Prayer is so important. It brings us closer to God. How often do you find yourself forgetting to pray, getting sidetracked in prayer, not sure what to pray for or even just repeating the same ol’ things without much thought? What about our kids? Can we teach our kids to develop a strong prayer life? Absolutely!
I LOVE hearing a child pray. It is usually so heartfelt. Seriously, they thank God for EVERYTHING; for Mom, Dad, the dog, the cat, their grandma’s cat, the lizard they saw running across the lawn and every other thing they can think of. Prayer is about more though. It’s our lifeline to our Heavenly Father.
I created a PRAY-terpillar to remind kids to pray and guide them to think about praying for certain things.
PRAISE: Praise God! He is our rock, almighty, powerful, loving, amazing and so much more. Help kids to think about this. It sets the tone for the whole prayer when you remember who you are talking to and what God is truly capable of. They may not fully grasp us (I’m not sure any of us ever do), but they’ll begin to develop an understanding that grows with time.
THANKS: Thank God for everything. All good things come from him. Let’s remember to take the time to tell God how much we noticed and appreciate his blessings.
HELP OTHERS: Teach kids to think of and pray for others. God hears their prayers. How great would it be to have hundreds of children praying for a sick friend or family member? This is also the time for them to notice when someone is sad or fighting and pray for them.
HELP SELF: And now we remember to ask God to help us. Are they struggling to behave and need help? What about a big test coming up? Are they sick? Are they trying to learn something new that they might ask God to be with them and help them with?
SORRY: And finally, “I’m Sorry.” Jesus loved us so much that he died for us. He offers us grace and forgiveness. Acknowledging we messed up and telling God we are sorry helps every one of us grown, including our children.
Let’s get started making a PRAY-terpillar from a sock. (There’s a paper option too for those who want to do this in a bigger setting without the mess.)
Supplies: Long Sock, Stuffing (stuffing, rice, beans, bean bag balls, etc.), String/Pipe Cleaners/Rubber bands, Permanent Marker
Cut 6 pieces of string to create the body parts and set aside.
Pour stuffing into the sock.
Tie (or use rubber band/pipe cleaner) the end to keep stuffing from coming out.
Tie sections creating a head and 5 sections plus the tail
Add the antenna’s with pipe cleaners or string
Draw a face
Write the parts of a prayer on each section: PRAISE, THANKS, HELP, HELP, SORRY
Yay! You’re PRAY-terpillar is ready to pray with you!
CLEANER, SIMPLER OPTION: Have kids make 6 circles with paper. Now, draw the face on the first circle and write the parts of the prayer on each section of the body. They can hang it up in their room. OR get a pillowcase and markers to draw on cloth. Draw all of this on a pillowcase and they’ll see every night before they go to bed… and every morning when they wake up!
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It comes up a lot. Parents want to raise their children to love God and have an unshakable faith, but…
Aren’t sure what to do or where to start
Life gets in the way and there is no time, of course, that makes us feel guilty
Kids aren’t interested in thinking God’s boring, video games are fun
Parents are afraid of the questions kids may ask
It’s MUCH simpler than you may think. For starters, begin including God in everyday, normal conversations. This is probably the most important and simplest thing to do. It may feel weird at first, but you’ll get used to it. Doing this keeps God at the forefront so kids begin thinking of Him first too.
Next, try some of these activities. Busy parents may not have time for long Bible devotionals every week, but everyone has ten minutes a few days a week to “play” with their kids. It just so happens this play will also teach kids about God and they’ll love it. They’ll learn quickly that God is far from boring.
And scary questions? Let kids know they are asking good questions and even parents don’t know everything so you’ll see what you can find out. Then, ask away! Send me an email. Ask in the private Facebook group. We’ll get you some answers.
Here are a few activities you can try today. Want to receive activities like this every week? How about three of them? Join for only $7.25 per month. It even comes with a 7-day free trial making it a no-brainer to sign up!
There are so many fun ways to work with the holidays to teach Christ to our children. This October, I wanted something hands on for my kindergarten through third grade children that could work as a short devotional and activity parents can do at home AND something I could use to fill the time in children’s church when the preacher gets a bit long winded. I LOVE activity mats so I came up with a simple Jack-O-Lantern Activity Mat.
I will share verses from Colossians 3:9-10. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Then, we can dive into the devotional. I want our children to understand that with Christ, we get rid of our sinful self and become a new self. A self that loves God and is an example of him to others. We dig out of the pumpkin all of the gross insides. We make it clean just like Jesus makes us clean, free from sin. Now we are ready to really do God’s work! We will turn our plain old pumpkin into a happy Jack-O-Lantern!
It needs eyes to see those in need, a nose that’s not stuck up (it’s humble), a mouth to share the word of God, and even some ears to hear the word of God. A pumpkin that’s been cleaned out of all the seeds and yuck is clean and ready to serve. The light we put inside shines for God! Expound on each one and you’ve got a full lesson that kids can apply in their week.
Looking for a good book that brings the focus of Halloween back to God; after all, shouldn’t God always be our focus? Check out “The Pumpkin Gospel.”
I love children’s books. My kids are grown, yet I still find myself buying these fun little books. Thankfully, I work with kids in children’s ministry so I have a good excuse! As I was searching for new book, I stumbled across “The Pumpkin Gospel” by Mary Manz Simon. I ordered it off Amazon. (No one contacted me for a review.) It did not give me a look inside, so I was not sure what I was getting. I’m glad I got this one. It’s a keeper!
