Using playdough to pray and respond

Play dough is a well beloved, cheap and easily accessible material and can probably be found in most church children’s areas. There’s so much that can be done with it: praying, playing and responding to stories and teaching. Here are some ideas to get you started…IMG_3519

Praying with Playdough: 

Responding to stories:

  • Play dough faces
  • Play Dough Mats
  • Play dough mark making– roll the playdough out flat and use a variety of mark making items- lolly sticks, lego blocks, buttons, bottle tops, plastic knives, to make pictures of the story you have just heard. Children might want to make a picture of a key event or a key character, or write some words that relate to the story. Leave some time at the end  of the activity so that they can share what they have done!
  • Play dough models: provide a collection of collage and construction items such lolly sticks, pipe cleaners, buttons, feathers, card and ask children to use play dough along with these items to  make models of a character or event from the story. Again. leave time to share!

Play dough recipes:

Beeswax Prayer Candles

Lighting candles is a popular way of signalling a prayer and can be a very moving experience. This craft is an easy way to let children make their own candles and to think about situations they’d like to pray for. The activity also lends itself really well to any activities you might be doing that are light related.

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You will need: Beeswax sheets, scissors, candle wick (this will usually be supplied with the beeswax sheets), sharpies or permanent markers

Cut the beeswax sheets into strips. I used strips roughly 30cm x 5 cm. Cut wicks about 7 cm long.

With the marker pens, write names of people or situations you want to pray for on the strip.

Place a wick at one end of the strip and roll the strip up like a scroll. The wick should be right in the middle now. Gently press the end of the strip against the body of the scroll so that it stays put.

Light the candle and pray for the situations and people you have written on the inside. The honey like smell of the beeswax will come through as an extra sign of lifting up prayers to God!

Noah’s Ark Exploration Session

We’ve been experimenting with an after school club for adults and children together and it’s been going very well!

Our structure is very simple so there is minimal preparation needed, but we have been really pleased at the level of engagement from both children and parents.  Every week we tell a story, ask some wondering questions and then let everyone choose what they want to do. At the end of the session we come back together and share what we have been getting up to.

Choices include:

  • a simple prayer activity (with Noah’s ark we chose an animal to say thank you to God for)
  • a book corner with Bible stories
  • drawing
  • Lego
  • play dough
  • playing with the story sets
  • cake and drinks to help yourself to

You can see from the photos above what people got up to in our Noah’s ark session!

Easter Story Play Dough Faces

Here is a really easy but very hands on craft to help children to explore the various characters and events of the Easter story (though you can, of course, use it for any Bible story!)

You will need: Bowls (I used plastic Ikea ones), play dough

IMG_2778After reading the story, get children to talk about the characters and events they liked and didn’t like.  Which people and events struck them the most?

Give each child a bowl and some play dough. Using the bowl as a head, ask them to make the face of one of the characters from the story.  Try to make expressions such as anger, sadness joy.

When everyone has made a face, ask children to try and guess who each one is!

Light Peg Prayers

This is a really simple but effective idea to help children to think and pray about Jesus bringing light and hope into situations.

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You will need: A String of peg lights (or fairy lights with paper clips to fasten prayers to the string), paper, pens, photos of people, photos of places from magazines or the internet.

Ask children who they know who they would like to pray for, or which places they think need help and hope at the moment. They can write or draw them on paper or use photos. Turn on the light string and peg the photos and pieces of paper to the string. Pray that these people and places will have the light of Jesus in their lives and will know that he loves them.

Epiphany Star Biscuits

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Even though Christmas day is over, Christmas is not!

This is a great activity to do with children as you celebrate the wise men arriving in Bethlehem at Epiphany after following the star.  If you have access to an oven, you can bake the biscuits with the children during your session. Alternatively, bake the biscuits beforehand and let the children decorate them!

You will need: An oven, greaseproof paper, a baking tray, 200g butter, 250g plain flour, 75g cornflour, 100g icing sugar, a pinch of salt, star cookie cutters, icing and sprinkles to decorate

  1. Set the oven to 180C and preheat.
  2. Beat butter and icing sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Sift in flour, cornflour and salt and mix together to make a dough.
  4. Roll out dough to the thickness of a £1 coin and cut star shapes with the cookie cutter
  5. Put star shapes on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins
  6. Cool on a cooling tray and then decorate with icing and sprinkles!

Talk about:

What is it like to go on a long journey? How do you know where to go? What does it feel like to find something you have been looking for?What do you think the wise men felt and thought when they found Jesus?

Pray: Eat the biscuits and pray that this year we will all come to find out more about Jesus and how much he loves us.