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.
The mustard tree grew so large that the birds could nest in its branches. This craft idea is to represent our toddler group children and their families and carers being made welcome to come and ‘nest’ in the tree of God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 13:31-32)
To Make the birds you will need
Bird shapes printed out (I used paper – card would be fine too) and cut out. Click the link to the printable PDF files. Bird 1Bird 2
Hearts cut from sugar paper or tissue paper shapes
Strips of sugar paper (you can curl these if you like by pulling a scissor blade along them)
You also need something to represent the mustard tree. This could be a bought tree like the one in the picture (hobbycraft) or a collection of branches or a made tree from sugar paper or a roll of lining paper. If you have a large group you might want to reduce the size of the birds.
Let the children decorate the birds as they wish. You could add their name to the front of the bird. Add the birds to the tree. Once the birds are added it will be a collection of all the children in your group in the mustard tree. I’ve added my birds by punching a hole and using thread. Blu-tack would work too.
Use the tree to encourage your church to pray for your toddler group. Put it on display on the Sundays during the National Month of Prayer in June.
This idea is one of many to help Toddler Groups get involved with the 1277 National Month of Prayer held each year in June. For further information and lots of ideas visit their facebook page 1277 National Month of Prayer.
We are doing the story of Peter at after school club today – Acts 12:1-19. Peter was in prison. The church met to pray. So our take home craft is a reminder to pray. This would be a great thing to use as a family too. Each person could pick a card from the bag and use it to say a short prayer.
To make – paper bags or envelopes, pens/pencils, scissors, print out of the four prayer prompts – praise, sorry, thank, please and sticky label with ‘remember to pray printed on’
Talk about what the four prayer prompts mean – why we can praise God. How we can praise him for what he is like and the things he has done. Why do we need to say sorry to him? We have thought, said or done things against God’s law. What can we thank God for? food, clothes, friends. What can we ask for his help with – the please prayers. These can be for ourselves and for others. The children can write some of these ideas on the reverse of the cards.
This past week I needed a large -ish visual aid to use at Toddler Group that was a change from a story bag. So I made a big book. Well, it’s nearer to an envelope really. Very simple to make. All you need is A3 cartridge paper (it does need to be strong paper) x2, some double sided tape, string and cellotape. The basic idea is that you gradually take pictures out of the book/envelope by pulling on the string that has pictures attached.
To make – print out pictures of the things you are thankful for. On one of the A3 sheets of paper secure the string. Then attach your printed pictures onto the length of string – make sure you space them well. Better to have loads of string rather than very small gaps between pictures. Leave a length of string to hang outside the book/envelope. Decorate your front cover. Then using double sided tape stick the A3 sheets of paper together on three sides only. I also used cellotape around three sides.
The person is meant to be me! I used large people shapes from Baker Ross. These are OK but a bit tricky to colour with crayons as they are shiny. The pictures were from the internet – food, a home and a family.
If I was doing this with over three’s I would get enough supplies for each child to make their own and then use the ‘book’ as a prayer help. Older children could select their own pictures or write. If doing the latter an A4 or A5 sized book would be fine.