Thursday, 19 November 2015

Posada! Getting ready for Mary and Joseph's Advent Journey

We are very excited at the moment as we are getting ready for our first Parish posada!

Posada is a tradition that started in Mexico with people dressing up as Mary and Joseph and visiting a different house in the village every night during Advent.  We aren't sending people, but little dolls instead!

I've made two figures out of plastic cups. ping pong balls and felt and they are going to travel around the parish during Advent, being passed from home to home.  Some people are taking them to work, others are taking them to school, to Christmas parties, to local cafes and they're even coming to beer and carols!  

It's all about offering hospitality to Mary and Joseph as they make their journey, so when they arrive in each place there is a special welcoming prayer to say, a carol to sing and then the chance to have a little party with neighbours.  Mary and Joseph travel around with a little bag containing a Nativity storybook, an Advent Journey game, colouring pages and play dough mats, so there are lots of things for children to do when Mary and Joseph come to visit!

Our Posada has a Facebook page, so have a look and follow their journey this Advent!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

24 Things to do in Advent: Printable Booklet for Families

This is a version of the Advent booklet we will be giving out to children and families at church this year.  There is a grid of 24 things that can be done over the Advent period- at home or in church.  There will probably be some crossover!  

Included in the pack are a colouring sheet, a game, make-your-own Nativity story figures, a recipe and some random acts of kindness to try. 

I've removed all markings that tie it to our church in particular, so anyone can print it out and use it where they are! 

Click here to print.

The format means that it will print out quite well into a 4 page booklet.  

If you use it, let me know how it goes!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Christingle Play Dough Mat

If you do Christingle every year, it's always good to have a few new activities up your sleeve!

Here is a play dough mat to help children to explore the different parts of the Christingle and to think about the good things God has given them.

If you aren't sure what a Christingle is, here are some previous posts which will explain all...

Click here to print off the mat.  Laminate the mat if you think you will use it repeatedly as this really helps to get the play dough off without damage!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Remembrance Day Assembly: Revelation 21

Remembrance Sunday can be quite sensitive for many reasons and schools often request assemblies at this time.  Here's an assembly based on the theme of peace that can be adapted for any age group.

You will need: a large poppy prop, bubble mix and bubble wand, poppy seeds (optional but useful!)

Ask Children about the poppies they see people wearing at this time of year and might be wearing themselves.  What are they for?  Using the prop, talk about the different parts of the poppy

Red petals- a reminder of the blood that was and is spilled in wars- sacrifice of others
Flower-the poppies that grew on the battlefields were a sign of new life and hope for the future
leaf- set at 11 o clock position to remind us of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the armistice was signed.  This is the day and the time we remember those who have died.

Talk about the fact that war is a painful, hurtful thing but it is not the picture that God really has for the world.  Talk then about Revelation 21:4 where we are told about a world with no more sadness, pain, war or suffering.  This is a place of peace.  What do you think peace feels like?  Looks like?

Look at the dark centre of your poppy.  This is where the seeds are held- planting the seeds brings hope of new life.  We can help to bring about this new life, this vision of peace that God has.  We might think that we are remembering things from a long time ago, but actually this is something that we can be involved in now.

How can we help to bring peace? In our families, in our school, in the world?

Say each line of the following prayer to the children and ask them to sit quietly and watch the bubbles until they pop. Imagine that, as the bubbles pop, peace is coming to that situation and the hard thing is disappearing.  When the last bubble has popped say the next line.

We think of/ pray for all who are angry- bring them peace
We think of/ pray for all who are jealous- bring them peace
We think of/ pray for all who are greedy- bring them peace 
We think of/ pray for all who hate- bring them peace 
We think of/ pray for all who are afraid- bring them peace


To accompany this assembly, there is a play dough mat using the same verse from Revelation.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Advent Journey Game: Print and Play

So now we are into November it officially time to start planning Advent: less than a  month to go before Advent Sunday!

Here is a game to get you in the mood and to help children to get involved in the Advent story.  Either play the game then tell the story and see which of the key events the children recognise, or vice versa.  

You will need: A print out of the game per group, counters or buttons to use as counters, dice.

Click here to print the game.

Happy playing!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Guest Post: Illustrated Children's Moments

Today I'm really excited to bring a guest blog from Adam at Illustrated Children's Moments.  This is a new resource that will really help children to engage with the Bible.  There are free resources too!  Be sure to check out the website...
I’ve often come to Flame Creative Kids for ideas and resources for my ministry in the past, so it’s a great honor to be here today sharing with you about Illustrated Children’s Moments. Through this new venture, I’m creating original artwork for use with children’s ministry and helping to bring the Bible to life for kids.
On November 16, we are releasing four brand new products: 1) Advent materials and resources for churches, 2) engaging and interactive Advent materials for families to use at home, 3) Five Advent coloring sheets, and 4) an Advent Coloring Poster pack. I wanted to share with you about two items today that will hopefully give you an idea of what we’re all about.
Illustrated Children’s Moments
Children’s Moments during worship can be done so poorly, and I thought if teachers and pastors had creative resources to help them with storytelling, perhaps we could take some of the pressure off of them, and simply focus on telling kids the biblical story.
For example, a few weeks ago I preached on the story about Jacob wrestling with God. I created the below image for that post, and used that as a visual aid while I was telling the children the story. But I also printed out smaller versions that they could take home to remember the story. And that was one of the most important pieces for me. In my last church, I kept giving the kids these little 4x6 sized copies of my illustration, and parents started telling me that their kids would bring up the bible stories throughout the week and it gave the family some opportunities to have meaningful and formational conversations.

Coloring Sheets
At least here in the United States, coloring (and adult coloring) is quite popular right now. Knowing that, and really enjoying zentangle art, I made five Advent coloring sheets that will be available on November 16 as well. There will be a few different options for purchasing them, and I think there will be many different uses that you could find exciting for children’s ministry, or intergenerational events.

Below is a photo of my son, Caleb, in his pre-school class coloring a coloring sheet enlarged to 4 feet by 3 feet. At one point, there were about eight preschoolers all sitting around the table coloring the giant coloring sheet, all talking about what they thought the word “Holy” meant (which was in the middle of that particular coloring sheet). Their teacher said they had a wonderful conversation and the kids got a lot out of it.

Not your traditional Sunday School lesson, but apparently the kids paid better attention and listened more when they were engaged in a physical activity like coloring.
These are just two ideas from the resources that are available through Illustrated Children’s Moments.

If either of these interest you, I’d encourage you to go to our website and sign up for our email newsletter. When you do that, you’ll get five free illustrations and a leader guide for those illustrations. Also at our site are links to all of the places online you can like and follow Illustrated Children’s Moments (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram).

Monday, 19 October 2015

Static Electricity Prayers

This is a fun, visual way to pray, and illustrates God's power and desire to hear our prayers.  

You will need: small pieces of tissue paper, pens, a balloon, hair or a woolly jumper!

Ask children who or what they would like to pray for and then ask them to choose a colour of tissue paper to reflect that person or thing.  They can write or draw on their tissue piece if they want to.  

Either in pairs or small groups, take it in turns to rub the balloon on a woolly jumper or on (their own!) hair.  This will build up some static on the balloon!

Talk about giving our prayers to God and asking Him to show his power in each situation.  Children can hold their tissue prayer close to the balloon and watch as it is pulled onto the balloon and sticks there.  Pray that, as the paper sticks to the balloon, God will hold all of our prayers and that we will see his power at work.