Thursday, 8 October 2015

God Keeps Us Safe Assembly: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the Fiery Furnace

This is a great visual illustration for thinking about God's protection and can easily be used in a school assembly.

You will need: An orange, a deep, clear container, water.  Also useful are items such as sun cream, a bike helmet and a hi-vis jacket

I used the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace but any story involving God's protection is good- Daniel in the Lions' Den, for example.

Tell the story and get the children to participate with sound effects and actions if possible!

Next bring out your 'protection' items and talk about what we do and wear to keep us safe in the sun, on the road etc.  What about people who help us to feel safe?  Talk about God keeping the characters in the story safe and speak about times in your life when you ask God to keep you safe.

Put an orange in the container of water and watch it bob along the surface.  Then peel off the skin and watch it sink.  The peel is what protects the orange and stops it from sinking.  God can be our protection!  

Ask the children to think of those people who help them to stay and feel safe and say a thank you prayer to God for them.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Messy Church: Serving God and Others (The Sheep and the Goats)

In this month's Messy Church we looked at the story of the sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25 and thought about what it meant to serve others and to serve God.  This involved lots of practical activities!

Cafe Role Play area
 Polishing the church brass
 Litter picking in the church yard

 Praying for refugees
 Gathering leaves
 building furniture (this one was strictly for the adults!)
 Making biscuit boxes...
...and baking biscuits to put in them! 

We also had a take-home sheet so that we could continue to think about serving and helping others during the rest of the month.  

Click here to download the sheet!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Creative Storytelling: Freestanding Bible Characters to Colour and Make

Sometimes it's nice to have a few portable figures to tell a Bible story with and then to help the children to retell the story.  Here's an easy way to make some figures that stand up by themselves, can be a easily stored and can even be coloured by the children.

Click here to print out the colour in character sheet.

 Next bend some paperclips as shown below.  These will be your 'stands'

Get the children to colour in the characters and then cut them out.  Laminate them if you want repeated use without too much damage!

Sellotape a paperclip 'stand' to the back of each character as shown in the picture.

 Now stand your characters up and tell a story!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Strengthened Heart: Esther Prayer and Craft Activity

This can be quite a reflective activity, so it might be good to create a peaceful atmosphere for the children when they do this.  Equally it's good to make room to chat to them about what they are thinking as they do it so see how it goes!

You will need: Paper plates, scissors, wool, a pen, mats e.g. made of cork, plastic tapestry needles

Fold the paper plate in half and draw half a heart at the middle fold.  Cut the shape out and open the plate up so that you can see the whole heart

 Lay the plate on a mat that will be forgiving to holes (e.g. cork!) and poke a pen through the paper around the cut out heart.  Leave a wide margin or the paper might tear when you come to sewing.

Talk to the children about what the heart symbolises to them: love, strength, caring etc?

Esther showed great love for her people and for Mordecai but she also showed that she had a great deal of courage in her heart.  Ask the children to think about times when they have needed to show love to others or needed to be brave so they could help others.  Share times when God has helped you to do either or both.

Sometimes we might feel that we need God to help us to be stronger in such situations.  At the moment, the heart shape is an empty space.  Ask children to choose colours of wool that reflect people they would like God to help them love, or situations where they would like God to help them to show bravery to help others.  Sew though the holes in any order to make a 'strengthened heart'.

When children finish, gather the hearts together and thank God that he is with us when we need to draw on his strength and love, especially when we are in situations where we need to show love and strength for others.   Suggest that the children hang the plates in their windows or keep them by the bed during the following week as a reminder of their thoughts and prayers.

An adapted version of this craft might also for well with exploration of Ezekiel 36:26

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Printable Reflective Worship Colouring Sheet: Psalm 150

Here is the reflective colouring sheet we used in our 'worship' based Messy Church this month.  It really fitted in with the celebration and both adults and children made use of it during the afternoon.

Click here to find and print the PDF.  Have fun colouring!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Messy Church: Exploring Worship

This month in Messy church, we explored lots of different ways of worshipping God...

We made instruments from recycling materials and rainsticks from cardboard tubes with nails inserted (see picture below) and then filled with dried rice or chickpeas.

We also played with some boomwhackers!  Click here to find out more about what they are if you've never come across them!

Through dancing...

We made some dancing ribbons from ribbon and sticks or curtain rings.

Reflective worship and a worship tent
Or through reflective colouring
 We even explored worship by smell by burning some incense!

We finished off with some dancing and singing of worship songs and by joining in a responsive reading of Psalm 150!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Esther: Finding Courage Prayer Activity

The Story of Esther hinges on an ordinary woman, in an extraordinary situation, having to show a great deal of courage.  Although the name of God is not specifically mentioned in the whole of the book, Esther must be rooted in her identity as one of the people of God so that she can help to save them.  This prayer activity will help children to visualise the amazing help and courage that God can bring.

You will need: A ziplock or sealable sandwich bag, water, sharp pencils and pens

Fill the sandwich bag with water (leave some space at the top) and seal it.

Talk about the times when we need to have courage.  What are the things that scare us and we worry about having to do?  The things that we worry will hurt us?  Ask children what would happen if we poke a pencil in the plastic bag? Hopefully they will suggest that it will leak!  Take a pencil and poke it all the way through the bag (see picture above).  There is no leakage whatsoever.  The pencil is like the thing we are scared of.  We are worried it will hurt us (or make our strength leak away), but we can pray to God to give us the courage we need to get through.

Get children to take it in turns to think of things that worry them and to ask God for the courage to get through the difficult times.  As a symbol of their prayer, ask the children to push a pencil through the bag of water.