This is post four in our 12 Books of Christmas: Crafts & Activities for Kids:
My girls have been taking a kid’s art class this semester, and it’s been amazing! The instructor is so talented and encouraging, and they’ve been able to experiment with many different art mediums. When they brought home these Charcoal Nativity drawings, I knew I wanted to share them with you. In fact, they are a perfect activity to go with the story The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey!
If you aren’t familiar with The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, it’s one of our favorites! Jonathan Toomey is a woodcarver in the village–an extremely gloomy and grouchy man–in fact, all of the children call him Mr. Gloomy. When he is challenged to carve a beautiful nativity set for a widower and her son, it turns out to be just what he needed…and leads to a Christmas miracle.
More about the book: “Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of his lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach him with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle. The moving, lyrical tale, gloriously illustrated by P.J. Lynch, has been widely hailed as a true Christmas classic.”
Charcoal Nativity Christmas Art Project for Kids
In the book, Mr. Toomey sketches his plans for the carvings in charcoal, and we’ll do the same in this activity.
- Paper (paper bags can also be cut apart and utilized)
- Charcoal (the instructor had the children use willow charcoal)
On a side note, this little art set is a great way to introduce kids to drawing with charcoal.
First, set out a model drawing or painting of the nativity scene for the kids. Have them make some observations about the drawing. Who is in the drawing? Who will they include in their drawing? What is in the background? Will they add a background or not? What shapes do they see? Will they only use charcoal? Will they use other mediums in the drawing (pastels, pencils, etc.)?
Next, have the children make a preliminary sketch to practice. If your child has never used charcoal, it can take a little practice to manipulate the art medium.
Finally, ask your child to draw the nativity scene in front of them. Give them plenty of paper to explore and lots of room to create!
Interested in more activities to do with the book The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey? Here are a few ideas:
- Soap Carving – Our Journey Westward
- Discussion Questions for The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – Susan Wojciechowski (author)
- Molasses Cookies – AllRecipes
- Simple Skillet Cornbread – 100 Days of Real Food
Do you have any ideas to use with the book?