Thursday, 5 May 2016

Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42): Crafts and Activities

Today I have been challenged by requests for ideas on two stories that I haven't covered yet on this blog and so I decided I needed to get my act together!

One request was about the story of Martha and Mary- how have I managed to miss this one?!  Thanks, Peggy, for you request :-)

This story comes in Luke 10: 38-42 and involves Jesus visiting the home of the two women.  Mary sits at Jesus' feet as a listening disciple, while Martha is more concerned with the work of cooking and cleaning.  Martha always seems to come off worse in interpretations of this story, but this is because her focus is off.  Hospitality and serving others, as Martha is doing, is not, in itself, wrong, but Martha is distracted by worries that are taking her focus in hospitality away from Jesus.  I do like Martha because I realise that I act like her quite a lot!

Here are some ways to help children to explore themes in the story:

Taking time to focus on Jesus:

Make or use finger labyrinths

Reflection bottles

Make a sacred space: Use cushions, lights, drapes and even a pop up tent!

Reflective colouring sheets

Reflective painting

Hospitality/Ways of serving others with the focus on Jesus (showing something of his love)

Random Acts of Kindness and generosity

Kindness Prayer station

 Have fun!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Holy Trinity Spinners

So the time has finally come to bite the bullet and think about teaching the Trinity...

I am fully aware of the fact that it's nearly impossible to try and explain the Trinity without committing some kind of heresy so this is never going to be a perfect analogy and I don't claim that it is!!

My main aim really is to get the children thinking about the different ways God relates to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and to try and get across the fact that God is all three at the same time. I'd like to just say 'it's a mystery,' but that's a bit of a cop out!

Here's what we will be doing...

You will need: 
  • collage paper/ feathers etc or felt tips
  • blue tack
  • glass pebbles
  • bottle tops
  • card
  • a circle split into three equal parts drawn or printed onto card

Get children to think about what they have heard and know about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  

On each third of the circle use colours, shapes and symbols to draw or collage their thoughts/ feelings/ ideas about each person of the Trinity. It will be really interesting to use the time to chat to the children about what they choose to do!

Turn the spinner over and stick the flat side of a glass pebble to the middle of the circle.


On the front of the spinner, blue tack a bottle top to the middle.  

Twist the bottle top to spin the spinner and see how the three parts blend into one!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Interactive Prayer: Foil Intercessions

Here is a hands on way of praying that would work well in lots of situations- from all age services to small groups of children and even at home.  All you need is for everyone to have a piece of aluminium foil!  6x6cm squares would work quite well as you need enough to eventually mould a shape.

1. Hold the piece of foil and look at the shiny side.  Say thank you to God for good things in your life and for things that you like doing.  

2. Screw the foil into a loose ball (don't make it too tight or you won't be able to straighten it out!)
Think about people who find life tough: people who are ill, tired, lonely, sad and afraid.  Ask God to help them and be with them. 

3. Smooth the ball out so that the foil is back into a square (or as close as possible).  Thank God for people who help others when they need it- parents, teachers, medical staff, friends and any others that children can name.  Pray that God will bless these people and pray that we will also be people who help others and show them love.

4. Mould the foil into the shape of...
  • The initial letter of the name of someone or somewhere you'd like to pray for
  • a shape that symbolises something you'd like to pray for (make extra foil available if needed!
  • Hold the shape and ask God to help and bless that person/place/situation.

Say a big 'Amen' together!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Tabitha (Dorcas) Play Dough Mat

This Sunday the lectionary covers the story of Peter praying and Tabitha (also known as Dorcas!) rising from the dead.  Here is a play dough mat to help children to connect with the story, thinking especially of those we love who provide for and do things for us and using the reflection space to thank God for them.  Have fun!

Click here to print off the mat.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Love One Another: Spreading Hearts Prayer

Very soon we're going to be exploring Jesus's command "You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” (John 13:34-35.)

This is a fun visual prayer activity that will help children to think about the idea of sharing love and to pray for people they find it hard to love sometimes.

You will need:  cups with about an inch of water at the bottom, strips of kitchen roll, felt tip pens (cheap and cheerful are good and definitely not permanent markers- you need the ink to run!)

