In John 14, Jesus reassures his disciples that they do not be afraid because he is leaving his peace with them. Whatever they will face in the future, especially when he is gone, he is not leaving them alone. I love using play dough mats in group situations because they are a very non- threatening way to help children to creatively explore how Bible stories relate to their own lives. This play dough mat is a conversation starter about the worries that children are facing in their own lives and also a way of helping them to know that they, too are not alone. Some children might choose to use the mat as a way of giving their worries to Jesus. Print out the mat at this link!
The moment when the disciples recognise that Jesus is God’s son is a really important moment in the gospels and it is a moment that can lead to excellent discussion about Jesus and what he means to each one of us.
This playdough mat is designed to help children to explore who they think Jesus is based on the stories they have heard and other experiences they might have had. Use the time when they are creating with playdough to chat with the children about their ideas. What they have to say might be really challenging!
Click here to print off the play dough mat. Don’t forget to laminate the mat if you want to use it several times.
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…
Praying with Playdough:
- Use play dough to make the shape of something you want to thank God for.
- Play dough intercessions
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:
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
After 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!
Play dough mats are a great way to help children to connect with a story. Print off the sheets, laminate them so that they can be used multiple times and it is easy to clean off any stray play dough and let the children get creating!
Here are some play dough mats to use with the Easter story…
Click here to print the mat.
Click here For the ‘In the tomb’ play dough mat.
Click here for the ‘He is risen’ play dough mat.