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SSTN # 123 - November 28, 2003

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--> Bloom & Boom - Lessons for Teens

1) Happy Birthday Jesus Party
2) Lydia Story Seller of Purple    
3) Singing in Sunday school
4) Christmas Pages

--> Christmas FunPak...Order now for the holidays!

5) Help For P.K.?
6) Teen Help?
7) Parable of the Talents    
8) Fall Festivals during Halloween?

--> Christ-filled Ornaments

9) Halloween Wicked?
10) Advent Activities?
11) Discipline Problem
12) Happy Birthday Jesus Party

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--> Bloom & Boom - Lessons for Teens

A girls and guys guide to growing up. Practical advice from a Christian
viewpoint about the internal and external changes experienced by
teenagers. Learn more in the Christian Education section of the bookstore


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1) Happy Birthday Jesus Party

>Can anyone give me suggestions for a Happy Birthday Jesus Party for my
>primary Sunday School Class?
I have done a Happy Birthday Jesus party every year with my k-5 through
2nd graders and it works really well.  First we decorated the room as if
we were having a huge Birthday party, balloons, streamers, etc, then I had
a nicely wrapped present sitting in the front of the classroom that had
the lid and bottom of the present wrapped seperately. When it was time for
the lesson I told the children of God's gift to us by sending his only son
to be born and die for our sins.  We then talked about what we look
forward to on our birthdays...and of course every child talked of getting
presents. So we talked about Jesus's birthday being on Christmas and how
if it really is His birthday we should get Him presents too...So I told
them that the gift I had in front of me was for Jesus on His Birthday and
told the children that Jesus doesn't want gifts like we get, he wants us
to trust him and love him and give him all of our problems and most of all
our hearts... I then as! ked the children to one by one tell me what they
were going to give Jesus this year for His birthday...This always was a
beautiful part of our party and I always got misty eyed listening to their
responses.  They would of course tell me that they would give Jesus their
hearts, but some of the more creative answers were that they would give
Jesus their fears, their trust, their home, their mom and dad, a lot of
great answers!!! I wrote down all of their answers and put them in our
Jesus gift box, I told them there was no magic in the box and that the box
was to remind us of what we had given Jesus so we wouldn't take it
back...we then prayed over the box and thanked Jesus for all He has done
for us and gave him our "gifts"....then we sang some songs and ate
cake...it was a great night of dedication of our hearts to Jesus and a
wonderful way to remind the children the real reason for the season....I
hope this can be of some help to you...Thanks, Susan Calhoun

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2) Lydia Story Seller of Purple    

This message is for the person who wrote about crafts for the story of
Lydia. I am not sure what age group you are working with, but here are a
few ideas that I used in the past. I took white construction paper and
pre-cut different items of clothing such as shirts, dresses, and pants.
Then the children ripped purple tissue paper into pieces and glued them
all over the items of clothing of their choice. I used this idea with 3-5
year olds, and they loved it, and it did not involve any dyes of any kind.
Another idea is to give each child a white piece of paper and let them
draw anything they would like on it using an old candle that has been
broken in half or in thirds depending on the size of the candle. Then, let
them "watercolor" using the kool aid as a watercolor cake, dipping their
brush once into water, once into the kool aid, the purple will not stick
to the candle but will cover the page, leaving a purple picture. This idea
was used with 3-4 year olds. If you decide to dye clothing items with
children, I recommend that you use grape juice with a few drops of vinegar
as regular dye can be toxic in many cases, and stains everything. Hope
this helps. Love in Christ, Sarah in California

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3) Singing in Sunday school

>hi, I am writing to ask some advices on making singing time more fun for
>the kids ...this is a time were we put all the kids in one room
>(ages 2---13)to sing together before we go each in his class..thanks

First of all that age range will make it very hard to keep everyone
enthusiastic all of the time!  Toddlers and preschoolers like fun, short,
repetitive songs that contain a Bible story character, a Bible verse
thought, or something just plain silly.  The Cedarmont Kids have several
tapes/CDs just for toddlers and preschoolers.  I would look at those. 
Their music for Sunday School and Bible Action songs are good, too, but
especially for the older children.  To help the small ones, I would try to
print out pictures to go with the songs.Older children like to be
grownup.  You can find praise songs sung by children at your local
Christian Book store.  Don't forget they like to sing some silly songs
too.  If a song has motions, even if you have to make them up, you will
keep the children's attention longer.  Just make sure that your motions
are the same all of the time.  I have found that posters or flip charts
with words and pictures help to keep the child's attention on the song, no
matter what their ages are.
In His Service,
Donna in Arkansas

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4) Christmas Pages

I am a subscriber to SSTN -- my husband and I are missionaries (USA) and
I have created some Christmas pages for our supporters, as a little thank
you...for them to use with their children or Sunday school class, etc.

