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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Spark Family Magazine Connects Church, Faith & Family

Looking for a way to connect your church families with their faith story when they are not in church? Spark Family Magazine is specifically for home use.

This Children’s Bulletin Doubles as a Worship Scavenger Hunt

Many churches use published children’s bulletins to engage younger worshippers. This homemade option helps connect children to the prayers and liturgy.

How to be a Baby-Friendly Church: 4 Tips

When Erin saw the rocking chair, she knew this was a child friendly church. Easy tips for making your church welcoming to parents and children.

The Joy of Singing with Children

In 2013 Brook Packard wrote a series of articles for Building Faith about singing with children. She shared wisdom from her many years of experience as an educator, musician, and Christian formation leader. These articles are rich with practical tips, overall advice, and ways to keep the joy of singing alive. If you or anyone you know works with children, these articles must reads!

First Communion for Children with Special Needs

All children can prepare for and receive the grace of the sacraments. When God invites, God provides. And when God provides, grace abounds! This moving story of Sue and Hector provides a powerful lesson, and practical suggestions for first communion for children with special needs.

Presenting Bibles to Children – Make it Intergenerational

Many churches present Bibles to young people, but this church brings older adults, parents, and children together for an intergenerational process. Children hear from older adults about why the Bible is important to them, and then receive a bookmark filled with favorite Bible verses.

Build a Better Easter Basket

Jerusalem Greer shows items with connections to Easter, and scripture, to fill a basket that is truly about Easter. Strengthen children’s faith.

Creating a Lenten Prayer Space at Home

In a family with small children it is often difficult to know how to create a space to journey through lent together in a developmentally appropriate way. Our family has tried different practices and readings through lent, but the one thing that has been constant in our Lenten practices is simply creating a collection of symbolic items in a central place in the home (i.e. on the family table or on a stand in a main living area).

Spring Comes Early with Plants in Your Sunday School Room

Plants not only supply life-giving oxygen, but also make us more in tune with the natural world. If we bring plants and flowers into our Sunday School rooms – a relatively inexpensive undertaking – we can set an example of care and appreciation of the natural world for our children. We can also illustrate the continuing work of God in creation in our world, bringing to life the scripture and theology of Genesis.

Why We Need Christmas Pageants

I think our pageant captures some of the complication of the trip to Bethlehem. The Holy Family were compelled by law to travel, despite Mary’s pregnancy. They found a place to sleep that was most likely even more uncomfortable than a fold-out-sofa in a cramped guest room. It was inconvenient, uncomfortable, and travel was probably the last thing they felt like doing. As adults, I know we can relate.

Talking with Children about Hard Topics

Writing this post in the first week of Advent, we have in our minds the text from the Gospel of Mark, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘In those days, after that suffering…'”

In the same week, many parents and church formation leaders are asking how and when to talk with children about the events in Ferguson, Missouri.

On the one hand, there is no “one-size fits all” recipe for such difficult and complicated discussions. On the other hand, the following resources offer wisdom regarding children, the news, and caring conversations. We may not be experts, but sometimes we cannot let that prevent us for opening up to the children in our care.

12 Children’s Christmas Books to Tell the Birth of Jesus

We’ve chosen twelve books that use text and image to capture the imagination of the very young and those who read to them! Some of these books use Scripture, some tell the story from the point of view of animals at the manger, some combine science and imagination to fill in what the Gospels don’t say. Grab a […]

Christmas Pageant Ideas, Tips, and Scripts

Does your church offer a Christmas pageant? Whether you worship in a large or small community; lots of kids or just a few – there is an option out there for you. Not all Christmas pageants need to be full-scale productions. In fact, there are many ways to dramatize the Nativity story with a handful of costumes/props and willing set of actors.

5 Thanksgiving Crafts to Teach Gratitude

November is the perfect time to teach gratitude at home, church, or school. Thanksgiving crafts, with Scripture, and tips for teaching thankfulness.

Why Sunday School Still Matters – And Why it Still Works

Here is the question: Is Sunday school still valuable in building up the next generation of Christians? Or is it a tragic hindrance to the overall goals of the Christian community?

The answer must take into account a full view of faith formation. But in short: Yes Sunday school is valuable. And yes, a traditional model of parish-based Christian education can still be effective is nurturing children and offering them knowledge, skills, and values to grow into adult followers of Jesus Christ.

A New Children’s Bible You Need: Shine On!

A great new resource in the Shine curriculum, the Shine On Story Bible is for young people in grades 1 – 8. This story Bible provides a rich tapestry of maps, cartoons, and culturally-appropriate images for stories from the Old and New Testaments. Also available in Spanish!

The 320-page, hardcover book is filled with stories of people “wrestling to know God and give us a glimpse of God’s desire for the world.” Both Old and New Testament stories are included with highlights of biblical poetry, songs, laws, instructions, and history.

Summer Nurture – Talking and Listening with Children

Children are on a mission: God is working in, through and with them. what might be our role as parents – or caregivers in any capacity? How do we celebrate their noticings, attend when they are joyous or sorrowful, and offer creative paths from boredom into engagement?
Listening comes first: fully listening to the child – not distracted by our busy schedules and mobile devices. It helps for us to be thinking in terms of of leading questions that engage, instead of just seeking the right answer. For example, “What do you think about that?”

A Blessing for Vacation Bible School

Churches leading VBS (and those with arts, nature, and fitness camps, too!) are also forming the adults and teens who volunteer. Recognizing those who lead the children during their daily camp is an important aspect of the ministry of church camp. Send your volunteers into the glittery fray, reminding them that they do important work on behalf of everyone in your congregation!

Choosing a Children’s Curriculum for Faith Formation

As springtime rolls around for Christian educators (even in the midst of Lent), thoughts turn to reviewing curricula, especially if your church is feeling the need for a change or what you have been using is about to be discontinued. Now is the time to begin the research, as it really takes a concerted effort to evaluate what you’ve been using, what’s been working, what’s not been working, what direction you want to go (or continue on), and how the needs of your church (and its families and children) have changed.

With that in mind, springtime has meant a time for me to update the curriculum overview charts that I’ve been doing for 10+ years. Most of the time, each year I simply need to make sure the website address for each resource is correct and update the prices (which inevitably go up a few dollars and cents every year). There’s always a program that is no longer being published or a new one making its debut.

All that remains true for the 2014-2015 program year, with a few additional changes I’ve discovered as I updated, added, and subtracted from my 2013 charts:

“The Painting Table” in Lent

The Painting Table is a book by Roger Hutchison, which has inspired workshops during Lent and other seasons. Here he describes how he used his practice of painting with the spirit and your fingers to create a Lenten series.