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Archive for February, 2012

If you are a parent with a child in primary school, you may today be panicking about World Book Day tomorrow. This is the occasion when many schools encourage kids to come in dressed as a literary character. My three are going as:

  1. Violet Baudelaire from the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events. This involves her wearing a purple dress and tying her hair with a purple ribbon. She is currently not keen on wearing the long black wig I bought because it isn’t quite as she imagined Violet’s hair looks (‘too long and curly’ apparently).
  2. Dr Who. Not very literary I’m afraid, but the Joker is obsessed and has been reading the annuals repeatedly. We obtained a second hand tweed jacket for him to accompany his sonic screwdriver and the bow tie he was given for Christmas.
  3. The Engineer’s outfit was trickier, involving the use of fun fur and a sewing machine. He is going as Mr Munroe from the Ottoline stories.

However, for those panicking this afternoon (as I usually do – this year is completely out of character for me), I give the following suggestions of easy outfits to cobble together before the morning, if your children are persuadable, as, alas, mine often aren’t.

  • Roald Dahl characters. Charlie (from the Chocolate Factory) just needs a golden ticket and normal clothes. Or Mrs Twit involves a headscarf and walking stick. George could go in normal clothes with a bottle of medicine and James could take a picture of a peach. Matilda can just take a pile of books!
  • Narnia children who could go in anything looking vaguely 1940s/50s eg shorts and knitted sweaters.
  • Horrid Henry characters (sorry) – Moody Margaret or Henry himself, for example. They will need to wear a scowl.
  • [Late edit] Captain Underpants. All you need is a cape (or piece of cloth) and undies worn over trousers. Would mainly appeal to 8 year old boys.

That’s a few off the top of my head. Any other top last minute outfit tips?

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Following on from Monday’s post, I came across a link to audio and video of  Tim Keller’s talks on Encountering Jesus from the OICCU mission earlier this month. We were praying for these talks – all the rest of the activities going on around Oxford, whilst the Engineer’s godmother helped, staying in one of the colleges. And it was good to remember that missions were happening at universities and colleges around the country, even as the slow grind of the meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod was depressing us.

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We normally have about ten kids in our Junior church. Their ages range from 4 to 12, so we have readers and non-readers. We often have some very wriggly childen with us. So as well as creatively teaching the bible through story telling and crafts (we’re currently looking at the life of the prophet Samuel) we try to include a runabout game which reinforces what we’ve been learning.

I reckon that there are three ‘games’ that be readily adapted for any bible story and include some bible reinforcement along with fun and (hopefully) enough physical activity to keep the kids engaged.

Roundabout games can be lots of fun

1. The first game I use is an adaptation of Port Starboard Bow Stern (PSBS). I used to play PSBS when I was in the Girl Guides – you label the ends and sides of the hall and run between the walls and do various actions as commanded by the leader (in PSBS eg ‘Captain’s Coming’ = stand straight and salute).

What I do is adapt PSBS to the bible story. So when we were looking at Samson the other week, we had the kids running from Gaza to the temple, to Delilah’s house and then to the country of the Philistines. They had to stop to scoop honey from the lion or pretend to drink wine. They brought down the temple columns and had their hair cut. I think they all remember the story of Samson pretty well now.

2. A big favourite with the kids is any adaptation of ‘Simon Says’. We might play ‘Samson says’ or even ‘Jesus says’ (cos you should do something if Jesus says it!). And then they can all be encouraged to run around or to do silly actions or some based on the story. Very simple.

3. The other game option I sometimes employ is a relay race with some tangential allusion to the story, but I use these less now, as the first two games are easier to prepare and also give you more opportunity to reinforce the teaching. Also the first two games ensure that all the kids are running all the time and get nicely tired out. And there are not really any winners so everyone stays happy.

How do you help your active Sunday schoolers use up their energy?