For starters, it’s a hard back book with hard pages inside too so good for young kids. The pictures are bright and colorful. I had this book laying on my desk the first night I got it When I turned the lights out to call it a night I was thrilled to see a glowing Jack-O-Lantern face smiling back at me. Yep, it glows in the dark!
There are 12 pages, six with pictures and six with words. This book is a poem with a stanza on each of the six worded pages plus a short and applicable bible verse. Now the part that really matters… what’s it about? It is a story of God’s forgiveness.
It’s a great object lesson! This book shares with us how the inside of a pumpkin is a bit like us, gooey and gross compared to our sins. BUT, we scoop out the gushy mess just like God cleans out our sin, God forgives. When the insides are clean, the Jack-O-Lantern wears “a smile” and shines it’s light from within just like we are “beaming” from God’s love shining from us. It ends with, “To glow like my big pumpkin and have nice clean heart, ask God to please forgive you. You’ll have a brand-new start.”
By the way, I am super excited to share with you that I’ve been working long and hard on two separate daily planners, planners missing from the marketplace (at least the way I want to use them). One is designed specifically for bible class teachers and the other for parents who want a little help getting organized to make GOD the focus of the family. I’m putting in the finishing touches now so if you’ve got some special requests, things you would love to see in your daily planner, send me a quick email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Like I said, they are almost ready for print, but if I missed something important, I want to make sure to get it in! I appreciate everyone’s thoughts.
Halloween is often a questionable holiday for Christians. Do
we participate or do we abstain? I am not here to debate this subject, but to
share how we use it.
My prayer is that we reach every child with the word of God
and raise them with a strong foundation in Christ so that they not only keep
their faith through adulthood; but continue to grow. I want kids to hear and
read scripture seeing God’s word as exciting, spooky, encouraging and
everything else they find in the secular world (that is good and God approved).
Holidays are a great opportunity to
reinvigorate our kids and reach out to others.
I created this book “Scary Bible Stories to Tell in the Dark” in 2018 and was surprised to hear a few people ask why I wanted to scare kids. It wasn’t from the masses, but regardless, I thought this was an interesting take. The goal was never really to scare kids, but to show them that God’s word has it all, even scary stories that are perfect for Halloween. Kids turn to all kinds of secular stories, movies and costumes. They want to be a little spooked, just not so afraid that they can’t sleep alone at night. Maybe my kids were the weird ones, but they’d see previews for scary movies and beg to watch. Of course, we’d use our judgement on which were okay and which were not. They’d have sleep overs and pull out the flashlights in the dark telling each other “scary” stories. This is all during elementary AND middles school years. So I say, bring on the spooky with a little scary!
It turns out there are plenty of “scary” stories in God’s
word. We don’t need to check out books with ghost stories we are supposed to believe
are real. These bible stories are scary and true. And they have a good
ending- with God, we don’t need to worry about any of these scary things. Legion
may be scary, but not for long. The Holy Spirit lives in me so demons can’t
touch me! God said not to get involved in sorcery or witchcraft and we see what
happens to King Saul when he calls up the ghost of Samuel so stay far away from
voodoo, Ouija boards and the likes. There are so many scary stories with
Let’s help our children see that God has it all. Move over Disney, God’s got this!
Last year I shared my e-book with coloring pages. This year I’ve added to it! Now there is a lesson with an activity to go with each “scary” bible story. They are all simple and perfect for a bible class, a small group lesson, family night or story and activities at a Trunk-or-Treat type event. And it’s all FREE- No Strings Attached. I’d love to hear how you use these to help build excitement for God in children. Email me your experiences at email@example.com
Change things up now and then. Some of my kids in bible classes saw the picture of my baby pet tortoise on my phone. It’s my screen saver. Of course, they begged me to bring him. After several months of pleading, and one crazy Sunday morning trying to get the kids to pay attention, I finally used the tortoise. I promised them that if I could see and hear them singing praises to God with all their hearts, I’d bring it the next week.
Guess what happened… They all chimed in and sang the best I have ever heard them sing before! All it took was a little bribery, I mean incentive. That week, I think they all had a bowl full of sugar for breakfast, but the promise of a visit from my baby tortoise got their attention. Then the next Sunday, I kept my word and brought Rowdy the baby tortoise. Everyone got to sit in a circle and watch him move around. They got to take turns holding him for just a minute. They were thrilled and did well that Sunday too. We tied the tortoise into our lesson and it worked like a charm!
This got me to thinking. Every now and then, we need to change thing up, surprise the kids. Offer a perk for participation, memorizing a big set of scriptures, bringing friends to church… whatever the goal, this is a great way to encourage kids to participate. And think about it, it was so simple. All I did was bring my pet tortoise.
What are some ways you can get the kids excited and participating like never before? For a quick and easy one, just bring a bunch of balloons. If they get to end class with a balloon bash, they won’t be able to contain themselves looking forward tot he next week. Blow up a bunch of balloons, put them in the middle of the room, then tell kids they have to use only their feet to get the balloons into a specific area. They have until the music is up. You play bible music you want them to learn or have stuck in their heads all day. They’ll love it! (Side note: You may want to invest in an electric pump. I bought an electric balloon pump and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made! They are loud though.)