Share the load
If you can, share the telling of Bible stories with others. We can learn from each other. Be supportive of one another and offer encouragement. It’s sometimes really helpful to have an extra pair of hands to hold a storytelling prop; ask for help from others in the team.
Begin storytime with a song
Instead of announcing storytime with, ‘It’s storytime’, start with a song. It will become your theme song that tells everyone that it’s time for a story. Choose something simple and easy to join in with. Familiar tunes with your own words are great. Once you have your song stick with it. Young children like the familiar.
Ask for help in collecting items for storytelling props and craft resources. Involve people in your church. Explain what you need and give people the opportunity to join in by collecting cardboard tubes, christmas cards etc. Use your churches’ notice sheet to make the needs known and share pictures of the made crafts too.
Collect craft ideas for your planned Bible stories
Keep your eyes open for craft ideas that fit in with the Bible Stories you are planning to tell. Pinterest is full of ideas that can be used or adapted. There are even some on this blog 🙂 Ideas can come from anywhere! Try out any ideas to see if they really are makeable. Process is important but having a finished product that is a keepsake for parents is good too. Collect things that will come in useful – christmas cards, wrapping paper, leaves, cereal boxes, cardboard tubes, yarn, material, pictues for gardening catalogues. All sorts of lovely crafty stuff!
Plan your stories for the year
Plan ahead. Look at term dates (use your local school dates) and work out your timetable. Note down any special dates you want to celebrate – Harvest, Christmas, Easter, summer party. Plan your stories for the year ahead. Start with a theme for each half term. Some ideas – Creation, animals in the Bible, people Jesus met. Note down a story (use the Bible reference) for each week. Add a craft idea and some songs. You can always adjust your plan but having an outline for the year relieves a lot of stress .
Collect together resources that can help you
Go Teach and Scripture Union have some great resources that will help you tell Bible Stories in Toddler Group. Children’s Story Bibles and Bible Story books written for young children can be a big help too. They will give you ideas of how to phrase things and how to put a simple story together. You don’t have to buy loads – just slowly start collecting resources that you find helpful.
Knit some storytelling characters
Knitted toys are some of the best storytelling props you can have. If you can’t knit find someone who can. Acrylic yarn is inexpensive and comes in lots of colours. You don’t need loads of knitted toys – just a few men and woman with different hair (some grey for older Bible characters) and different clothes. Here’s a link to a great pattern.
Start a file of your storytelling ideas
Keeping a collection of ideas is great – if you have a few weeks and you don’t know what to do you have ideas to fall back on. Think of themes – homes Jesus visited, stories people told, things God made. Under these headings add specific stories, prop ideas and craft ideas. Keep in a file, notebook or card file holder.
Sort out storage for your storytelling items
If you can, store your storytelling props in a box. Take a photo of each item and stick it to the outside of the box. You will be able to see at a glance what you have. This should save you time! No more hunting high and low the night before toddler group 🙂
Collect items that you can use in storytelling.
Taking items from a story bag is great for keeping attention. Props help understanding. Build a collection of items you can use. Blue cloth for sea or sky, toy tools (lots of stories about building), toy animals (creation), a tent to transform into a big fish, a rock and some sand (houses on sand and rock), a globe, purple cloth (Lydia). Keep a look out for items you can use. Charity shops are great places!