Holy Spirit/Pentecost Discovery Basket

At our recent Pentecost service, we had a basket available to help babies and toddlers explore the colours and symbols of the Holy Spirit (specifically love, wind, fire, doves, red).  The children and parents really got stuck in to discovering!

Basket contents included:

  • Wooden doves
  • Wooden hearts
  • Fabric hearts
  • Battery operated candles
  • Red, yellow and orange ribbons tied to shower rings (streamers)
  • A gold glitter reflection bottle (gold glitter in water- shake it up and watch it settle!)
  • Windmills
  • Bubbles (carried on the wind)

Creche: Welcome Songs

Here are some songs to welcome children to a session.  For children under 5 it’s great to build up a reassuring routine and songs are an important part of this process.  Enjoy singing!

Welcome song (To the tune of Frere Jaques)

Hello, welcome,

Hello, welcome,

Friends are here,

Friends are here,

Let’s all join together,

Let’s all join together,

God is near,

God is near.

Thank you song (to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’)

Encourage children to think of something they’d like to say thank you to God for and then get singing (filling in the blank with the name of whatever or whoever it is!)

Thank you Jesus for ——

Thank you Jesus for——

Thank you Jesus for ——-

Thank you Jesus for ——

Creche: Jesus calms the storm treasure basket

Sometimes it’s hard to think of how babies can be included in the themes of a story we’re telling at church.  I’ve been finding out something about treasure baskets recently.  Have a look at this excellent post from Little Acorns to Mighty Oaks that explains so much more about how treasure baskets can be made and used.

I wanted something I could use with the story of Jesus calming the storm and thought that a box with a rough/smooth theme would fit the bill- reflecting the rough/smooth water of the storm/calm. I cheated a little bit and put a velcro curler into the box (plastic is not usually allowed but the velcro on it has a great texture!)

The box includes:

  • cork backed coaster (smooth)
  • wooden block (smooth)
  • wooden spoon (smooth)
  • ribbon (smooth)
  • pine cone (rough)
  • natural exfoliator pad (rough)
  • unused shoe brush (rough)
  • velcro curler (rough)
  • pastry brush (rough and smooth)

Toddler Play: Heuristic Play (Exploring with Stuff!)

Heuristic play is a method used in lots of nurseries and pre-schools to help children to explore, create and use their imaginations.  For children in church it’s brilliant because it helps them to start thinking, questioning and exploring and well as inspiring some awe and wonder!  As they are allowed to freely explore, it also helps the children to build their independence and creativity.  Even the adults can’t resist having a go themselves!

Heuristic play involves having collections of items (plenty of each to go round) which the children can then play with without adult intervention.  Play can be themed if you are looking at a particular story.

Use items such as: corks, kitchen roll tubes, boxes and tins, napkin rings and bangles (and mug trees to put them on!), shells, pinecones, corks, pegs, stones, egg boxes, ribbons, muffin tins, bottle tops.

Click here to see a Pinterest board of heuristic play ideas.

Here are some examples we have used in church:

Have fun watching imagination and creativity develop!

Baby Play: Treasure Baskets

Treasure baskets are a great way for babies who can’t yet crawl to discover textures, sounds, shapes, smells and colours.  They can reach into the basket and pull out anything that strikes their fancy, exploring everyday items with wonder!

The only rules about creating treasure baskets are that they should not contain plastic and should not contain anything the child might choke on. Use fruit, vegetables, metal, leather, stone, ribbon, fabric, brushes, felt: the possibilities are endless.  Here are some examples used in a church creche and toddler group:

Click here to see a Pinterest Board of treasure baskets you can make yourself.

Creche: Jesus Calms The Storm

Here’s an idea to gently introduce some of the themes of the story of Jesus calming the storm to children under 3…

Sensory bottles (fill used water bottles with the following and seal with superglue):

1. Water, green glitter and blue seed beads
2. Rice and matchsticks (to make rain/ storm noises)
3.Water, blue and green sequins and blue and green mini Pom-poms
4.Water, coloured with a little bit of blue food colouring  (filled to just over half way up the bottle), topped up to the top of the bottle with baby oil.
5. Baby oil, blue and green sequins and blue loom bands.

As you can see, the idea was to keep with a blue/green ‘water’ theme. The baby oil and water mix is great as there is a clear separation of the two after the shaken mixture comes to a rest.  Baby oil looks like water from the outside, but slightly slows down the sinking of the objects.

Let the children shake the bottles for the ‘storm’ and then watch as the contents settle and become ‘calm.’