Including kids under the age of five can be tricky when it comes to putting on a children’s Christmas pageant. This age group often has a hard time focusing and sitting still for extended periods.
The following tips will help to incorporate the littlest cast members into your upcoming production.
Christmas Pageant Roles
When you are assigning roles to any kids under five, make sure that they will not have any memorized lines. Stable animals, angels, stars, and shepherds are all good roles for this age group.
Keep costumes and props minimal with these guys.
Mark the stage with a little “star” shaped cut-out to indicate where each child should stand during the show. Be sure to stress to them that they need to remain on their “star” throughout the whole show.
One cute way to include a young participant is to have them carry a placard stating the narrative across the stage. For example: While the shepherds are gathering around the stable, have a young actor walk across the stage carrying a large sign that says “and the shepherds gathered…” Stating the obvious narrative will inspire a laugh and include a young child.
If your littlest ones cannot stand on stage for that long, consider having a group of them come on stage for a song between scenes, and exit immediately after. Songs can be practiced over multiple Sundays before the production and audience members can be encouraged to sing along to help them get through the song. Many kids only know the first verse and chorus of the Christmas songs to have Sunday school teachers practice the whole song numerous times.
If you are feeling daring and want to include a REALLY little cast member, you can always have a live baby Jesus!
Short, to-the-point rehearsals will be essential. It will be difficult to keep their attention and cooperation if there is a lot of down time.
Have lots of volunteers on hand during rehearsals and the night of the show. There cannot be enough helping hands when it comes to this age group! Volunteers should have games and toys ready to distract anyone on the verge of a meltdown. Use little toys, stickers, and candy rewards for good behavior and following directions.
If you have a group of very young angels or stable animals, consider having an older, responsible child in that group too as a group leader. This usually helps to inspire good behavior from the little ones and makes the group leader feel very important.
When including very young children, prepare as best you can, but take what you can. Perfection cannot be expected and some of the most adorable parts of a children’s Christmas pageant are the mistakes and imperfections.
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