Bethlehem Marketplace

There is nothing quite like hands on participation to teach kids history. Tonight, we took a tour of Bethlehem without ever having to leave the state. Not only did we travel to another country, we traveled to another time.

Just for tonight it wasn’t the twenty-first century, it was the beginning of a new era. An event was about to change the course of the world and we had the privilege of being present.

On our tour of Bethlehem we were able to sample the wares of various merchants and “purchase” mementos of our trip. (The kids are actually given fake shekels which they are allowed to use in order to purchase small items at the bizarre.)

Throughout our trip, we had to beware of soldiers, tax collectors, and thieves. We made our way through the town and began to follow a brilliant star in the sky, which led us to a tiny manger and the birth of a baby king.

Vegetable Sellar

This booth at Bethlehem Marketplace gave samples of vegetables for the kids.

Fish Seller

One of the merchant booths was selling fish.

The Three Kings

Here is the tent in which the three kings sought repose. The kings were very generous in helping us obtain a gift to offer the newborn baby king who was being born. 

Papyrus Maker

One of the merchants allowed the children to help them make papyrus. It is a long process, but the children loved learning.

"Wine" Maker

The children were able to watch someone make “wine” and sample some of the fruits of the worker’s labor.

Sea Salt

The children were able to see salt in all its various forms.

Music Merchant

The kids learned about various instruments the Israelites would have used and helped play a tune.


The children were able to have something written on parchment with a quill. (This wasn’t quite as impressive as in previous years when it was actually written in Hebrew, but still fun to participate in.)

Our Names

A closeup of the scribe.


This booth offered tiny baskets the children could purchase.

Leather Merchant

Here the children learn about tanning leather and are able to purchase small drawstring bags with their “shekels”.

Great Grains

Here the children were able to sample nuts, grains, and lentils from the grain merchant.

Baby Jesus

The last stop during our tour of Bethlehem was the stable where the baby Jesus had been born. We had been following the star during our journey and it was special to finally reach the stable and offer our gifts to the newborn king.

Bell Players

Outside the marketplace, these wonderful players charmed us all with their marvelous playing.


Visiting the Bethlehem Marketplace is always a special part of our Christmas season and an important part of our homeschooling year. Our children always love this event and learn so much.

Has your family ever attended a living nativity?

4 thoughts on “Bethlehem Marketplace

  1. What a fantastic opportunity. I wish we had something like this where we are. Part of my nativity lesson is to take my six year old to a life-sized nativity manger scene nearby but how awesome that you and yours were able to really expand the experience with this living experience! Thanks so much for sharing.


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