Chapel Chat Ideas

Chapel Chat Ideas (2)The Preschool at our church has a Chapel Chat every Thursday morning.  This is a time where our 3 & 4-year olds come to our Sanctuary and have Chapel time with our pastor. They sing songs & listen to a short message from him.  Occasionally, I get to fill in for him when he is out.  I enjoy these talks with our little worshippers.  They are fun and I love interacting with them.

I thought I would share some ideas with you that maybe you could use at your next Chapel Chat with preschoolers or Children’s Sermon at your Sunday morning service.

Words Can’t Go Back In

Theme:  Be kind to each otherToothpasteonbrush

Scripture:  Ephesians 4:32

Supplies Needed:  Toothpaste, Paper Towels

Show the tube of toothpaste to the kids.  Ask what we do with it.  Then invite one of them to squirt out some toothpaste onto the paper towel.

Say:  Now that you’ve squirted the toothpaste out, I want you to put it back in the tube.

The child will give you a look like you’re crazy, but encourage the child to try and put it back in.  It may get a little messy so make sure you have extra paper towels on hand.

After the toothpaste fails to go back in, then ask:

Why can’t you put toothpaste back into the tube once you’ve squirted it out?  (It’s not made to do that)

This reminds me of each one of us and how we are not made to be hurtful to others by saying mean words.  Every word that comes out of our mouth, we can’t put back in.  Once it’s spoken, then we can’t take it back.  That’s why it’s so important that we be careful of the words we speak.  We need to make sure that we are saying kind and loving words to our parents, friends, and even our brother or sister.   God did not make us to be mean to others.  He made us to be kind and loving.

In Ephesians 4:32 it says:  “Be kind, one to another; tenderhearted forgiving one another.”

What are some words that we could say that would be kind?  Allow kids to answer.

Let’s remember to use kind words like this every time we speak.  We want to love others by showing them kindness because that is what Jesus wants us to do.

There are going to be days when we say hurtful or mean words to others.  The best thing we can do is ask for forgiveness from God and say we are sorry to the person we hurt.

Today I want you to practice saying kind words to others.  Begin right now by turning to your friend next to you and saying a kind word to them.  Allow them a few seconds to do this. 

Let’s remember we can’t take our words back so we need to make sure we think about what we say before we say it.  God made us to be kind to each other so let’s go out today and be kind to everyone.

Prayer:  Dear God, thank you that we can talk.  Help us to use our words in kind and loving ways every day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Be Light

Theme:  Be the light of Jesuscandle

Scripture:  Matthew 5:14

Supplies:  Different kinds of lights (lamp, flashlight, candle, lighter, lantern, headlamp, glow sticks, etc), a cup to put over one of the lights

Say:  Today I want to show you something, but before I do that, I need to turn off the lights. Is that ok with you?

Once lights are turned off, go through each type of light source, turning it on and talking about what it is and what you use it for.

Ask:  Why do we need light?  So we can see.

Say:  Without light, we would not be able to see.  It’s hard to do things in the dark.  We need light.

In the book of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 14 it says:  “You are the light of the world.”

When we  have Jesus living inside our hearts, we are like a bright light shining His love.  We are like every one of these light sources lit up.  People can see this light shine out of us by the way we act and by the words we say.  That’s why it’s important to do what is right, be kind, and say nice things.  We want to always shine that light of Jesus to everyone we meet.

In the  next verse in Matthew it goes on to say:  “No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bushet basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house”.

Do you think it would make sense if I light this candle and then put this cup over it?  Demonstrate this.

 What  happens?  That’s right, the light is hidden and eventually goes out.

When we know Jesus and he lives inside our hearts, we shine His light.  We don’t want to hide this light or His love from anyone.  We want everyone to see it.

That’s why it’s important to shine brightly so everyone can see Jesus and feel His love.

Prayer:  Dear God, thank you for giving us light.  Thank you for being light to everyone.  Help us to be a light so others may see you through us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Close out by singing “This Little Light of Mine.”  

 

Can a Band-Aid Fix That?2000px-Adhesive_bandage_drawing_nevit.svg

Theme:  Jesus heals our wounds

Scripture:  Psalm 147:3

Supplies:  First Aid Kit filled with band-aids, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, gloves, etc.

