Friday, 14 September 2018

Giant Bubble Wrap Protection Prayers

I came across this way of creating a piece of artwork the other day and I absolutely loved it!  Although not intended for that purpose, this activity really lends itself to thinking about protection and how God can look after us. It could be used with any story that involves a theme of protection and here is a way of using the art idea as a prayer activity...

You will need: Bubble wrap with giant bubbles, fabric, felt, tissue paper, ribbon, wool, scissors or a craft knife.

Unroll and spread out the bubble wrap so that a whole group of children can gather around it. 

Before you start the craft, get an adult to cut a slit in the middle of each of the giant bubbles in the bubble wrap using scissors or a craft knife. This can be a bit fiddly, but it is worth it! Make sure that you only cut the back of each bubble, creating a pocket for the fabric to sit in.  

Ask the children to fill each bubble with fabric, wool or tissue paper, using the slit as an entrance point. 

As the bubbles fill, it will create a unique and colourful piece of artwork!  For the finished effect, turn the bubble wrap over so that the pockets are at the back.

Talk about: How does bubble wrap protect things?
What does protection mean?
How does it feel to be protected?
Who helps to protect you?
Do you help to protect anyone else?
What stories do you know where God protects people?
Has God ever protected you?

Pray: Thank God for people who protect us. As you fill each bubble, pray for God to protect a different person, group or country

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Letting Go: Interactive Paper Plane Prayers

This week our Sunday service has unexpectedly turned into an all-age event and we've had to come up with some interactive prayers that will fit the lectionary based talk.

Thank heavens for the excellent resources at Blackburn diocese!  I really recommend their weekly@ materials, especially if you are a smaller church, like we are, where you have a wide range of ages in the same children's group. Plus it is free!

I have written some all-age prayers that can be used with a whole congregation, basing the idea on the Paper Aeroplane Challenge Game in their lesson plan for this Sunday (September 2nd).

These prayers are based on the theme of 'letting go' of what keeps us from God and keeping our hearts focussed on Him. They fit roughly with Mark 7: 1-8, 14, 15, 21-23 (this week's gospel reading), but could easily stand alone.

You will need: a piece of paper and a pen/ pencil for each person (A6 size paper should be fine)

  • Ask each person to write their name and the name of someone they want to pray for on the piece of paper. They will be praying for themselves and for that person.
  • Ask everyone to make a paper plane with the paper. You might need to demonstrate for some people and some others will inevitably make something incredibly fancy!
  • Ask everyone to hold their plane as you pray.
God, we love you and we want to come closer to you. Help us to let go of the things that keep us from focusing our hearts more fully on you.

Help us to

let go of fear,
let go of the need for power,
let go of friendships that hurt us,
let go of habits and addictions that cause us and others harm,
let go of greed,
let go of anger
let go of jealousy
let go of lying
let go of laziness
let go of hatred
let go of selfishness
let go of pride
let go of gossip

  • Now ask everyone to draw a heart on their plane. 
As we let go of those things that keep us away, help us to bring our hearts closer to you, Lord God

  • Ask everyone to let go of their plane and watch it fly as an Amen!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Cookie Cutter Prayers

This is a hands-on and slightly messy prayer activity that will work with all ages, including the youngest children!

You will need: Paper, paint, foil or dishes to put paint in, cookie cutters to represent things to pray about or thank God for e.g. hearts, people, animals, house, tree, flowers.

Set out paint in bowls or on foil (if you want to make this slightly less messy, use one colour of paint only!) and lay out a variety of cookie cutters.

Speak to children about the cookie cutter shapes and what kinds of prayers they might represent e.g.
  • people shapes- people they would like to thank God for or people they want to pray for
  • animals/ Flowers/ trees- thanking God for creation and/ or individual pets
  • hearts- praying for people they love
  • house- praying for the homeless or thanking God for their homes

Next, encourage children to choose one thing they would like to pray for and to dip that shape into some paint before pressing paint side down onto the paper.  They might want to say their prayer out loud or in their heads as they paint.

Let the paint dry and then hang the paper where everyone can see their prayers!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Jesus the Living Bread: Printable Picture Matching Game

For some reason, the lectionary has given us three consecutive weeks on Jesus the living bread in John 6, so here is something to help children to engage with what can be quite an abstract concept!

You will need: 2 copies of the printable sheet, card, glue, a laminator (optional)

Print off the sheet here  (or here if you would prefer pictures with labels)
Cut out the pictures individually and glue them to pieces of card so that the picture can't be seem through the back.  I also laminated mine to make them more long lasting (I intend to make good use of them!)

Lay the cards face down and take it in turns to turn two cards over. If your cards match, keep the pair. If they don't match, turn them over again and wait for your next turn to try again. The person who has the most pairs at the end of the game is the winner.

Talk about: 
  • Can you name the different types of bread?
  • Which one do you like most?
  • Which have you never tried?
  • What do we use the different types of bread for?
  • Why do we eat bread?
  • Why do you think there is a picture of Jesus here?
  • What do you think Living Bread means?
  • What do you think eternal life is like?
These questions might help to open up a discussion about how bread feeds us physically, but Jesus strengthens and feeds us in other ways.

You might also like to use the bread intercessions when you have played this game.