Celebrating, Capturing & Remembering Life's Special moments
Yesterday in the Tru curriculum we explored the story of the judge Ehud who was an unlikely hero, due to his being left handed. I love stories that appeal to the boys, and this is a lesser known story that I knew would be new to most of them. However my search to find a coloring or activity sheet that the kids could do during our first service resulted in 0 material. Hmmm, very interesting that no one has made a coloring sheet about this story yet. Do people think it is too gruesome for kids? Yet the kids sure loved hearing the weird grossness of this story. I wish my drawing skills were better.
Anyway, I thought up a fun activity for the kids to do instead of a coloring page (coloring pages get old when used too often anyway). The craft ended up being a huge hit with the girls AND boys. I've never seen the craft station so full during the free time between services. I had to spread out the supplies to another table so that more kids could get in on the fun. Not only did the kids create swords, but the little boys also created pretty awesome mini spears and daggers. The little girls also used their creativity, veering away from the story material by creating little people and flowers with their Popsicle sticks.
For the craft I simply set out Popsicle sticks in different shapes and sizes, glue, jewel stickers, markers and electrical tape. I also made an example to inspire the kids (and because I still like to play with glue and stickers too). I really wish I would have gotten some pictures of all the fun things kids came up with, but alas I don't think of things like that on a Sunday morning.
Being such tiny swords, I didn't have to worry about the kids engaging in play sword fights, because even a plastic toy swords does more damage than these little things.
Wait, I just found that I did accidentally get few of the kid's creations in some pictures. I was taking pictures of small groups to send with their Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, and I love seeing kid's creativity and uniqueness expressed in the things they make.
I'm busy getting curriculum printed, copied and organized for the fall. I was having some trouble finding a fun sheet or coloring page in my books to supplement the story of Deborah the judge, so I googled it. Maybe you groan inwardly like I do at the thought of the coloring pages that come up when doing an internet search, but I was desperate.

To my pleasant surprise I ran across this site that actually has some pretty cool pages. The boys at ParkSide are becoming fans of "The Action Bible" and these remind me a little of that action packed comic book style. Need a coloring page supplement that will also please elementary age boys? Check these out: http://www.christian-resources-today.com/free-bible-coloring-pages.html

Note: I think the coloring pages are great but did not explore the site they are on further than the first few coloring pages. Posting this link does not necessarily mean I agree with other stuff on the site, just saying, just case...

I finally got around to making the workbook for the summer 2012 Sontown memory challenge. It is not nearly as intensive as last year's (which included 3 challenge options, including a reading challenge with Bible study questions). This is a really busy summer, so I kept it nice and simple. I was thinking about forgoing it all together, but I figure if a few kids commit to memory a passage that contains so many amazing truths about God, well, that is probably worth the couple of hours it took to put the challenge together.

This challenge is simply a memory challenge for Psalm 139. The workbook contains the chapter in a large legible font, tips on memorizing, a suggested schedule for memorizing to finish by the deadline and a few blank pages with lines for writing the verses by hand.

Download the workbook here:

File Size: 446 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

Last summer I did a teaching series on Hebrews 11 "racing" through the stories of the Bible in chronological order based on the stories of the people found in that chapter.

Because God had been placing the vision for equipping parents to be more involved in their children's Faith (this was when God was getting me ready for the philosophy behind Tru), and I wanted kids to get the benefit of the series despite missing Sunday services due to vacations I issued a special challenge. We name it the Sontown 500 challenge.

There were 3 parts to the challenge. One part was to read through Hebrews 11 and the stories mentioned in the chapter (parents could read it to their kids) and then answering some questions about the stories. The second and harder part of the challenge was to memorize Hebrews 11. The third part was to complete both challenges. I was surprised to have 5 kids complete the third challenge and they got a really awesome grand prize. Even the parents of kids who didn't finish thought the challenge was a great idea.

I was asked recently if I would be doing another memory challenge this summer. I had almost completely forgot about it as it is gearing up to be very busy summer. I might have to work on it more in my spare time, but I think I would like to do another challenge.

Thinking about the challenge made me think it would be fun to post the PDF of the booklet here since I put so much work into designing the challenge last summer. Maybe someone besides the 5 kids who completed the challenge last summer would benefit as well. I updated the planning calendars to 2012, and put in blanks where before I referred to specific due dates and prizes. Maybe it will come in handy with your kids or ministry.

The document includes a description of the challenges, the text of Hebrews 11 (so that it can be taken anywhere), some memorization tips as well as the reading and questions. A kid who finishes anyone of these challenges will have a pretty good coverage of their Old Testament stories and better yet, how they all fit into one story.

Download the file below:

File Size: 827 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

“This is the desert. It is a dangerous place. People do not go into the desert unless they have to. There is no water there, and without water we die. There is no food there. Without food we die. When the wind blows, it changes the shape of the desert. People get lost. Some never come back. In the daytime the sun is so hot that people must wear lots of clothes to protect themselves from the sun and the blowing sand. At night it is cold. You need many clothes to keep you warm. The desert is a dangerous place. People only go there if they have to.” (The Complete Guide to Godly Play Vol. 2 p.76)

This is an excerpt from a Godly Play lesson. These words would be said as the story teller brings out the “desert box” and plays with the sand. Next you might see them bring out a small doll and have that doll traipse through the sand as they say something like “I wonder why anyone would come to the desert” as a child seated in the circle around the box, might chime in “because God called them there”. Godly Play is a story based method for teaching children the Bible and encourages wondering, worship and deeper thinking about the Bible’s stories.

Personally I find this method fascinating whenever I get the chance to observe. The simple figures used to tell the story bring a child into the story better than the most exciting monologue ever could. The “wondering” questions cause the children to explore the story for themselves.

“I wonder which way is most important. I wonder if we could take any out. I wonder which way is most important for you.” These were some wondering statements I once presented when leading a Godly Play lesson on the Ten Commandments. Very politely and with reverence different kids around the circle responded. One older boy said “Taking God’s Name Seriously is for me, because it can be hard to do when my friends don’t” another younger boy explained “Not wanting what others have is for me”, while a little girl shyly explained “Honor your Father and Mother is for me”. As the storyteller I listened to each answer and then moved on to the next wondering statements, before dismissing the children to their work in response to the story. Inwardly I was blown away. The kids really engaged with the story and applied it to their own lives. I didn’t have to put on a flashy show, in fact the whole time was quiet and really quite simple.Not only did the children understand this method of teaching, but in presenting a story through the Godly Play method I had the chance to explore the depth of the story in a way I was never taught in college.

Godly Play is not the only method I use but being able to explore different ways of teaching children about God is just one of the fun parts of working as a Director of Children’s Ministry. The way our children's programs are set up I teach the elementary large group time at the later service. We employ the Godly Play method in our smaller group setting during the earlier service, and 3 teachers (who are probably more qualified than I) take turns teaching through Godly Play. I wish I had more chances to observe this method in action, but instead I eagerly glean stories from my volunteers about how the children responded to that Sunday’s lesson. Then I also have fun creating the materials for each week’s lesson and watching my husband "play" the stories when he is preparing to teach.

Below are a few pictures of the objects I made with David and Tina for this week's lesson about the Ark and the Temple. If this method has piqued your interest like it has mine, talk to me. There are so many interesting tidbits to share about it, and I would love to train a new teacher!