Our church has a strong focus on families, both within our church family and families in the community. Regular family outreach events are planned throughout the year- free events that have family values and are fun for everyone. Many in our community have had no previous contact or connection with a church and this is one way that we can build ties and connection to these families.
Our next event will be held next month and will be a Christmas in July style of event. We're calling it 'Australian White Christmas.' The front and back of our invitation flyers can be seen on the image. I've included a file of these images that you can download, edit and use yourself if you wish.
As inspiration and a starting point for our planning, we purchased and downloaded the Christmas event 'Christmas Magic'
from Group ($2.99). Although this event has been created for women's groups, it still gave us great ideas and help with decorating ideas, games and activities.
We will provide a free family Christmas dinner as part of this special event. We begin and finish early so that families can just take the kids home following and pop them into bed. Generally, for our outreach events, we encourage everyone to attend, but because this is a small church and our seating for a formal dinner will be limited, we will only be issuing a limited number of free tickets.
There will be games for the kids, activities, crafts, the dinner and a special Christmas presentation with music and puppets to finish. I've included a powerpoint to promote this special family event, if you wished to use it.
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Kids love puppets.. They love to watch puppet shows and the antics of character puppets. They love to use puppets and they love to make puppets. But generally, we think of little kids when we plan to include finger puppets.
And yes, younger kids enjoy finger puppets. We've previously mentioned finger puppets, how to use finger puppets with little ones in your Bible lessons and listed some good examples... here.
These cardboard Farm Finger Puppets are an amazing variation and would be terrific for older kids to use because they can 'talk'. The kits include 4 puppets (cow, donkey, pig and chicken) and there is a safari animals and dino kit, too. I must admit, I had wondered if they would work or maybe they would just balance on the end of your finger, but they do. You just need to curl your finger up and down and the mouth will open and close. So.. how about including these in your kids church Bible story lesson or having the kids retell the story with finger puppets. Animals are often involved in these stories.. Balaam's donkey, Prodigal son, Samson, and more. You can find Bible character figures HERE
to print off and include in the stories as needed. Attach a small dowel to the back of each to create a stick puppet.
You can find them online here..
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!
Order of service
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Last Sunday, we held our 'One Starry Night'
family service and encouraged all the families from our kids' club to attend.
Since many of these families have had little or no previous contact with church events, we presented a simple service with a strong focus on families and included plenty of kids' involvement and highlights the One Starry Night kids' club event. We also used some of the great Christmas resources available and I've listed these for you to check out. (The hard part was choosing which resources to use!)
I've included our schedule/order of service. I used a Microsoft template for this and there are many available ready to download and personalise. See here..
Save some time and use these templates when you need to create a form or presentation for your team. It does make a difference; it highlights the importance of what you are doing and, it saves you time.
We introduced the service with the free clip from Friends and Heroes- a simple, animated presentation in music of the reason
we celebrate Christmas. (See resources.)
I used Animoto
to create the clip of our One Starry Nigh
t outreach event. We used Group's music clip No Greater Gift
as backing for the kids' item. (Available as worship dvd in the Faithweaver Praise and Worship music
; these are great!)
Our Christmas story, The Christmas Miracle
, was told by puppets which held everyone's attention. We used the pre-recorded skit from Instant Puppet Skits.
Everyone joined in singing Silent Night
while the clip played (see below) while some of the children handed out the M&Ms Christmas packs to everyone. A printable for this is available from the list of resources included.
Through history, puppets have caught the attention of children and adults alike as they laugh, learn, imagine, empathize and dream through the antics of a puppet. If you’re not
including puppets in some aspect of your work with children- watching them, interacting with them, making them or presenting with them- you need to reconsider the impact of puppets.
Maybe you’d like to develop a puppetry team or even highlight the possibilities of puppets with your volunteers but don’t know where to start. KidsKount
has produced a series of free, short training videos that you can email to your leaders. It’s a great way to present these tips and techniques for making puppets come alive,
simply and effectively. These videos include: Why use puppets? Finding a puppet that’s just your type Stages and storing puppets Making an entrance
Looking at the right spot Getting in sync The puppetry hall of shame
Why not print off our puppetry training handout for your volunteers (see here..)
as an introduction to the training series and a highlight the weekly emailed videos? Encourage everyone to read the material and watch the videos. Make it something they will look forward to by including special news, information or photos about your program or upcoming events or links to fun puppet ideas and ‘how-to’ suggestions. Maybe you could make it really special and create a competition with a classroom puppet as the prize.
