For Sunday Schools
and for teens
I’ve hunted out crafts that use what most Sunday schools have on hand or can get easily:
Paper Plate Nativity
Good for anyone who can fingerpaint – if you’ve got a team or the time to cut and outline them before hand. Great for those who can be trusted with scissors; and prep free at that point!
Cardboard Roll Nativity
Printable characters you can wrap around toilet rolls or the tubes from inside your wrapping paper. Good for all those who can colour and glue under supervision.
Here’s a much craftier version – you could always steal some ideas to add to the printouts.
Nativity Story Stones
(I grew up near a beach and not the sandy kind – you may have less access to stones than I did) Good for small groups; older kids; and when you have time for creative play. A thin permanent pen sounds good for outlines but acrylic paint is fine for colours.
Did you know you can make acrylic paint by adding PVA to poster paint?!
Shadow Puppet Nativity
Great for teens. Maybe they’re too cool to get out and act but they can make these and perform to children or for the kids to perform this. You could even video it for use in a carol service.
Use your nativity crafts to retell the story or talk about the historical events. Here are some good questions to get that conversation started:
Where do we get our ideas of what these people look like from? How accurate do you think they are?
What mistakes/assumptions do you often get in a nativity set?
What’s the evidence that this actually happened? Can we believe in something with angels and a virgin birth?
How can we make our angels look like a person who has to start every conversation with ‘Do not be afraid’? What was scary about them?
When you hear this story every year what can you do to make it have an impact on your life?
Here’s a bonus nativity True or False Quiz to start break down assumptions your sunday schooler or youth may have. And I’ve written the answers for you too.
For Kids and Teens
and pointing people in the direction of Jesus
Scripts for Teens:
Don’t Miss Christmas
This comedy shows you all the nativity characters you never normally get to see; because they didn’t show up! The shepherd who’s just doing his job properly and the advisor worried about Herod’s temper if he goes. Can we spot ourselves in the mix?
An Unspecified Number of Wise Astronomers from Somewhere East Of Israel
For the pedantically accurate among you who find the inaccuracies of We Three Kings as annoying as the tune is festive!
Four scripts from the points of view of Mary’s mum, Joseph, one of Herod’s advisors and John the Baptist giving their thoughts on Christmas.
Scripts for kids
Angel Tours Nativity
Needs two grown up or confident teenagers to play the Archangels Michael and Gabriel who take us on a tour through the first Christmas – complete with songs!
This can be performed by just one person or by many – come up with actions to help tell the story of the world’s most unusual king.
From the rest of the internet
Not including the ones I’ve written (because obviously I’m biased)
Here are the gems I’ve uncovered:
Stories of the Saviour by Felicia Mollahan
A couple of presenters take us through the Old Testament and show us all the ways in which history looks forward to the coming of Jesus.
New Star by Sharon Kay Chatwell
A brand new star and the original Christmas star act as our guides to the events of Matthew and Luke with an obvious affection for all things sparkly.
God With Us A nativity play from Tearfund
It’s not often that traditional nativities catch my attention, this one did for its introduction that grounds the familiar story in the real world circumstances of the suffering and it’s flexibility with a script that caters for narrated action or line learning depending on what your performers can manage.
The Misunderstood Christmas by Marie Parker
Bumble your way through this funny nativity play.
In the Same Country by Trevor Fletcher
Enjoy this humorous take on what events might have looked like two millenia years ago if the angels had appeared to advertisers, lawyers and accountants.
The Nativity from John’s Gospel by Martin Dove
This script inspired by John chapter one includes Constantine and the council of Nicea, scientists and a grown up John the Baptist among its characters as well as the ones you’d expect in a nativity.
Christmas from the perspective of a Roman Soldier by Martin Dove
This nativity takes us all the way through to crucifixion and beyond through the eyes of a roman centurion.
Come back this Friday for my own Christmas drama offerings.
The countdown begins
So I’m posting advent activities for you and your church
Here’s a reminder of the Advent Sunday Scripts from last year – perfect for interjecting a little drama into church services, sunday schools or youth groups, and for giving a fresh perspective on familiar events.
And here’s a brand new advent activity – great for at home or in schools. A make your own advent calendar complete with free printable so you can slip a Bible verse in every day and read your way up to Christmas.If you’re looking for more Christmas materials follow this blog (click below) as from next week there’ll be even more Christmas stuff for you!
