Friday, 24 April 2015

You are the Light of the World: Oil and Paper Suncatchers

This is an activity that can be done by children of all ages and is a great illustration of Christ's light shining thorugh us.

You will need: oil in small containers (I used vegetable oil), cotton buds, paper in various shapes.  Children might like to cut the paper in the shape of their initial or of something that speaks of their own personality.

Use cotton buds to 'paint' oil onto the paper in whatever designs the children like.  Children might want to write words about themselves or words about Jesus.

When the oil is dry, blu-tack the paper shapes to the window and let the light shine through the designs!

Talk with the children about being light in the world.  We let the light of Jesus shine through us through the things we do and say, just as the light shines through the patterns we made with the oil. 

You might like to create a group design on a larger sheet of paper, where children draw or write actions or words they can use to show the light of Jesus that shines in them.  As you hang it on the window, pray that other people will come to see that light!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

John 21: Jesus on the Beach Playdough Mat

Here is a playdough mat to help explore the story of Jesus appearing on the beach in John 21.  The disciples don't realise at first who Jesus is, but the amazing number of fish he helps them to catch and the bread and fish they share on the beach are reminders of his miracles and help them to recognise him.  

On a simple level the mat will help children to remember the catch of fish, but if you want to go a little further it might help the children to think of what it feels like to recognise Jesus and be close to him.

To print ot the mat click here, laminate and get creating!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

John 21: Jesus gives Peter a New Start (Prayer Activity)

What I love about the meeting of Peter and Jesus on the beach in John 21 is that Peter is given a chance to start again- his three denials of Jesus  mirrored by the three times he tells Jesus that he loves him.

This prayer activity helps to emphasise the idea of the new starts that Jesus can give to us all so that we too can go out and reach others for him.

You will need: two containers- one holding a mixture of vinegar and salt (about a cup of vinegar to a tablespoon of salt) and one holding water.  Old, stained copper coins.

Give each child a coin and ask them to think about parts of their life where they might have let others down or would like a new start.  Put each coin in the container of vinegar and salt.  Let them say sorry to God in their heads if they would like to.   Put on the lid and shake (some of the coins will start to clean up even before you put the lid on!)  Thank Jesus for forgiveness and new starts.  Take off the lid and transfer the coins to the water to wash off the vinegar.  Let each child take a coin away as a reminder of the new start Jesus gives.

As an extension you might ask the children to give their coin to another person and to pray that that person will get a new start with Jesus. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Pentecost Flames: Painting with Forks!

I know it's a bit early to be thinking of Pentecost, but I like to be ahead of the game and there are so many stories where flames are useful!

This is a really great idea for all ages.  We ended up working on the kitchen floor and even the adults decided to join in. Some of the children got incredibly creative...

It's quite a reflective activity and lends itself to silence if that's an option for you.  Have fun!

You will need: yellow, red and orange paint, foil (for easy clean-up afterwards!), plastic forks, card or paper (we used black for a great effect).  

 Use a fork to blob some paint onto the paper and then swirl and pull or brush with the fork!
 Encourage colour mixing as the flames flicker together...

Talk about: The power of fire reflecting the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is fire like?  What can it do?  
How might the disciples have felt seeing tongues of fire above their heads? How would you have felt?
What do you know about the power of fire?  What about the Holy Spirit?
Get children to share their reflections on the story and their own experiences of the Holy Spirit

Pray: Create a group flame painting. As you paint the flames pray for other people and for each other to be touched by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Easter Day Reflective Colouring Sheet to Print

Here is a reflective colouring sheet for Easter day.  I'm posting it a few days early so I apologise to those who are still burying the Alleluias!  Click here to print off the sheet.

Happy Easter when it arrives!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Holy Spirit Crayon Melting Craft and Prayer Activity

This is a really exciting way to talk about the power of the Holy Spirit!

You will need: wax crayons (wrappers off works best) strong glue (eg. from a glue gun or superglue), a canvas (this really doesn't work on paper!), a protective sheet, a hairdryer.

We did this outside with an extension cable for the hairdryer because there is a certain amount of splatter!

Glue the crayons to the top of the canvas and let the glue set firm.

Set the hairdryer to the highest level and start blowing it across the bottom ends of the crayons.  It takes a while but they eventually start to melt.  Set the dryer down a heat notch and continue to melt the crayons.

 Watch as the colour is released!  We did this with children aged 5-9 and, as long as there was adult supervision they were brilliant at taking turns with the hairdryer and had loads of suggestions about where to aim it to make certain colours run in different directions.
When you have finished, the wax will dry quite quickly and you will have a group masterpiece!

Talk about: God, through the Holy Spirit has given us each gifts to help make the world a better, brighter place.  The power of the Holy Spirit releases those gifts within us so that we can share them with the world (like the power of the heat from the hairdryer released the colour in the crayons).  Speak about the gifts of the spirit and ask children which gifts they think that God might have given to them.

Prayer idea 1: ask children to think of a colour that represents the gifts they think God has given them or they would like to have.  Ask them to gather round and put their finger on that colour somewhere on the picture.  Say a thank you prayer and ask God to release those gifts in them.

Prayer idea 2: Set up a new canvas and get children to take it in turns to melt the crayons.  As they pray, ask God to release the gifts in them.

This would be a great activity for Pentecost and would also work really well as a group project at Messy Church!