They are in pdf form and can be printed out and used. 

It includes: puzzles, recipes, two Christmas stories with study guides, an
article and study guide about Epiphany and an advent book that can be cut
out and stapled together. There is no cost to anyone for this...just a
little Christmas gift
from me!

I do have it on my site:

Please let me know what you think.

Thanks so much,
Wendy Toy

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--> Christmas FunPak!

Great for gift-giving or Christmas crafting fun. Click on the "Christmas
FunPak" link in the "Christmas and Advent" section at:


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5) Help for P.K.?

I have a 13yr. old girl, who is the daughter of a Pastor, and is pretty
upset about continuing going to church because her parents have suffered
a lot throughout the years as ministers.  She says that she continues to
suffer when she sees how other Christians treat her parents and can't
understand why things and life are always so hard for them.  Her parents
are so faithful to God, but she thinks that God is not with them since
this situation has been going on since she was four years old and she is
tired of it.  She thinks it would be best if she stood home and not see
what so called Christians are doing to her parents.  Can anyone
recommend or suggest any type of literature, book, speaker, etc. to help
this girl and change her way of thinking.  There are so many sons and
daughters of ministers that feel the same way and I would love to help
this young girl. 

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6) Teen Help?

I just started working with young girl teens (11-15) and am looking for
some great web sites or materials or advice!  Thank you.  Diane

--from SSTN: Check out "BLOOM: A Girl's Guide To Growing Up" in the
Christian Ed. section at: 

Also, check out our links pages and archives at:

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7) Parable of the Talents    

>We gave our youth a challeng. We put $5.00 into the hands of our teens
>with the teaching of the talents

Many years ago our minister did one better.  He gave $20.00 to every
family in the congregation with the same instructions.  Some did nothing
with their money, other bought materials to make crafts and sell and money
went towards the church, and others pooled their money together and put a
large ad in the newspaper about the church.
God bless,

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8) Fall Festivals during Halloween

>Why do we feel we simply must have a "Christian alternative" to this
>wicked and evil celebration? Wouldn't it be best to teach our kids the
>dangers of Satanism and witchcraft, rather than just try to "clean it up"?

We did not celebrate Halloween with our children, however we always
provided a fun, safe Christian alternative. Come on let's be honest there
is a lot of fun stuff that goes with Halloween. Dressing up, getting
candy, fun and games. I knew that our boys would really resent it if they
were told no you can't do this because Halloween is evil! Resentment is a
poisonous thing and can really have a negative impact later on. It
doesn't matter when any fall celebrations occurred and how wonderful they
were...I knew that if there wasn't something on Halloween our boys would
feel that God was a spoilsport and Christians never have fun. So for
years we organized an All Saints Day party.

It seems to me that if we are going to boycott Halloween then we should
do the same with Christmas. After all Christmas is the cleaned up,
Christian alternative to the pagan celebration of the winter solstice.

One of the the outstanding characteristics about Jesus was that he went
where the people were and shared God's love. Instead of teaching about
the wickedness of prostitutes and tax collectors he went to their parties
and told them how much God loves them. So at Halloween let's go out to
where the majority of our communities are, provide a really good
Christian alternative and show people how much God loves them.


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--> Christ-filled Ornaments

Great for Christmas gift-giving or family crafting fun. Get a free sample
and see a video too! Click on "Chrismon Snowflake Ornaments" in the
Curriculum Creatives section at:


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9) Halloween Wicked?

Where has the idea that Halloween is a wicked and evil celebration come
from?  All Hallows Eve is the origin of Halloween and it is a Christian
celebration.  It preceeds All Saints Day.  The costumes of witches and
things are not witchery!  Dressing to ward off evil spirits was done
hundreds of years ago.  We have just made it into a fun thing.  Adults get
off your high horses and let kids have a little fun without reading
something bad into it.  Betsy

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10) Advent Activities?

Dear friends through Christian Crafters
Would anyone be able to suggest some Advent activities suitable for Sunday
school during December?

Helen, Adelaide, Australia

--from SSTN: there are a myriad of ideas and patterns in the Christian
Crafts section at: http://www.ChristianCrafters.Com 

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11) Discipline Problem

This is in response to the discipline problem.  Maybe try approaching them
privately, outside of class, and tell them that you are having a problem
with someone in your class and ask them what they think you should do. 
This will show them that their opinion matters and if they don't realize
you are talking about them and give you an answer, wait and try out their
answer on them next time they act up.  This might make them realize what
they are doing.Another approach you can take is to teach a lesson on
Ephesians 6:5 "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters
according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your
heart as unto Christ"  which I take to mean we are supposed to obey those
in authority over us on earth as if we are obeying Christ.

I hope that this helps.

