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SSTN  # 39 - April 19, 2002

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1) Styrofoam trays   
-> Buggie For Jesus - I'm a BEE-liever!
2) Meat Tray Shrinkies 
3) Shorter class time
4)  College ministry & young adult class?   
-> VBS Funpak
5) Children's Medley needed?   
6) Coloring Rice
7) Shorter Class Time
8) Need Old Curriculum
9) Faith Mountain VBS?   
10) Prayer teaching ideas?
11) Middle School Ideas
12) Road to Follow Craft
13) Creative Ideas for 12 - 14 yr. olds
14) Shorter class time

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1) Styrofoam trays   

While browsing through the uses for styrofoam trays I began to wonder if
anyone had considered making personal sized felt boards.  I'm going to try
this with my class of 3-7 year olds. I will line each tray with a piece of
felt, cut out simple figures that relate to the story of the week (or cut
pictures out of used materials and glue felt to the back) and enclose each
in a ziplock bag (probably the gallon size). This is not something that
would go home with them, but would keep them involved in the story and
maybe eliminate some of those behavior problems for some of them. I have a
small class so it will be easy for me to try out. I'll let you know how it
Dorie Cornerstone Christian Fellowship
Appleton, WI

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Buggie For Jesus - I'm A BEE-liever!

26 reproducible buggie crafts, games, lessons, and yummy devotions
to coordinate with your summertime VBS programs.

In the Curriculum section: 

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2) Meat Tray Shrinkies   

Here's another idea for foam meat trays.  Have the kids draw and color on
them with any type of marker and then cut them out.  Place them on a
foil-lined cookie sheet and bake 5-10 minutes at 200 degree's.  They end
up like the old shrinkies we made when we were kids.  If you like, punch
them before baking and they can be used for necklaces

Good Luck!  Alice

--from SSTN: Very cool idea! When I tried it I used a toaster oven and
turned the heat up to 300 degrees. The foam shrank within seconds...so
watch carefully. ysic, Sarah <><

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3) Shorter class time

>Due to the addition of a third worship service, our time for Sunday
>has been cut from 75 minutes to 45. We no longer have a whole group

I was a member of a church for 20 years where we had 2 one-hour services
each week (with 1/2 hour between).  We were very effective with 45 minutes
for lessons/crafts/worship (1st through 5th grade)  The children spend
the first 15 minutes in church (including children's moments).

Teachers are there to lead them quietly and quickly to their classrooms --
where class starts immediately with prayer/song/lesson and end with
craft/study/prayer.  If you use a purchased curriculum (like Cook, Gospel
Light, etc) you will NOT have time for all the activities.  We chose the
best and sometimes if a lesson was very important it went on for multiple
weeks.  It helps if the children's moments prepares the children for the
story.  Having a Christian Ed Director who is an integral part of the
Church staff and can coordinate the children's moments to go along with
children's lessons and still be pertinent to Adult worship helps

Second service follows a different format --- children's church -- with a
couple songs, prayer and object lesson in one group then children break
into activity centers -- usually completing only one per week.  (our
themes were a full month long so children that came regularly could cycle
through all 4/5 centers --crafts (usually 2 -one easier for younger
children and one for older children) ---drama/storytelling---bible
games---bible memory/other --- each month)

It is a VERY BIG job to pack a lot of learning into a small amount of
time.  It can be done.  It is done.  We have done it.  For us, the keys

1 -- PLANNING, Planning and more planning. --- Everything relates to the
lesson theme for the day/month/unit.
2 -- PREPARATION --- do ahead the time consuming portions of crafts
especially for younger children --- Know your lesson VERY WELL... Tell the
story, don't read it.  Planning and Preparation are very important.
2 -- Plentiful, organized & well trained staff (1 teacher + helper per
grade per hour)  combined with small class size
3 -- An active, involved Children's Ministry team that
interfaces/communicates well with the Pastoral staff, Worship team and
teaching staff!
4 -- Consistency -- the children quickly become used to the routine when
is used week after week with the only changes (hopefully) being the
5 -- Patience -- it will take time, trial and error to come up with a
formula that works for you.  Our most consistently expressed complaint was
that there wasn't enough time to "do it all"  -- our answer --- Do what
can comfortably do and carry the best of the rest over to next week.  --
Children respond to our hearts and sincerity --- not to how much we say or
how complicated the crafts are.  Also, reinforcement of last weeks lesson
is a GOOD thing.
6 - KIS -- KEEP IT SIMPLE -- Simple crafts and real conversation with the
children can and do make a BIG impression.  AND DON'T FORGET -- PLANNING

