning supplies, investing in resources, and buying activities and toys that my kids are already enjoying other places.

It has been quite freeing, and I wish I’d started to recognize these things sooner.

Containers of Play Dough sitting on the kitchen counter

The kids loved that this was an activity that included Mom and Dad!

We got right in there with them rolling out dough and creating different parts of the Christmas story.

A Wooden Stable with Play Dough Characters Inside

Baby Jesus turned out as sweet as could be.

I love the way one of my boys “wrapped him in swaddling clothes”.

The funniest build? The horse!

A Blue Play Dough Horse Sitting in the Stable

We have laughed and laughed about this horse!

It’s poor little legs aren’t at all strong enough to allow him to stand.

His face looks like the head of Stuart Little.

It’s honestly had us laughing for days!

Handmade Play Dough Characters in the Stable

We’re also not sure why Mary looks so sad.

We think it’s because one of our boys wasn’t too thrilled that he drew Mary’s name out of the bowl.

You honestly didn’t think this festive family activity went off without someone getting their undies in a twist, did you?

A Fun New Family Tradition

Would your family enjoy this activity?

Would you love having a reason to use up a bunch of play dough you do not at all plan to replace? ha!

Nativity Stable Sitting on the Table with Play Dough Character Placed Inside

Just kidding about that part…kind of.

I could actually see this play dough manger being a fun new tradition that my kids will ask to do again next year!

At the moment, this sweet little handmade build of ours is sitting on our kitchen counter.

The play dough has gotten hard…

The characters will probably be tossed around the new year…

But for now, there is sits – reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas and a fun night together as a family.

Christmas Story on Display in Stable with Play Dough Characters

Homeschooling Resources Just for You

Similar Posts


  1. Stephanie Cook says:

    I LOVE this activity! I’m going to do it with my 3 year old! Such a creative idea while reinforcing the true meaning of Christmas.

    1. says:

      It was really a lot of fun – I hope you guys love it, too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *