We are on our way to Chrstmas! I love this term at toddlers as I enjoy all the Christmas stories and crafts and the end of term party. Today we started our Journey to Bethlehem bible story series. We begin with creation and use paper plates as 3D pictures. I’ve done this series before so the paper plates needed a little TLC.
The tree printout has been laminated – if you don’t have a laminator (and lots of us don’t) then use tacky back.
Playdough recipe – This playdough is a no cook recipe – it uses boiling water so has to be made by an adult.
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1 teaspoon cream of tarter (you really do need this – don’t be tempted to leave it out and make sure it’s in date. It’ll stop the dough going slimy)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (don’t use a nut oil in case children are allergic)
3/4 cup boiling water
Food colouring paste or ready mix water colour paint for colour
To make – add all the dry ingredients together in a mixer and then add the oil, boiling water and colouring and mix till a soft dough. You can mix by hand but it’ll take longer.
To make these 3D harvest themed pictures yo need cereal boxes, circles for the sun, cloud shapes, grass made from sugar paper, tractors, lots of flower pictures cut from magazines and glue.
Preparation – put the cereal box back together by taping the top back together. Then cut a window (I used a craft knife for this). Leave a rim. Prepare the grass by cutting green paper to the width of the box.
The children can then add all the other bits and bobs. They need to start off with the pictures inside the box and then add the grass, sun, cloud, rain etc..
Jesus told the story about the Wise and Foolish Builders as part of his Sermon on the Mount. You can read it in Matthew 7:24 – 27. It’s a great story for using actions as you tell it. And of course there is the song. If you search youtube for ‘the Wise Man built his house on the rock’ you should find a couple of versions at least.
The craft that we made was a house on rock made from cut out shapes. The sequin rain is optional – depending on how much mess you wish to make!
A friend has asked for some ideas on what happens when at toddler group. So here are a few examples. I go to three groups a week at the moment and each one is different. Mondays and Thursday we are in community halls and on Tuesday we are in a church.
Monday group ( venue has one large hall with extra space for buggy parking)
10am Doors open and bubbles
10.15 Story time and welcome/notices
10.20 Snacks for the children
10.25 Free play and tea/coffee and cake for adults
11.15 Singing time and finish at 11.30
Tuesday group (venue has two rooms with extra space for buggy parking)
9.15 -10.15 Free play
Half way through the session snacks for the children ( everyone sits on the floor) followed by story and singing (One room is cleared of ride on toys to create space for this). The story is 5 minutes long and singing time varies.
Free play with tea/coffee and cake/biscuits for adults and finish at 11.15
Thursday group (venue has large hall, two smaller rooms and extra space for buggy parking)
9.30 Free play – with painting in side room. During this time tea/coffee is served – adults come to the kitchen door (we use a stairgate to keep it safe) and ask for their drink when they arrive or at any time up to about 10 minutes before tidy up time.
10.45 Tidy up time immediately followed by children’s snack time that we serve at tables.
At 11 we finish the morning with story, singing and musical instruments. Home time is at about 11.15.
The big downside of this timetable is that the parents don’t get any cake!
Some things to think about…
The space that you have for you group can make a difference to what you do when. If you want toddlers to be involved in story time you may need to have snacks first so that they can join in without holding a drink and a bread stick. It’s easier to tell a story without the distractions of toys around.
If parents help with tidying up toys it can be a real help if there aren’t many people in your team. In each of the three groups I help at the team of leaders tidy furniture once everyone has left.
If you have a craft table or do painting the items that are made need time to dry before home time. This is especially true when it comes to painting!
It can be hard to get a toddler and new baby out of the house to arrive at a group for 9.15. If people arrive half an hour after you’ve started will they have missed the chance for a drink or the story?
It’s useful for everyone attending your group to have an idea of what happens when. At the Thursday group we have a large print out on our noticeboard of our timetable with the heading ‘What happens in toddler group’. There was a lot of laughter the morning we found that someone had written ‘stays in toddler group’ underneath.
How does your group look? Please share your ideas!
This term we are thinking about the good things that God has given to us. The idea is borrowed from Christ Church Dunstable (big thank you to them!!). Each week we discover something that God has given to us. We aren’t exactly telling a story each week but are taking things from a story bag. This week we were thinking about animals and so I had a selection of toy animals to take from a bag. We named them and thought about stripes, colours, the sounds they make and whether they had a long tail or a long neck. The last animal was – a wild animal but one that we all might see. Any ideas? A fox. We are in an urban area where it’s not unusual to see foxes in broad daylight.
Here are the different story bag items from the last three weeks…
God gives us a beautiful world
God gives us family and friends
God gives us animals