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Even Visitors WANT to go to Kids Class!

Even Visitors WANT to go to Kids Class!

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 (82 downloads)

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Promoting Jesus in a Social Media World

Promoting Jesus in a Social Media World

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)

Directions:

  1. Mix starch and iron oxide in bowl
  2. Add glue and stir with spoon. It will form a glob.
  3. When it is all sticking together, use hands to kneed for 2 – 3 minutes
  4. Set on clean plate
  5. Wash hands with hand wipe and let dry before touching slime
  6. Now, when you pick up the slime, your hands should stay clean.
  7. 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

Discuss:

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.

 

Light a Fire for God in Kids Through Science – Bible Science

Light a Fire for God in Kids Through Science – Bible Science

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

What is Play Floam?

What is Play Floam?

I like to use Play Floam to teach my K-5th graders bible lessons.  Best of all, they LOVE it!  I am often asked, “What is Floam and where do I get it?”  I thought I’d take today to share the answers to these questions.

I get mine from Amazon for about $8 a set of 8.  The kids like to mix it together.  I don’t mind because I divide it back up and they all end up with the same multi color ball of Floam!  Here’s a link for Educational Insights PlayFoam Combo 8 Pack.

Watch a video overview.  It’s not fancy, but will give you an idea of what it is.  You’ll see.  It’s not messy at all!

 

Encourage a Summer with God with Bible Buddy Pets (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Encourage a Summer with God with Bible Buddy Pets (FREE DOWNLOAD)

How often do you find yourself going through the day not thinking about God?  If we fall into this pattern at times, how do we get our kids thinking about God when they aren’t in bible class?  Actually, this is probably one of the best times to start this habit.  Starting when they are young, ingraining this into their regular thought pattern would be amazing!  Now how do we do it?

I tend to think there a many, many ways to accomplish this.  For me, we gave our K-5th graders “Bible Buddies” and a daily journal.  Then we challenged them to share God with their Buddy every day of summer.  Their squishy buddy has its very own pet carrier that lets kids easily take their buddy with them wherever they go.  They can serve together, sing bible songs to their buddy, read their buddy a bible story, pray each evening with it…. The lists goes on and on.

Our kids were thrilled to decorate their pet carriers and even more thrilled when I told them there is a reward at the end of summer if they can show me in their journals what they did with their buddy each day.  If you are interested, the squishy pets and treat boxes for carriers were inexpensive.  Kids just add colors and stickers to the carrier.  And you can print off the journal or make your own!

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God’s Memorials: A Lesson for Memorial Day

God’s Memorials: A Lesson for Memorial Day

What are Memorials?

Did you know that memorials are not a human concept.  Nope!  God started this and we have many memorials we learn about in the bible.  Do our children understand what a memorial is?  Do they know that they have biblical memorials still today?  Are they being taught in a manner so they don’t fall on the same path as the Israelite’s who so many times were found worshiping the memorial instead of using it only as a reminder to worship God?

Teaching kids about God’s memorials

Downloadable Memorial Day Lesson & Activity is available for you to use as it is or modify to best fit your kiddo’s.  It teaches kids what a memorial is and the most important memorial Christians have today.  Then, there’s a suggestion for an activity allowing kids to think about what reminds them of God and then mold their very own memorial out of clay.  (You can use Play-Doh for the younger kids.)

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Need clay?  

Need modeling clay?  Here are a few options to make it easy on you, but look around.  There are a ton of choices!  I am purchasing a colorful one today for my class.  Remember, clay is hard so kids will need to use their muscles and soften if to mold something amazing.