Journey to Bethlehem – week 6 – The Shepherds

So far we have had stories about Creation, the Fall, Abraham, the angel visiting Mary and the birth of Jesus. Our last story in our journey to Bethlehem series is all about the shepherds. Luke 2:8-20

Bible Story 

The baby sent from God was tucked up in the manger. Mary and Joseph were there to look after him. Do you remember his name? He was called Jesus. There they were that night – just the three of them.

Meanwhile, out of the town, in the hills, there were shepherds. Shepherds look after sheep. What sound does a sheep make?

It was dark – the shepherds were making sure that all the sheep were safe.

Then suddenly something happened that made the shepherds really scared! There was an angel – and the angel was surrounded by bright light.

‘Don’t be afraid’, the angel said, ‘I bring you good news of great joy that is for everyone, everywhere. Today, a Saviour has been born. You will find him lying in a manger.’

Then lots of angels were there singing. And then they were gone and it was dark again.

The shepherds looked at each other, ‘Let’s go and see this thing that’s happened that God has told us about.’

So off they went – down the hill, through the town, looking here, looking there – until they found Jesus. They found the Saviour.

We can find Jesus too. He is still the Saviour sent from God for everyone, everywhere. We won’t find him in a manger – but we can know him as our Saviour.

Another paper plate…

All the paper plates from our Journey to Bethlehem

Week One – Creation https://lettheirlightshine.com/2015/11/04/journey-to-bethlehem/
Week Two – The Fall https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/11/14/journey-to-bethlehem-week-2/
Week Three – Abraham https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/11/23/journey-to-bethlehem-week-3/
Week Four – The Angel visits Mary https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/11/28/journey-to-bethlehem-week-4/
Week Five – Jesus is born https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/12/05/journey-to-bethlehem-week-5/
Week Six – The Shepherds find Jesus

Another Christmas star idea!

Yesterday I posted a Christmas Card Star idea. Today another idea using the same star wreath. This time you can paint the star or decorate with stickers and then use tissue paper for a stained glass effect.

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I used paint markers to create the dots. As with all paint check that what you use is washable and have aprons or warn parents/carers that there will be paint! I bought Washable Dab and Dot Markers. They are for 3plus years but if you put the lids out of reach and keep a watchful eye they are ok. If you don’t feel 100% comfortable with using something in your group then don’t use it.

The two ideas…

Star wreaths are from Baker Ross

Journey to Bethlehem – week 3 – God’s promise to Abraham

This week the Bible story was all about Abraham and God’s promise to give him a huge family and to bless all the people on earth through that family. During the story I use the names Abraham and Sarah for simplicity. (Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:5).

Bible Story

Say hello to Abraham! (take a puppet or doll from the story bag). Abraham lived a long, long, long time ago. 

One day God spoke to Abraham, ‘Pack up your things and leave the place where you are living. Go to a place that I will show you.I will make you a great nation and all the families on the earth will be blessed through you’

Abraham listened to God and he did what God said. He and his wife Sarah (take another doll or puppet from the story bag) packed their things and off they went. 

God showed them where to go. 

Now after Abraham and Sarah had been living in their new home for quite a while God spoke to Abraham again.

Abraham was outside at night time. It was dark. God said to him, ‘Look up at the sky and all the stars. So many stars that you can’t count them. This is how large your family will be.’ 

Abraham listened to God and he believed God.

And Abraham did have a large family .. and from that large family came Jesus. He is the one that blesses the whole world. ‘

We add another paper plate to all the others ..IMG_3692

So, altogether the story so far….

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!

Macmillan coffee morning @ toddler group.

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We will be eating cake at toddler group this week as we join in with Macmillan’s biggest Coffee Morning. The usual £1 donation that adults make to toddler group will be given to Macmillan, plus anything extra people want to donate. The children will no doubt be eating cake too and we have a craft activity of the most basic kind – cupcakes to colour. I am still undecided as to whether to do some sticking too. Eating with gluey fingers isn’t yummy!

A few years ago we bought some plain cup cakes and some icing and sprinkles and the children decorated their own cakes but by story time they were so over excited – too much sugar.

Here’s a PDF of the cup cakes. cupcakes

 

 

‘Thank you God’ big book

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.

 

Jesus feeds five thousand people

This story is from John 6 ( and the other gospels too). In the story basket we had Jesus, Andrew, the young boy, a paper chain of people to represent the crowd and the lunch of two fish and five loaves.  In John 6 Philip is also mentioned by name but we kept to just Andrew as he bought the young boy with the lunch to Jesus. Sometimes too much detail can make a toddler group story too long. The paper plate lunch was also our crafty make – we did the craft before the story. The loaves and fish were cut from sugar paper. We weren’t strict about how much ‘lunch’ everyone had on their plate.