I know this seems daunting, but once you get in the needed habits (plan,
study, prepare, execute, review, repeat) and the children understand the
routine, it works well.  I hope this helps you!  Good luck!


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4) College ministry & young adult class?   

I have just been switched from teaching high school students to teaching
ages 18-30. I have already studied the lesson, but I need some ideas for
this age group that will keep their interest and to make sure the class
stay interesting.

Please reply to ASAP.

G. Stroy
Shreveport, La.

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Get three great VBS resources at one reduced price!

In the Curriculum section: 

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5) Children's Medley needed?   

I am looking to do a medley of children's Christian songs and wondering if
anyone has any good ideas.  I would like to start with one song that all
the grades sing and then preschoolers do a song,  kindergarten and first
do a different song, second, third and fourth do a different song, fifth
and sixth do a different song and all would sing the song they started
with for the end.  I would like to have them do this for the second Sunday
in June.
Thank you for your help.

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6)  Coloring Rice

<< rice is very easy to color at home put some in baggie and add food
coloring  that easy. >>

Please make sure that you add some rubbing alcohol to it also.  We found
out the hard way that colored rice w/out the alcohol produces some sort of
germ which will give you a very bad stomach ache for about 24 hours if
hands aren't washed thoroughly after touching it, even if it is dry.
Kathy ps The alcohol will also give you a brighter color.

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7) Shorter Class Time

I have this problem too!  We are supposed to have opening
prayer/scripture/song at 9:00 am....but most parents are always late
dropping their kids off and the director doesn't like to begin until
everyone is present.  After opening exercises, we typically have about 35
minutes for a class (church services begin at 10:00 so we try to dismiss
9:50).  I have become somewhat of an expert at streamlining a Scripture
lesson, in order that we have time for a craft!  Often I will have to
spread out a particular lesson/craft over the course of two or three
weeks.  As long as the kids are regular attendees, this isn't a problem;
but I do have children who only attend sporadically, and this can become
an issue when they are missing part of a lesson or have to catch up with
an activity. There isn't much I can do about that, if their parents are
not committed to having them there on a regular basis.
It is certainly frustrating, but you just have to do the best you can with
what you have.  I have tried to convince our director to either change the
time of opening prayer to 8:50 (hoping kids will be there by 9:00) or just
start at 9:00 sharp no matter who is there; but she is adamantly keeping
things as is.  As long as the Gospel message gets out there (no matter how
long it may take!), I guess your work has been accomplished.  I just ask
the Lord to show me the way to get through to the kids in the time I have
with them, and it does seem to be working.  You may have to forgo
traditional teaching methods in order to adapt to the limited time, but it
can be done. I don't use workbooks/kits, but prepare my own lessons &
crafts using mostly Scripture and other Christian resources (like SSTN!)
so that I can customize them to fit the time frame.  This works for me.
But I do feel your frustration!
Good luck and God Bless, Heidi/NY  <(((><

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8) Need Old Curriculum

I see that a jihai park is wanting to give a free old curriculum away, for
SS I presume.  I would like to have this. Could you ask him to email me?
My email is thekingskid@comporium.net


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9) Faith Mountain VBS?   

Hi!  Is there anyone else out there using  Standard's Faith Mountain
VBS?  If so, I'd love to hear decorating ideas for small church and any
extra craft ideas.  Our craft director always has to gather other ideas
besides what they offer to fill her time slot.

--from SSTN: for those responding, please remember to share your own ideas
and not copyrighted material. thanks! Sarah <><

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10) Prayer teaching ideas?