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After a good start to the week? Enlarge your vision of Christ and watch this brilliant kinetic typography clip accompanying Tim Keller explaining how Jesus is the ‘true and better’ Adam, Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rock of Moses, Job, David, Esther, Jonah, temple, lamb, life, bread (I may have missed a couple).

[HT: Mez McConnell]

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Lent is a good time for reflection and confession. Today I was reminded of this great song that helps me do just that. We learnt it on our summer Pathfinder venture and it’s on our to-be-introduced-at-church list. Alas, Sam Chaplin’s album doesn’t seem to be commercially available at the moment.

 

Two Sins

Two sins have we committed,
Two sins that we cannot deny,
We’ve turned from you, the fount of living water
And have tried to drink from cisterns cracked and dry

What fools we are, how blind we are!
Have mercy Lord, mercy on us. Forgive us Lord and help us see.
Change our hearts that we might live
For you O Lord, for you, O Lord, always

Two sins have we committed,
Two sins are plain before your eyes
We’ve walked away from the truth that brings us freedom
And have settled for those sweet enslaving lies

Two sins have we committed,
Two sins at which you stand appalled
We’ve turned from you, our glorious Creator
And have worshipped things that are no gods at all.

© Sam Chaplin, 1999.
Jeremiah 2v12-13, Romans 1.
Recorded on Sam Chaplin: You’re My Every Breath, 2001

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I know I know, Lent began yesterday. But just in case you’ve meant to start something and forgot. Or maybe you’d just like to try something extremely worthwhile without worrying about exactly when you begin or end: the Bible Society have got a fantastic idea – wouldn’t it be great to listen to the whole of the New Testament? It will only take 28 minutes a day if you listen every day for the 40 days of Lent. They have a special new recording of the CEV, from Riding Lights theatre company. They also have a Welsh language version available. There’s also a free CD pack available. The Bible Society are obviously keen that we would contribute towards their work if we benefit from this project, but the audio downloads are free on the website.

Here in the Vicarage, we’re trying to listen to a chapter (or two) of the bible at teatime this Lent – we’ve been playing the audio on Biblegateway.com on the kitchen computer. We’ve been impressed by how quiet the kids are as we listen. Early days yet, tho’. But we have found the audio bible a good way to nourish ourselves with larger chunks of scripture.

If you have a tablet, or a smartphone, you can do the same thing using the free Daily Bible app.

So I think it’s worth a listen. Even if I don’t manage the whole New Testament in exactly 40 days, I’ll have taken in more scripture than usual, and that’s only going to be a help since

… faith comes through hearing…

Romans 10v17

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My three kids are all pretty good readers. The Queen, who’s ten, chomps through literature at a terrifying rate and the Joker (aged nine) loves poems and joke books. The Engineer is seven now and just at that tricky reading stage between picture books and proper story books with chapters. Our series of choice at this stage of reading is by Chris Riddell and begins with Ottoline and the Yellow Cat.

Ottoline is a little girl who lives in an apartment with Mr Munroe whilst her explorer parents travel around the world. Mr Munroe is a creature who comes from a bog in Norway and is covered in long hair. Ottoline likes to solve mysteries and she and Mr Munroe do this successfully in the first book and continue their adventures in Ottoline Goes to School and Ottoline at Sea.

The hardback books are beautifully produced and have a quirky retro style. The black and white illustrations (which have single colour tints) are exquisite. It was the first book that the Queen ever desparately wanted to read again as soon as she’d finished it. The Joker read them over and over, and now the Engineer loves them too. The vocabulary is interesting and includes stretching words like ‘distractedly’, ‘llamas’ and ‘knickerbockers’ (to give a few examples from Ottoline at Sea).

The Engineer has now decided that he wants to attend World Book Day (1st March, when you dress up as a literary character for school) as Mr Munroe. So I am off to Birmingham’s Rag Market on Friday to purchase fake fur. You don’t seem to be able to get a readymade Mr Munroe costume anywhere, curiously enough.

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