Mother’s day card

Sometimes I manage to find something when I need it! Today I managed to locate a bag of petals and flower pots that were left over from a summer themed craft last year. They are now going to be used to make mother’s day cards. One of the helpers at toddler group is a committed car boot enthusiast and found some great card making shapes just last week and some green tinsel. The latter is going to be cut up (it’ll be messy!!). These will also be used in the card making 🙂 Before toddler group I’ll spray the flower shapes with perfume. This makes for a lovely scratch n sniff card.

This year I have bought blank cards with envelopes from hobbycraft – they are pre-folded and colourful and I just fancied having an envelope too. A chance meeting with a friend, who was also in hobbycraft, and she agreed that paying extra for the envelopes was worth it!

Our bible story will be about Jochebed – Moses mum.DSCN0130DSCN0132

Journey to Bethlehem – week one – God made everything good

This half term at toddler group we are going to take a Journey to Bethlehem. Each week the Bible story will be a simple retelling of a key event on that journey for the children. The plan is to put the stories in the context of The Big Story for the adults.

So we start with creation and everything being made good. Next week the fall and things no longer being good and then onwards to Jesus being born. God’s saviour sent for us.

The order will be

Creation, Fall, Noah, God’s promise to Abraham (through you all the families of the world will be blessed), angel visiting Mary, birth of Jesus, visit of the Shepherds.

So this week the story is going to be told using an idea that I found here – It Happens in a Blink.

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Here’s some of the paper plates in close up. I had a lot of fun making them. You need sturdy paper plates! I decided not to have a blank plate for day seven. I did see an idea that included lots of zzzz for resting but God didn’t go to sleep he just stopped making because everything was complete and perfect. He doesn’t need to rest in the way that we do. He never slumbers or sleeps 🙂

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As I tell the story we will count the days together and name what we can see on the plates. After each day we will say ‘it was all very good’ and do a thumbs up. This will be our action for this weeks story. Next week it will be thumbs down to represent the way that everything was no longer good and perfect.

I’m looking forward to going on this journey to Bethlehem. You can find all the stories in this series here on the blog with a different paper plate for each story. (You will see that the snake is not a paper plate – but if you don’t have a pre cut spiral a paper plate would be fine. Just decorate and then cut into a spiral shape) The links are with each picture.

Week One – Creation https://lettheirlightshine.com/2015/11/04/journey-to-bethlehem/
Week Two – The Fall https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/11/14/journey-to-bethlehem-week-2/
Week Three – Abraham https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/11/23/journey-to-bethlehem-week-3/
Week Four – The Angel visits Mary https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/11/28/journey-to-bethlehem-week-4/
Week Five – Jesus is born https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/12/05/journey-to-bethlehem-week-5/
Week Six – The Shepherds find Jesus

all about me – I can smell!

Young children have lots of discoveries to make. It’s fun to help them discover their senses. There are different activities that can show them that they can smell. Of course they already knew that! We can help them know what the smells are that they like or dislike. Sometimes a smell gives us a warning – the toast is burning! Sometimes a smell can make us hungry.

There is a bible Story that you can tell to illustrate that we can smell here. There is a different retelling in the Go Teach Toddler book that we are using this half term.

For a craft for this Bible Story make a perfume bottle

You need – paper plate cut into a simple bottle shape (we are going to use the reverse side so the bottle looks more 3D)

Coloured paper that has been sprayed with perfume. I used tissue paper circles that I bought from Tiger.

Glue stick

Crayons to add decoration. (optional)

Beforehand cut out the bottles, spray the paper and make an example.

perfume bottle craft

perfume bottle craft

make a template

make a template

all you need for perfume bottle craft

all you need for perfume bottle craft

I have been cutting some herbs from my garden for the children to smell – these herbs are child friendly – sage, lemon balm, thyme and lavender. The lemon balm is a strong scent in particular. If you don’t have herbs in your garden you could use the fresh herb pots that supermarkets sell. Just a few would be fine.

lavender, sage, thyme, lemon balm

lavender, sage, thyme, lemon balm

Playdough can be given a scent. I’ve used vanilla extract (expensive) in one dough and mixed spice in another.  Take a look at my pinterest playdough board for some really good ideas. I like the sound of lemon dough. 🙂 there is a recipe for that on the board.

My favourite smell is fresh coffee but sadly at our group we only serve instant!

all you need for vanilla playdough

all you need for vanilla playdough