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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday school’

In my week and a bit of Doing the Next Thing, I have failed to do various admin tasks. They are glaring at me from the planner and I will need to make friends with them next week. I’m not even going to mention the ironing.

But I do seem to have a genuine, not-seen-before, result. I managed to get my head around the term for Junior Church. That means that the other leaders will have their planning notes ahead of time. I’ve done a little of that before. But my completely new achievement is a set of visual aids for the new series (on Elijah and Elishah). They always suggest them in our On The Way materials. But when I’m planning on a Saturday evening, there isn’t usually time (or energy). I am also quite pleased with the discovery of wooden skewers to make the pictures into puppets. They slightly remind me of the characters from the Victorian style puppet theatre I had as a child.

I think we’re going to have fun with these on Sunday morning. I’m going to give different children a couple of puppets each and see if we can act it out as I read the passage. Who shall I cast as the bowl of flour, I wonder?

junior Church characters

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If you have been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know we are fans of Seeds Family Worship here in the Vicarage, especially their kinetic typography videos. I just came across a couple of new videos they’ve done. Maybe not quite as fancy as the early ones, but still brilliant for teaching memory verses – at home, in Junior Church or Kids Club, in school assembly or even with the full church family on a Sunday.

The first one is John 16:33 – Take heart

 

And the latest production – just out this week- is Hebrews 4:12 – The Word of God

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I was teaching the first of our new Junior Church series on the Ten Commandments this morning. We had a great time thinking about Joshua 24 and the people being reminded of all the great things God had done for them before they thought about their choice to worship God or the gods of the various ‘ites they’d come across in their journey to the Promised Land.

I also taught the kids the Ten Commandments using hand signals for each one. I first learnt these a couple of years ago – and now I actually know which commandment is which after years of having only a vague idea about their order. Here’s the Joker showing you the moves:

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And we all enjoyed a rather cheesy song: the Ten Commandment Boogie. A good opportunity to practice your signals!

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Like Vicar’s wives up and down the nation (and around the world too) I am involved in our Sunday School – I teach about once a month and also help others by sourcing various materials. We base our teaching programme on the excellent TNT materials, which work well for our fluctuating numbers and wide age range. I supplement the TNT stuff with extra colouring and wordsearches. I have blogged previously on some of the sites I use for sourcing helpful extras, but now I have a couple of additional ones to share.

Mary at Mission Bible Class has a great site with lots of links and ideas, including helping children to pray and blank lesson plans.

I’ve been using Sermons4kids for a while, but only recently discovered their worship bulletins – these are great if you have an all age service with a visiting speaker who might not be that child-friendly. They’re also brilliant for your normal Junior Church. The bulletin contains colouring, wordsearch and other puzzles and can be printed back and front on an A4 sheet to give you a folded A5 bulletin. You can even customise it with your church logo!

The site is arranged using the Lectionary, but you can easily use the search facility to find the passage you’re using. You’ll find the bulletins (if there is one – they don’t seem to have them for every kids sermon on the site) at the bottom of the page eg see this one on Exodus 16.

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Last week I was on Junior Church duty. As usual, we are using the excellent TNT resource On The Way, and we were beginning a series of four sessions from 1 Samuel on King Saul.

One of the reasons that we like On The Way is that bible stories are taught in full – not just the purple favourite parts. So we’re not just teaching the kids about Samuel anointing Saul, but other parts of the story leading to that point, and beyond it. Last Sunday my teaching was about the people of Israel asking for a king, and then Saul turning up at Samuel’s house whilst he was searching for missing donkeys. We did a lot of thinking about the temptation to want to be like the “nations” around, even when we really know that it’s not good for us.

It seems that the passage I was teaching (1 Samuel 8v1-9v26) is not a favourite one for Sunday school. On The Way has great resources and we used their printout to make little card Sauls and Samuels. But I always like the kids to have a colouring sheet and wordsearch to keep their fingers occupied as I tell the bible story.

And, even though I looked through the WHOLE of the internet (approximately), I couldn’t find a picture of Saul looking for donkeys, nor of the people of Israel whinging at Samuel about wanting a king. So I had to improvise with a simple picture of donkeys. And I made my own wordsearch, which meant I was able to use the exact words from the Good News Bible that we have in Junior Church.

Surprisingly, the kids quite enjoyed colouring two rather boring looking donkeys. And listened very well. Samuel will do the anointing in our next session, so that will be an easier surf for resources.

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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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Recently we have started a new way of praying in our Junior Church. I was fresh back from Bible By the Beach, and the fantastic youth and children’s work that went on there. And from there we have snaffled an idea which helps our youngsters to think of something to pray for, and that encourages them to pray for a variety of things. Our secret: sweeties!

Every week the leader goes armed with a packet of Skittles (M&Ms or Smarties would work too). They go in a bowl and at our prayer time each child takes a sweetie. Then they say a prayer triggered by the colour of the sweet. Depending on the colour selection, you can make up your own code. Ours is as follows:

  • Red – a sorry prayer
  • Purple – prayer for the sick
  • Green – prayer for the world
  • Orange – a thank you prayer
  • Yellow – prayer for the church
  • Blue (when we have the special packet) – anything you like!

This would work for any small group – even grown ups who want a different way to pray. And good for families too – our kids love it!

 

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