A day in the life of…

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.

DSC_1559

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.

DSC_3448

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!

Praying for toddler groups

A few weeks ago the children’s talk in church was about prayer. The question was ‘What is prayer?’ The answer came from Psalm 62:8, ‘Pour out your heart to him’.

This seemed to me to be such a simple and straightforward way to think about talking to God. We simply pour our heart out to him. The person who does this in the Bible is Hannah as she prays for a child.

It made me think – ‘what are the things on my heart when it comes to the toddler groups that I either lead or help at each week?’ Sometimes there have been specific health concerns of parents, sometimes we’ve struggled with either too few people coming or too many. Sometimes there haven’t been enough helpers. Sometimes I have felt really nervous about leading the singing.

This June we have (in the UK) a month of prayer for Toddler Groups so I decided to make a visual aid for myself. You are very welcome to download the two ideas. My aim is to pray each day for the things that are on my heart.

IMG_3963

2019 – Pour out your heart

2019 – Pour out your heart 2

Thank you God for family and friends

IMG_3930

To make – sugar paper, tissue paper, cut up petit four cases, heart shapes, wool, crayons, glue, people shapes

(bought from Amazon – girl shapes and boy shapes) These can be cut into individual people.

Let the children choose how many people to add to their family and friends picture.

Our five senses craft

IMG_3937

All you need for these crafts ….

Sugar paper, glue, pictures cut from catalogues and magazines, felt, feathers, satin type fabric, wool, ribbon, stars, pictures of birds singing, pictures of musical instruments and paper plates. For ‘Things I like to smell’ spray the pictures with perfume beforehand. (If you can have some real items for the children to smell – lemons, herbs and sweetpeas are all good. For ‘Things I like to hear’ it would be great to have a table of musical instruments for the children to use.) I also used printed labels, ‘Things I like to… smell/taste/see/touch or hear’.

Label (3×8) ‘Things I like to taste’

Label (3×8) ‘Things I like to smell’

Label (3×8) ‘Things I like to see’

Label (3×8) ‘Things I like to hear’

Label (3×8) ‘Things I like to touch’

IMG_3936IMG_3935IMG_3934IMG_3933IMG_3932

 

God is good! He gives us the beautiful world.

There’s been a lot in the news about how our planet is in danger. We are losing biodiversity at a faster rate than ever before. We need to be grateful for the beautiful creation that God has given to us. Even young children can be encouraged to value the natural world and care for it.

Here is one idea –

Begin with ‘God is good!’ (Simple actions for this – point up for God and thumbs up for good)

Then as you name the things he has given to us take them from the story bag.

You could begin with a globe and if it lights up all the better!

IMG_3925

Other items you could take from the story bag…..

craft idea – use gardening catalogues, tissue paper, pictures from magazines, pasta stars, feathers and anything suitable!

IMG_3924

Songs to sing … click on the highlighted links to go to youtube and hear the songs.

He’s got the whole world in his hands

I love the sun it shines on me, God made the sun and God made me. 

 

Jesus goes back to heaven

We ended our last Toddler Group story at Easter – Jesus was alive! Our first session back will be about something that happened next. There are several stories that you could tell; The Road to Emmaus, Thomas and/or Breakfast on the Beach but this week we are going straight on to the Ascension. I’m using pictures from ‘Tiddlywinks Stories and Pictures New Testament’ and ‘Tiddlywinks More Stories and Pictures New Testament’ published by Scripture Union and Written by Maggie Barfield and Illustrated by Sonia Canals. These books are really good to have. Great pictures and simple story ideas that you can use as they are or adapt and expand.

Story from Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:6-11

Jesus had died but was alive again! His friend saw him and spoke to him. Lots of people saw him. He wasn’t a ghost. He could eat food! He was really alive again.

He had a job for his friends to do, ‘I want you to tell other people all about me. Tell them about the things that I said and the things that I did. Tell them how I died for them and came alive again.’

Jesus told his friends to tell everyone the Good News that he was the Saviour. They were to tell everyone in all the world.

When Jesus had spent time with his friends they went for a walk together. Then something very special happened. Jesus was taken back to heaven. He went up, up, up and into the sky and was gone. They couldn’t see him anymore.

While they were looking up into the sky two angels came and spoke to them, ‘Why are you looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has gone up to heaven will come back again. ‘

One day Jesus will come back to earth again. He won’t come as a baby. He will come as the King.

Craft idea – colouring and collage from a photocopiable picture from Tiddlywinks

IMG_0003

 

Easter and Spring craft ideas

Here are some Easter and Spring craft ideas that I’ve enjoyed making over the past few years.