Friday, March 30, 2012

Palm Sunday Resources

Parents, can you believe it's already almost Palm Sunday? I certainly can't. Here are a few of the things that our family intends to do this week in order to prepare our hearts and minds for the beginning of Holy Week.

Palm Sunday lesson for preschool
Palm Sunday crafts and coloring pages
Huge listing of Palm Sunday resources including word searches, mazes, coloring pages, crosswords, and group activities.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Holy Experience: a Beautiful Lent Resource

I subscribe to the blog, A Holy Experience, written by Ann Voskamp. I am continually moved and challenged by her humble understanding of her God, and life here on Earth. Today, she shared an intriguing and deeply moving post about what Lent means to her, and I was so touched that I felt I should share it. Understand, Ann is not Episcopalian. At the same time, I feel that we can embrace our similarities and discount our canonical differences in some circumstances.

I hope her words bless you as they have me!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Place At The Table

The Episcopal Church seems to be moving toward making Lent more than just a time of self-sacrifice in solidarity with Christ. Rather, I see a move toward enhancing our lives- living them more completely, the way God intended. At our church specifically, we are working on physical, emotional, and spiritual health. This involves a variety of things, including physical exercise and eating healthier foods, making time for prayer each day, and giving to others.

I stumbled upon this book recently and I will be reading it during Lent. The author is a Christian who chooses to eat like most of the world does, rather than how Americans tend to do. I'm particularly excited because it chronicles his Lent journey (while I'm doing mine!) and explores our physical health as well as the physical/emotional condition of others. It seems to fit into my own journey over the next 40 days, and I share it here because I suspect it might just coincide with yours as well.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

 How are you celebrating Valentine's Day?

We are doing lots of fun things in our house, including making Valentines to give to friends and family, eating pink heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast, and playing a few Valentine's Day games.

This is pretty standard behavior, I think, but I want to be sure that we talk about God's love on this special day as well as romantic love. (I think kids get plenty of exposure to the latter in our society.) So, what to do?

We were off to a great start because in church last Sunday the children all made valentine cards which we will be delivering (as a church) to a local nursing home. We are all excited to be spreading God's love in this way, and the residents are excited to see the kids and their creations!

In our family we are also prepared to be "sneaky" valentines this year, who will be dropping off anonymous messages of love and friendship to our neighbors. (So if you live near us and read this blog, don't spoil the surprise!)

Still thinking about what your family will be up to today?

Check out these links for some more fun Valentine's Day ideas for kids:
Kid-friendly story of St. Valentine and several angel craft ideas
Valentine game and activity ideas
Valentine's Day stories, poems, and recipes

I asked a few kids last week during Children's Chapel about the roots of Valentine's Day- "where did it come from, and why do we celebrate it?" I wanted to know. A few kids had a general idea (maybe it had something to do with God??), but many weren't so sure how this wonderful holiday originated. That's not surprising since History doesn't give us a very clear answer, but I hoped that children would recognize the story of Father Valentine, a early Christian priest who helped young couples marry. Check out this quick video from the History Channel to buff up your own recollection of V-day's origins, both pagan and Christian:

(Note: it's a 4 minute video- please watch it first without your children because you may find that it contains ideas which are a bit "too old" for very young children)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Abundant Life and Forgiveness Idea

This is a link to a wonderful blog authored by a Christian family hoping to raise kids who love God. Because our youth group is focusing on lessons about forgiveness and living an abundant life this week, I thought I would share their post about ways for your family to make a difference.

Extension Activities for the story of Abraham

Follow this link for a free downloadable PowerPoint presentation on the story of Abraham, and click on the CB link for corresponding coloring book pages.

A Promise for Abraham mini-book craft.

Abraham's story Bible Timeline printables.

Abraham storyboard set for kids.

Abraham coloring pages which correspond to the included story.

Resources for the Temple Lesson

Follow this link for a free downloadable PowerPoint presentation on the story of David and Solomon, and click on the CB link for corresponding coloring book pages.

David brings the Ark to Jerusalem story and review and craft ideas (like making a game board or leading a parade into Jerusalem).

Can you ask children to make their own special palace like David (a fort with blankets, for example), or even a beautiful Temple for the Ark (maybe using couch cushions)?

Can your child draw a picture of what the city of Jerusalem must have looked like when David recaptured it? Try cutting out some happy, smiling faces from magazines to glue onto the people in the picture- it must have been a very happy day, after all!

