Story Bags

Story bags are brilliant at helping children to become involved in the story you are telling.  They involve a collection of toys that will both help you to tell the story and also help the children to play out parts of the story afterwards.  They need not be very expensive to make up (most stuff comes from the pound shop!) and can be borrowed by parents to use at home during the week.  Click on the links to take you to some examples.

Nativity Story Bag

Baptism Story Bag

Good Samaritan Story Bag

David and Goliath Story Bag

Lost Sheep Story Bag

All Age Talk: Harvest

This talk can be used with the story of creation in Genesis or with the parable of the talents.

You will need: A big box covered in wrapping paper containing a torch (Light), water and oil in a bottle (day 2- shake and they separate), sand or soil in a bottle, toy food or plants (day 3), a card sun, moon and stars (day 4), a toy bird or fish (day 5), a toy animal and a human doll or play person(day 6) a pillow (day 6); a gift label of sticker for everyone in the congregation, pens.

Invite someone to come up to the front and unwrap the big box.  Take out all of the things inside (it doesn’t really matter what order they are in- they are all God’s gifts!) and speak about the gifts that God gives us in creation, things that we especially remember at harvest time.

I love getting gifts and when I do, I always want to say thank you to the person who has given it to me because it really shows they care and I want to show them that I care back. Sometimes I make a little thank you card to give them and sometimes I think about what gift I can give them.  God has given us all of these amazing gifts.  If you could give him something back what would it be?

The truth is that God has given us all sorts of gifts- not just gifts in nature, but gifts of things that we are good at doing.  How could you use the things that you are good at doing to help God or to help others and, in your own way, give something back?

Get people to discuss in groups what they might individually do and then ask them to write or draw their gift on a gift label or sticker.  As a symbolic prayer of thanks, play some music and ask people to come and put their label on the big gift box.  Pray that over the coming days and weeks, they will be able to use their gifts as a gift to God.

8-11s: Psalm 139 Session Ideas

Psalm 139 is full of wonderful images to explore.  Here are some ideas for reflecting on what it has to say…

Reflect on the words of the psalm and write/ draw your responses in a wordcloud:

For a copy of the word cloud, click here.

Use clay to make symbols of what is special about you and thank God for truly knowing who you are.

Try this ‘Fearfully and wonderfully made’ craft and prayer activity:

Use finger labyrinths to reflect on how we might follow God’s ‘everlasting way’.  Click here to find some labyrinths to print out or make and try.

Easter Story Pass the Parcel

This is a good way to tell the Easter story in groups.

You will need: 5 pictures telling the Easter story:  Palm Sunday, Last Supper, Gethsemane, Crucifixion, Resurrection

At the centre of the parcel, wrap up a big bag of mini eggs (so there is enough for each child in the group) and the picture of the resurrection.
In the next layer wrap up the crucifixion picture and a sweet,

The following layers should be…
Gethsemane, last supper and the top layer: Palm Sunday.
Each layer should also contain a sweet- this is important for later!

When you have the finished parcel you can play the game!
As the music plays, pass the parcel and whoever has it when the music stops unwraps the picture and the sweet.  Discuss what the picture shows and start again.  As each layer is opened, speak about the next part of the story and the picture. The children might even predict what comes next.
The final layer will reveal the resurrection picture and the big bag of sweets.  Jesus died so that we could be set free from the bad things we’ve done and the he rose again to show that he was truly God’s Son  It was amazing!!.  He gives us hope and new life and wants everyone to know the good news, not just a few people.  Tell the children that, yes, it really wasn’t fair that only some children got sweets and others didn’t.  He wants everyone who knows the good news to share it, and at that point share the sweets with the children.  Hopefully the point, emphasized by chocolate might stick!

Prayer Rockets!

Here’s a fun way to get children to engage in thanking God and asking for blessing while also symbolically releasing their prayers into his hands.

First, get children to write and draw their prayers on a small slip of paper (about the size of an average till receipt).
Next, roll the paper tightly round a straw (the long straight part rather than the bendy part!) and secure it with sellotape.  Fold the top of the paper over and secure it with some more sellotape.  The paper will now have made a sealed pocket around the top of the straw.
Talk to children about releasing prayers to God and trusting in His love and His power.  Say a short prayer, giving your prayers to God and then blow on the free end of the straw.  Watch the prayer rocket fly as you release your prayers!

All Age Easter Talk: Pinata

Before the service:

First of all, make a pinata or buy one!  If you fancy making one, there is a link to some instructions here.

Fill the pinata with sweets so that there will hopefully be enough for everyone there. This is important!!

The aim of the talk is to help people to see that, out of something that seems hard and sad, something amazing can come.

Talk (after having previously told the Easter story)

Show the Pinata and ask if people know what it is. Tell them how long it took you to make it and how proud of it you are.  Do they know what to do with a pinata?  INvote someone to come up and show you.  Hopefully they will bash it and break it open to get to the sweets in the middle.

I feel a bit sad now!  That was a beautiful pinata and it took ages to make!  I’m really quite upset that it’s broken and ruined now.  At least we got something good from it- lots of sweets!

It reminds me a bit of today (Good Friday).  Something really terrible happened- Jesus died.  It felt like everything had gone wrong and was ruined but actually it was not the end of the story.  Something amazing came out of the bad thing!  Jesus rose to new life and he gives us hope of a new life and a new start too!  Sometimes we feel like things in our lives are broken and ruined because we’ve done things that we wish we hadn’t but, because Jesus died and that terrible thing happened, it means that he will take those wrong things away and we can have a new start with God.  Like all of the sweets that came out of the broken pinata, God wants to give us something sweet and show us how much He loves us and forgives us.  He also wants us to share His love with other people and to let them know that they can be forgiven too so let’s share out the sweets and make sure that everyone has a reminder of the Good thing God wants to give us!