I wish I had pictures of the kids making these to go along with the Pumpkin Prayer! They had more fun than I expected.
This month has been all about taking Halloween and turning our focus towards God. Yesterday the kids sat in a circle while they listened to the Pumpkin Prayer and watched as the Jack-O-Lantern was carved. I cheated. Before getting with the kids, I had already cut the top off and cleaned out the inside leaving just enough to pull out for that part of the prayer. If I had thought about it, I would have roasted the seeds and let the kids eat them while listening and watching. I cut the eyes as we talked about “opening our eyes” to see God’s love and cut the mouth as we talked about “sharing” God’s word. You get the idea. And at the end, I placed a flashing LED light inside for the kids to see our lights shining for God in all we say and do!
Then it was their turn. No, I was not too comfortable with the idea of handing a bunch of elementary kids sharp objects… so I passed out miniature pumpkins and these awesome acrylic paint markers so the kids could draw their Jack-O-Lanterns to take home with the Pumpkin Prayer. (And down the road they can use the markers to make prayer rocks or story stones.) Then I emailed the Pumpkin Prayer to the parents suggesting that as a family they carve pumpkins as they go through the prayer. We will see how many give it a shot!
Ever find yourself running short on time to prepare for bible class but want something that interests the kids? Yep! It happens to the best of us. This week I came across the perfect bible story telling solution! I bought several dry erase pocket sleeves (a set of 12 was only $15). Then I bought some fun erasers because they will get the kids attention quickly! I have dry erase markers in the class for the kids already for other activities. All that was left was for me to fill them with an activity sheet to go along with our lesson. So easy and can be used over and over again.
I write my own lessons so I simply added some words and pictures with instructions on what to do with each item. (I’ll attach both so you can see what I mean.) As the kids went through the lesson, they were fully engaged. No time to design your own? No problem. Draw a handful of boxes on a page, make copies and slide it in. Instruct kids on what to draw with each part of the lesson. Another way I plan to use these is for a modernized method of working puzzles. Simply make copies of word finds, mazes, connect the dots and more. Slip them into the pockets and kids have an assortment of puzzles to work. They just trade as they finish. Sure, you can make a bunch of copies and they can use pencils or crayons, but this way gets them excited because it’s different. We want kids excited about bible class and sharing it with friends.
Here’s the lesson that goes with activity you see in the video:
- We are learning from the book of 1 Kings. Is this in the Old or New Testament? TRACE K-I-N-G-S
- (Acts 13:22) King David was a man who loved God very much. The bible says he was a man after God’s own heart. Even though David messed up sometimes, he always told God he was sorry and God was always with him. TRACE the heart
- (1 Kings 3:1-15) King David grew old and died. His son Solomon became the next king. God told him he could have anything. Solomon did not ask for tons of gold or money. He did not ask for a big palace or a long life either. No, Solomon asked for something even more valuable than all of those thing. He asked for wisdom so he could lead God’s people wisely. TRACE the “W” for Wisdom
- (1 King 5:1-9) When the King Hiram of Tyre heard Solomon was the new king, he was pleased so he sent him a message. King Solomon sent back a message asking for cedar and juniper logs. What did King Solomon need all this wood for? He was building God’s temple, a place for God to live among the Israelites. So King Hiram floated them by rafts across the sea and then Solomon had men get them and bring them on land. Draw the water for the logs to float in. What were these logs for? Building the temple.
- (1 Kings 6:1-13) After four years as king, Solomon began building the Lord’s temple. God said to Solomon, “If you obey me and keep my commands, I will fulfill my promise to your father David and live among the Israelites. I will not abandon them.” What did God say? (1 King 6:14-29) The temple was very special. Why? Because this is where God would live. Wouldn’t you want to make God’s home perfect and amazing? I know I sure would! In the place where the ark of the covenant would be, Solomon overlaid the inside with pure cold. He made a pair of cherubim out of olive wood stretching from wall to wall. Give the cherubim wings. He spent SEVEN years building it. How long? 7 years!
- (1 Kings 7:1, 51-8:1) When all the work for the temple was finished, he brought in the things his father had dedicated, the silver and gold, and placed them in the treasuries of the temple. Then King Solomon summoned the elders of Israel, the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the families to Jerusalem. He wanted them to bring the ark of the covenant from Zion, the City of David. What did he want them to bring to the temple? The ark of the covenant. Draw two long poles to carry the ark of the covenant.
- (1 Kings 8:3-11) So that’s just what happened. Who remembers who must carry the ark? Only the priests. Does anyone remember what tribe they were from? Priest came from the tribe of Levi. They carried the ark on the long poles. Nothing was in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it. TRACE the stone tablets for the 10 commandments. When the priests left the Holy Place where the ark was being kept now the cloud filled the temple. Wow! The glory of the Lord filled His temple!
- (1 Kings 8:12-62) In front of everyone, King Solomon praised God. He said, “Lord, the God of Israel, there is not God like you in heaven above or on earth below.” (vs 23) DRAW more clouds. Is there anyone more amazing than God? Anywhere? No way!