Photo Credit

My Place with Jesus

This is a free, online game which promotes knowledge of Jesus and is really, really fun to use! My children have loved it! It's intended for younger children- think early elementary most likely, and is best used with a parent to support and answer questions.

Check out My Place with Jesus here!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Promised Land Lunch

This week some of our youngest kids studied the Promised Land in Sunday School, and they learned about how important it was for God's people to leave the desert and establish permanent homes in an area with fertile land. Kids discussed God's promise to provide a home for the faithful, so wouldn't this be a fun lunch to serve this week as a reminder of God's promise to His people?

The blog which originally posted this lunch idea is in Spanish, but you can check it out here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Joseph Activities

Here are a few wonderful activities to do at home with your children during our week of study on Joseph.
(Several Joseph crafts including a coat mosaic, Joseph in prison - make a card chain, Joseph interprets the Baker's dream - make some bread, Joseph stores up grain - make a pyramid of wheat or barley)
(Make a coat of many colors using tissue paper - contains a video)
(Joseph's coat of many colors paper doll)
(Make a story wheel showing Joseph's dreams)
(Make some Egyptian crafts like Joseph may have seen or worn in Egypt including a headband, a bracelet, a collar (wesekh), a falcon amulet)
(Make an Egyptian chariot out of a small milk carton or disposable cup and printable horse templates)

Jacob's Ladder Cookies

At our church last week and this week, one of our classes has been talking about Jacob. Who is this character in the Bible and what did he do? Check out this link to read about the story of Jacob and Esau.

Check out this Jacob's Ladder cookie recipe.

Jacob and Esau Crafts and Extension Activities

Here are a few wonderful Jacob- related extension activities to share and do with your children. I hope they bless your family as they have mine!
(Painting craft of the twins, Jacob and Esau)
(A model of the tent where Jacob steals Esau's blessing )
(Make Jacob's bowl of stew)
(Scroll down for 2 crafts - another bowl and a Jacob and Esau collage)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Prayer Cards for Your Children

This link provides seven printable cards to leave around the house to help us parents remind ourselves to pray for our children as they grow and mature in the world. It's so easy to remember to pray for those who are ill, who are less fortunate, who need specific things... but sometimes we overlook praying for those who are in our lives all the time, day in and day out.

Print any (or all) cards which you think might prove helpful to you in remembering to ask for God's help as you raise your children, and as you interact with them each day.

Thanks, When You Rise!

Natural Star Craft

I must admit, this star craft starts out with a really wholesome, natural feel... and then kids spray adhesive on and dump glitter onto their product. So while it isn't perhaps the most salubrious of endeavors, it's still a simple, fun craft for kids to keep them thinking about the star which is leading the magi to Jesus.

You will need:

Sticks (we collected ours from the backyard, but craft sticks would also work)
Glue or spray adhesive
Twine or yarn to tie the sticks together
Glitter (lots, and lots of it!)
Raffia to display your finished product
Some newspaper or scrap paper to protect your craft surface

Assemble your supplies and break your sticks to desired length.

Assemble a simple star shape with the sticks and wrap the twine around and between sticks until the desired design is reasonably secure.

Put these in a safe place to dry. If you use spray adhesive they dry relatively quickly, but conventional glue takes much longer.

Of course it was too dark to take photos of our finished products by the time we finished, but we strung  a bit of raffia around the stars and hung them in our living room windows above our nativity to remind us of where the magi are headed!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

At Home With God curriculum

Here's the link to a great resource for busy Christian families who wish to incorporate God's word into their daily lives. This approach is simple, straightforward and designed for today's working parents to share with them God's love and guidance without a lot of in-depth activities and planning.

Check it out here.

Blessings to your families!

King James Bible National Geographic Article

National Geographic Magazine is running an article in the December 2011 edition, in newstands now, on the origin of the King James Bible. It's an excellent, informative, and insightful look at the implications our version of the Bible has had on the world. Better yet, it's an accurate look at how our Bible came to be what it is today.
Unfortunately, the article isn't yet available online. For the online picture gallery, click here, or check it out in print version if you get the chance!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Godly Play Epiphany Lesson

Since we won't be having Sunday School for two more weeks, here is the video for all of the Godly Play lessons which students may have participated in. There are six stories in this video, and children at our church have done the first five. Feel free to forward through the first five videos to get right to Epiphany, or watch them all for a good review!