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

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.

 

 

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