Over the last few months we have been exploring creation by trying out some ‘Muddy Church’ activities. If you haven’t come across Muddy Church yet, I highly recommend their excellent website, where there are loads of resources you can adapt to your circumstances. Muddy Church is a great way to get outside with people of all ages to explore God’s creation. Here’s a glimpse at what we got up to on our most recent walk through the local park with a mixture of ages from toddlers to people in their 70s. Click here for the resource sheet that we made up for this particular session.
We used this Illustration to tell the story of the Wise and Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-27) at Cafe Church- a new intergenerational service that we’ve started since restrictions eased a little bit. One of the Cafe church team came up with the idea and set up the following display. I was a bit dubious to begin with because I couldn’t see how it was going to work- but I didn’t know the hidden secret!
Both structures look exactly the same. We read the story from a simple translation of the bible and, when we got to the part about the wind blowing, the team member waved a hairdryer at the structure on the right hand side. The ‘wind’ blew the cups down. When we got to the structure on the left hand side, however, the structure didn’t budge at all. I couldn’t figure out why not, because nothing was stuck down. It was only when I lifted one of the cups up and looked inside that I saw the answer…
Each cup in the second structure was half filled with craft concrete. This gave the cups a really sturdy weight that was immovable in the path of the hairdryer and gave a nod to building a structure on ‘rock.’
You will need: 20 paper cups, craft concrete, hairdryer
Make up the craft concrete according to package directions and half fill 10 of the paper cups. Wait for the concrete to dry. Stack the empty cups in one pyramid and the concrete filled cups in another pyramid and use your hairdryer to help tell the story!
If you are stuck for ideas this Christmas, here are a few from around the internet…
Carol service ideas and talks
Carol service quiet bags: activities to keep younger children engaged during the service
Talk (using different sweets) for a family carol service
M and Ms talk for a family carol service
No rehearsal Nativity for younger children (songs to nursery rhyme tunes)
Crafts and activities
Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent and it’s time to get ready for Christmas plans!
Here are some ideas to get you started…
- Advent Journey Spirals
- Advent Window Decorations
- Using Christmas cards to explore the Nativity Story
- Advent Wreath Prayers
- Nativity Prayer Cards
- Christingle Ideas
One of the most popular activities (especially for boys and grown ups) at our last Messy Church was the challenge to build a craft that would float on water and hold a stone (baby Moses). You can guess what our story was!
This was a great craft as there was no expected outcome, other than something that floated, so everyone was free to use their imagination to its full capacity. We had numerous attempts from some people and some very ingenious ideas! We laid out a selection of materials including straws, balloons, card, paper, plastic spoons, lolly sticks, sellotape, foil and just let people get on with it. Here are a few of our examples of construction …
And the winner!
This was a great way in to talking about the care that Moses’ mum would have taken when she put him out on the water and helped us to think about the people who care for us and to thank God for them.
Stones are an important part of the Easter story because it is a massive stone that is placed in front of Jesus’ tomb and the same stone that is rolled away at the resurrection. Stones are also amazing tactile. They are something firm to hold on to and also something hard to help children to reflect on the hard times we all face in our lives. They are also a great surface to draw on and this craft was really popular at our Messy Good Friday service yesterday.
You will need: Stones (enough for one each), paint pens, sharpies, felt tips (test the pens on your stones before starting as different types of pen work better depending on the kind of surface your stone has!)
Ask children to reflect on what they know of the story and of who Jesus is and to decorate their rock accordingly. They might want to use words or pictures or a mixture of both. Use the time they spend creating as an opportunity to speak to them about the story and what it means to them.