Thursday, 27 August 2015

Strength in Christ Wool Craft

This craft is very messy, requires some patience and is very effective for exploring the idea of Jesus giving us the strength we need (e.g when looking at verses such as Philippians 4:13).

You will need: wool, PVA (white) glue, greaseproof or waxed paper, string, at least 24 hours!

 Cut lengths of wool and dip them in PVA.  Cover the strands quite thickly and be prepared to get very messy and sticky.  

Arrange the wool in patterns on top of the greaseproof paper.  We made crosses but you can do anything!  Make sure that each strand of wool connects with at least one other strand so that they will stick together when the project dries.

Now wait AT LEAST 24 hours for your artwork to dry.  The wool will stiffen.  Even if you think it is dry- wait!  

Carefully pull the dried projects off the paper and thread some string through them so that they can be hung in windows or from door handles.

Talk about:

  • sometimes we find things hard and don't know how we are going to manage.  This is when we can call on Jesus to help us to have the strength we need to get through the hard times.  When the glue has dried, you can't see it, but it is making the soft wool strong enough to stand in a way it couldn't before.
  • Use this illustration when thinking about the armour of God, Verses such as Philippians 4:13 or even stories like David or Esther, where unexpected people get the strength they need.
Have fun getting messy!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Sharpie Stained Glass: Christian Symbols

I've seen some 'stained glass' crafts on Pinterest recently that make use of plastic lids (click here for an example using tissue paper).  I've just invested in some new sharpies so I thought I'd try out a variation.  Sharpies are great but any permanent marker will do!  This is a great activity to introduce children to some of the key Christian symbols they might encounter in church and especially in stained glass windows.

You will need: A copy of the Christian symbols sheet.  Click here to print out, permanent marker pans (e.g. Sharpies), clear plastic lids (the circles on the sheet are just about right for the size of lids you find on large pots of yoghurt), blue tack

 Turn the lid flat side down and trace over one of the designs with a black or dark marker to make an outline of the picture
 Turn the lid over so that the outline marking is on the inside.  This will stop the outline smudging as you colour.  Now colour in the design with your permanent markers!
 Blue tack the edge of the lids to a window and let the light shine through!

Think/ Talk about:
  • Light shining through the picture- letting God's light shine through us in our words and actions
  • The Christian Symbols in the designs...
    • Celtic knot- the Trinity
    • Alpha and Omega- God as beginning and end
    • Cross
    • Light 
    • Dove- Holy Spirit
    • Shell- Pilgrim symbol

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Colour Coded Paper Chain Prayers

This is a very easy and visual way to pray.  You can use it as a prayer station for ages, as a collaborative piece in a children's group or at home with the family.  The best thing is that you can keep on adding to it for as long as you want!

You will need: Strips of coloured paper, glue, pens and pencils

Encourage children to help you assign types of prayer to different colours of paper e.g, 

Red- sorry
White- people who have upset you who you want to forgive
Yellow- thanks
Pink- please
Blue-other people
Green- the world

Write or draw your prayers onto the paper strip and then add it to the paper chain!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

I Am the Bread of Life Reflective Colouring Sheet

This week the lectionary pointed us to the story of Jesus telling the people that he is the Bread of Life (John 6).  As a response, here is a reflective colouring sheet to help children to think about Jesus' words.  I know that this comes a little late if you looked at this story on Sunday, but who knows when it might come in handy in the future!

Click here to print off the sheet.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Wise and Foolish Builders Messy Church Ideas

This Sunday we had a Wise and Foolish Builders themed Messy church and things did, indeed, get a bit messy!

Here are some of the things we got up to...

Playing with moon sand (messy but even the grown ups liked this one!)

Painting houses (or anything!) on rocks

Building Duplo Houses and deciding whether to put them on sand or on rock...

Making Prayer houses: boxes from house templates with a prayer placed inside them.  Download a lovely free template here.
Building an entire cardboard city!

We then told the story of the wise and foolish builders with the help of a watering can and some sound effects and talked about having God and His words as our rock when times were tricky.

Can't wait until next month!

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.