Ask:  Who can tell me what this is?     A first aid kit

What do we do with a first aid kit?    We keep items in it that can help us when we get hurt.

Begin pulling out items from the first aid kit and asking the kids what we use each one for. 

Say:  When we get hurt we need items like this to help heal our wounds.

What happens when our feelings get hurt?  Can we use the items in the first aid kit to help heal our feelings?

No, we can’t use these items to help heal our hurt feelings.

But, there is someone more powerful than any of these items that can heal our hurting hearts.  That someone is God.

God knows everything about us.  He knows when we are sad and when our feelings are hurt.  And the coolest thing is that He has the power to heal us.

It says in Psalm 147:3

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”  

That means that because He loves us so very much, He will heal all the things that make us sad.  We just need to pray and ask God to help heal our hurts.  And not just our boo-boos, but our hearts and the things that make us sad.  Maybe someone said something mean to you or your brother or sister wouldn’t share with you.  Anything that makes you sad, God can heal.

God has the power to heal.  He loves us so much and doesn’t like it when we are hurting. God promises to heal our broken and sad hearts.  We just need to believe in His healing power and ask for His help.  God loves you and wants to heal your wounds and your sadness.

Prayer:  Dear God, thank you for loving us.  Thank you for healing us when we are sad.  Help us to always believe in your healing power.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

 

 

God Save the Queen: A Lesson on Queen Esther

Would you like a fun lesson on Esther for your Children’s Ministry?

In our Sunday night program one year, we focused on countries.  Each month we visit a different country and incorporated parts of that country into our program while also learning a Bible story and memorizing a Scripture verse.

One of our fun lessons came from England.  We did a lesson called “God Save the Queen”.   We learned about how God saved Queen Esther and her people.  We did activities involving the London Bridge, a double-decker bus, a phone booth, and we created the British flag.

I have 3 different lesson plans:  preschool, younger elementary, and older elementary.  Just click on the link below to download a copy of the lesson:

Preschool

Younger Elementary

Older Elementary

It was definitely a fun night where we talked in our British accents and learned about God saving Queen Esther.  Take a look at some fun pictures from the night!  Enjoy the lesson for your ministry!

Blessing of the Backpacks

Are you looking for a back-to-school lesson for your Children’s Ministry?  One fun way to get kids back into the swing of things is by doing a “Blessing of the Backpacks”.  This special blessing is typically done the Sunday before school starts.  Kids bring their backpacks to church and during the service the pastor asks the kids to come forward with their backpacks and he or she says a special blessing over them.

One year I wanted to do something a little more than just saying a blessing over them.  So, I decided we would tie the “Armor of God” in with our Blessing of the Backpacks.

During Large Group Worship in Kidz Church, we learned about the Armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-18.  We explained each piece of armor and what it meant.  After this, we dispersed the small groups to different stations where they actually made some of the armor pieces.  Other pieces of the armor they brought from home.  Here is what we did:

Belt of Truth                                                                                                                                                   
Cut banner paper long enough to fit around their waist.  Write “Truth” really big on front and then have kids color and decorate their belts.  Put the belt around kids using tape or a stapler.
Breastplate of Righteousness
Each child brought their backpack from home.  They placed their backpack on the front of their body to act as their breastplate.
Shoes of Peace                                                                                                             
Each child was given 2 peace signs made out of cardstock.  They decorated their peace signs then tied them around their ankles using yarn.
Shield of Faith  
We pre-cut shields out of poster board.  Each child took a shield and wrote “Shield of Faith” really big in the middle.  They could also decorate these if they wanted.
Helmet of Salvation                                                                       
Kids were asked to bring their bicycle helmets to church.  They took a piece of duct tape and wrote “Salvation” on it and put it on the front of their helmet.
Sword of the Spirit                                                                                   
Have kids bring their own Bible from home to carry with them, or give them one from the church to carry. God’s Word is their Sword of the Spirit.
Each child then put on all their armor and entered the Sanctuary where our pastor prayed a special blessing over them.  The kids looked awesome!  It was cool to see so many kids standing at the front of the church with their full armor on.  They were equipped and ready for all that the school year would bring.
I’m praying that each of the children in your church and in your family puts on their armor of God as they begin a new school year.

“Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”    Ephesians 6:11

The Great Wall of Prayer

Want a great activity to connect the story of Nehemiah with prayer?

Recently our kids at churchgreat wall of prayer learned the story of Nehemiah and how he re-built the wall of Jerusalem.  I wanted them to do an activity in which they could build their own wall and also connect it with prayer (as Nehemiah prayed to God during the time of the re-building of the wall).  So, I decided we would create our own “Great Wall of Prayer”.

Each class was given their own blank brick.  For the bricks, I used a template I found online (http://cathedralkindergarten.blogspot.com/2013/09/1.html).  On the bricks, we told them to write down or draw pictures of things they wanted to pray for.  Or if they wanted, they could write out a prayer to God (more for our older elementary kids).  After they did this, they could decorate their brick if they wanted using markers.

When each class was finished, they brought their bricks to our hallway and started building the wall.  Each class built on the other classes which formed our Great Wall of Prayer.

In reading through the list of prayers, I was so touched by the things they wanted to pray for:  grandparents health, pets who were sick, friends, parents.  There were two that really stuck out to me, though.  On one brick a little child asked God to provide them with food.  This child does not have a lot of money and this child’s teachers were concerned when this very shy child immediately spoke up and said they needed food.  We checked with a close friend of the family who assured us that they had food, which I was thankful to hear.

Another prayer said this:  “Dear God, please help me get through my parents divorce.”  This broke my heart.  My parents divorced when I was 8 years old and I understand the sadness she feels.  Definitely a hard time in the life of a child.  I pray that she will be able to get through her parents divorce and realize that God is with her every day.

This was a fun activity to do with our kids as we learned the story of Nehemiah.  Every time I pass our prayer wall I find a brick and pray for their request and also for the child who wrote it.  Sweet prayers from children and a great reminder for them that we need to take everything to God in prayer.

The Christmas Sprint

I crossed the finish line.  The Christmas finish line that is.  I’ve been sprinting full speed ahead for the past 30 days.  And yes, it’s a sprint and not a marathon that I’ve been running this Christmas season.  That’s what life as a church staff member feels like during Christmas.  You are going and going and going from one activity to the next.  It’s not bad, though.  I really enjoy it, especially since I’m the Children’s Director and get to plan fun activities for kids and their families.

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The Chrismon tree I have in my own home. The ornaments were made by a special family friend when I was younger.

I got ready to run this sprint in November.  I laced up my Nikes, got in the starting blocks, got focused, then listened till I heard that sound all sprinters wait to hear…the starting gun.  It fired off for me on November 23.  That’s when Advent/Christmas festivities began for me at my church.  In the Methodist Church we kick off the season of Advent with a Hanging of the Greens service.  This is a service which helps prepare us for Christ’s coming into the world.  It’s also a service where we decorate the church for Christmas.  We don’t decorate the whole church during that service.  A lot of decorating is already done before the service begins.  During this service we hang greenery, cedar, ivy, holly, wreaths, Chrismon ornaments, and we place the Nativity on the altar.  Everyone is involved, including the children.  This year the kids sang Away in a Manger.  And let me tell you it was hard practicing in the weeks beforehand because they don’t like to sing.  But, they                                                              did an awesome job!

photo 1 (1)
This is me wrapped up for our Wrapping Paper Night at KidVenture!

My next activity was at our KidVenture program on Sunday nights.  This year I am writing the curriculum for this program.  I am loving writing it!  However, this does take a little more time, especially when you have to write 4 different lessons each week (3’s/Pre-K, K/1st, 2nd/3rd, 4th/5th).  We only meet one Sunday night in December due to other things going on, so our focus this night was on the whole story of the birth of Jesus.  The classes did different activities centered around this story such as Find the Nativity, Our Gifts to Jesus, and activities that go with our memory verse like Pass the Gift and Memory Verse Trees.  Oh, and it was also Wrapping Paper Night and we all came decked out in wrapping paper.  We had a fun night at KidVenture!

photo 3 (1)
The backdrop for our Family Nativity Photo Booth

Next up was our annual family event.  This year we decided to do a Birthday Party for Jesus.  The hard part about this year’s event was that I was not going to be there.  My cousin was getting married that weekend in New Orleans so I went to spend the weekend celebrating her marriage.  All of you who are Children’s Ministers know that it’s harder to plan events when you aren’t going to be there! Lots of details to plan and then to pass along all the info to volunteers who will be running the event.  My 3 friends who helped me out this year did an excellent job!  I so appreciate their help so that I could be away with family.

charles family
One of our families in the Nativity Photo Booth. I love that the parents are animals!

