Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Doubting Thomas: Recognising Jesus Games and Prayer Activity

This Sunday the lectionary covers the story of Thomas being invited to touch the wounds of the risen Jesus and recognise him.  A lot of the time when we cover this story with children we focus of the idea of faith and being able to believe even though we don't see.  It struck me that it's also about how we recognise Jesus and what implications that might have for us as disciples.

Here are some ideas to help explore the theme!


  • 'Feely' bag.  Can you recognise the item even if you can't see it?  How did you know?
  • Blindfold a child and get them to fell the face of another child.  Can they guess who it is? How?
  • Get a collection of celebrity photos or photos of people in the church.  How many people do you recognise? How?
  • 20 questions- can you guess the mystery person?  What helped you to guess?
  • Make a diagram to identify eveyone in the group by looking at hair/ eye colour etc.
Think about:
  • Even after doubting, Thomas saw Jesus and recognised him, saying 'My Lord and my God' (John 20:28)
  • How would you recognise Jesus if you met him?  What things would he being doing/ saying?  How have you recognised Jesus at work in your life before?  E.g. answered prayers, other people's kindness
  • If we, as Christians, are trying to live as Jesus would, how will other people recognise Jesus in us and what we do?
  • Encourage children to think of things that they could do during the coming week that would help others to recognise Jesus at work in them.  Make prayer labels (below).

You will need: Paper label shapes with holes punched at one end, ribbon, small mirror tiles, pens

Give each child a paper label and ribbon and talk about how we use labels to identify things- they might have used luggage labels, for example, to identify their cases on a journey.  How might other people identify Jesus at work in them?  One one side of the label, glue a mirror tile to remind children that they need to think about how their actions are reflecting Jesus.  On the other side, write or draw something they intend to do during the coming week that will help other people recognise Jesus.

Gather together and pray that God will help them to show Jesus to others this week.  Take the labels home and ask the children to tie them somewhere they will be able to see them as a reminder during the next few days.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Rolling Easter Egg Paintings

A few weeks ago we had a village creativity day which involved quite a lot of mess!  Here's a great activity we did that can help children to engage with the New Life theme of Easter: butterflies painted with rolling eggs!  I like the idea of rolling eggs symbolising the stone that rolled away from the tomb at Easter, so that was an added bonus that we could talk about to the children who came along. This was especially popular with boys- maybe something to do with the high activity level!

You will need: A deep sided tray, plastic Easter eggs (that you can put something inside!), marbles, paint, paper butterfly shapes.
 Place your paper shape inside the tray.

 Put a marble inside each egg you are going to use to paint with.  This will give it a little more weight.  Add a few spots of paint to the paper (less really is more in this case!).  Now shake the tray from side to side so that the eggs roll across the paint and decorate the paper.
 The finished painting!

Try to wipe the eggs between paintings.

We also tried some crosses and egg shapes so that we could maintain the 'New Life' theme and also speak about Good Friday and the cross leading to a new start for Christians.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Two Easter Play Dough Mats: In the Tomb and Resurrection!

Here are the final two play dough mats for the Easter Story.

 Click here For the 'In the tomb' play dough mat.

Click here for the 'He is risen' play dough mat.

Print out, laminate and get started with the play dough!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Crucifixion (Good Friday) Play Dough Mat

Here is the next play dough mat in the Easter Story set. This time, we are looking at Good Friday and thinking how Jesus' friends would have  felt when they saw the cross.  This is a very tactile way to help younger children to explore the shape of the cross.  Use play dough to fill in the cross shape and to put expressions on the faces of the people.  

Click here to print the mat and Laminate it so it will last repeated play dough sessions!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Guest Post- Almsgiving!

Here's our second ever guest post!  This time Traci Smith introduces an idea to help children think about giving to others during Lent.  I'll hand over to Traci...

In a new book from Chalice Press called Seamless Faith: Simple Practices for Daily Family Life, author Traci Smith shares dozens of simple practices to equip families of all kinds with the tools they need for bringing faith home. Today's idea is specifically for the season of lent, and it encourages families to connect the spiritual practice of almsgiving to food and hunger. Though we are in the middle of lent, this practice can be started anytime during lent and does not have to be the full 40 days long. Download the PDF from the book or continue reading for more details! 

Almsgiving: 40 Days of Giving During Lent
Giving to the poor is a key feature of most of the world’s religions. In Christianity, giving is especially important during Lent. Almsgiving is one of the three traditional Lenten “pillars,” along with prayer and fasting. This practice is modified for families to be an offering of food, rather than money. Food is a tangible thing for young minds to grasp and it also offers an opportunity to talk about hunger in your community.
Designed for Ages: 6+ 
  1. Large cardboard box 
  2. Materials for decorating the box: paper, markers, tape, and glue
Time Investment: 30 minutes to make the box, 1 minute per day for 40 days, and time to deliver the box to the organization receiving the food 
How To: 
  1. Before the 40-day period of food collecting is to begin, research a food pantry or nonprofit organization that would welcome 40 food items at the end of your collection period. The best match is an organization that accepts a wide variety of food items. One of the goals of the practice is for children to choose items they enjoy and to think about how these items will benefit others. Be sure to check and bring food items that are useful to the organization. 
  2. On Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, explain to the family that one of the pillars of Lent is to give alms. Alms are a monetary sacrifice to help people in need. Tell your family that your alms will be to give one food item per day from your pantry.
  3. Decorate the box and label it “The Giving Box.” As you are decorating, talk about the practice and how it will work: each day one family member will select something from the pantry to put in the box and, at the end of the 40 days, the box of food will be delivered to the organization that has been selected. 
  4. For each of the 40 days, take turns putting an item in the box. Choose a time of day to do this that fits into your family routine (at the beginning or end of dinner, first thing in the morning, last thing at the end of the day, etc.) Talk about hunger during this time. How do you feel when you are hungry? If you were hungry every day, what would you pray for? 
  5. Deliver the food as a family after Lent is over.
  • One focus of almsgiving is to give out of our sustenance, not our excess. For this reason I suggest you challenge family members to choose their favorite foods for the box. Try not to “censor” what goes in to the box. If a child chooses a box of cereal that you were planning to use for the weekly breakfasts, challenge yourselves to eat something different for breakfast. If someone chooses a canned good that was needed for supper, go without and talk about how it feels to make changes or sacrifices for others. 
  • Make sure all food is unopened, unexpired, and is appropriate for the demographic that will receive the food. 
  • Find an organization that needs gently used household goods and choose one item from your house per day for 40 days.
  • Give money each day for 40 days.
  • Take the food weekly instead of storing it up for the entire 40 days.
  • Do the activity during any 40-day period of time, not only Lent. 
  • Try to give one food item per day for an entire year. 

For more ideas like this, check out Seamless Faith: Simple Practices for Daily Family Lifeor subscribe to Traci's monthly free email newsletter featuring ideas and resources for incorporating faith into daily family life. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Messy Communion!

Here are some ideas for activities if you want to try out Messy Communion!  Our celebration section wasn't officially communion, but we talked about the last supper and shared some bread and wine in a very open and mToving way.  Here are the crafts and activities we did before the celebration started...

 Last Supper Play dough mats.  Click here to print.
 Memory game tray: study the tray, then remove an item and guess what's missing
 Making toast (use a bread stamp to stamp a message on the bread first!)
 Remember me jigsaws.  Click here to print, then laminate and cut up!
 Making grape juice
 Decorating special cups

Easter Word Searches
Bread and juice to share