Noah’s ark – drawn onto wall paper (found in the church storage cupboard!!) The animals are stickers, the water is tissue and sugar paper. Very easy to set up and you can always display it afterwards.
“Hello friends, hello friends. How are you, how are you? It’s time for a story, time for a story. Come and listen, come and listen.”
We sing this song to the tune of ‘Frere Jacques’ every week at toddler group. We gather round the story chair in a semi – circle; some sit on the rugs and others on chairs and then we share a story together.
By saying ‘share a story together’ I mean that I don’t just read a story from a book or recite a story script. It is story telling – a much more interactive group activity. We are ‘in it together’, taking part, joining in.
There are different ways of creating a joining in experience when telling a story. Here are a few ideas
- Sounds to make – the sound of the storm on the lake
- Actions to do – climbing the tree with Zacchaeus
- Saying hello to the characters in the story as they come out of the story bag
- Singing a song – include ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ part way through the story of the shepherds and angels.
So how do you choose which stories to tell?
As a church-based group (although we meet in a community hall) we tell stories from the Bible. It can help if each story is connected to a theme for half a term. Animal Bible stories, Homes Jesus Visited, Stories Jesus Told, Creation. Choose stories that you feel comfortable with and will enjoy telling.
When to have Story Time?
Pick a time in your session when there are less distractions. If you want the children to join in, then serve snacks before or after. Try to time things so that hands are free to take part in the story actions. If possible, have a space where there are no toys or do Story Time at the beginning or towards the end of the session.
Create a space
The storyteller needs to be seen and to be on the children’s level. Choose a low seat and create a semi – circle. Clean rugs encourage parents/carers and children to sit on the floor, but chairs are good for adults who need a higher seat.
The idea is to know the story well and encourage interaction with the group. The Bible is full of the most wonderful stories. Enjoy sharing them!
(This is an article I wrote for CEF Britain’s Newsletter)
Here are some of the items I use when telling stories…
Some photos from our Biblezone week and Biblezone Build Holiday Bible Club. Great summer so far!
Our Biblezone week is a mixture of outdoor clubs and church based clubs. There’s craft, games, football and a Bible story and memory verse each day. Our Biblezone build is a mixture of lego building and challenges, craft and Bible stories, memory verses and fun competitions.
All you need for this craft – A4 card (cut the slits so that the card will fold and stand up), small baby printout (there are some to download in this blog post), green crayons for the reeds, blue tissue paper for the water, cup cakes cases for the basket, glue.
Most things on my blog are for toddlers but this is something for older children and adults! We’ve been having a go at this weaving at our after school Bible Club and at our church fete. Lots of concentration required at first. But once you get the hang of it it’s really relaxing.
You need: lollipop sticks or similar (You can glue them together or just hold them together.) Yarn and scissors.
The above photo is what the weaving should look like from the back. Once you’ve got off to a good start trim the end that was near to your knot.
End result! You can change the colour of the yarn if you wish.
The story of Lydia is from Acts 16:11-15.
Here are Lydia (with her purple cloth) and Paul and Barnabas. We begin the story by saying hello to Lydia, a rich successful woman who has money and a lovely home and a great job but still has something missing in her life.
Then Paul and Barnabas meet her and her friends and tell them about Jesus – and Lydia finds what is missing! It is knowing Jesus as her friend!
A simple craft idea – we had a washing line and purple pieces of material.
I do really love doing three toddler groups a week. The Thursday group is at my own church (at the other two I lend a hand – taking a turn telling a Bible story, leading songtime and generally helping out where needed). So the following photos are from the Thursday group – we have a lot of space … and this is a glimpse of what happens on a Thursday morning from set up to tidy up! If you are running a toddler group then I really hope that you know that all the hard work that goes on before and after is really appreciated! I am really grateful that my husband does the setting up of all the furniture each week and that I’m part of a team that works really hard and is really cheerful each week.
So – the beginning of the day in the life – early morning furniture moving..
followed by toy set up.. by now there are three of us …
Our craft table is important – it’s really missed if it’s not there! We also have a painting room – I’ll try to get some photos! Our painting dryer is a clothes airer from Lakeland. It does the job, has no sharp edges and was a good price! One of the team makes the playdough and sorts out the paints bringing these from home.
For the first hour and a quarter it’s free play and tea/coffee and biscuits for the adults. The team is now at 5. We serve from the kitchen – the door is open but we use a stairgate to keep children safely out of the kitchen.
Then there is tidy up of the toys and snack time for the children.
At 11am we have a Bible Story and singing. Our hall has a stage which comes in very handy if we’re displaying pictures for the Story. This is a Go pack table on it’s side. It makes a great display space. We use a story bag too.
It’s almost the end of the session – this is when we celebrate birthdays. We sing and then the birthday child can dong the birthday bell once for each year. It’s decorated bell in a special box.
And finally we always end singing time with, ‘Row. row, row your boat.’ Then the CD is put on (we are still using CD’s) and the musical instruments come out for the last few minutes.
And then it’s washing up … putting everything away..sweeping the floor…there are often 6 or 7 of us clearing everything away
And sometimes there’s washing to take home and toys to clean. Every week a team member takes the tea towels home and the children’s painting aprons and washes them ready for the following week. Another team member is responsible for our welcome booklet with all the dates for the term.
I’m really grateful that I work in a team!