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

 


Jonah and the big fish

This half term we are thinking about animal’s in the Bible. So we made a start with the story of Jonah. I had seen a tent made into the big fish on Handsonbibleteacher.blogspot.co.uk so thought I would have a go at making one – my attempt doesn’t look as neat – I think my pop up tent was a little too square – but you have to use what you have! Jonah is made from a Pringles carton – I saw that idea on Pinterest. It’s originally from this blog Preachmanswife.blogspot.co.uk

Story

Say hello to Jonah! Jonah was given a job to do. God told him to go and tell the people living in Ninevah that God loved them.

‘No, I won’t’ said jonah. ‘I don’t like the people who live in Ninevah’

so Jonah packed his bag and went the other way. He walked to the boat (make walking sounds by tapping hands on knees) and he bought a ticket and off he went.

Jonah was tired (yawn) so he went inside the boat and settled down for a sleep. (put hands on side of head as if sleeping)

Do you think God knew where Jonah was? God knows everything. He knew that Jonah was on the boat.

God sent a storm. the waves got bigger, the wind blew, the rain came down. The sailors were worried. ‘Someone has done something wrong’, they said ‘and God is angry.’

They went to wake Jonah up. ‘Wake up Jonah!’ (ask children to repeat this)

Jonah opened his eyes. ‘Oh dear’, he said ‘this is my fault. You must throw me into the sea.’

‘No!’ the sailors said.

But the storm got worse and in the end they had to throw Jonah into the sea. Splash!

The storm stopped.

Jonah sank down,down, down into the water. But God loved Jonah and he had somthing there to save him. A great big fish swam up and swallowed Jonah. He was safe. (Place Jonah inside the big fish)

Jonah knew he had done the wrong thing and he talked to God. ‘I am sorry’ he said.

Could God hear Jonah? Yes, God hears when we say sorry to him.

God sent the great big fish to the beach and it gave a big hiccup and out came Jonah. (take Jonah out of the big fish)

God said,’Jonah go and tell the people of Ninevah that I love them.’ This time Jonah did what God said.

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Jonah

Jonah


L is for lost sheep – Bible alphabet (Pdf for craft activity)

Luke 15:1-7. Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep.

To tell the story to young children

Very young children will probably benefit from using smaller numbers – maybe just up to ten with the number ten sheep missing.  Before you begin hide a sheep but unless you have a small group give the task of looking for it to a helper (who knows where to look!).

You could dress as a shepherd or take have a picture of a shepherd to show (we had a shepherd’s crook to show too). Ask the children what sort of animal a shepherd looks after and if they don’t know after one or two tries tell them – a shepherd looks after sheep. Ask them to make the sound a sheep makes. Explain that Jesus told a story about a shepherd who had 10 (100) sheep. He looked after them. At the end of the day he counted them. Have some sheep to count and count them altogether 1,2,,3,4,5,6,7,8,9…..Oh no one is missing! Where can he be? At this point pretend to look for the sheep and find him.

Explain that Jesus told the story to tell everyone that he has come to look for people – to help them to know and love God.

Craft Ideas

Pegs for legs sheep – print on to card and cut out for young children. They can decorate their sheep. make sure an adult adds the legs.

Sheep collage – print on to paper and decorate with cotton wool and wax crayons.

Sheep    – Pdf file – free to use

Sheep_(peg_legs)  – Pdf file – free to use

 

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H is for Horeb – Bible Alphabet

In Deuteronomy 5 Moses refers to the mountain  where he received the ten commandments as mount Horeb. (In Exodus it is called Mount Sinai – same place; different name)

To tell the story I used a simple picture of a mountain drawn on to a large roll of paper (from Ikea). There was a ‘mini – Moses’ who ‘climbed’ the mountain, a cloud and the fire and smoke were added during the story using marker pens. There was also some actions for the children and parents to join in with. Actions are a great way of involving everyone in the story in a manageable way. As you do the actions say the phrase you are acting out.

Telling the story

Just before the story we practiced the actions we would need during the story. Once the group is settled I explain that during the story there will be something for them to do. We practice the action about twice and then we begin the story. I encourage the parents to join in too.

As the children are very young don’t include all the details – for example I don’t mention the Israelites at the foot of the mountain. The basics are focused on – Moses, Mount Horeb (everyone repeats the name. It’s included because we are doing the letter ‘h’), the cloud, smoke and fire and the ‘Ten good rules to live by’.

Main teaching point – God speaks to us – through the Bible.

The actions referred to the Ten Commandments which I referred to as ‘Ten good rules to live by.’

IMG_3463                                                                                                                                 Ten

IMG_3464                                                                                                                                good

IMG_3465                                                                                 rules (shaped like a book because they were written down)

IMG_3462                                                         to live by (Walk your fingers over your hand to illustrate people walking/living)

IMG_3416                                                                                                        Moses on Mount Horeb

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To finish the story explain that today God doesn’t speak to us on mountains but from the Bible (have a Bible to show)