Manna in the Wilderness

In Exodus 16, God first gives the Israelites manna as food in the wilderness. It’s describes as being like ‘flakes.’ These crackers aren’t like flakes exactly, but making them will help children to imagine themselves into the story.

You will need: 100g plain flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil, 3 tablespoons of water, a rolling pin, a mixing bowl, a fork, a baking tray, greaseproof paper, a knife or pizza cutter, an oven, honey

Preheat the oven to 180˚C and grease a baking tray or line it with greaseproof paper. Mix the dry ingredients together in the bowl and then add the oil and water. Mix together with a fork or your hands until a dough is formed. Roll the dough out thinly and place it on the baking tray. Prick the dough all over with a fork and then cut it into squares with a knife or pizza cutter. Put the baking tray into the oven and bake for 15-20 mins until the crackers are starting to turn light brown.

When the crackers have cooled, share them out and try them. Children might want to spread a little bit of honey on them, as we are told that the manna tasted like ‘wafers made with honey’ (Exodus 16:31). As you eat, talk about the story of God giving manna in the wilderness.

Talk about:

  • How would you have felt to see the manna on the ground for the first time?
  • Why do you think God gave the rule about only gathering what was needed?
  • What would you think of having this every day for many years?
  • What foods do you eat every day?

Pray:

Thank God for the foods you enjoy. Ask him to show us how to help those who don’t have enough to eat.

‘God so loved the world’ suncatcher

You will need: PVA glue, a clear plastic lid (e.g. a large yoghurt pot lid), green and blue food colouring, cocktail sticks

Pour PVA glue into the lid and spread it out with a spoon until the whole lid is covered in a thin layer.

Drop some little blobs of food colouring into the glue and use a cocktail stick to swirl and spread them around. Try to make a distinction between land (green) and sea (blue).

Leave to dry.

When the glue is fully dry, attach the suncatcher to your window with a little bit of blue tack and let the sun shine through.

As the sun shines through, think about God’s love for us and for our world. What makes you feel loved? Who do you know who needs help to feel loved by God right now? How can we help to show God’s love to the world?

Dear God, thank you for loving us and wanting good things for us. We pray for people all over the world who are feeling unloved, guilty, sad and afraid. Help them to know your love and to know the love and hope Jesus brings. Amen

Exploring The Parable of the Sower

As we come further into spring, it’s a great time to tell the parable of the sower and to think about how we grow as disciples.

Here are some helpful resources to help you to do this:

Use the Parable of the Sower Playdough Mat (above). Click here to print off and use. For repeated use, it really helps to laminate the sheet!

Think about how seeds might grow on different types of ground by testing it out! Make ‘seed balls’ and then throw them into your garden and watch what happens as nature takes its course. This is a great set of instructions to help you to get started. Be aware that it might get messy!

Go into the garden and look at where plants are growing and where they aren’t. What do you notice?

Watch this video of the story, using photos taken in Israel of the 4 different types of land.

Use junk to make a model of something that really sticks out to you from the story. Share what you have made and why.

Talk about:

  • What helps plants to grow?
  • What helps people to grow?
  • What helps us to grow in knowing more about Jesus?

Pray:

Eat some fruit and ask God to help us grow in knowing about and loving Jesus and in loving each other.

Prayers for peace

Here is a very visual and watchable way to help children to pray for peace and the bringing together of communities. You can also use things you are very likely to have a home, which is always a welcome bonus!

You will need: Kitchen roll, water, 2 cups, food colouring

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Take 2 cups and fill them about 2/3 full with water. Into each cup, mix a different food colouring so that each cup’s water is a different colour. Try to get as strong a colour as possible.

Cut a strip of kitchen roll as long as a sheet of the roll and about 5cm wide.

Talk about divisions in communities we know or live in. What causes such divisions? Who or what helps to heal divisions and bring people together. Think about one of the names for Jesus which is ‘Prince of Peace.’ What does that mean? How can we help to bring about peace?

Think of a situation where there is division e.g. in a war. Put the paper towel as a bridge between the two cups, with each end of the towel in on of the cups. Pray that God will help to heal the divisions and bring people together in peace, as you watch the coloured water ‘climb’ up the towel, meet in the middle of the towel and combine to form a new colour (e.g. red in one cup and yellow in the other will lead to an eventual combination of orange in the middle). Try different colours for different situations and watch your peace prayers bring about new colours!

Shining Light Pictures

This craft is a very satisfying and visual way of exploring the concept of bringing light to darkness and revealing what is hidden. It’s a great activity to do if you are thinking about Jesus as the light of the world and our job to bring that light and hope too.

You will need: plastic wallets (I used ones that are open on the top and one side, like these), Sharpies or permanent markers, black card or paper, white card or paper, scissors.

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Using Sharpies, decorate the front of a plastic wallet with pictures and words about light and Jesus the light of the world. If you put a sheet of white paper into the folder while you do this, it gives a clear background to help you when you are drawing and colouring your design.

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When you have finished, take the white paper out of the folder and replace it with black paper. It will now be much harder to see your design.

Cut a piece of white paper to look a little bit like a torch beam or a ray of light and place it inside the folder, between the folder and the black paper.

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As you move the paper ‘beam’ it will highlight parts of your design as if you are shining light on it in the darkness.

Talk about:

  • the comparison between the darkness and the ability to see more clearly and in colour
  • What does it mean to be light in darkness?
  • What things help to make the world a brighter, happier and better place?
  • Where could we shine light and help to make our communities and homes brighter places?

Have fun!