Friday, 21 November 2014

Advent Journey Play Dough Mat

So I've caved in to Christmas and it's still November!

Here's the first play dough mat in a series looking at the Nativity story: Advent Journey.

This focuses on the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and helps children to think about journeying with God and the prospect of the wait for Christmas taking time!

As usual, laminate the play dough mats for more long lasting use.  Click here to print out the mat.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Chalkboard painting prayers

This is an easy, inexpensive way to pray very visually.

You will need: Chalkboards of any size, cups of water, paintbrushes.
Encourage the children to paint their written or drawn prayers onto the chalkboard with water.

This is particularly good for sorry prayers as the water will dry up and the sorry prayer will fade away as a sign of how God forgives us when we are sorry.  For the same reason, it's a good way of helping children to release their prayers to God and visualise them being handed over.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Umbrella Prayers for God's Care and Protection

This is a really easy and effective way to pray for God's care and protection using an item that gives us protection!

You will need: A clear plastic umbrella (I got mine from the pound shop!), dry wipe marker pens.

Put the umbrella up and sit it down on the floor so that it is easy for the children to access.  Talk about how we use umbrellas to protect ourselves from the rain and share stories of when you have asked God to protect you.  I do it all the time when I'm driving! On the umbrella, simply write the names or draw pictures of people you would like to ask God to care for and protect.  

When you have finished with the prayer station, the names will rub off really easily so you will be able to use the umbrella for other things...

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Remembrance Sunday Reflective Play Dough Mat

I've often found Remembrance Sunday to be a day both of challenge and of opportunity when working with children: Challenge because it's vital to get a good balance between respectfully remembering those who have died and fought in war and praying for peace and opportunity because there are amazing discussions to be had!  The depth of what children perceive and offer is profound.

This year I've designed a play dough mat to help children to reflect on those 2 key areas- remembrance and peace- and have tied it in with a verse from Revelation 21 about the new Jerusalem where there is no more pain, sadness or death.  This verse is a great conversation starter to help the children think about how they could pray for the world how they could help God to bring His Kingdom.

Click here to print the sheet.  Laminate the sheet if you intend to use it more than once and the play dough will be easy to remove!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Floating Prayers

I was recently reminded of this prayer activity and it was great to try it out again.  I'd forgotten how peaceful and reflective an activity it could be!

This is suitable for use with all ages but certainly has a 'wow' factor that children will appreciate. What's great is that you can go as big or small scale as you want.  I've seen it done in paddling pools with larger groups but it works equally as well in a small container.

You will need: Thin paper, pens, scissors, a container filled with water.

Ask children to think of people or things they would like to bring to God and then ask them to cut out a shape from the paper. This shape could correspond to their prayer topic or, in a more guided session, each child could use the same shape and pray around the same topic.  Options could include:

Praying for others- flowers or stars, writing the name of a different person on each petal/ star arm
Love/ forgiveness/ sorry- heart shapes
Thanks- the shape of something you want to thank God for.

Fold the corners, sides or petals of the shapes into the middle (as shown in the picture collage above).

Place the bottom of the prayer shape on top of the water and watch as the petals or folded portions of the shapes gradually open out, symbolically opening out the prayer to God.  The opened shape will then float on top of the water. This will take some time to happen fully so there is plenty of opportunity to watch and reflect on the prayers!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Make Your Own Bible Story Stones: Pictures to Print and Use

Story Stones are a great way to help children to interact with the stories we tell them.  Symbols and pictures on the stones help us to tell the story and then children can use the stones to retell or interact with different elements of what they've heard. They have so much potential!

Making story stones can seem a bit of a chore, though, if painting is not your thing or if you just don't have a lot of time.

Here is a possible solution...

The end result might not be as pretty as hand-painted stones, but they do the job!

Print out the sheet of pictures (click here), cut out and stick onto stones (flat, polished stones work best).  Now you are good to go!  As you can see, the sheet has stones to help tell several Bible stories so there is plenty of opportunity to test them out.  Let me know how it goes if you decide to test them out!