- (1 Kings 9:4-8) God reminded Solomon that if he walked faithfully and obediently like his father and never serve other gods, then God would be with them and he’d be successful. BUT, if they turned from God then God would reject them. What did they have to do for God to always be with them? Obey God and not serve any other gods. TRACE “O-B-E-Y”
- (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Remember how Solomon was making the temple beautiful and lining it with gold? Why? Because that was where God would live. Did you now that in the New Testament things changed? God does not live in the temple Solomon built. Nope! He said that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. God lives in So our bodies are special and we need to honor God with our bodies. That means we should not use our bodies for bad things. DRAW a stick man body.
Summary: Solomon was the wisest king to every live. He built a temple for God to live in among His people, the Israelites. God told him that if they obey, He will be with them. If they serve other gods, God will turn away from them. Today God does not live in a building lined with gold. He is lives in us! That means God is ALWAYS with us and helping us make wise choices like Solomon.
If you like this, you may enjoy more on activity mats. Read here.
I recently had a brother and sister in a small group setting. He is in the third grade and his little sister is in pre-school. While playing with gooey green slime as we talked about Solomon’s wisdom the little girl laughed as she said, “This looks like boogers.”
She has a propensity for putting things in her mouth so I said, “It sure does, but let’s not eat the boogers.”
Her brother chimed in, “Oh, my sister never eats her boogers.”
And little sister jumps in proudly, “Yes I do! I eat my boogers all the time.”
Kids love slime. They cannot seem to get enough of it. Every time I think it’s getting old, kids beg to make slime and take it home. I am a huge believer in making bible class fun so I added slime to the rotation! As I tell a bible story, I stop after every couple of sentences to ask reinforcement questions AND have the create something that has to do with what I just said. For example, when I tell the story of Solomon’s wisdom, we begin with the him becoming a king so they make a king’s crown. Then we talk about two woman fighting over a baby so they may make the number two or perhaps a baby rattle. Getting the idea? They use a fun activity like slime to make the bible lesson click.
Slime is really easy to make! You have probably already made some before being in children’s ministry, but just in case, here’s my go to recipe and links to purchase on Amazon for ease (however the local Wal-Mart will have everything you need too):
Supplies per person: ¼ c glue, ¼ c liquid starch, optional food coloring, bowl, spoon, hand wipes
- Mix starch and food coloring (optional)
- Add glue, stirring with spoon. It will form a glob.
- When it is all sticking together, use hands to kneed for 2 – 3 minutes
*Use different types of glue. Clear glue and no food coloring, glow-in-the-dark glue, glitter glue… you get the idea.
How often do you see visitors with their kids trying to talk them into going to their bible class, but they are shy and uncomfortable so they quietly protest? This week I was sitting in my adult class just before time to start when I overheard a visitor sitting behind talking to his dad about his first grade daughter. He said, “I thought I was going to have to bring her to class with me until she saw they were playing with Play-doh in her class!” He continued to say, “Usually I tell her she can go to her class or mine and that my class will be boring to her, we don’t get to play. Her response is typically, ‘We don’t get to play in my class either.'” So both this dad and daughter were thrilled when she was playing with Play-doh. He got to enjoy his adult class knowing his daughter was enjoying her children’s bible class.
Was she just playing? Not at all! She was using a Play-doh mat I created of Psalm 23 with these party sized Play-doh cups. She got to give the lamb a tail, make a river and more. She was learning scripture and having fun doing it! Who says Bible class needs to be boring? Not me! Let’s make Bible class a place our kids and their friends actually desire to be. We are not “entertaining” kids, we simply recognize how children learn best and “teach” this way. Your teaching does not have to include Play-doh, but it should capture children’s attention and make them desire to participate.
I’m attaching a copy of the Psalm 23 Play-doh mat I used this week. Feel free to download, copy and use as much as you would like. Send it home with kids to play at home. Want it to last? Laminate it! It’s super easy with a Home Laminator like this one from Amazon and it’s inexpensive. I am working on a full set of 24 at the moment since my kiddo’s enjoyed it so much. You can find all of these as they are uploaded to RaiseKidsForChrist.com on the Story Mats page. I will post when they are ready in the event any of you are interested in using them for your classes or to simply send home with families as a way of intentionally bringing God’s word into the home each week. (This may be a great idea for children’s gifts this Christmas with a small party sized Play-doh.)
Psalm-23-Play-doh-mat.pdf (56 downloads)
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Promoting Jesus? When there’s so much on the web these days, how do we stand out and get seen by the right people? I will happily share my recent experience.
This summer is my fourth year of hosting a Bible Science program. This is my favorite thing to do all year, every year. It creates an excitement in kids that has them enjoying their time learning about God. In the past few years I announced the program to our church families and printed fliers that we passed out at our weekly food pantry. This brought in a good number of kids. I was thrilled.
This year my husband recommended I try some Facebook advertising. Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? I designed a simple advertisement. Facebook let me select my target audience. I chose parents of elementary aged children in my town. It was a simple as that. I used MailChimp to auto send responses with more information about our program. Amazing! Parents responded and kids who had never been to our congregation signed up for information and better yet, they came! And they came back!
