“The Friendly Beasts” Nativity Sensory Activity

Here’s something to add to your Christmas sensory activities list for your toddler! Gather the textures of the first nativity in a basket, as based on a favorite Christmas Carol. My daughter loves sensory activities and this Nativity textures activity encourages exploration, as well as developing a growing understanding of the story of the first Nativity. What could be better for the Christmas season?

This Nativity sensory basket for toddlers simulates the feel of the barn with feathers, wool, hay, and a wooden basket. Inspired by the carol, The Friendly Beasts.


About The Friendly Beasts Christmas Carol

One of my favorite Christmas carols is a sweet Old English tune called The Friendly Beasts. In this, four of the animals in the stable tell how they gave a gift to the infant Jesus: a cow gives the manger and hay, the sheep gives wool, the dove coos him to sleep. Are you familiar with this song? Here’s a video of it, for those who may be unfamiliar.

When I was young, this became our family Christmas song. My sister and I learned the harmony, and our family sang together at my Dad’s company party and the church Christmas party. I’ve always loved the reminder that Christ’s birth was witnessed by humble animals.

I made the Christmas song “The Friendly Beasts” (and the picture book) more real for my 3-year-old daughter by creating a nativity textures play basket for the Little People nativity set!

Setting Up the Nativity Sensory Basket for Toddlers

The three main “ingredients” in this nativity basket are hay (which is represented by some strands of raffia), wool (which is represented by a scrap of white faux fur), and white feathers. I suppose I could have found real hay but I did not. I was a bit late in the season to track it down. I think the raffia works, is less messy, and is more useful to have around the house!Nativity Textures Play

Playing with the Nativity Sensory Basket

Strawberry loved playing with the three textures. She insisted we make a Christmas textures collage, too. She enjoyed gluing the various items on the page.

Nativity Textures Collage

She especially loved hugging and petting the fluffy fur and the soft white feathers. She did not think the hay would be very comfortable. We talked about how the manger probably had a lot to make it soft, because, like our basket, the wooden planks of the manger would not have been very comfortable!Nativity Textures Play

More Nativity Sensory Ideas for Toddlers

To add to our Christmas sensory activities, we sang the verses of the Christmas carol over and over. We also talked about the sounds that animals make (as pointed out a few times in the song).

She loved bringing the animals and figures from the nativity set into our nativity textures play basket. She had the figures play and talk to each other. She pointed out, “Mom, baby Jesus already has some hay in his manger!”

Clever girl!Nativity Texture Play

Would you love to see more Christmas sensory ideas related to favorite Christmas songs?

Click the image below to see the other posts for more Christmas sensory activities in the blog hop!

Christmas Carol Sensory Bins blog hop

Get the picture book and nativity set at Amazon. Note: I am an Amazon affiliate.

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