Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Exploring Communion Liturgy Through Play

I had a lovely time recently, learning about liturgy boxes and how toys and other items can help children (including under 5s) to interact with parts of liturgy, especially when there are no formal children's activities.

Carloynn over at the Spiritual Child Network has put together details of how liturgy boxes work with some great examples.  Using those ideas as a springboard I've come up with a selection of items to help children interact with parts of the Communion liturgy.  It probably works best with some guided adult interaction to start off with, but children will become more familiar as they get used to the objects and symbols!  Have a go and let me know how it works for you...

Gathering/ worship/ awe and wonder: Dancing ribbons, shakers, a simple kaleidoscope and a reflection bottle.

Confession: A holding cross

Word/ Bible reading: Bible story books

Intercessions: Play people and a globe ball

Eucharistic Prayer: Wooden bread, a cup and a battery operated tea light

Sending out: Hearts as a symbol of going in God's love

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Lost Sheep or Lost Coin Sensory Play for under 5s

This activity came about by accident when I was helping to run activities for under 5s at a church camping weekend.  A friend had made some Moon Sand and children had proceded to mix loom bands in with it.  Searching for the hidden loom bands became a great game and the added bonus of sensory play was brilliant!

Use this for exploring the 'searching' element of the Lost Sheep or Lost Coin stories.

You will need: 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil (or vegetable oil will also work- see here for a recipe), loom bands, a tray with sides to keep the Moon Sand in.

Mix the oil and flour thoroughly.  You will end up with something resembling shortbread mixture, dry but forming clumps when you press it together.  It will easily crumble back when you have finished pressing it!

Hide the loom bands in the mixture and then encourage the children to find them.  You might want to turn it into a game and see who can find the most.  It will get a bit messy so have some paper towels on hand!

Talk about:
How does it feel to be lost?
How does it feel when you are found?
What is it like to look for something?
Why do we look for things when we lose them?
Who or what would you look for if it was lost?

Talk about God's love for us and his determination to show how much He loves us.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The Exodus: Hidden Journey Painting

This is an easy but inventive way of exploring the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness...

You will need:  Watercolour paints, a white crayon, white paper or card, water

Get children to draw a thick line on the paper with their white crayon.  The line should start at one point on the paper and finish at another but can go in any direction and any wandering that the child wants to take!  The more wandering the better.

Swap papers with another child and paint over the paper, covering the whole page and revealing the full journey of the line.

The full journey of the line will only be seen when the paper has been covered in paint.  God knows where we are going, even if we sometimes don't!

Talk about: 
The Exodus story and the journey through the wilderness.  
How would you have felt to be journeying for so long?
What is the longest journey you have been on? 
Have you ever been on a mystery journey?
Have you ever started something and not known when you would finish?
Have you ever trusted God to show you what to do next? (it would be great for adults to share testimonies here of God leading them!)

Thank God that He is with us wherever we go and whatever we do and that he knows the full picture of what is going to happen. Ask God to help those who don't know where they are going in life or what to do next.  Write their names or draw them on your painting.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Joshua and the Walls of Jericho 4 Card Story

This is a storytelling idea that is easy, portable and flexible for many stories.
You will need: 4 Card strips (judge size depending on how close the children are going to be and how big the group is.  You will probably need bigger strips for a bigger group, but expriment with what works best for you!), paper fasteners (split pins), something to make a hole with.
Make a hole in the end of each piece of card and join the pieces with split pins so that it looks as shown.  You now have your storytelling equipment!
2015-06-09 17.52.19
This is how you might use the strips to tell the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho.

The walls of Jericho were closed to God's people.  No one could get in or get out.

The walls were very tall so no one could climb them either!

God told Joshua that there was no need to worry.  He would give the city to Joshua and the Israelites if they trusted Him and did what He said.  

God told Joshua and his army to walk around the walls once a day for six days.  
(Form the walls and then flatten them out 6 times)

On the seventh day, God told Joshua to march his army seven times round the walls,.. tell the priests to blow their trumpets and to get the people to shout as loud as they could.

So Joshua and his army did all of these things.  On the seventh day, after marching seven times around the walls the people shouted loudly and the trumpets blew.

The walls of Jericho tumbled down!

And Joshua's army knew that God was with them.

Try using the cards to tell other stories and let me know how you get on!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Jesus the Healer Play Dough Mat

This play dough mat will work with any of the stories where Jesus performs a healing miracle- Jairus' daughter, the 10 lepers, Bartimaeus...

As usual, print out, laminate for repeated use and start creating!  

The focus is on Jesus' love shown through his healing power and will hopefully provide opportunities for children to think and pray about people who are ill.  It's also a great opportunity for leaders and children to share their own testimonies of God's healing!

Click here to print out the play dough mat.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Jesus Calls the Disciples: Spinning Fish Prayers

This prayer activity links really well with the story of Jesus calling the disciples but could be used to pray for anyone or any situation!

You will need: strips of paper (experiment with length but the ones shown are roughly 10cm x 2cm)
Scissors, pens
Choose a strip of paper and write on it the name of the person or situation you would like to pray for.  Cut slits near to the ends of the strip as shown below.

 Fit the slits together to make a fish shape.  Now comes the fun part!
Hold the fish high in the air and let it go.  As it gains momentum you will see it start to spin!

Talk about:
Discuss the story in the Bible where Jesus calls the disciples and sends them out to make more- turning fishermen into fishers of people (Matthew 4:19)
  • What does it mean to be a disciple?
  • How would people know that you are a disciple?
  • How do you think that the disciples made more disciples?
  • How would you try?
Think of people who don't know who Jesus it or who you would like to ask God to bless.  Write their names or draw them on the strip and make them into fish as shown above.  Play some music and let the children drop the fish and watch them spin as a symbol of giving their prayers to God.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Holy Communion Reflective Colouring Sheet: The Dismissal

This is the last sheet in the series of reflective colouring based on Holy Communion.  This sheet explores what it might mean to be 'sent out' in God's name.  Click here to print out the sheet. Have fun reflecting!