My youngest granddaughter has discovered jigsaw puzzles and regularly drags them all out for me to help her complete. It doesn't seem to matter that we've worked on the same puzzles over and over. She still delightedly claps her hands when we've finished.
I've noticed that the older kids are just as happy to work on online jigsaw puzzles, too. And... it's easy to create your own FREE puzzles with images from your computer.
What a great way to share the weekly memory verse, Bible point or perhaps a picture of Sunday's lesson with your kids' church! You can alter the number of jigsaw pieces to change the difficulty level and even use different shapes for the puzzle. Once you've made your puzzles online( and it takes only minutes to create), you can share them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email them to families or embed them in your blog or website.. easy.
There are a number of sites that allow you to create these jigsaw puzzles, but I used JigsawPlanet.
Try the sample below. If you have trouble viewing or playing the puzzle, use the link HERE
to access it online. Have fun!
If you'd like to use this puzzle yourself, just copy the code listed below the puzzle and add it to your blog or site:
<iframe frameborder=0 src="http://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1471499fdb6f&view=iframe" title="Your Word - online jigsaw puzzle - 24 pieces">[Your web browser does not support frames or is currently configured not to display frames. However, you may visit <a href="http://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1471499fdb6f" target="_top">the related page</a>.]</iframe>
The devastating tornado in Oklahoma and the magnitude of this disaster has generated world-wide attention. Even here on the Gold Coast, it has received front-page newspaper coverage. Our thoughts and prayers are with this community as they deal with the heart-breaking destruction and loss.
The Skit Guys have responded to this tragedy with the offer of a free clip, 'The Storms of Life'
, in the hope that you can download and use this to encourage discussion about this and other tragedies. (see below) "We hope that your church community will remember ours. Remember that there’s a community aching. Remember there’s a lot to rebuild––both homes and hearts. Please keep OK in your prayers today and in the weeks to come.' Skit Guys
In Australia, natural disasters are common: drought, cyclones, fire, floods. The predictability of these disasters has been immortalized in the imagery of our poetry and literature, but are you and your children's ministry team prepared for it? Can you comfort families and children and help them cope with disaster?
There are a number of points to keep in mind.
1. Children need physical reassurance. They need to be with their family to feel safe. Keep in mind that displaced children will require even more physical comforting. 2. Children need to talk. Listen to them. They need to know others understand and share their worries and concerns. 3. Talk honestly.... but don't scare them. Share worries in an age-appropriate manner. 4. Remain as calm as possible. Maintain normal routines as much as you are able. 5. Expect regressive behaviour. Generally, such behaviours will fade over time. More helpful information can be found from the following resources:
The dictionary defines creative as: cre·a·tive 1. having the quality or power of creating. 2. resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative: creative writing. 3. originative; productive (usually fol. by of). 4. Facetious. using or creating exaggerated or skewed data, information, etc.: creative bookkeeping. Creative Bible Study blog is a Christian blog and site dedicated to getting believers excited about God's Word and all it holds. The site provides information for children, preschoolers, youth, object lessons, prayer, Bible lessons, devotions and more..
It's helpful and encouraging to share creative ideas, information and resources (one of the reasons that Pinterest has become so popular, so quickly) and this is just one website and blog that does just that. And, since we're on the subject, Creative Bible Study's Pinterest boards are well worth taking a look.. see here. 'Today is your day to be creative as you let the truth of God's Word impact your life and the lives of those around you.' Creative Bible Study
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...to make sure you don't miss any blogs filled with information and ideas for children & family ministry.
A couple of months ago, a free webinar was aired as part of a book launch by Nils Smith. The book was 'Social Media- a guide for ministry' and the webinar was helpful for those interested in learning more about 'whys' and 'hows' of using social media for ministry- yes, children & family ministry, too.
If you missed it and would still like to learn more, you can view these presentation online HERE...
The book is available here
or as a Kindle version here..
We are obsessed with time. It's been said that time is what we want most but use worst.
Time, or a lack of it, is the topic of everyone's conversation and every family complains of a frenetic family calendar and schedule.
In children's ministry, there is a huge pressure to produce and use time wisely. After all, there is always the next lesson to prepare, event to organise, family to contact and meeting to attend.
But there are a number of helpful programs and apps that can simplify your life and organise your time. Check out the following list. What programs do you find helpful?
For more ideas, check out this article
to structure in a productive day.
ASTRID.. a great little program and app that I use to list my tasks. I can also use it to change my emails into tasks and appointments. (Any.do is also good.)
CATCH.. a free app to capture ideas and turn them into action.
eWALLET.. stores important personal information passwords, cards etc. (256-bit AES encryption)
TRIPIT.. organises all your trip details- flight info, hotel reservations, excursions, rentals, meetings etc.)
NAMERICK.. if you forget the names of parents and others, this is for you. SHOEBOXED.. take a photo of your receipt and Shoeboxed copies the date, total, payment type, store and category. Keep track of your expenses.
Recently, I learned of a couple of children's ministry volunteers who were tired and discouraged and pulling out of the team. I had worked with these people a few years ago and known them to be fun, enthusiastic, passionate volunteers. What had happened? Family concerns? Health issues?
Sadly, no. It was something simple- a basic but ongoing issue with systems and structures. There weren't any.. or rather, the structures weren't very stable. Lesson materials and resources were provided late or missing crucial elements. Sign-in sheets for parents went missing. Broken equipment was never fixed. New programs arrived late and volunteers had to improvise, and team communication was sporadic. Discouragement had set in.