Our Birthday Party for Jesus this year was fun for the whole family!  We began with families gathering in our Sanctuary singing Christmas songs and then brought in the cake to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  After that, families could venture throughout the activities as they pleased.  We had food, games, and crafts for the kids.  We incorporated several Christmas Minute-To-Win-It games, Pin Baby Jesus in the Manger, a Jesus Birthday ornament, and Christmas card making to Nursing Home residents.  My favorite had to be the Family Nativity Photo Booth.  I decorated a wall in one of our rooms with a stable backdrop.  Families then were able to come to our photo booth, pick out a Nativity costume, and get their picture made.  Our photographer collected email addresses and emailed them to the families after the event was over.  I hate to have missed it, but I know it was a fun event for families that came.

For Christmas Eve services, our church always does a family-friendly service.  For the past 2 years the children have dressed as different parts of the Nativity story and helped share the story during the service.  This year we decided to do something different.  The kids came dressed in their pajamas.  At the end of the service, I invited the kids to the front and we all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.  I then brought out a big box wrapped in Christmas paper.  I had one of the kids unwrap the present.  Inside were glow sticks which they gave out to each person in the congregation and we ended by breaking the glow sticks and singing Silent Night.  However, that activity didn’t go quite like I thought it would.  As soon as the boy unwrapped the gift, I had kids swarming all around me grabbing into the box and pulling out handfuls of glow sticks!!  It was chaotic to say the least!  I was thankful when a friend came up to help me pull away the box so we could hand the glow sticks to each child instead of them running over the other kids to get to the box.  It was crazy!  Who knew a box of glow sticks would excite the kids so much! The kids got all the glow sticks passed out and everything turned out beautiful as we dimmed the lights and sang Silent Night.  Such a peaceful moment as we remembered the birth of our Lord and Savior.

I must also mention that all throughout November and December my sprint included leading Kidz Church every Sunday morning.  I lead the large group worship time and then our volunteers do small group activities with each age group.  Love telling the different parts of the birth of Jesus each week!

Even though I have finished all my activities with the kids and crossed the Christmas finish line, the church still celebrates!  We begin the season with Advent advent wreathas we prepare for Christ’s birth.  After Christmas Day, we celebrate Christmas for 12 days ending with Epiphany, which is about the coming of the wise men.  The church always celebrates Epiphany the Sunday before it (which this year is January 4th).

This is just my sprint I do in the church.  I do have a family and it’s filled with many activities, too.  So many things to do during the Christmas season with church and family and I cherish every moment.  I love the sprint I do every year in Advent/Christmas in the church.  I love telling children about the birth of Jesus.  I love seeing their faces light up as we celebrate Him.  I love watching as my own 2 children really understand the true meaning of Christmas.  It warms my heart to watch them grow in their faith.  Nothing better as a parent than to see your own children give their lives to Jesus.  And there’s nothing better as a Children’s Minister than to watch the kids in your church give their lives to Jesus and be excited about celebrating his birth.

The Christmas sprint is over, I’m a little tired, but this is not the end.  My job as a Children’s Minster or a parent is never over.  I must keep on teaching, keep on leading, keep on sharing, keep on telling that Jesus Christ is Lord!

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Our older elementary kids made Memory Verse Trees at KidVenture

What was your favorite activity you did this Advent/Christmas season with the kids in your church?

 

Tourist Night

You all know how much I love a good theme night in Children’s Ministry!  Last night at our KidVenture program, it was Tourist Night!!  So, you may be asking, what made you pick Tourist for a theme night?  Our small town of Dahlonega is considered a very “touristy” town.  We are located in the mountains of North Georgia.  It’s also the site of the first major U.S. gold rush in 1828.  Lots of history in this little town and the city of Dahlonega has done an awesome job at making our town so beautiful (check out our city page:  www.dahlonega.org).  Many, many people flock here, especially in the fall as it’s gorgeous when the leaves are changing colors.  Tourists are all over the Square (our downtown) every weekend.  So, with our city being such a tourist hot spot, why not make a fun night of it for our kids at church?