Draw a heart about about 2 inches up the strip and colour in with pen.  Write the initials of someone (or draw a face of someone!) that you sometimes find it tricky to love- maybe because you don't get on very well.  Loving others is one of the ways that we show that we follow Jesus, but sometimes this is hard and we have to ask God for help.

Put the end of the strip in the water and pray that God will help you to show that person that you love them and that God loves them.  

Watch as the water slowly climbs up the strip and the ink in the heart spreads out to cover and absorb the initials.  This is a symbol of how you want your love and God's love to reach out to that person.

Talk about:
  • What does love feel like?
  • Why is it sometimes hard to love someone?
  • How do people show love?
  • How do we know that God loves us? (adults could share some testimonies here!)
  • What could you do to show someone that they are loved?

Friday, 1 April 2016

Jacob's Ladder Angel Painting

This craft is likely to get a bit messy and certainly won’t look perfect or neat at the end but it is a great way to help younger children explore the concept of angels moving up and down the ladder! The paint outline around the stencil gives a bit of a ‘glow’ to each angel shape, which helps to reflect the ‘holy’ presence that Jacob feels during his dream.

You will need: Angel shaped cookie cutters or a printed out angel template, card, paint, scissors, brushes, paper.

If you have younger children then an adult will need to prepare the stencils by drawing round and cutting out angel shapes (cookie cutters are good for this).  Older children will be able to design and cut out their own shapes. 

Show the children how to place the stencil on the paper and use a brush to paint around the outline.  Remove the stencil and see the angel shape. There will be an unpainted angel shape surrounded by a paint 'glow.'  

Continue using different colours to cover the paper.  If the angels overlap, that only adds to the effect of movement!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Multi-Sensory Easter Story Talk and Activity

This talk is suitable for smaller groups of children or even for a larger group as long as you have plenty of resources to go around!  The talk goes through key events of the Easter story and involves touch, taste, sound, sight and smell.  Beware allergies!!

You will need: bread, some stones, salt water in a pot, nails, a piece of wood, salt and vinegar crisps, a bandage, a hollow, chocolate Easter egg, scented candle and lighter

bread- Talk about the last supper.  Jesus gathered his friends around to share a last meal, to prepare them for what would happen and tell them how to remember him.  Share out pieces of the bread

stone- Gethsemane.  After the meal, Jesus went to a garden to pray for strength and that God would help him in the coming days.  Children take a stone and hold onto it.  Think of things in their life that are hard.  Ask God to help them.

Nails- After being arrested, Jesus is led out to be crucified and is nailed to the cross.  Hammer the nails into the wood and talk about the sights and sounds of the crucifixion

Salt and vinegar crisps- People were standing with Jesus while he was on the cross and gave him some sour wine or vinegar to drink. This sourness also helps us to remember the pain Jesus went through on the cross. Pass round the salt and vinegar crisps.

Salt water-Get a couple of children to dip their finger into the water so that they can taste the salt.  This saltwater represents the tears of the people who cried for Jesus when he died on Good Friday.

Bandages- When Jesus was dead, his friends took him down from the cross, wrapped his body and put him in a tomb, putting a stone in front of the entrance. so that it was completely closed.  They couldn't prepare his body because it was their special Holy day and they wanted to keep him safe until it was over and they could come back.

Hollow Easter egg- This represents the closed tomb (Hold the egg to show that it is completely sealed- you might need to hold it if it comes in two separate halves!)

Scented candles-Women arrived on the third day with spices to get the body ready (light the candle so the children can smell it)


Pick up the egg- and break it open to reveal the hollow inside.  Jesus wasn’t there! Like a baby chick breaks out of an egg shell (or a butterfly out of a cocoon) as a sign of the start of new life, Jesus rose to new life out of the tomb. He was no longer dead.  He is alive!  When Jesus died, it seemed as if everything had gone wrong for his friends and followers but God had other plans.  Something amazing happened! Even if we’ve done wrong things or think that things will never get better, God has other plans! If we go to Jesus, say sorry to him and ask him to help us then, because he loves us so much, we have a chance at a new start too.  This is exciting and amazing and is a gift for everyone!

Share out the egg with the children as a symbol of the gift of new life and new starts that Jesus brings us.