The main impetus to starting this blog was that I quite often spend ages finding things to do with my kids in church and get annoyed that there isn’t somewhere with all the good stuff in one place, so I decided that if I put on a blog the stuff that I find useful then it might help others. So there are a few things that I’ve done recently that went quite well that I’d be glad to pass on.
We have a Toddler church in my parish. They meet every Wednesday from 1.30-3, and we currently have about 10 2-4 year olds coming. We use the Tot Zone resource books at a general level but quite often end up finding different crafts as they can be quite repetitive or just boring. Last week we were talking about the Last Supper (quite early I know but we’re stretching the Easter story over a few weeks). The book had suggested getting the kids to draw their favourite food on a plate. The issues with this was that some of them are too small to be drawing freely, and it wouldn’t have filled the time slot we needed. So I turned to Pinterest and found loads of suggestions of making the table of the last supper out of eggboxes. Great idea, but my kids are definitely too small. I eventually found one that made mosaic cups out of plastic wine glasses. (The original blog can be found here: http://familyatthefootofthecross.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/corpus-christi-mosaic-craft.html).
It was really straightforward. Buy some plastic cups, cut some tissue paper into small squares, get some PVA glue, and glue the tissue paper onto the cups. My toddlers could manage it until their short attention spans pulled them to the toys, at which point the parents were happy to take over, and the end result was really good; which you don’t often get with Toddlers crafts.
The other creative event we’ve had recently is called Sunday@4. It’s an all age event that is a little different every week but tends to focus around modern worship, crafts, reflection, and food. Our most recent session was on forgiveness, as it was in lent, and we ended up with some great ideas to help demonstrate it to the kids. The first was getting some of the mini etch-a-sketches that you can get to put into party bags and giving them out to all the kids. Then we got them to draw on something they’d done wrong or had needed to apologise for during the week. Then we demonstrated that God forgives completely by lifting up the plastic sheet and the picture they’d drawn completely disappearing. Then we thought about our behaviour behind doing things wrong and where they feel anger. So if they’re annoyed, do they get angry hands and want to hit things, or angry feet and want to kick things, or angry faces and want to shout and cry, or do they feel it in their stomachs or heads. We then gave them the outline of a person cut out of acetate and got them to colour in where they felt angry with felt tip pens. For the adults they could also think about the colours associated with being angry, or things inside them that lead to them getting angry, like bitterness, pain and fear. We then had them bring up their people to the front and put them in a bowl of water, and of course the ink all ran off, symbolising what happens to our anger when forgiveness is involved; either us being forgiven or forgiving others.
Our crafts for that session involved playing Jenga and Lego (building things up and then knocking them down and starting from scratch), and making prayer fingers by drawing around the kids hands and using the shapes to make a heart (the original inspiration for this one can be found here: http://thefantasticfive-hockmana.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/bible-alive-tuesday-forgiving-fingers.html). The kids went away having had loads of fun and, we’re hoping, having learnt a bit about forgiving others.