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My Crazy Tourist Lady outfit

The kids were asked to come dressed in their “tourist” outfits.  I was so impressed with all of their creativeness!  We had Disney tourists,  Hawaiian tourists, Hollywood tourists, and we even had one boy came dressed in his cape and mask and said he was Robin touring Gotham City!  I loved the crazy hats, fanny packs, cameras, umbrellas, and all the tacky outfits!  Of course, I had to add to the tackiness!  I pulled together an outfit  from things at my home and the kids said I was the “Crazy Tourist Lady”.  Yes, I guess you could say I was!

Our Bible story for the night dealt with Paul and Silas in prison.  What does that have to do with tourists?  Remember that these men traveled all over telling others about Jesus.  They saw many cities and got to meet new people and experience different things in each of the cities they visited.  In one city, the people did not like them talking about Jesus and they were arrested and put in prison (Acts 16:16-26).  Despite their incarceration, these men sang songs of praise to God and prayed.  They gave thanks to God no matter what.  That’s what we wanted our children to remember.  Even in the hard times, we give thanks to our Lord.

I didn’t decorate the hall for the night, but I did plan some fun activities for the kids.  Here is what we did:

Class Map of our Town                                                                                                                                                              

Our 3-year olds & Pre-K kids designed a class map of our town.  The leaders reminded them that many people come to Dahlonega on the weekends to tour our city.  They asked them what some of their favorite places in Dahlonega are.   Using light brown butcher paper, they created one big class map of Dahlonega, listing the places that the children mentioned.  The kids drew a square and colored it which represented their favorite place in Dahlonega.  The leader then wrote above the square the name of the place and drew roads to connect all of their favorite places.  After they finished, the map was hung in their classroom.

Create-Your-Own-Map                                                                                                                                                                

Our Kindergarten and 1st Graders designed their own maps.  The leaders also talked with them about their favorite places in Dahlonega.  They did the same things as the younger ones, but created their own maps using the light brown butcher paper.  Then they folded them (like a map) and took them home.

Tourist Scavenger Hunt                                                                                                                                                             

Our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th/5th grade classes went on a Tourist Scavenger Hunt around the town Square!   Our church is located 2 blocks off the Square so it’s great that we can walk and do things around town with the kids.  Each class was given a list of places around the Square that are fun spots for tourists to visit.  Their job was to get a group picture (or group selfie) at each location.  Some of the places were shops, some with certain things inside a shop, one was even in front of the bathrooms at our local park (every tourist I’m sure makes a stop there!).  After their picture was taken, they each had to say one thing that they were thankful for.  They could not say the same thing twice either.  We all had fun running all over the Square taking photos!

A theme night can be as fun as you make it.  Whatever you want to do, go for it!  You can decorate as little or as elaborate as you like.  If you are all in, then the kids will be too.   Have fun with it!  The kids will remember it.  Below are some of my favorite pictures from the night.

Voice Changer App

voice changer app
Voice Changer Plus app on iPhone

This morning I was trying to think of a fun way for the kids at church to memorize a Bible verse.   I read in a book by Tina Houser called Hiding the Word in My Heart, to have the kids record themselves saying the verse.  I thought that was great idea.  Then I thought it would be even more fun if there was an app that could change their voice to sound different while they said the Bible verse.  So, I got out my iPhone and did a quick search of voice changer apps.  The first one I found was free and is so much fun!  It’s called Voice Changer Plus.  I had fun recording myself saying the Bible verse for the month of November (yes, I’m thinking ahead).

This app has many different voices that you could do:  robot, helium, underwater, turtle, in a crowd, applause, echo, and so many more.   My favorite one is Darth Vader.   You do have the ability to save them, but there are only about 5 voices that you can use if you want to save them.  In order to save your voice with the many other sounds, you must make a purchase, but I believe the highest one is only 99 cents.

I know that the kids at church will love saying their Bible verses using this cool voice changer app!  I believe it will help to make the verse stick in their minds, too.  I had to pass along my  new find and I hope you are able to use it in your ministry, too.

What is your favorite app to use with helping kids memorize Scripture?