Epiphany Session for Junior Church

Next Sunday will mark the Epiphany- the day we celebrate the time that the Wise Men reach the stable to visit Jesus. Here is a session you can use with a Junior church group of mixed ages to celebrate the occasion!

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Story: Read the story of the wise men visiting Jesus from a children’s Bible. The Lion Storyteller Bible is a definite favourite!

Activity: Make a ‘star’ with a torch and black paper. Check out this link to see how it’s done. Switch the lights  off and follow the star around the room!

Talk about:

What part of the story did you like best?

Which character did you like the best?

Which part of the story is about you?

What is it like to go on a long journey?

Have you ever searched for something?

What did it feel like when you found it?

What present would you give to a baby king?

Activity choices: Choose one or more of these and use the creation time to speak to the children about the story and anything that struck them during the talk time.

  • Use Lego, recycling junk or play dough to make a gift for the baby or to recreate part of the story.
  • Make a collection of ‘wise men’ by decorating paper towel rolls. In the carol ‘We Three Kings’ we sing about ‘three kings’, but in the Bible there is no number given so there could have been any number!
  • Cut star shapes out of card and use them as stencils to paint, draw or chalk round
  • Make Model Magic or clay stars and decorate them.

Prayer

You will need: A large sheet of paper and lots of sticky stars

Pray for

  • People who are travelling a long way- that God will look after them
  • People who are looking for something- that they find it
  • People who want to find out more about Jesus.

When you say ‘amen’ to each prayer, get everyone to stick a star sticker on a big sheet of paper.

 

Noah’s Ark Story Bag

IMG_0434I’ve put together a bag of times to help tell the story of Noah’s Ark to some children under 5.  Bags like this are great because the children can then play with all of the items when you have told the story and you can also lend them to families to play with at home.  This bag contains…

  • A big gold gift bag,
  • a ribbon rainbow
  • blue and white ‘water’ streamers
  • blue tinsel ‘waves’
  • rain stick
  • wooden Noah’s ark with parts of animals
  • a fabric heart
  • blue fabric

I usually include a story book and then you are good to go!

Have fun storytelling 🙂

Reflective Fuzzy Felt Crosses

IMG_3521This is a really easy way to help children take time to reflect and think about God.  We use these at our church as part of the ‘pray-ground’ resources that are laid out on some tables at the front of church.  Children can come and use these resources at any point during the service and they are especially popular during sung worship times.

You will need: Coloured felt sheets, scissors

Cut cross shapes out of some felt sheets.  Next cut some smaller pieces of felt in different colours.  Lay out the cross shapes and felt pieces on a table or on the floor and invite children to decorate the crosses with the pieces. Encourage children to use the time to speak to God in their heads or to think about God. If you are sitting with them, this might be a good opportunity to speak to them about what they are thinking. Be prepared for some very deep God connections!

Joseph Messy Church Crafts

This month we looked at the story of Joseph at Messy church.  It’s quite a long story so we pulled out some of the main themes and events and had a lot of fun!  Here are some of the crafts we got up to…

joseph 1A coloured coat made of a length of brown paper (with a head hole cut out!).  We decorated the coat with pens, coloured paper, bubble wrap, felt pieces and lolly sticks and then used it as a costume when we told the story.

Joseph 3Coloured coat fuzzy felt: Felt coat shapes and scraps to decorate.

joseph 7Edible coloured coats: Wraps cut into coat shapes and decorated with icing and sweets.

joseph 5Egyptian collars made from paper plates and sticky shapes

Joseph 2Joseph’s jail made from Lego bricks

joseph 4Plaited straws (our attempt at wheat sheaves!)

joseph 6Paper plate cow faces.

Have fun!

5 Ideas for Reflective Prayer

It’s always amazing to see the depth of spirituality children display when we give them freedom and encouragement to explore. Just as some adults prefer to connect with God in quiet contemplation, the same is true with some children and we underestimate them at our peril!  Here are some ways I’ve found useful to help children to reflect on God and to be with Him in silence and contemplation.

Each of the activities below allows children to speak to God, but also, as they are doing so, to listen for His voice.  After doing one of these activities, it might be helpful to ask them if they felt God was saying anything to them or if anything popped into their head while they were praying.  Be ready to be astounded!

Sand art reflection  

You will need: slightly damp sand, a tray, a lolly stick, pencil or finger!

Fill the tray with the sand and smooth out the surface. Ask children to spend time writing or drawing their prayers to God in the sand.  What do they want Him to know? What would they like to tell Him?

Letters to God

You will need: envelopes, paper, pens, a letter box

Ask children to write letters to God.  What questions do they want to ask Him? What do they want to say to Him? Do they want to thank Him for anything? Put the letters into envelopes and encourage children to address the envelopes and put them into the box.

Reflective colouring

You will need: Reflective colouring sheets or prayers or Bible verses.  Click here to print some off, pens and colouring pencils

Let children colour in silence.  As they colour, do any of the words or phrases stand out to them? Do they feel God saying anything to them? Do they have any questions for God?

Play dough reflections

You will need: Play dough, a wipeable surface

Encourage children to use the play dough to express their ideas about God: What might He look like? What words describe Him? What other signs and symbols reflect who He is?

Reflection bottles

You will need: Clear plastic bottles, water, oil, food colouring, glitter

Glitter bottle: fill a bottle with water and add a tablespoon of glitter,  seal and shake.

Oil Bottle: Fill the bottle 2/3 full of water.  Add some food colouring to colour the water.  Fill the rest of the bottle with vegetable oil or baby oil.  Seal and shake.

Watch the glitter or the oil mix with the water and then gradually settle. Use the time to focus on God and to listen for his voice.

Jesus walks on water construction challenge!

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This craft is a construction challenge!

In the story of Jesus walking on water, Peter manages to walk a short distance on the water, but when he starts to pay attention to the storm around him rather than Jesus, he starts to sink.  When Peter get distracted by his problems and loses focus on Jesus he can’t keep going.  He needs Jesus’ help to walk across the water!

Set children the challenge of constructing a way, using recyclable rubbish, of helping a stone (which would naturally sink) to move across the water. The stone needs to stay afloat and it needs to move!

You will need: stones, marker pens, recyclable materials e.g. cardboard, plastic pots, tubes, plastic lids, scissors, glue, sellotape, balloons, straws, a tray of water.

There are no rights and wrongs with this craft- only imagination. It is probably best to give the children a time limit and to keep reminding them of what time they have left. Some will prefer to work with a partner and some will very much prefer to do their own thing. When time is up, let the children test out their constructions!

Talk about:

  • How do you think Peter felt when he saw Jesus walking on the water
  • Why do you think he wanted to try it himself?
  • What do you think he started to sink?
  • Have you had times when you needed help to keep going at something that was difficult?
  • What helped you?
  • Have you ever asked Jesus for help?

Pray

Pray for people who are experiencing , difficult, stormy times in their lives, where they feel that it is hard to keep afloat.  Put the children’s crafts on the water and pray that those people will find the help that they need.