Sweet Dreams

Pillows

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

Serve: children at local shelters*

Connect: many children (and adults!) take for granted sleeping on a bed with linens and pillows, but sadly many people go without these things right at home in our local communities; help children connect by sharing about their favorite blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal and how they may feel if they didn’t have any of those things to rest with

Materials:

  • fleece
  • measuring tape or ruler
  • scissors
  • fiberfill stuffing
  • clothespins
  • pillow kits are an easy and quick alternative

Advance Preparation:

  • layer two pieces of fleece
  • cut a 17×17-inch square (makes a 14×14-inch pillow)
  • with both pieces together, cut a 3×3-inch square out of each corner
  • cut fringe around all sides of both pieces by cutting 3-inches into fleece at 1-inch intervals
  • keep both sides of pillows by securing with a clothespin
  • for younger children, place 2 clothespins on each side to help keep the ties lined up

Directions:

  • give each child or pair of children a pillow form
  • show them how to double knot the ties all around the pillow, leaving a small space open for stuffing
  • stuff the pillow, be sure to get fiberfill in the corners
    TIP: gently pull the fiberfill apart to make the pillow less lumpy
  • add enough stuffing to make the pillow comfortable to rest on
  • finish the ties

*Sweet Dreams is a grassroots movement started in Indianapolis, Indiana to provide children who are sleeping on the floor with a new mattress through a partnership with local schools. Since it’s conception in November 2014, over 125 mattresses have been placed in homes. Sweet Dreams has two corporate sponsorships with Mattress Firm and Sealy. Children at North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis started making pillows to give with each mattress and the effort has expanded to include three other United Methodist churches in Indiana. If your church would like to donate pillows to this project, you can ship them to the address below. Together we can ensure that every child has sweet dreams!

Sweet Dreams
c/o North United Methodist Church
3808 N Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Diapers of Cheer

Diaper Cheer

He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.” Mark 9:36-37, The Message

Serve: new parents and babies

Connect: it’s a dirty job to change diapers but it is one way parents care for babies who aren’t able to use the toilet; help children see that even the dirtiest job (no one likes poop!) can be an act of love

Materials:

  • size 1 diapers
  • sharpie markers (NO washable markers)

Directions

  • give each child several diapers and sharpie markers
  • encourage children to think about happy or funny images to draw on the diapers
  • allow children to write include “clean” with the punchline on the back

Go Further: have children host a diaper and wipes drive to supply a local food pantry or shelter with these needed supplies

Mailable Hug

Mailable Hug

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. John 3:16

Serve: members of the congregation who may be homebound or have lost a spouse since last Valentine’s Day

Connect: age children will easily connect with the giving of Valentines and how they feel when they receive a hug from a loving caregiver; challenge kids to think about people who may feel lonely or sad receiving a “mailable hug” to wrap around them and know someone loves them

Materials

  • card stock
  • Poem printed onto 1/2 sheet of card stock (printable):
    I made this great big hug just for you,
    To share God’s love, it’s true.
    Wrap it around you, all snug and tight,
    Hold it with all your might!
    For Valentine’s Day and all the year,
    God loves you – that’s reason to cheer!
    John 3:16
  • envelopes
  • yarn
  • jumbo ink pads
  • white heavy paper
  • hand washing supplies
  • markers
  • clear tape
  • scissors
  • mailing labels for recipients

Directions

  • have a child hold one end of the yarn while it is stretch across to the other hand, cut
  • use jumbo ink pads to make one set of hand prints per child
  • wash hands
  • cut out the handprints, no need to cut around fingers
  • use clear tape to secure each end of the yarn to one of the handprints
  • give each child a card and have them write their first name
  • put the card and mailable hug into an envelope
  • seal the envelope
  • attach one of the mailing labels
Posted in Uncategorized

Bagged Up With Love

Brown Bags

If you open your heart to the hungry, and provide abundantly for those who are afflicted, your light will shine in the darkness… Isaiah 58:10

Serve: neighbors who seek assistance at a local food pantry

Connect: help children understand that not everyone has a fridge full of food and some people go without food because they do not have enough money to buy food; a small way children can help is by extending loving encouragement to those in need

Take the Next Step: challenge kids to bring in nonperishable food items to send with the decorated bags to further support the work of a local food pantry

Materials

  • brown paper grocery bags, donated if possible (available online)
  • markers, crayons, stickers, etc.
  • message:
    This sack is filled with food for you,
    Decorated with love and cheer, too.
    Know you are loved and receive this care,
    So God’s love will be felt everywhere!
  • labels (optional)

Directions

  • print the message onto labels (optional)
  • give each child a brown paper grocery bag
  • ask children to write (or attach a label) the message on the top of the bag
  • give children time to creatively decorate the bag using a variety of materials
  • if close to a holiday, challenge kids to decorate the holiday theme

Visitor Greetings

Visitor Greetings
Keep loving each other like family. Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1-2