I've just recently come across these great hand puppets but obviously they have real potential for ministry and interacting with the kids.
They are non-toxic, animal hand tattoos that are easily removed with water. There are also sets of dinosaurs and other animals. They have great potential for use with small groups of kids to tell a story or as a special character that interacts with the kids.
Creating a simple character, such as these hand puppets, is often helpful to
encourage those children who are quiet and more withdrawn to share and interact
through their puppet. Certainly, the kids would love to be the puppet character and I'm sure it would be the catalyst that promotes enlivening conversation and discussion within the group.
The hand puppets or ‘Talking Hands’ are available from outlets such as David Jones, Bardot Jnr or from our online store. See here..
Paper Bag Puppets are a great way to dramatise a story for children. They are also a great way to involve them in telling the story. Check out some of these paper bag puppet designs.
The puppets pictured here have been printed from Shelly Comiskey's 'Born to be Wild' image collection (www.pccrafter.com
). The lower jaw of the lion was cut off and glued under the fold of a gussetted paper bag. The top portion of the lion's head, was glued to the folded base of the bag. (If you haven't used paper bag puppets before, check out some of the sites listed.)
These lion puppets were used to tell the Bible story 'Lion Goes Hungry'- Daniel in the Lion's Den.. The story script was read and children encouraged to act out the lions' parts- roaring fiercely when necessary. The script is provided below. Paper bag puppets can also be given to the children so that they can retell a story.
Paper Bag Puppet designs Simple designs for puppets
Script for 'Lion Goes Hungry'
Puppets grab immediate attention, maintain interest and create a memorable and often humorous presentation for all ages. But puppets can also be used by the children as they are involved in the telling or retelling the story. Even the smallest of children delight in using finger puppets to tell a story. Whenever possible, include the hands-on involvement of children using sock puppets, hand puppets or finger puppets. These can be professionally produced puppets but simple paper designs can create the same delight with children. Their imaginations provide the rest. Finger puppet patterns can be full colour or designed as colour-in craft projects for the children to create. And there are some wonderful designs available.
Check out some of the following:
Happy heart finger puppetshttp://familyfun.go.com/valentines-day/valentines-day-cards/valentine-finger-puppet-670003/print/Cute finger puppet friends
Felt finger puppets
Download people pattern here from www.billybear4kids.com
Although puppetry has been around for many years and used very effectively as a teaching medium(proven resoundingly by Sesame Street), you may not be aware of the types of puppets that are available and their use in your children's ministry. One of the lastest forms of puppetry to hit the scene is digital puppetry, puppetry that interacts with the children. Check out www.powerpuppets.com
As Dean Wlison, director and producer of the PowerPuppets says, 'Imagine, for example, a puppet on screen welcoming first time visitors, calling them by name and commenting on their Saints’ jersey or their sweet Adidas tennis shoes. As a teacher I no longer have to be behind a curtain or stage, but I can be where I can see the kids and interact with them
. Now, I’ve got their full attention and can drive home the points of the lesson, lead them in scripture memorization or just play a game with them.
View a sample of digital puppetry to gain some idea of its potential.
Unless you're a seasoned, expert puppeteer yourself, the easiest and probably the best way to teach novice puppeteers is to purchase a quality training dvd. There are not too many on the market but puppetsinc
have some oldie but goldie training dvds demonstrating the basics or advanced techniques. As they say themselves of this series: ' A blast to the past, this collection of six DVDs was made in the mid 1980's and the hair and clothing styles show it. But puppetry is an old school art form and the fundamentals haven't changed for hundreds of years. You can still learn plenty from these entertaining videos. And they aren't just a static camera angle of somebody teaching a class, either. Each has one or more wacky puppet hosts along with lots of examples and demonstrations.' With a price of $20 per dvd or $100 set of 6, this series is well worth the outlay.
We've included a training handout for your puppetry training session to print off and use to introduce this versatile and effective teaching medium. The handout has been designed to print onto A3 paper and folded.
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