The wise men were also known as Magi or kings from the East.
It is not clear where they came from exactly - the Bible just says from the east. Some believe they came from Persia (modern day Iran), others from Arabia and others Babylon, since they were noted astronomers.
The Bible is clear that three different gifts were brought to Jesus, but it never says there were only three wise men. It is possible that there were many more.
Again, angels are key to this story, as they appeared to Joseph to warn him that they were not safe in Israel because of King Herod. Because of this dream, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fled to Egypt.
Herod became enraged that he had been tricked by the wise men, and ordered that all baby boys under 2 years old be killed (this is why it is commonly accepted that Jesus was between 1 and 2 years old when the wise men visited, not in the manger scene).
After some time, an angel appeared to Joseph to tell him that it was safe to return to Nazareth from Egypt.
Notice the parallels and contrasts in this story and the story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt:
get your kids talking and engaged
Do you like looking at the stars at night? Have you ever seen a constellation? Have you ever noticed that some stars are brighter than others? Today, we're going to learn about an incredibly special star, and some men who were expert star watchers.
teach a holistic story
Older students can be read directly from the Bible, since the story is short.
The youngest students can be told the story from a children's storybook Bible.
give them basic Bible skills
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Matthew 2:1-12
make sure they understand the story
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?
help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
hide God's Word in their heartToday in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11