Tuesday, 17 October 2017

God With Us: Crumpled Paper Paintings

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

This craft is a very visual way of helping children to explore the idea of the presence of God with them, even in the hardest of times. 

You will need: sheets of paper, watered down ready mix paint,  paintbrushes, wax crayons or oil pastels.

Screw the piece of paper up into a ball. 

Open the paper out and look at all of the creases. 

Rub a crayon or oil pastel over the creases and they will pick up the colour. Think about times when life has seemed a bit like this creased up piece of paper; when things have gone wrong in life, or when things have been hard or painful.

Let children choose a paint colour that most represents God to them and use it to paint over the top of the creases until all of the white paper has been covered. Even though you can still see the creases, the 'God' colour is right there alongside them and next to them, surrounding them.

Prayer Idea: As you paint your colour over the creases, pray that people who are sad or afraid or ill will know that God is with them.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Simple Sensory Marble Labyrinths

As I am becoming more aware of the different needs children have and the different ways in which we connect with God in prayer and reflection, I am also becoming more aware of multi sensory tools!  I really like finger labyrinths as a prayer tool and this is a very touchy- feely version I have recently been exploring.  The idea with this method is that there is a marble trapped between two layers of felt, which you move along the labyrinth path with your fingers.

There are obviously much more elaborate labyrinth patterns you can make, but I wanted to keep my first try as simple as possible...

You will need: Pieces of felt (for each labyrinth I used 2 rectangles of 15 x 12 cm), embroidery thread, needle, scissors, marbles

Lay one rectangle on top of the other and sew the edges together, leaving a hole of about 2.5cm at the top left hand corner (as shown below).

Slip a marble through the hole so that it sits between the two layers of felt.  

Sew your labyrinth lines (as below) so that the needle and thread goes through both layers of felt. Lines will be roughly 2-2.5 cmx apart. 

You should be able to use your fingers to move the marble from the opening hole to the middle of the labyrinth and back again.  Having the marble inside while you sew, and pushing it along as you progress, is useful because it helps you to see that your lines are an adequate distance apart.

When your lies have been sewn and you are happy, go back and sew up the opening hole in the top left hand corner. Now your marble will not escape!

Enjoy reflecting and journeying!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Praying in sad times: oil and water prayers

Often we avoid speaking to children about sad and traumatic times, but to do so is to do them a disservice.  This activity helps children to pray for themselves or others who are going through sad times and gives an opportunity for discussion to be opened up.

It is helpful, in this activity to use the verses from Revelation 21: 3-4 where the new heaven and new earth is described and we can see that, in God's kingdom, all sadness and pain will be taken away for ever:

I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.”

You will need: Strips of paper (5cm by 2cm is a good size), ready mix paint, water, baby oil (or vegetable oil, but this will give yellow drops!), containers for the paint.

Water down some paint so that it is very thin and drip some drops of oil on top of it. If you like, you can stir the droplets so that they become smaller and more dispersed.  

Ask children to think of sad situations in the world or people they know who are sad. Take a piece of paper and lay it on top of the liquid. The paper will soak up the paint and oil, with the oil droplets making a 'tear drop' effect amongst the colour. They might want to write a name or a place on the paper before they put it in the paint. 

Leave the paper to dry and pray that God will wipe away the tears of those you are praying for.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Chalkboard story spoons for Bible storytelling

Using wooden spoons painted as story characters is a great way of helping to tell stories to younger children. Unfortunately, it means that you need a lot of spoons if you want to tell lots of different stories! It struck me that a little bit of left over chalk board paint might solve that problem...

I painted some craft spoons with  couple of coats of paint on both sides. I then got the chalks out and drew on some pictures to help tell a Bible story.  The great thing about spoons is that they are double sided, so if you want to tell a story like Jesus calming the storm, you can put storm on one side and sun on the other.

Children could make their own drawings to retell a story and the best part is that, when you have finished, you can wipe them clean and use them again for a different story!  

Enjoy some story telling and do post any photos of your creations :-)