WARNING: These resources may be dangerous to your health if you are not properly equipped with anti-comparison shields and a clear understanding that ideas like these will NOT make or break your children’s’ faith.
Please don’t think that I am giving these warnings out of pride. Please don’t think that I am so overwhelmingly pleased with these brilliant resources that I am convinced you will be discouraged and worried for your child’s salvation! The fact is I am guessing that you are a bit like me and I know what I am like when I read/hear about other people’s godly creativity. I compare, I worry, and I panic.
If that describes you even a little bit please read the following information carefully before proceeding.
- The aim of this page is to get us thinking creatively about the bits and pieces that we can add to our routines, traditions and homes to establish kingdom households in the foreign environment of this world. The aim is NOT to get us all comparing ourselves to each other and either crowing over each other or worrying that we could never match up! Inevitably this page is full of blog moments – it shows the projects that actually got completed. It doesn’t show the four years and a house move during which the material for the bunting sat in the bag waiting to be cut out. It doesn’t show all the ideas that have never left the drawing board. Nor does it show the weeks when we don’t get round to using a particular resource and it sits in its box gathering dust. Also inevitably the resources here reflect the things I enjoy creating, the things my brain and skills come up with and the things my children (hopefully!) are into. Let’s state the obvious: your children, skills and way of thinking will all be different!
However creative we are, however carefully we put these and other resources to use, ideas like these do not guarantee our children’s salvation. This is comforting because more often than not we just don’t get round to it. It is also unsettling. It is unsettling because, although we know that our children are saved by grace alone, we still slip all too easily into a recipe book way of thinking: If I put in enough bible times, plenty of godly family traditions and a sprinkling of creative games and activities then I will get out three mature Christians at the end of it. Hard work yes – but if we follow the recipe we can expect good results. It’s kind of attractive isn’t it? We need to keep a look out for this kind of thinking and remember that our only real ‘resource’ is God’s grace. So before we get our sewing baskets out or get stuck into our next creative re-enactment of the crossing of the Red Sea let’s pray for God’s grace to be at work in our children’s lives. And let’s pray for God’s grace to comfort and help us when our very best resources that looked so good in the blog lab fall flat on their faces when road tested by our distracted, disinterested and disobedient little disciples. For more on this I would recommend ‘Give them Grace’ by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson.
- Remember this is a page on a blog not every day life – enjoy, critique, use, adapt – but don’t worry or compare.
- Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own resources!
Adventures in Advent
This is something we have been doing/developing in our family for a number of years now and it is STILL a work in progress. In fact in fact I think it always will be because those kids just keep being a year older every time advent and Christmas rolls up!
Purpose: To do a bible overview as you countdown to Christmas.
Description: A line of string with 24 numbered and laminated cards pegged up along it.
Each day a new picture (we tend to use large blank index cards) is stuck onto the corresponding card with blu-tak so that eventually looking along the string you have a bible overview.
Now I say “each day….” in reality it is sometimes a case of – we need to catch up with the advent line – and we have a blitz!
Obviously the first year we did this we had to make each card as we went along. In successive years we had the luxury of either making new ones, upgrading them etc or using ones kept from previous years. This comes in particularly handy when doing the five day blitz mentioned above!
As we have the basics done we are now able to develop things a bit, this also fits with the children being older. So as well as pegging up the cards we have got a few games and activities to go with some of the days, and corresponding chapters of the bible to listen to over a meal that day….
Days 1 -24: Open up to find a pool of ideas for each day in advent.
You will see that some days are a little incomplete! It’s only taken me about 5 years to get it this far! Hopefully this is an encouragement rather than a frustration. Maybe by next Christmas it will be even closer to completion.
You will also see that ‘Adventures in Advent’ are slightly unsure as to whether they are a bible overview (in which case it misses out a few bits!) or a sort of promise thread. Hopefully I’ll look at this and see what I can do now that I have got it to this point. In the meantime I’m actually finding that as the children grow we can bulk up the teaching times and also appeal to their general knowledge of the bible so areas of the bible missed out are referred to in our chats etc.
It has only taken me about 4-5 years to make – but the Easter Bunting is finally up. I say it took that long to make – but for the majority of that time the materials were sitting in a bag!
To make a bigger deal of Easter by creating something that is both decorative and a visual teaching activity.
