Hot off the Press

Crafty Ideas

From Big Picture Bible Crafts

Job 5:12 has never come up as a recommended memory verse, you never see it printed on wallet sized cards or adorning the front of notebooks, and yet I can think of many a Christian and specifically Sunday School teachers who would be encouraged to know they’re not alone in struggling with this part of their walk with the Lord.

The struggle is real.

If, like me, your go to craft is something (anything!) stuck on a paper plate OR you avoid all craft that involve more planning than printing off a colouring sheet OR even if you’re a craft genius who loves browsing pintrest for inspiration then I have the book for you.

The Big Picture Bible Crafts: 101 Simple and Amazing Crafts to Help Teach Children the Bible
If that subtitle alone hasn’t sold convinced you let me point out some extra incentives:
It’s available now on amazon.
The author Gail Schoonmaker is the illustrator of the Big Picture Story Bible and it’s ESV counterpart, among other things, so you know it’s quality and that ‘amazing’ isn’t overselling it.
101 crafts is, at a rate of one craft a week, nearly two years worth of crafts!
You can photocopy and print pages so it’s not super time consuming to use.
I go to church with Gail and she’s awesome.
Because I go to a church where Gail designs crafts for Sunday School I have actual quotes from parents who see crafts like these every week.

“For those of you involved in local church work with children, I cannot commend this book enough. Gail is my daughter’s Sunday School teacher and I am routinely amazed by the crafts that she brings home on Sundays. You will not be disappointed!”
–  B Nieh (Parent)

Get yourself a copy!

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Happy New Year!

Remembrances and resolutions

For the blog and for your Sunday Schools too

It’s nearly 2018 – in case you hadn’t noticed. And everybody is in that ‘fresh start’ mode whether it’s buying gym memberships, taking up veganuary or resolving to read their Bible more often. We’re also looking back at 2017 and evaluating the good and bad in ourselves and in the world. If you’re keen to do some of that with your young people and children here are three options:

This brand new session plan for children to get them counting their blessings.

This Bible study for teens on what it means to be a new creation

This easy to adapt weekend away plan, inspired by Joshua, focusing on looking back in thanksgiving and looking forward in dependence.

For this blog: I’m thankful that I get to reuse and rethink children’s work I’ve created in the past and that it can be useful for others out there. And I’m resolving to plan what I’m going to post in advance: It’s definitely not my strength but his grace is sufficient for me, for his power is made perfect in weakness.

Christmas crafts

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.

Seven

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.

Bright Lights

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.

More than halfway through

The ten commandments

even if you don’t count the bonus session

Yep, that’s right: commandments 5 and 6 are now up! You can find the whole selection here. Including that bonus intro session I keep talking about. I’ve also added a very thoughtful set of truths  about the ten commandments which Steve P wrote for our Sunday School teachers when we were about to commence this series.

Just going to leave you with this poster from the 1956 Cecile B. DeMille’s film version. It’s where a whole heap of imagery we associate with this even comes from including I believe the tombstone shape of the stone tablets (which would be more historically accurate if square) that I have cunningly used for a memory verse craft in session 6.

New Series!

Paul’s Letter to the Philippians

(or Phillippians Phillipians Fillipians

Philipeans)

Please tell me I’m not the only one who always questions if I’ve spelt it right?

I was really excited to get to do this series; so much of what we do with kids is narrative based – and don’t get me wrong that’s great! – but as grown ups we spend much more of our time in the letters and that’s a big change to make if you’ve never looked at a letter before. Also there’s so much in them that’s worth looking at hence the new series looking at Philippians!
However, we’re kicking it off with a bit of Acts, so yes some narrative, but purely for context I assure you…
So here you are meet Paul the letter writer and through him meet Jesus the Saviour!

Paul

There’s no place like home

The Promised Land at last

and a promised rest as well.

The second day of our kids material for our church weekend away is here at last! If you missed last weeks you can find it here.
Unfortunately, I forgot to put the video we used up with the rest of the stuff last time – I’ve added it now and there’s another in this week’s so it seems a great opportunity to recommend yet another fantastic resource to you.

Check out the God’s Story videos from Crossroads Kids Club. They’re beautifully produced with a nice clear simple explanation that’s neither just facts or just application but the right amount of both. The animation styles differ but they all look great (they’ve also produced a few in Chinese and Spanish) and they cover a broad range of stories not only narrative. We used ‘Joshua Becomes Leader’ and ‘God’s Reminders’ for our weekend away but there are so many I’m sure we’ll come back to them later. They’ve also got a whole load of songs, verses and something called ‘the kitchen’ which I haven’t had a chance to check out yet but I’m looking forward to seeing more of what they’ve got!

Jesus is the new and better Joseph

Joseph is here at last!

Thank you for your patience

I remember planning this and trying to think of which part of Joseph’s life did we want to borrow to show something true about Jesus and the more I looked for one thing the more I was like ‘they’re just the same!’
So here we have the tale of the beloved son who becomes a suffering servant, is innocent but is punished and who is elevated to being the right hand man and brings reconciliation to his family. BOOM!
It makes me really happy that God is able to plan so meticulously the lives of people thousands of years apart just so we’ll recognise his son when he comes. Also that good planning is clearly a godly quality – every time I make the effort to sit and plan children’s and youth work I’m becoming a little more like my heavenly father.