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.
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. A Macmillan coffee morning is also planned ( and our kit from Macmillan has arrived 🙂 ) It’s always good to have an idea of what’s going on!
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 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 🙂
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 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 🙂 )
You don’t need to leave your email in the comments – wordpress have a way of letting me know that. 🙂
let me know if you would like one of these samples
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 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.
To tell the story from Luke 8 I used some simple pictures. I introduced ‘Jairus’ first and asked the children to repeat his name and say hello.
The pictures I used were a selection of symbols and a photo of a house that I made from a shoe box, and one phrase. I realise that the children weren’t necessarily going to be able to read this but the adult listeners are there too! Plus is a useful prompt for the storyteller 🙂 They are all held together with string and so make one large visual aid by the end of the story.
I’ve been thinking about sensory play – what is it? can I introduce it at toddler group? I don’t know about you but I love the idea of children making discoveries by looking and touching. While I was deliberating about where to start I got to thinking about my own childhood. What sort of sensory play did I experience all those years ago – before anyone called it sensory play.
I think it’s fair to say that as a toddler I had a fair amount of time at home and a lot less toys than my own children grew up with. So my mum improvised. I remember being allowed to play with the button box. It was a actually an old biscuit tin full of buttons – different colours, textures, sizes. Sensory play.
Today it has a name and is maybe organised with more intent – my mum probably gave me the button box to play with because it kept me busy while she got on with the ironing.
So, sensory play at toddler group. Where to begin? We won’t be using buttons as children can easily choke on them. We don’t have sand or water play as there isn’t the space (although in the painting area washing hands is almost like water play sometimes). But, we can have sensory bottles. They are a good place to start.
I had a lovely time pottering about Pinterest for ideas and these bottles were the result. I used small Oasis bottles. Most were filled with coloured water to about half way and then oil – the yellow oil is vegetable oil and the whiter oil is baby oil. Then I added glitter and bits and bobs – beads, loom bands, pompoms, sequins. Two bottles are plain water and lots of loom bands.
To secure the lids I used super glue.
Thses bottles were a big hit at toddler group – with both children and adults. Lots to see, lots to talk about and wonder about as you watch the bubbles and colours.