Favourite books to share

Do you have a cosy corner for sharing books? Does your toddler group have a special space for parents and children to read a book together?

Last week I spotted aย  mum sitting in our comfy book corner with her son and baby daughter. They were surrounded by books and were, in her words, having a ‘book fest’. Even though it was time for snacks I left them to it – they had to finish the book!

When my own children were small we had a favourite book – we can still quote parts of it to each other. It’s ‘So Much’ written by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. When I joined the Toddler Group Team at my church I bought a copy for our group. Everyone should have a chance to enjoy this book.

It’s all about a family and how that family love the new baby – they love him so much. As the book goes on we are introduced to all the family – mum, dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas. The illustrations are fab.

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Do you have a favourite children’s book? Please share!


Jacob and the ladder

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Story – (I used the above pictures – found via google- as puppets)

Jacob and Esau were brothers. In fact they were twins! Esau had been born first and then Jacob. They were very different to look at. They liked doing different things. Esau loved to be outside and to go hunting. Jacob liked to stay at home.

Their dad liked Esau the best. Their mum liked Jacob the best.

There was a big problem in this family. Even though Esau and Jacob were grown ups they tried to trick each other. Jacob really wanted all the great things that were going to belong to Esau, who was born first.

One day Jacob and his mum tricked Esau and this made him very angry. Esau was so angry that Jacob decided to go far away and stay with his Uncle Laban.

He said goodbye in a big hurry and he was off. It was a long walk. A long, long walk. He was getting tired. The sun was going down and it was getting dark. There were stars in the dark sky.

‘I’ll have to sleep here where I am’, thought Jacob.

So he got a stone to put near his head and he lay down to go to sleep. It doesn’t sound very comfortable does it! But Jacob was so tired and was missing home that he went off to sleep.

And then something extraordinary happened. He had a dream about angels. He could see a ladder that started on the ground but reached up and up and up right to heaven. Walking up and down the ladder were angels.

Then God spoke to Jacob, ‘I am the LORD. I won’t leave you. I will give you this land on which you are lying.’

Then Jacob woke up.

God knew where Jacob was. God cared about Jacob. God loved Jacob.

God knows where you are. God cares about you. God loves you.

Craft – angel pictures to colour and decorate

 

 


Rhythms of Grace conference

On Saturday we drove to Wembley nice and early to go to a Toddler Group leaders conference. I was leading a couple of workshops about Crafts. It was a really good day. The Keynote speaker, Mary Hawes drew our attention to how toddler groups should be places of generosity, relationships, accessibility, community and encouragement. She encouraged us to be confident about being church based and to share Bible Stories. In the afternoon there was a music workshop that everyone was able to attend.

Very importantly tea and coffee and great pastries kept me so well fed during the breaks that I didn’t really need my packed lunch!

The day was really well organised and I came away enthused about running a Toddler Group and encouraged.

Here’s a picture of the Christmas craft we made

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Sunrise – best time of day to drive on the north circular!


God made plants – story and craft ideas

I decided to focus on edible plants for this story time. In Genesis 1:11 it says ‘ And God said ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed..’

I had a fennel plant to show to the children – they are very touchy feely plants! Then we had vegetables and fruit to take from the story bag. We named them and I explained where they grow – under the ground or above the ground or on a tree. ย I talked about how all these plants were made by God for us to eat.

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Note – it is worth telling the children that they mustn’t eat all the plants that see in the garden and that they must always check with an adult first.

Some plant craft ideas from pinterest

A leaf craft to try..

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A flower card to make..

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A paper plate apple to make..

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Apple paper plate craft

 


God made the land

We’e been gradually going through all the things that God made using SU’s Tiddlywinks ‘The Big Green Book’ as a starting point.

We’ve learnt about God making water, the sun, moon and stars and the sky. This time it was all about the land. The story time was very simple. We used actions to talk about how God made the land – move hands from side to side to make a flat line. God made mountains – hands form a point. God made hills – move hands to make up and down shapes and the valleys in between. God made all of these by just speaking and it was all very good. Thumbs up! The children really enjoyed joining in with the actions ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Our craft was very easy to prepare too. We built up a simple landscape using mountains and hills. Cotton wool was used to add some clouds.

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toddler group set up

img_0797img_0791img_0796img_0798img_0795img_0793img_0792SAM_1060SAM_1059SAM_1053SAM_1052SAM_1058SAM_1054SAM_1057SAM_1056SAM_1055Setting up a toddler group is a lot of hard work! But it’s also quite a lot of fun – these are some photos of what our group looks like just before our group members arrive.