Every week I send out an email with a video showing the experiment their kids will be doing and how we will tie that into God’s word. I’ll do just about anything to get kids excited about God! First I’ve got to get them in the door, then I can share His message. What methods of promoting have worked for you? As always, I am looking for the best ways to reach kids and their parents.
Here’s what went out this week: (This one is a little pricey, but they flock to slime!)
Want to make your own? Here’s what I used:
1/4 cup Glue
1/4 cup Liquid Starch (See what it is, but it’s less expensive to pick up at grocery store)
2 TB Iron Oxide
Strong Magnet (I used N52 bars, but they come in all shapes and sizes)
- Mix starch and iron oxide in bowl
- Add glue and stir with spoon. It will form a glob.
- When it is all sticking together, use hands to kneed for 2 – 3 minutes
- Set on clean plate
- Wash hands with hand wipe and let dry before touching slime
- Now, when you pick up the slime, your hands should stay clean.
- Use magnet to attract the slime
Discuss the experiment. What did they do? What happened? (Magnet was attracted to the Iron oxide in the slime)
Let’s talk about attraction. What are we attracted to? Is it good stuff, bad stuff, both? (Discuss)
As God’s people, we should try to stay away from bad stuff. What are some bad things we really like to do, but should stay away from? (Lying, Fighting with siblings, saying mean things, watching things we shouldn’t, playing games that people say lots of bad words on… I’m sure the kids will have plenty of examples)
Hold up two magnets. One magnet represents the bad stuff we just talked about. The other represents God’s people being obedient, staying away from bad things. (Hold magnets on ends that push away from each other.)
As God’s people, we should be attracted to God and all the good things that come from God. What are some good things from God we should be attracted to, things we should want in our lives? (Good friends, our family).
If we are attracted to good stuff, people will see this good stuff come from us! Let’s take a look at the “good stuff” we should be attracted to and want to have in our lives. Read Galatians 5:22-26: (There are lots of short video’s on YouTube you may want to show your kids.)
22 But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful desires to his cross. They don’t want these things anymore. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become proud. Let us not make each other angry. Let us not want what belongs to others
What are the fruits of the spirit?
Do the fruits of the spirit grow on trees? No.
Where do they grow? In God’s people.
The Fruit of God’s spirit lets other people know that we are God’s people because just like an apple grows on an apple tree, the fruits of the spirit grow in a Christian. When we are drawn to evil, good things won’t show. When we are drawn to, or attracted to, good things, those good things will show in us.
This is my fourth summer teaching Bible Science to K-5th graders every Wednesday night in the summer. The first year I did this our classes doubled in size! That was incredible. The kids LOVED it. They got to play with their friends on the play ground, eat pizza, do science experiments followed by an applicable bible lesson. I have to admit, every week I went home worn out, but absolutely loved what I was seeing from the kids. They were excited to learn God’s word. Well, they were excited about the “fun” stuff and God’s word was intertwined; it was the whole purpose and they were enjoying it.
So what is Bible Science? It is taking a simple science experiment to draw kids in and capture their attention so they are receptive to God’s word. I have heard of teachers performing the experiment at the head of class while everyone watches, but I prefer to let everyone participate. If they are hands on, they are more engaged and in turn, more likely to remember what’s being taught. Some experiments everyone does it themselves and then there are others that are better suited for small groups of 2-3 kids, especially if my kindergartens will struggle with parts of the experiment.
Every Wednesday night I start a half hour before bible classes are scheduled for our congregation. The first two years we served pizza on the playground for 30 minutes, but the Texas heat made snow cones much more desirable. So, I bought a snow cone machine and the kids can’t believe they get all the snow cones they want for FREE! This draws in others from our community too. Some kids arrive before me and then they trickle in. The next 30 minutes are dedicated to the science experiment. Make sure to test the experiments before you get there. It’s not much fun for the kids when the experiment fails (unless something exploded that wasn’t supposed to, of course). The last 30 minutes are dedicated to a bible lesson, singing, and sometimes reinforcement games. That’s it! Simple and highly effective. So, here’s the overview of the evening again:
30 minutes: Playground and Snow Cones (or whatever you choose to offer)
30 minutes: Hands on science experiment
30 minutes: Applicable bible lesson, singing and sometimes reinforcement games
This past Wednesday we played with fire. Yes, we are aloud to light things on fire in Bible Science and the kids get fired up about it! I have the youth come help out with this part. I partner each group of two to three K-5th graders with a high school student. This helps a ton! Here’s a look at last week’s experiment and how we applied it to God’s word:
Next week we will play with dry ice, another we will explode a mix, we experiment with magnets and more. The idea is to keep it interesting so they keep coming back for more! For those interested, I’ll have a book of experiments with lessons out late this summer. I’ve had this request quite a bit so I’m finally getting it together!! These are great for a weekly summer program, a week of day camps, a Saturday event during the school year and more! It’s all about getting kids to come participate so you can share God with them.
Supplies for this experiment:
Unscented Tealight Candles 30 Pack-White-By CandleNScent(TM)
AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Wood Cased #2 HB Pencils, 150 Pack
Glad Aluminum Foil, 40 Square Foot Roll, 12 Inches Wide