I teach ages newborn to 12 years old....we are a small church...the
parents of the newborns gets very involved int he Sunday School
lessons....so...I even have adults also.  We are having youth night on May
26....our class will have a presentation to do on this night...which has
to be seperate from the teen class.....the topic that my class is doing
will be on prayer...I bought a really neat book Teaching Our Children to
Pray...it has all kinds of great things to do and learn.....but I was
wondering what ideas everyone else might have on this...maybe
songs...crafts...lessons....thanks so much

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"Get em' in the LOOP!" 

L-eading kids to Christ,
O-ffering advice
O-pen discussion forum
P-roviding free resources

Invite your friends, pastors, and coworkers
to join our discussion in SSTN.


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11) Middle School Ideas

In response to Sharon's note looking for Middle school ideas, I will share
one that has always worked well for me.  I call it the bag lesson.
Basically, you take brown paper bag and fill it with "stuff"(pieces of
yarn, paper clips, ribbon, pipe cleaners, anything sticky. popsicle
sticks, etc.)  You tell the class that they have fifteen minutes to use
the contents of the bag to create something.  Have glue, tape, staples
available. I usually will tell the kids they can use a marker, if they
ask...I put in a piece of gum or candy too.  At the end, students can
share what they made

Then coordinate the lesson with the parable of the talents.  The meaning
of both is, of course, that you are given what God gives you, and it is
your responsibility to use it for his purpose.

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12) Road to Follow Craft ideas

You can post road signs all over the room for fun--especially ONE WAY
signs.  Teacher stores may have sets of these designed for school
classrooms.  (A friend of mine gave me some when she closed her
preschool--maybe someone will lend you some.)

I made home-made "shrinky-dink" type YIELD signs with my class one time.
We used yellow styrofoam trays, traced the triangle (nice and large--it
will shrink) and cut it out, and then used a black pen to draw the border
and write "YEILD to God's will" on the front.  We also poked a hole in
the top with a paper punch so we could wear the finished product.  Then
we put them on a tray in a toaster oven I brought to class (you could put
a lot on a cookie sheet into a regular oven) and baked them on low for
just a few minutes.  WATCH THEM CAREFULLY.  They are fun to watch,
anyway, because they puff up first before they shrink.  Have a popsicle
stick handy to uncurl any that curl up, and let your oven cool off
between batches.

You could also make ONE WAY signs with white styrofoam trays, and start a
collection of charms.

Cincinnati, OH

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13) Creative Ideas for 12 - 14 yr. olds

Sharon--I found the kids in this group wanted to do crafts that had a
purpose, not just to echo the lesson.  One creative mom from our class
had the kids make peanut snowmen pins (spray paint peanuts-in-shells
white, and give the kids fabric scraps, markers, glue guns, etc. to make
snowmen with different personalities--then glue pin on back).  They were
making the pins to give as a blessing to seniors at a nursing home we
were going to sing at. 

They also liked it when I brought in random supplies and piled them on
the table.  (Fabric scraps, CD-ROMS, old window screen, whatever was in
the craft closet...). I gave them a few ideas to start, and let them
decide what they'd like to do with the stuff.  The kids had much better
ideas than I did!  They also appreciated it when they got to design
something that would be on display--like a banner to celebrate a certain
season.  They just had to know WHY they were making the craft.

This can be a neat group to do crafts with, because they can do so much
more, and because they are old enough to use things like low-temp glue
guns.  You may want to bring in some craft magazines (like Pack 'O
Fun--your library may have it) and your favorite ideas from the web (from
Christian Crafters.com of course!)  and let them pick some crafts out. 

Good luck!
Cincinnati, OH

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14) Shorter class time
Our church also approximates 30 to 45 minutes for childrens Sunday School.
We have found this time frame works well most of the time,
5 min greeting/ topic discussion
10 min Bible reading and study
10 min singing/practicing Bible verses
10 min short crafts or worksheet activities
10 min games

You'll be surprised at what can be learned in accomplished in that time
period once you get organized ,.  Good luck and God Bless,             

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