Have you ever felt like you got landed the job of doing children’s church or Sunday school because you have young children, or there’s no one else volunteering? And that you feel out of your depth because your day job isn’t being a teacher? That was me fifteen years ago. It felt like I got dropped in the deep end, but when you have your own children’s spiritual wellbeing to think about, and you’re the curate’s wife, you’d lend a hand! Nowadays I no longer find it daunting, just because experience has taught us what works and what doesn’t for our little group of children. In this post, I shall try to tease out some of my methods, in the hope that it may be of some help to those of you who find yourselves in the privileged position of “doing children’s work”, particularly in a small church or small group, or are thinking of starting out. Continue reading “Undeserving Zacchaeus – Lesson for all of us”
I’m always grateful for talented people to post their beautiful creations online for me to find, more so if they explain how to achieve them with step-by-step instructions. Last week, I was looking for a craft activity for our Kids’ Club session to tie in with Pentecost, and I came across this brilliant votive candle on Pinterest:
The Ink and Glue website has a set of very clear instructions of how to make it, so I shall not duplicate it here.
The only difference I made to the design was to make the bottom of the toilet roll centre solid so that when we put a LED tea light in, it would not fall out. So, instead of cutting off the bottom of the toilet roll centre, I drew lines for cutting along, then folding the strips inwards to form a base.
Also, instead of using glue sticks to stick the tissue paper onto the toilet roll centre, we used double-sided sticky tape. This worked very well, and was less messy.
Everyone was happy with their Pentecost flame, and I hope that the children enjoyed making them!
It’s Ascension Day tomorrow. I thought I would do something a little different this year for our activity session. You know how as parents, your home often ends up with a mountain of your children’s artwork and you loathe to consign any of them to the bin?
Well, this afternoon’s Kids’ Club activity won’t add to that problem! Not only that, it held the children’s attention very well – I haven’t seen such industry for a while as we decorated mini gingerbread men, turning them into Jesus and his disciples.
Here’s a step-by-step account of how we made these yummy treats should you wish to try it out… Continue reading “Yummy Ascension activity”
Just before Christmas on a dark winter’s evening, where we were battered by the wind and rain on our walk after school to the Church Rooms, the atmosphere once indoors couldn’t have been more different. It was one of excitement and high spirits as one of the kids was telling everyone over drinks and biscuits about her birthday the day before.
B: It was a surprise – my Mum took me to get my ears pierced and I got this pair of earrings!
E: I got mine done but it went wrong and they had to take it out and do it again!
(There was a detailed discussion about getting piercings for these 7 to 8 year-olds.)
B: I’m going to have a sleepover party and you’re coming (pointing to H and L).
(Again, there was a whole discussion about sleepovers.) Continue reading “Invited to Party in Heaven!”
In my last post, I mentioned that at Kids’ Club we played a game of matching different fruits to the branches and leaves of the plants or trees that they came from, and introduced the idea of bearing fruit. I explained to the children that the fruit we bear are the qualities we show, and that Jesus said people recognise what kind of “tree” we are when they see what kind of fruit we bear, because a good tree bears good fruit.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.”
Following up from that last session, we looked at how we bear good fruit. I recapitulated on the topic of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and explained that it’s rather difficult to constantly keep in mind all of the good qualities or the good fruit we want to be producing – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. So I showed the children a picture of a grape vine with grapes hanging from its branches, and reasoned that the fruits don’t actively think, “Hmm… I’m going to be grapes. I must grow, and I must grow to be grapes.” It all happens naturally as the grapes grow from the branches, just as the branches grow from the main vine. This is what Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” Continue reading “Jesus is the vine, we are the branches”
Sitting here in the autumn sunshine, looking out at the glorious colours the leaves have turned, I realise that I had better share with you what we did at Kids’ Club near the beginning of the school term. While summer was coming to an end and the leaves were starting to put on their autumnal colours, the children were gathering conkers from underneath the big tree on the corner of the school grounds. The inspiration for a Kids’ Club session came to me and I thought of what Jesus said in the Bible,
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bears good fruit. Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:43-45
There’s a lot to think about here, but with the current group of children at Kids’ Club, because of their younger age, it is necessary to keep things simple and to the point. I was trying to find a fun game to engage them. They could all relate to gathering conkers from the school playground, and have come across different fruit. So, in preparation for a quiz, I went foraging for conkers and some big leaves from the conker tree (horse chestnut) with the “help” of our new puppy (who’s occupying a lot of my time and hence the delay in writing posts!). I also went round to the other group leaders Arthur and Rita’s to ask for some twigs and fruit from their fruit trees – apples, pears, and tomatoes. From my own garden, as it’s so overgrown with weeds, I found plenty of brambles with blackberries! I also had some elderberries from the elderflower bush, some blueberries (shop-bought) and a small branch from my blueberry bush. Continue reading “What fruit tree are you?”
When I was thinking about what to do for the first Kids’ Club session after the Easter break, several stories in the Bible came to mind. I thought that what follows on from Jesus’ resurrection would be his appearance to his disciples, and I wanted to tell the children about doubting Thomas. As I was churning over in my mind how I might make the short passage in John’s gospel (Chapter 20) more memorable, somewhere in my subconscious surfaced this illustration, and whether it connected the dots for the kids or not, I was determined to use it. It went something like this:
“Hello kids! I’ve not been feeling that well lately, and I thought I should try something new for my diet.” I took out a tin of dog food from my bag and continued, “You know how they always advertise that these branded dog food would give your dog energy and make their coat look shiny and silky. It’s great tasting and full of vitamins… Well, I thought I could do with some of that.”
At this point I opened the tin by pulling on the ring-pull and started scooping up the contents into my mouth. The children gasped and made disgusted noises, even commented that it smelt vile. Continue reading “Kids eat dog food!”