The non-turkey variety
It’s about to be my first thanksgiving and we’ve been invited round to some friends to experience this very American tradition in all it’s glory. What I’ve written is not at all related to the history of America – I’m not remotely qualified to do justice to that – but is all about giving thanks to God for his gifts. There are a few activities on the internet related to gratitude rather than a seasonal holiday but a lot of these focus on what you’re thankful for without really considering who you’re giving thanks to – there is a lot of good in simply counting our blessings (which is why I’ve included a few links to games of this kind); it’s far to easy to take things for granted, but it’s important to know who to thank – what we have, our very lives, are given to us by God and he deserves the credit.
There’s also Looking Back in Thanksgiving which I wrote for children’s work at a church weekend a while back. It focus first on Joshua about to enter the Promised Land and all that he has to thank God for before moving on to consider what we can thank God for on top of that. Designed to be paired with Looking Forward in Dependence; you could pic-n-mix the best of each to end up with a session that best suits your group.
On the 10 commandments
although less than full marks for timing
Commandments nine and ten are up! Sorry about the wait – if you’re looking for the rest of the series you can find it here.
Back to normal next week: new material on Thanksgiving (since we’re in America!) on Tuesday and then it’s Christmas all the way.
Is the subject of this session
but fortunately using the ideas definitely isn’t stealing
I’ve never found it so easy to think of games/songs/activities etc and so hard to write a talk! I know tonnes of burglary related games (as well as heaps of synonyms for theft – what does this say about me?!) and as easy as that made it to plan the session for the eighth commandment I struggled to apply this in a way that didn’t use all my material for do not covet before I’d got to that one. Sneak preview for commandment number 10 though: God cares about our actions and our attitudes.
What to do
When something horrifying turns up at your door
It’s nearly 31st of October and it’s my first Halloween in America; they take it a lot more seriously here then they do back home. Last Friday I suggested some things you could do at a Light Party if you wanted a fun alternative to Halloween. This week it’s about what you can do when the party comes to you…
Be prepared! There are very few Trick-or-treaters out there who actually want, or are even prepared, to trick you. They just want copious amounts of sweets. I suggest having a supply of individually wrapped sweets near the door and maybe something like glowsticks too. Parents are going to love you for not getting their kids hyped up on sugar and the kids will still enjoy them. Try and avoid nuts in the sweets you give out to be on the safe side and I suggest having identical sweets so that no fuss-pot child spends 10 minutes trying to find the one they want.
The other thing you may want to give away is a small tract that explains the gospel. Again it’s sugar-free so likely to be popular with parents and the ones aimed at the younger kids have wordsearches and puzzles inside to draw your reader in. Here are my faves; you can buy them in bulk right here.
“The Dressing Up Box” uses the theme of dressing up to show how God knows what we’re like underneath, but that he can forgive and change us. For younger children.
“A friend in the dark” is based on Jesus’ words “I am the light of the world” in John 8:12. Comes with puzzles. For 6-12’s.
This colourful tract focuses on the power and glory of Jesus Christ. For teenagers.
Now that you know what great stuff you’re handing out you just need people to turn up at your door. Get praying that they’ll ring your bell and that they’ll read these leaflets and want to learn more.
is not a lucky number
but it is where we’re up to in the ten commandments
Check out the session for commandment number seven here. Those of you who are much more clued up than I am will have realised that the seventh commandment is ‘Do not commit adultery’ which is not the most straightforward to apply to children who are way too young to get married.
We talk about it as a picture of Christ and the Church; and you could do just that section at the same time as you do ‘Honour your mother and your father’ (fifth commandment) since they share similar ‘it’s important because it’s a picture of God’s relationship with us’ applications. In which case just check out the talk and the activity – that’s the joy of a pic’n’mix system. I’ve taken the faithfulness aspect of that command and drawn a parallel with keeping our promises, which is very relevant when you’re 5-11.
In Dark Places
An alternative to Halloween
Halloween started as a chance to mock evil and let it have its last moment before the inevitable defeat of the forces of darkness by the King of Light. Therefore, I don’t think there has to be a problem with celebrating Halloween. That said there is a tendency these days to ‘celebrate the dark side’ and ‘let your inner demon out.’
If you want to put on an alternative celebration, and enjoy everything light and right and good with the world then try these ideas for a Bright Lights Party.
Come back for more of our ten commandments series on Tuesday and trick or treat tips on Friday.