A string of bunting with detachable letters on it. The bunting spells out KING JESUS IS ALIVE – think one letter per triangle (with blanks between words!). The idea is that next year we will start on Ash Wednesday with the letter K and then attach a further letter onto a flag on each Sunday in Lent, and then through the week running up to Good Friday. On Good Friday 5 black flags will be attached to the final 5 flags and then replaced with the letters for ALIVE on Easter Sunday.
The next stage:
The bunting is actually just part of a bigger project, but it seemed a good place to start. The overall idea is to produce an advent calendar style banner with pockets from which to build up a central felt picture while also identifying Old Testament promises fulfilled in Jesus. Being over ambitious, my plan is to make this next week on holiday ready for next Easter. Being realistic – see you in another 5 years!
Well next year any way – it’s up and running although still very much a work in progress.
The Prayer Game
The prayer game is something I developed to help us pray together as a family for our friends, our family, for the life of the church and for Christians around the world.
Draw your sword! Using an ice lolly mould we made swords with Scripture references taped on to them! Pick a sword and pray the prayer!
The spinner is the favourite spot as you all get a sweet as you pass it! If you pass the spinner on your turn – spin it before you pray the prayer space you landed on. There are various options that go with it
Most of the spaces on the board are coloured circles. Draw a card of the appropriate colour and pray. When you’ve finished put the card to the back of its pack.
Based on Jesus’ parable of the sorting of the fish if you land on this space which fish you catch will determine who you pray for.
We have a family playing piece, but we take it turns to move it and pray. The letter die was commandeered from a different game!
Some more details:
We happened to have been given the tray that became our board (in fact that was actually the prompt to make the game) but you could easily use card or an old sheet and fabric pens. We used coloured card for the spaces, adding stickers and drawings where necessary.
We have a family playing piece that moves round the board – each person taking it in turns to roll the die and land on a spot and pray accordingly.
1. A coloured circle. We have made cards with people’s names/categories on them in 6 different colours. Orange = our nephews and nieces; Purple = something for church (loving each other, reaching out, learning from the bible, prayerful and working together, children); red = our siblings and their spouses; blue = our parents and grandparents; yellow = godchildren; and green = godparents. When you land on a coloured circle you get the next card in that pile and pray for the subject/person named. We laminated the cards to make them last longer.
2. A fish. We made a fishing rod out of a chopstick, some thread, and piece of cork with a screw in the top glued to a fridge magnet! We all made some paper fish and put a paperclip on them. Half the fish have a red heart attached with the paper clip and half have a black heart. This is based on the parable of sorting out the fish. When a red heart fish is caught the fisher prays for someone who loves Jesus and when a black heart fish is caught they pray for someone who (as far as we know at the time of praying) doesn’t (yet) love Jesus.
3. A smiley face. When a smiley face space is landed on an alphabet die is rolled and the person prays for someone with a name beginning with that letter. We tend to use this to pray for people who aren’t going to come up elsewhere in the game.
4. A spinner. Whenever a spinner is passed the spinner is spun and a sweet is given to everyone. There are various options you can choose as to how to use the spinner.
By the way: Don’t forget to pray for the space you landed on as well!!!
5. A flag. When a flag space is landed on an alphabet die is rolled and the person prays for a country beginning with that letter. We use Operation World for this.
The K space on our board is for Kevin – our Compassion child. We pray for him even when we pass his space and not just when we land on it. So as with the spinner the person who does that prays for what they land on and for Kevin.
This is a new addition to our family prayers. The aim in creating it was to have something that was easy to do at the supper table to keep us praying as a family more regularly and in a more varied way.
– Different coloured dice
– A chart that tells you what to pray for depending on what you roll.
– A drawstring bag to pick the dice out of.
For example.. Someone draws out the red die. Look at the chart, find the red column and if they like to know before they roll tell them the options. They roll the die and pray accordingly.
Here are my prayer charts. We have three currently and just choose which one we will do at the start of the game. My next plan is to do one specific to Sunday mornings so that the children and I can pray together before going to our church meeting. We also want to make it a bit more fun and clearer by creating a tube with a viewing window so that the selected chart (now rolled up) can be inserted and then rotated until the relevantly coloured column is in the viewing window. Pictures to follow!
Here is a link to our current prayer cards: Prayer Dice