Sunday, 25 January 2015

Jesus Calms the Storm: Rough and Smooth Treasure Basket for Babies

Sometimes it's hard to think of how babies can be included in the themes of a story we're telling at church.  I've been finding out something about treasure baskets recently.  Have a look at this excellent post from Little Acorns to Mighty Oaks that explains so much more about how treasure baskets can be made and used.

I wanted something I could use with the story of Jesus calming the storm and thought that a box with a rough/smooth theme would fit the bill- reflecting the rough/smooth water of the storm/calm. I cheated a little bit and put a velcro curler into the box (plastic is not usually allowed but the velcro on it has a great texture!)

The box includes: 

  • cork backed coaster (smooth)
  • wooden block (smooth)
  • wooden spoon (smooth)
  • ribbon (smooth)
  • pine cone (rough)
  • natural exfoliator pad (rough)
  • unused shoe brush (rough)
  • velcro curler (rough)
  • pastry brush (rough and smooth)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Salt Tray Prayers

This is a really easy way to pray and is very tactile!  It would work well when praying for any situation, but would be especially good when exploring the idea of being salt and light in the world.  

You will need: a tray with sides (e.g. a roasting tin), table salt, lolly sticks

Pour the salt into the tray until the bottom is completely covered.  Smooth over to make the surface flat.

Use a lolly stick or a finger to write an initial or to draw somebody or something you would like to ask God to bless.  As you say 'amen,' out loud or in your head, smooth the salt over again.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Jesus Calms the Storm Play Dough Mat

I'm in the zone at the moment, looking for ways of exploring the story of Jesus calming the storm- especially for under 5s!

Play dough mats always seem to go down well with this age group so hopefully this will be useful.

Click here to print off the mat and then laminate it if you intend repeated use!  The children can choose to show the storm or the calm and I'm sure it will be fascinating to see what they pick and why...

Let me know if you use it as I would love to see :-)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Psalm 23: God Guides Us Marble Maze

I'm exploring ways of looking creatively at the themes of Psalm 23 and one thing that always strikes me is that God the Shepherd leads us whatever is happening in our lives- whether it is calm and still or dangerous and scary.  I wanted to help children to think about God being with us to guide us, even when we're not sure where we're going, and a marble maze seemed a perfect idea to illustrate it.  Even though the path is tricky, there is someone guiding the marble to its destination.

  You will need: a cardboard box, card (thin enough to fold), sellotape, scissors, a marble.

 Fold small pieces of card so that you can sellotape a 'bottom' to the floor of the cardboard box and have the other part of the fold standing up as a 'wall.'

Arrange the folded pieces of card to make a maze pathway for the marble to roll along (be sure to include some dead ends!).  Write 'S' where the marble should start its journey and 'E' where the maze should end.  It won't look pretty but I'm sure the children will be incredibly inventive!

Let children test their mazes out...

Think about:

  • times when life can feel a bit confusing and you're not sure where you're headed. How does it make you feel?
  • the way shepherds lead sheep from one place to another and how they care for them on the journey
  • the idea of being 'guided' or 'led'
  • see what connections the children come up with between the game and the psalm- you are likely to have a profound discussion!
  • times when God has answered prayers in confusing or hard times
  • Ask the children to hold their marble and thank God for being with them through everything that happens in life.  Then let them guide the marble through their maze.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Jesus Calms the Storm: Sensory Bottles for Babies and Toddlers

I've been doing a little bit of experimenting with sensory bottles this week as I wanted to make some to help under 5s to explore the story of Jesus Calming the Storm.  Sensory bottles are great!  They're easy and cheap to make and provoke a lot of wonder-even in the adults who play with them!  Children can use them in a very reflective way, watching the shapes and colours and we've used them before in prayer activities for over 5s.

Here's what I've made so far...

1. Water, green glitter and blue seed beads
2. Rice and matchsticks (to make rain/ storm noises)
3.Water, blue and green sequins and blue and green mini Pom-poms 
4.Water, coloured with a little bit of blue food colouring  (filled to just over half way up the bottle), topped up to the top of the bottle with baby oil.
5. Baby oil, blue and green sequins and blue loom bands.

As you can see, the idea was to keep with a blue/green 'water' theme. The baby oil and water mix is great as there is a clear separation of the two after the shaken mixture comes to a rest.  Baby oil looks like water from the outside, but slightly slows down the sinking of the objects.

With slightly older children, it's interesting to see what sinks and what floats and the separation of the oil and water is a great way to think about Jesus bringing calm to the storm.  Can't wait to use them!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Psalm 148: Colourful Worship Biscuit Decorating

When we think about worship, we generally think of musical expression but there are lots of different ways to express how great God is and children love to experiment with taste, touch and colour too!  Here's an easy idea to help express the colourful, joyful nature of worship and the love that is at its heart...

You will need: Biscuits (at least one per child), icing sugar, water, food colouring, eye-droppers (unused!!), knives for spreading, cocktail sticks, heart shaped sprinkles or hearts cut out of fondant.

Read Psalm 148 together or talk about the great things about who God is.  What do you want to celebrate about Him?  What is praise?  How can we praise God?  What does worship feel like?  How would you express praise in colour? Set out your equipment and get ready!

 Make up a  bowl of thick white icing with the icing sugar and some water.  Then make up some individual bowls of different coloured icing, slightly more runny in consistency than the white icing.
Spread a biscuit with white icing and then use the droppers to drop dots of coloured icing on top.
 Use a cocktail stick to make swirls in the icing, expressing the colourful, imaginative, amazing nature of God- let the children do this as the mood takes them!

 Add a heart to the top of the swirls as a reminder of God's love for us and our love for God.

Finally, eat the biscuits and thank God again for how Good he is!