I've been thinking a lot about the parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13: 31-32) recently, and for some reason it keeps cropping up all over the place! Because it's been on my mind, I've made a play dough mat to help children in their exploration. The seed is a little bit bigger than it should be if we're going to keep accurate proportions, but I wanted children to at least be able to see it!
As usual, if you laminate the printed sheets, its much easier to clean up the play dough and you can also keep the mats for repeated future use! To print the mat click here.
I was recently trying to come up with some different visual ways of saying sorry to God and wanted something that would be symbolic of the forgiveness He gives. That's when I came across dissolvable paper!
From what I gather, this paper can be used to draw patterns which can then be sewn over and when the embroidery is complete, the paper will dissolve, leaving only the stitching in place. Suffice to say, that is not what I used it for!
You will need: Dissolvable paper cut into small strips, warm water (this helps the dissolving process), a large bowl, pens
Talk about the fact that when we say sorry to God for the things that we have done, we know that he will forgive us and give us a new start.
Ask children to write or draw something they would like to say sorry for on a strip of paper. They might even just want to write the word 'sorry' and keep things entirely between themselves and God.
Place the paper strip in the water and watch as it starts to dissolve and disappear as a symbol of the way God forgives us and gives us a new start. This can be really powerful, especially when children feel guilt for something they have done. Seeing it disappear can be a very enlightening moment.
This is a fun way to celebrate Jesus as the light of the world, especially if you are celebrating Candlemas this Sunday! Traditionally at Candlemas (or the Presentation of Christ), the passage from Luke 2 where Simeon and Anna meet Jesus is read and we hear the famous lines: “Now, Lord, you can let me, your servant, die in peace as you said. 30 I have seen with my own eyes how you will save your people. 31 Now all people can see your plan. 32 He is a light to show your way to the other nations. And he will bring honor to your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29-32) Jesus is recognised as the saviour who has come to bring light to dark situations and to show people the way, and this prayer craft helps children to work with this image. You will need: battery operated tea lights, A6 size paper, felt tip pens, glue
Put the A6 Paper in landscape orientation and ask children to draw pictures and write the names of people and places who are going through dark, hard times and need to see some light and hope.
Wrap the paper around the tea light and glue down the edge to make a tube.
Ask Jesus to bring his light and hope to these people and situations. Switch off the lights and switch the tea lights on. Look at the light shining through the situations as a sign that they have been handed to Jesus.
I have a bit of a weakness for glow in the dark things. I ended up buying 100 glow in the dark baby Jesus figures before Christmas and I still haven't figured out what to do with them, but the day will come! My new favourite thing, though, is glow in the dark tape. It has a lot of potential! I got some quite cheaply online and have used it for a craft to help children explore the concept of God being with them in the darkness and hard times. This craft would work well with stories about God's protection and presence e.g. Daniel and the lions' den, Moses and the Red Sea, Paul and Silas in jail. You will need: Paper (any colour), scissors, glow in the dark tape, marker pens
Get children to cut up the tape and stick it on the paper in any design they fancy. They can then, if they want to, decorate the tape with marker pens/ write verses about God's presence and protection. Useful verses might include: Psalm 16:1 Protect me, God, because I depend on you. Romans 8:31If God is for us, no one can stand against us. Psalm 118:6The Lord is with me, so I will not be afraid. Psalm 46:1 God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble
Children can then take the pictures home and put them somewhere in their room. As long as it has been exposed to bright light for a period of time, the glow in the dark tape is quite effective as a reminder that God is there in the dark (and in the hard times) with them. Talk about: Why does light help if it is dark? What situations in life can feel a little bit dark or scary or worrying? Who do you go to when you are afraid or worried? How does it feel when you are with them? Have you ever helped someone who was afraid or worried? Have you ever asked God to be with you when you are finding it hard or scary? Pray: Think about people you know who are worried or afraid. Write their names on the tape and stick it to the picture. When you see the tape glow in the dark, ask God to be with them and help them.