Saturday, 27 September 2014

DIY Foil Finger Labyrinths

Finger labyrinths have been really popular on Flame for a while, so I thought I'd post another way of making them. This is a very tactile version, very easy to make, and allows children the chance to make their own wandering line!  The labyrinths would work really well as a craft activity for any Bible story that involves a journey e.g. The Exodus, Joshua.

You will need: Paper plates, pencils, foil, glue (PVA works best)

Get children to draw a spiral on the paper plate- start in the middle and work outwards but take the line on a wander if you want to!
 Next, cut pieces of tin foil and roll them into thin sausage shapes.
Glue the foil sausages to the spiral on the plate.  If using PVA you will need to wait a while for the glue to dry!
Children can now use the labyrinths as prayer tools, either as a way of using something tactile as they reflect or, more specifically to think and pray about life journeys (see below)

Talk about:
How does it feel to go on a journey? What do you need?
How can life be like a journey?  
Who journeys with you? Who do you journey with?
Does God journey with you?  How?

Give children the chance to spend time in silence, thinking about their life journey or the life journeys of people they know.  As they follow the foil line with their finger, encourage them to talk to God about their lives and how He might be with them on the journey. 

A version of this activity appears in the current edition of Premier Children's Work Magazine.  Check it out!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Exploring the story of Ruth with 3-5s

As a previous post has looked at ways of exploring the story of Ruth with older children, I thought it was only fair to see how younger children might explore it through playful ideas!

This is a great children's Bible with a good retelling of the story:
As the children play, use the time to chat to them about what they've heard in the story...

Explore themes of community and sticking together with the people we love using jigsaws and lego or duplo

 Think about family, people we love and people who care for us with a collection of hearts
 Think about journeys with old maps (and toy cars!) and act out the story with peg people
 Make a game of collecting buttons to act out Ruth gleaning the wheat
Use this craft to continue exploring the idea of people we love and God loving and providing for us.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Ruth: Faithfulness Paper Braid and Prayer Activity

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Ruth 1:16

Ruth is a great book to use to teach children about loyalty and faithfulness.  Ruth stays faithful to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and leaves her own community to join Naomi's.  Not only this, but she takes on a faithfulness to Naomi's God and becomes an ancestor of David- an amazingly important woman!

There are so many themes to pick up here...

  • welcoming new people into a family or community
  • who takes care of us and who we take care of (and why we do this)
  • what it means to become one of God's people
  • how God works through unexpected people
Here is a craft (inspired by this post on Scrapbooks etc) to help pick up and explore the theme of the unity that comes from faithfulness to each other and to God:

You will need: 4 strips of coloured paper (2 of one colour and 2 of another colour).  Mine were about 1cm thick and 15 cm long; glue.

 Take your first colour and glue at right angles like so.
 Then glue the 2 strips of the second colour over the top as below.
 Fold the colour 1 strips over the colour 2 strips as shown and continue...
 ...all the way to the end.  Secure ends with glue.

Talk about: 

  • Like the braided paper, Ruth joined her life together with Naomi and with God.  Who is your life joined to?
  • Why do you think Ruth decided to stay with Naomi? What would you have done?
  • The unity of the braid makes the paper strips much stronger than they were separately.  How might this be similar when we join with others in community and with God?
  • Make another braid.  Choose one colour to represent God and another colour to represent yourself or someone you know.  As you braid the strips together, pray that you or the person you have chosen will grow closer to God.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Exploring Bible Stories: Foam Print Craft

Here's an interesting way to help children to explore Bible stories: print making!

Tell a Bible story and then encourage children to cut out foam shapes to retell a scene from the story or to express their feelings/ observations about it.

You will need: Jar lids, scissors, craft foam, glue, paint, paper

Draw round the base of the jar lid on a piece of craft foam.  Cut the circle out and glue to the lid so that your print has a firm base and the jar lid acts as a handle.

Cut out pieces of foam to form a picture of  a scene, character or aspect from the story and stick them on to your foam base.

Cover the foam pieces with paint and print!  Children might want to choose paper and paint colours they think are significant to what they are trying to convey about the story.

Talk about:

  • What part of the story/ character does your print show?  
  • Why did you choose to make that picture?  What was special to you about that part of the story/ character?
  • Why did you choose particular colours?
  • If you could make another print for this story, what would you make? Why?
Other ideas:
  • Ask children to make a print for any Bible story they know.  Try to guess the story from the print.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum- 10 Free Lesson Plans to Download and Use

Here is a free set of lesson plans on the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) to download and use with children.  Each lesson is short (lasting about 30 minutes) and includes a story to look at, a memory verse, questions to think about, a craft and a prayer activity.  They are suitable for 4-11s and might work well with groups where a range of ages is covered.

Lessons  include

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control
  • Life Changing Spirit
There are also ideas for different ways of learning memory verses and further links for each lesson.

Click here to print out the lessons.

Enjoy and let me know how it goes if you use them!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Jacob's Ladder Ascending Angel Craft and Prayer Activity

The story of Jacob's ladder in Genesis 28 (vv 10-17) is one of my favourites and this is a creative way to pray about the story's themes using an easy but effective craft.

Tell the story of Jacob's ladder and think about the theme of God's closeness to Jacob, even when Jacob, himself, didn't at first realise it.  

Talk about: How do you think Jacob felt when he saw the ladder and the angels? How would you have felt?Have you ever felt or known that God is with you? Do you have anywhere where you feel close to God? How do you know that God is with you?  Do you know anyone who might like to know that God is with them, caring for them?

Craft- You will need: paper, scissors, pens, string, sellotape, straws and a coin

Get children to cut an angel shape out of the paper (or provide them with a pre-cut version).  Cut 2x 2cm pieces of straw and sellotape them to the angel shape as shown below.  Make sure they are parallel to each other. Sellotape a coin to the bottom of the angel to give it some weight (I used a 2p coin here).  Thread string through the straw as shown.
Anchor the string to a coat hook or a nail on the wall- something static, strong and above head height if possible!  Bring the angel to the bottom of the strings and hold each end in a separate hand.  Spread your hands out so that they are wider than the parallel straws and pull on the strings.  The angel should rise up towards the anchor point.  Release the tension on the strings and the angel should descend.  Have fun testing this out!
Write the names of people who you would like to know that God is close to them- perhaps people who are having a hard time or who don't know about God yet.  As you pull the angel up and down the string, pray that God will bless them and they will know His closeness, just as Jacob did in the story!