In other words, there were some serious problems with the planning and organisation within the team leadership.. with tragic results. If you struggle with this issue, then help is available.
Start FRESH today, and restructure your systems and planning with a special Children's Ministry Planner Pack.
We've created a pack filled with planning materials and resources for all your children's ministry needs.
You'll find included:
* weekly ministry planner
* daily ministry & personal planner
* blank personal planner
* ministry event planner
* budget planner
* research sheets for noting and recording worthwhile websites and apps
Download and print these resources now.... $9.95 for the full pack.
(The next blog post will include some additional apps that you may find helpful for planning and organising your ministry and daily tasks.)
| || | Springpad
is a great little program and app that allows you to clip and store information, ideas, videos, pictures and more that you find while searching online. This information can be stored in various notebooks and kept private or available to share with others. If you're not using it yet, you might like to check it out. It's an easy way to share information and ideas with your team.
It also allows you to embed a notebook in your website or blog as another way to share this information. And so, I thought I'd try it with this post.. hope it works!
I've gathered a small collection of interesting apps that you may find worthwhile for your children's ministry or for your own family. You should be able to click on the image for more information with a link to the source.
You also might like to check out previous posts of other potentially useful apps. * Apps for children's ministry.. * Ten more apps you may have missed * Pick Me app * Family & ministry magazine apps
Materials (per puppet)
* 1 x plastic juice or milk carton for each puppet character
* 2 x google eyes (at least 28mm) If you can't buy them, you can cut out ovals from the plastic lids of icecream containers and use black permanent markers.
* flesh coloured stockings
* acrylic hair from a craft shop, or wool
* small piece of soft calico or other material, or a scarf.
* 50cm length of 8mm dowel & tack or nail
Want to involve kids in lessons and Bible stories? Try giving them some puppets to act out or retell the story.
If you've never used puppets before or don't know how to start, these rod puppets are a great way to begin- and they are so easy to make! Make a set of characters to have on hand for any story or... involve the kids in making them. And... if you also take photos of the kids and the puppet presentation or make a video, it's even better. You can show it to all your kidmin groups and your church family or upload it to your kidmin website. I have found that even the quiet kids want to play a part as a puppet character.
So.. how do you make them?
1. Remove lid from carton. Pull the leg of a stocking over the carton down past the neck of the carton and tie a knot.
2. Cut off the excess stocking and screw the lid of the carton back on.
3. Drill a hole in the centre of the lid and push the dowel through to the inside end of the carton. If it seems a little loose, push in a tack (or hammer a nail) through the base of the carton to anchor the end of the piece of dowel. ( You shouldn't have too much difficulty seeing the end of the dowel through the base of the plastic carton.)
4. The handle of the carton becomes the puppet's nose so attach 2 google eyes on either side of the handle.
5. Now, comes the fun part. Add acrylic hair for the puppet's mustache eyebrows and hair. Wrap the piece of material around the top of the carton and it's ready!
Bullying is a sensitive topic for many kids struggling at school, in the playground, with classmates and sometimes even at home. It's not something that we can or should avoid discussing with kids and there are an increasing number of programs that you could consider using in your kidmin programs. Below, I've listed just a couple.
But you also might like to consider the 'Truth or Trash' iPhone app, from iKAN Ministries, to use in conjunction with your programs or discussions. The game app was produced to help kids discern the difference between the potentially harmful opinions of others and real truth. It also includes a Scripture reference after each question/answer.
' Imagine a day in your life when you are not longer affected by what others think or say about you. Throughout your life many people will have their opinions of you. It's hard at times not to feel rejected or worthless. This game is designed to help children and adults quickly recognise the difference between someone's opinion, general facts and what is really true.' Check it out here...
1. The Protectors
... Comprehensive Freedom-From-Bullying Programs and Resources
2. Stop Harassing Me Postcard program
... an effective program to reduce instances of cyberbullying for older students.
3. Comforting Kids in Crisis.
.. practical ways to help kids through their greatest challenges.
4.Fez and the Big Bad Bully
.... a Bible memory buddy book from Group about standing up to bullies
5. StarShip Alpha
.... a five-week program from LifeChurch dealing with the topic of bullying.
6. The Great Race
.. a program from Elevate about Nehemiah. Week 3 deals particularly with bullying.
7.Truth or Trash.
.. app as above
If you're looking for a 'thank you' gift for your volunteers and leaders that is a little more meaningful than an Easter egg or a box of chocolates, then this simple egg candle may be useful- it's very easy to make. Then package it up with some plastic film and add a 'thank you' label'.
1. Carefully cut the top off an egg and remove the egg. Rinse and dry.
2. Add a candle wick inside the empty egg shell and fill with candle gel. (The gel candle kits are readily available from most toy shops and contain the candle wicks and gel.)
3. Pop the egg shell candle in an egg cup.
4. Cut out 2 x 6cm diameter circles of styrofoam or corrugated cardboard
5. Cut a piece of clear plastic film 15cm x 21cm. (OHP transparency film would be fine.)
6. Place the egg cup with candle on one of the styrofoam circles.
7. Form a cylinder by wrapping the plastic film around the styrofoam circle and eggcup and secure with clear tape.
8. Attach the other styrofoam circle at the top of the cylinder.
9. Print the label. (see below)
10. Cut out and wrap around the base of the cylinder with eggcup.
11. Add a ribbon bow to the top of the cylinder, if required.
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