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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.  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.  I am working on a full set of 24 at the moment since my kiddo’s enjoyed it so much.  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 to intentionally bring 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.)  I have the stories I plan on using, but would love to hear those you would like to see.

Psalm-23-Play-doh-mat.pdf (24 downloads)

Play-Doh Party Bag Dough, 15 Count (assorted colors)

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!

 

Jesus Takes ALL Our Sin Object Lesson

Jesus Takes ALL Our Sin Object Lesson

Disappearing Sin!  Was Jesus really the final sacrifice for our sins?  Did he really take on all of our sin?  These are big questions and often a difficult concept for a child to wrap his mind around.  Help kids make sense of this with a very simple object lesson, especially perfect for the visual learner (which is over half the population). If you haven’t read it, you may go back and read my article about visual learners and teaching these children most effectively.  You can read about it here.  To sum it up, most of our children are visual learners, meaning, they learn by seeing.  This may be through pictures, video, puppets, objects or object lessons.  Get creative with your class and they will not only love you for it, they will remember more of what you taught them than ever before.  Today I will share one of my favorite object lessons about Jesus taking on our sins.  Supplies:  A plate, a coin, a candle, matches (or lighter), cup of colored water (any color can be used), and a clear drinking glass.

  1. Show the penny to everyone telling them that the penny represents us.  Place the penny on the plate. off to a side.
  2. Now pour the colored water which represents sin onto the plate covering the penny, just like in life we are covered with sin.  (Experiment with the water to see how much to put on the plate for it to work right. You don’t want to use too much water.)
  3. Then, take the candle that represents Christ and place it in the middle of the plate.
  4. Jesus is the Light!  So light the candle.  (A lighter works best.  I used matches and after class the hallways smelled of smoke so everyone was wondering what was on fire.)
  5. Take the clear glass and place it over the candle onto the plate.  Within seconds the water will begin to draw up inside the glass, off the penny (us).
  6. Wow!  Jesus took ALL our sin at the cross and continues to this day, forgiving us.  What an amazing, loving Savior we have.

I have done this with kindergarten through fifth grades and they all loved it so much they begged to do it over and over again!  It is a simple, but highly effective visual for showing our kids how Jesus took on all our sins that day at the cross.  That means every sin was no on him.  Can you imagine how painful this was for him?  But he did it because he loves us and wants us to be with him one day. This visual will be stuck in their heads for all time and one day it just may click not to take Jesus on the cross for granted.

DIY Finger Puppet Bible Theater for Kids

DIY Finger Puppet Bible Theater for Kids

Learning stinks, right?  Most kids think they do not enjoy learning, they do not want to go to school much less bible class.  Like most of us though, they love learning when the love how they are learning.  They learn best when they are having so much fun they do not realize they are learning.  That’s the trick!  As teachers and parents of God’s word, we have our work cut out for us.  We must get creative in our teaching.

Reach all three major learning styles with one simple activity- a bible puppet theater.  First, you share the lesson using your finger puppets to tell the story.  Your finger puppet may be the student and you, the teacher, talk to the puppet. You tell the puppet the bible story while asking questions all along the way.  Your finger puppet answers with amazement.  And when the puppet does not know the answer, it simply asks the class!  Get them involved.  You reach the visual learner as they watch the puppets in action.  The auditory learner hears the story and gets to answer some questions along the way.  The kinesthetic learner is about to learn the way they do best now.  You’ve been an example to this theater, it’s time to create theirs.  It’s so easy!

Supplies:

1. Cut along all the dotted lines.  This will separate the puppets from the stage and it gives your theater its windows.

 

 

 

2.  Glue or tape your toilet paper rolls (or other items) to create the stand for your theater.  These should tape to the back (unless the kids decorate them to be a part of the stage- Roman pillars?)

 

 

 

3.  Now, decorate the finger puppets.

4.  Cut them out.

5.  Measure around kids fingers and tape to fit.

 

 

6.  And there you have it!  A finger puppet theater.

7.  Let kids partner up to present the lesson.  They decide who is the finger teacher and finger student.

 

God’s word is exciting and so very important; so let’s make learning about Him something our kids look forward to.  And let’s try to create something with them they won’t leave on the seats at church or toss the minute they get home.  Our goal is to keep God in their thoughts.  After all, they play “superhero” make believe with each other; so why not reenacting bible stories?