Serve: first time guests to church

Connect: children are often shy or uneasy when visiting a new place and meeting new people; through this mission project they are reaching out to warmly welcome church guests who may also feel anxious or uneasy about coming to a new place

Materials

  • construction paper
  • markers, crayons, etc.
  • stickers, etc.
  • pictures of kids

Directions

  • give each child a piece of construction paper to make a paper card
  • on the front have children write “Welcome” or “Join Us”
  • on the inside right panel, ask kids to write one thing they enjoy about church
  • have kids sign the card with their first name only and age
  • on the opposite side, glue a picture of the child
  • distribute cards to first time guests as part of an overall welcome to the church

Birthday in a Hat

Birthday in a Hat

The Lord your God is in your midst… God will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

Serve: residents at a local nursing home on their birthday

Connect: children enjoy receiving gifts on their birthday and through this mission project can bring birthday cheer to senior adults who may not be able to spend their birthday with family and friends

Materials

  • party hats
  • plastic wrap
  • materials to make a card
  • tissues
  • several pieces of sugar free candy
  • travel size bottle of lotion, donated by members
  • nonskid socks (optional)*
  • curling ribbon

Directions

  • have each child make a birthday card with no numbers or names
  • be sure they write “made by…” with their first name and age on the back
  • combine inside a party hat:
    • card
    • package of tissues
    • sugar free candies
    • bottle of lotion
    • nonskid socks (optional)
  • with the point side down, gather plastic wrap around and up the birthday hat
  • tie off the the plastic wrap with curling ribbon

 

*upcoming: how to make homemade non-skid socks

Missions: Kids Style

Missions Kids Style

I was overjoyed to find some of your children living in the truth, just as we had been commanded by the Father. – 2 John 1:4

Every child has the power to change the world through serving others. By offering fun, exciting, service opportunities, churches can help kids understand they are on a mission too. And involving children in missions has a direct impact on their future. By training children up in doing the work of the church, we instill in them the importance of serving and prepare them to accept even greater opportunities to serve as adults.

Missions: Kids Style is new series dedicated to offering church leaders in ministry with children a mission plan to engage children in hands-on service projects. Each project takes about 15 minutes to complete and can be easily incorporated into an existing discipleship programs, like Sunday school or children’s church. The first project will post on January 21.

Many of the materials are readily available craft supplies, or may be purchased at a local dollar or grocery store. If a project calls for items in bulk or more specialty supplies, links are provided as a suggestion.

Each mission project is selected for it’s ability to serve a specific group in the church, community, or around the world. Some mission projects will offer opportunities to partner with other organizations to get the completed materials to the people in need. And others take on a holiday theme as way of celebrating the festivities while still emphasizing the Biblical model of serving others. Many of the ideas started with something on Pinterest and have been adapted for the local church to serve as a service project.

Have fun serving in ministry with children and help them to fully live into their place as participants in the work and mission of the church!

Peace,

Danyelle

Building Excitement

Guess Photo

Easter Sunday is a great opportunity to build excitement for upcoming programs. To draw attention to Faith Builders, our summer Sunday school program for children K-5th grade, we are hosting a “Guess How Many Bricks” competition in the main entry to our building. Combined with activity books and crayons handed out to every child on Easter (another one on Mother’s Day), we are sure to catch the attention of members and guests alike!

 

Faith Builders 2.0

Faith Builders 2.0 Graphic

In January, I came across David Henderson’s incredible idea and lesson sequence to combine Bible stories with LEGO builds called “Faith Builders.” I loved the idea of engaging children through interactive lessons using something they already enjoy: LEGO bricks! But I knew I needed a more fully developed resource to make this work in ministry with children. So, I expanded on Henderson’s work to develop lesson plans for a one-room, 13-week fun, Bible-based program for classes with children ages 5 to 12 called “Faith Builders 2.0.”

Whether children in a combined class are age 4, 12, or anything in between, these 13 interactive lessons will help kids experience the wonder and adventure of the Bible. Each lesson has minimal preparation and includes a fun LEGO build. Lesson reproducibles compiled from public domain sites are also available to ease preparation and provide leaders with extra time activities (of course, kids could always build more with LEGO bricks!). With step-by-step instructions, it’s easy to teach children about God’s Word through creative play with LEGO bricks. Their lives will never be the same!

Complete Lesson Plans

Lesson Reproducibles

Live Lent Update

prayer pretzel tag

Live Lent was a huge success at my church’s annual Kids’ Spring Retreat! Seeing it in action gave me a better sense of how easy this program is for churches of any size to use. The one place I noted for improvement was in the Cooking Workshop, which needed an extra activity to keep the kiddos from getting restless while their pretzels were baking. And what better than an activity geared to share what they learned with the whole congregation?! Now, the lesson plan includes a fun prayer pretzel reminder craft to assemble to give out on Sunday morning, at an outreach event, or any other time. You can download the updated Cooking Workshop lesson plan with printable tags to complete your Live Lent program.

Cooking Workshop Update

 

Cheers!
Danyelle