When telling the Bible Story use words that everyone understands. Don’t clutter your story with terminology that you won’t have time to explain. Tell everyone that Zacchaeus was short but leave out his job. You don’t have time to explain to toddlers what tax is.
Keep your adult listeners busy
When telling a Bible Story to toddlers it helps to keep their adults involved. Encourage everyone to join in with a variety of actions to do, phrases to repeat, sounds to make.
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.
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 .
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!
Buy or make a story bag that you will love using
Taking items out of a storybag during a story builds interest. Use a bag that’s large enough and attractive for the children and easy for you to use. No plastic bags!