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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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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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I have recently started leading regularly at our Junior Church. When I began, we were using materials which were tailored to a narrow age range and which were tied to the lectionary and sometimes seemed to miss the point of the passage.

Since our group has an age range of 3-14 and we don’t follow the lectionary in church, we have now switched to using On The Way for 3-9s. Although this still misses the top age range we have, it caters for a greater number of the children, and also enables us to design our own programme of teaching.

On The Way has excellent craft resources and helps you to get into the passage you’re teaching yourself. It doesn’t, however, always help you to prepare the teaching of the passage very easily. At the moment we are doing a little series on some of the kings of Judah, which has been great for me as some of the passages were unfamiliar to me, let alone to the kids!

So to help me to tell the stories of some of the passages (and to source some good colouring pages for less well-known stories) I now turn to Deaf Missions – their daily reading notes are available online and give some excellent short summaries of bible passages together with clear black and white illustrations which blow up very well for colouring in. Check out their page on Jehoshaphat and Ahab to see what I mean.

I always like to have a colouring page and a wordsearch for the children – sometimes I like to get them to colour in a picture as I explain the bible passage, as it can help with concentration. And it’s always useful to have something up your sleeve in case the Vicar preaches too long and you’re in Junior Church for an unplanned extra ten minutes.

DLTK have a good selection of colouring pages. For wordsearches I tend to go to Calvary Church‘s site first – they also have colouring pages on many passages and other word puzzles, although the bible version they use (possibly the American Standard?) doesn’t usually mesh with the readings we use, so I don’t use the more complex puzzles. If the passage isn’t in the Calvary Church curriculum, I go to Teachers Direct, where you can make your own wordsearches – cool, eh? Unsurprisingly I used this when teaching about Jehoshaphat.

Do you have any favourite online places for Sunday School resources? Do share!

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Last year I made a set of Resurrection eggs to talk the kids through the Easter story over 12 days leading up to Easter Sunday. Actually, last year, I started rather late, so it went on post-Easter too.

After Easter I discovered that they sell empty plastic eggs in The Works – those shops seem to be nearly everywhere. Much easier than sending off to Baker Ross. So you could pop out this weekend and sort out a set. I was thinking that making a set would be a fun activity for the holidays. We’ll dig out our set from the cellar and maybe tweak the contents a bit.

Just to save you clicking through, here are the readings and fillings from the original post.

Day 1: Cottonwool ball soaked in perfume (not sure how authentic Elizabeth Arden Green Tea is as a fragrance)
Day 2: 5p pieces for the silver – thankfully I had some in my purse.
Day 3: Matthew 21:1-11. Donkey or palm leaf – Playmobil pot plant pieces.
Day 4: Matthew 26:26-29. Cup or bread – a Playmobil wine glass and a piece of bread.
Day 5: Luke 22:39-46, 54a. Praying hands or pipecleaner man – I stuck together some pink foam which I cut into the shape of praying hands. A little lurid in colour.
Day 6: John 19:1-7. Purple cloth. Well the cloth is maroon, but it was the best I could find.
Day 7: John 19:16-17. Cross. I made this by snipping off the bottom of one of the kids’ palm crosses and sticking it together. Shhhh – don’t tell them.
Day 8: John 19:18. Nails. Sourced from the Vicar’s tool cupboard.
Day 9: John 19:33-35. Toothpick (for the spear). Actually I used  half a cocktail stick (no toothpicks in the Vicarage), covered in silver foil.
Day 10: Matthew 27: 57-60. Rock. Some gravel from the drive. Washed.
Day 11: Mark 16:1-3. Cinnamon/cloves/spices. Had plenty of these in the cupboard.
Day 12: John 20:1-8. And nothing in the egg! This was easy.

If you’re really keen, Meredith commented last year with fifteen readings from Mark or even a series of 21 readings which you could use instead. And a Twitter friend mentioned that she’s adapted the idea for her Sunday school class. I’m hoping to extract some details from her later!

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