The Gospel Project- the big picture of God's story.
If you haven't had the opportunity to check out LifeWay's curriculum, 'The Gospel Project', please take a few moments now to do so.
Currently, LifeWay is offering a month of free access to the materials for you to peruse including materials for Preschool, Younger Kids, Older Kids, Students and Adults. You'll find lesson materials, Key passage posters, Bible story videos, Video countdowns, Mission videos, Timeline maps, Worship songs and song videos, Big picture questions, Parent resources and Family Journal pages. Evaluate the material and provide feedback to LifeWay.
The material is available in digital or printed format which is a big plus from my perspective, since postage costs to Australia are excessive. I also appreciate materials with all age-groups dealing with the same content- great for families to talk about and discuss at home. You'll also find promotional material (logos, posters, list of themed decorating ideas) and training helps (guides and videos).
The Christmas lesson material is included in this preview material and includes video clip, lesson material, journal pages, key passage posters, activity sheets and nativity figures printable.
And the Gospel Project app is also available for iPhone and iPad with Volume 1 FREE to preview.
Each downloaded volume presents weekly lesson material for families to review at home and includes games, videos (Bible story- see sample, discussion starters), timelines and music.
The weekly lesson presents a calendar of suggested family activities for each day to reinforce the lessons- great idea!
You can view the Friends and Heroes music video Remember Me below but you can also download a free copy of this video from their site. Friends and Heroes also produce an Easter pack, Why does Easter matter, if you're still searching for a special Easter program or resources. Their DVDs are excellent and I've always found the kids are excited to watch each episode and will sit rapt.
Friends and Heroes is an animated children's adventure based in ancient Egypt, Israel and Rome. The story follows two young friends, Macky and Portia, as they fight for justice against the Roman Empire. Each episode consists of two Bible Stories in which children can learn about characters from the Old and New Testament.
Check out their site here for more information..... Friends and Heroes.
Looking for music for Easter? You can download individual music tracks and videos from Group quite inexpensively. I must admit, I like being able to download the tracks that I want rather than purchasing an entire CD only to find that I really only one or maybe two of the songs or renditions on the CD. Music tracks can be downloaded for 0.99 cents each and they have an Easter selection especially for kids. See here...
You can also purchase and download countdowns, lesson introduction clips and music videos for around $2.99 each. I particularly like the music videos since kids are singing and performing the actions during the clips. I've used other music videos before with animated backgrounds, flashing lights and bright words and fonts but I've found that kids like to watch other kids. They will engage and follow along when they see kids on the clip singing and doing the actions. Check out these music clips.
Now, I'd only just finished my post about Christmas music when this information arrived- 'Help! My Kids Have to Sing at Christmas.' The title definitely resonates with most children's church leaders. Parents love to see their kids up front and involved in a Christmas presentation but, how do you come up with new ideas each year for their Christmas involvement?
Well, this music book with sound tracks may help you out. The Christmas medley in particular, The Whole Story, with the option of either split-track backing or available sheet music would be a great option. And, the whole package is downloadable so you start on it immediately.
Listen to the samples to help with your decision... HERE
Christmas decorations are hanging in all the stores, promotional advertising features Christmas designs and scenes and Christmas music is playing softly wherever you shop. It's amazing, though, how hard it is to find great Christmas music to use for your own Christmas presentations or just as background music. Often, you buy a CD and find only one track that is really what you're after. Try heading to Group where you can download Christmas music as single tracks for kids or quality instrumentals that are just a bit different. ($0.99) Need a music clip for a Bethlehem nativity procession? Try this one... Christmas carols? See this selection..Songs for every occasion can be found here.. And.. video music clips can be downloaded here..
The clip below, 'Ancient Words', is a sample of their video music downloads.
Another site that you might like to check out has free stock music- not exactly Christmas music, but useful for those times when you need some accompanying or background music to slide presentations or movie clips you may have prepared. See here..