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12) Happy Birthday Jesus Party

    We had our first Kids Club Christmas Party/Birthday Party for Jesus
last year. We served lunch which consisted of hotdogs and chips.  For
dessert, we had cupcakes for the kids.  On the cupcakes were one letter
each which spelled "Happy Birthday Jesus".  We put a candle on each cupcake and
then the kids sang Happy Birthday to Jesus before blowing out the candles.
It was suggested that I  make the cupcakes out of that red cake mix (to
represent Jesus' blood) and then frost them white (for his forgiveness of
our sins).  I thought that was a great idea, but I wasn't able to find the
red cake mix in the store.  So I opted for chocolate cupcakes with white
frosting.  We also did a grab bag, where we asked each girl to bring a
gift for a girl and each boy to bring a gift for a boy, and to mark that on the
top of the package.  We asked that the gifts be wrapped, within a price
range of $5.00, and appropriate for ages 6 to 10 (the age range of the
children in our class).  Then we put all the gifts in the middle of the
table and let the children pick numbers out of a hat.  Then we drew
numbers and the child whose number was called got to choose a gift from the table.
This was a lot of fun for the kids.  We also did a cookie exchange wherein
we asked each child to bring in three dozen homemade cookies.  While the
kids were playing games, one of the moms split up the cookies and put them
into tins so that each child went home with a tin full of different
homemade cookies.  That was also a  hit.  We also played games.  The whole party
lasted two hours, and I think it was a lot of fun for the kids.  I know I
had fun.  We are planning one for this year also. 

    As for the games, the games I chose require a bit of work, but they
were fun and kept the children busy.  The easiest games that we did were a
Christmas word find (that I did on the computer) and a Christmas word
scramble (also done on the computer).  The only probem with these games
are that they were for the older children only.  Half of our class are
children 7 to 10, and the other half is children four and five, who can't read or
write yet.  I gave the games to the older kids who wanted to participate,
and I gave them a time limit.  The first one done, won a prize.  If anyone
is interested in these games, just ask, and I will be happy to submit them
to the  network. 

    We did a Christmas bingo, Pin the Jesus in the Nativity, and a bean
bag toss game.  I will share how I did each game, but like I said, these
specific games require a bit of work and creativity.  For the bean bag
toss, you can buy a bean bag toss game from the Oriental Trading Company, for
$15.00.  Because our church is small and we try to save money, I made one.
I took a scrap of wood (and with the help of a friend who is a
carpenter) cut four holes of varying sizes.  Then I put the point value of 5, 10, 15 and
20 (the largest hole has the smallest points, the smallest hole has the
greatest amount of points).  I used the "Smile, Jesus Loves You" theme.  I
painted a sun in the corner and rainbow stripes throughout the board. 
Then I painted the words, "Smile Jesus Loves You on it.  I also sewed small
beanbags out of material and stuffed them with small beans.  Even though
it did not have a Christmas theme, the kids loved playing it.  We still use
this game in our nursery class during Sunday service.  I know you can buy
Christmas bingo, but the problem with store-bought games is that they are
usually for only four players, and we have more children than that in our
group; so I made one.  I made a bingo card on my computer that had five
squares across and four squares down (but you can make the card smaller if
you want to).  I drew a different picture in each square and colored them,
keeping to a Christian theme (manger, Mary, Joseph, shepard, candy cane,
etc.)  Then I used a color copier to make a copy for each child.  Here's
the hard and time-consuming part.  I printed that same blank bingo card out
and glued it to poster board to make the card sturdy.  I did one for each
child. Then I cut up the colored pictures and glued the pictures onto the card,
changing the order of the pictures for each card, so that each card was
different.  I took one of the cards and cut it up to use for my master
bingo pictures (the ones that you call out).  We varied the games, playing four
in a row or four corners or whole card.  I know  it was a lot of work, but we
played several games, and the kids really liked it.  I saved all the
cards, so that I don't have to do it again this year.  The last game we played
took the most preparation of all.  I did a take off on "Pin the Tail on the
Donkey", which was Pin the Jesus in the Manger.  I used poster board and
out of felt I made a manger scene.  I had a manger, Mary, Joseph and an empty
crib.  Then I made felt Baby Jesus' and put a piece of tape on the back.
The kids had to put Jesus in the empty crib, and the one who got the
closest, won a prize.  That also was a big hit.  Believe  me, anyone can
do these games.  I am by no means an artist.  I just free-handed everything,
but it turned out okay.  For the nativity scene, I got patterns for Mary,
Joseph and a shepherd in a craft magazine.  I just copied the pattern onto
felt and glued the pieces to the poster board.  It was well worth the
effort.  I hoped these suggestions helped.  If anyone has any questions
about these games, reply to the network, and I will respond to you through
the  network.  Thanks. 

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