We always have –

  • playdough (homemade usually)
  • train track
  • dollshouse and happyland
  • garage and cars
  • jigsaws
  • craft
  • painting
  • baby toys in a separate area
  • home corner
  • happyland farm
  • book corner
  • a few ride ons

We sometimes have the following

  • duplo
  • wooden blocks
  • a vets
  • animals
  • doll’s hospital

Do you have any favourite toys you use at your group?

 


Getting back…..

Well, six weeks of no toddler group has flown by. I am now in school holiday mode, just in time to pull myself together and get back into the routine! There has been plenty of other things going on – outdoor children’s clubs, a team to cook for and all the normal stuff but I need to get my toddler group groove back. So this is how I’ve been doing that..

Some pinterest inspiration for craft – I love pinterest for ideas. You can do a general search for toddler crafts or be very specific. There’s so much to choose from. I have to be disciplined not to spend too long in the world of pinterest.

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A dose of motivation – why do this each week of school term? Well lots of reasons – here’s the one I’m thinking about this term, ‘ Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.’ Mark 9:37

Some planning. We have an idea of the themes and Bible stories for each week.These may change but it feels good to have some plans on paper. ย A Macmillan coffee morning is also planned ( and our kit from Macmillan has arrived ๐Ÿ™‚ ) It’s always good to have an idea of what’s going on!

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And when these things are being done I begin to feel anticipation and enthusiasm. Sometimes running a group, even as part of a team can feel overwhelming but, having a plan and feeling motivated ย can help change the overwhelming to something to look forward to and enjoy. And when we enjoy what we do the parents and carers and their children are more likely to enjoy the group too.

I hope that if you are leading a group that you are feeling motivated and supported ๐Ÿ™‚


Toddler group

This is our hall all ready for our mums, dads, grandparents and carers and of course under -5’s.

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I absolutely love toddler group ๐Ÿ™‚

There are a few things not in the photos – train track, farm, duplo and a painting room. At the moment we don’t have enough people to do the painting room as two helpers are way this term. We’re very fortunate to have a main hall and two side rooms.

My plan is to do a bit more sensory play – we have sensory bottles and playdough but I am thinking of using dried pasta …? I’ll let you know how it goes ๐Ÿ™‚


Christian Resources Exhibition

The Christian Resources Exhibition is on at the Excel in East London. So this morning I took the train to go and have a look around.

I’ve come home with a few goodies and some ideas!

The Go Teach stand

The Go Teach stand

the goodies I bought home!

the goodies I bought home!

Now in case you aren’t able to go along I picked up some of the free books from The Go Teach stand – they are samples of Bible stories and crafts for toddlers – if you would like one then get in touch via email or in the comments. We are quite happy to post anywhere. (it’s first come first served ๐Ÿ™‚ )

You don’t need to leave your email in the comments – wordpress have a way of letting me know that. ๐Ÿ™‚

let me know if you would like one of these samples

let me know if you would like one of these samples

 


Y is for the rich young man

The story of the Rich Young Man (Mark 10:17-22) has a sad ending. He loves his money more than Jesus. With older children you could talk about ย things that get in the way of them following Jesus. You could also add a question mark symbol and talk more about why the young man asked the question ‘What must i do to inherit eternal life?’With young children the story lends itself to using actions – running, kneeling and walking. Make a money bag using real coins as they are weighty and jingle!

The Story – for younger children

One day a young man came to speak to Jesus. He didn’t walk up to Jesus. He ran to Jesus. (Run on the spot) He wanted to ask a question. He thought that Jesus was important so he knelt down in front of him and asked ‘Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?’ (kneel down)

It was a good question and the young man really wanted to know the answer.

Jesus said to him, ‘ You know what the Commandments are that God gave us, to tell us how to live to please him.’

‘I’ve kept them all since I was a young boy.’

Jesus looked at the young man. Jesus cared about him. Jesus wanted to help him. ‘Go, and sell all you have and give your money to the poor and then you will have treasure in heaven and come and follow me.’

But, oh dear, the young man had a lot of money.(Show money bag) He loved all his money very much. (Hug money bag to yourself) What a choice! Sell everything and give all his money away and follow Jesus or keep all his things and his money and go back home. What would he do?

The young man walked away from Jesus. (Walk on the spot, looking sad and dejected) He felt sad. He chose to keep his money.

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