But, just for a bit of fun, check out the following clip of Johnny & Chachi singing a medley of 25 popular Christmas songs in 2 minutes.
Mark Waltz (Granger community Church) has produced a small book- 'How to Wow Your Church Guests'. Inside the pages of this book you'll find 101 ideas or suggestions to consider and suggested action steps to create a welcoming environment for visitors to your church- ideas that are also relevant for your children's ministry. I've included just one from this book in this post. Most of these ideas are straight-forward and simple to implement, and you certainly don't need to follow each suggestion. But it's worthwhile to consider for families and children who walk into your children's ministry area for the first time. I've included here the suggestion of bright, uplifting music. This is something that we have been doing for some time in our children's ministry and we've really noticed the difference it makes for kids who walk into the area and hear our theme songs playing. They settle down more easily and often sing along with the music before we start our program. What a great way to begin and a terrific introduction for new families to hear as they drop off their kids for the first time! Read Mark's article below. Purchase his book here...
'Emotion, a journal of the American Psychological Association, reported on the positive effects of music in a 2008 study with 32 college students in Sweden. Happiness/elation and nostalgia/longing were more likely to be experienced when listening to music than when students were not listening to music.
Most of us do not need a psych study to affirm the uplifting effects of music on our general state of mind. While most of us don't consciously consider whether our mood is enhanced by listening to tunes, most of us would agree that music playing in our car, home, office or earbuds at least reflects our emotional feelings, most likely improving our mood.
If our general experience, and psychological studies verify the benefits of music, why not have some tunes playing when people walk into your building or drive onto your campus? Music sets a tone. It communicates something is happening. In a mall, a restaurant, and at your church, music- even background music- sets up the environment and helps people experience a boost emotionally. All that's true, given you play music that's uplifting. Play some angry Nine Inch Nails or a funeral hymn, and you'll project a very different mood- one that may agitiate or depress your guests. Music is powerful.
Create a playlist that lifts, and welcome your guests with music.'
Recenlty, we highlighted some of the music videos from Group's VBS programs like 'PandaMania'. (See below) Now you can see this and more on their new site- www.4everybuddy.com This is a safe, kid-friendly, faith-based site for children ages 4 through to and includes games, videos, colouring sheets to download, resources and newsletters for parents and church leaders plus an online store for purchasing some of the follow-on materials from their holiday programs. Check out Fez and the Big Bad Bully, a Bible memory buddy book about standing up to bullies. This and other books are available from the 4everybuddy site.
Worship House Media has developed a special area for children (Worship House Kids) where you'll find resources to assist with your children's programs: shorts, songs, motion, stills and countdowns. (www.worshiphousekids.com)
Start your program off with countdowns like Skater Cat Countdown who jumps over park benches, flies down the footpath and tears up the street on his skateboard. If you'd like a quieter start to your morning, try the bubbly underwater scenes of Deep Blue Countdown.
Songs by Shout Praises Kids, Yancy and others can also be found here.
Wave of Wisdom and other 2D animation shorts by Timbuktoons, object lessons that illustrate Bible verses for kids to learn and love, are included on this site and well worth checking out. We've included an overview clip of Timbuktoons material.
Following on from our 'Inspired by Friends & Heroes' posting (30/11/10), David, from Friends & Heroes, has mentioned that Portia's song "What About Love" can be viewed on YouTube. We've included it below for you to check out.
I would be remiss in omitting any mention of the music currently available from Big Idea and their personalised CDs are sure to be a hit as gifts for the festive season.
'The cast of VeggieTales has recorded personalized CD's just for your family! Bob, Larry and Junior sing directly to your child, saying their name nearly 30 times through 8 songs and 9 talking segments. It's a perfect gift for little ones to treasure and enjoy!'
Sample tracks can be heard on their website...
Big Idea has an extensive collection of CDs, sing-alongs, songbooks, sheet music and downloadables- something for everyone. Check out their collection or purchase from our online store.