Saturday, November 7, 2015

I've Moved. Please Come Visit!

Hi everyone! I'm glad you stopped by, but I've moved to a new blogging home. Please visit me at for posts and pages all about nurturing faith through Godly Play. When you drop in, feel free to sign up for the mailing list so that I can send you ten free Godly Play style scripts for use in your church or ministry setting. I hope to see you there!
Love, Becky

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Ark and the Temple

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the Ark and the Temple, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, November 8.

For a girl who could spend days moving furniture and little people around a dollhouse, I simply adore this lesson! I also love it because it explores the idea of God's abiding presence and helps us question exactly where God is. Where can we meet God? If it is in a church or temple, how do we keep that space sacred? If God truly meets us everywhere, anywhere, then what does that say about the sacredness of the space we occupy in our everyday lives? Which makes me think of a favorite song of mine, but that's another story. (Go here, if you want a treat!)

This story works wonderfully as a continuation of last week's story, The Ark and the Tent. Before, the people took the tent with them as they traveled, and learned that God goes with them wherever they go. Now, the people have settled and learn that God is not only present during times of transition but in ordinary times of daily life.

Another interesting theme to address is the idea of the usefulness of things in the worship of God. When the ark and the commandments were taken during battle and they didn't physically have them in the tent, were they really lost? When King David returned them, dancing into Jerusalem, what was he really celebrating?

Another very important theme to cover is that there is no physical place that can contain God. I'll have Solomon's temple dedication prayer typed up and in your room by Wednesday night this week. If you'd like to make it into a scroll to read during the lesson, as the script suggests, feel free. I believe we have some dowel sticks in the resource room. Balling up the paper and staining it with tea makes it look older and makes for a more dramatic presentation, if you like.

One other thing I didn't mention last week was the idea of making/offering sacrifices. Do we still offer sacrifices to God today? What kinds of sacrifices would God love? What kinds are important and why?

Some activity ideas to help the children get started:

Pieces of the temple


A few of the classes began last week making special parts of the temple/tent. You could continue that this week, and you could even set up the items in a temple of your own making.  Kids could make an ark, the ten commandments, a table with 12 pieces of bread, a menorah, a laver, and an altar. (See all the ideas and photos

Could we make edible versions of all these things? And then make an edible temple? See my pinterest site here, for ways to do this. :)

Make a temple 

Could we make a temple out of a shoe box? (I've got several, let me know if you want them.) Or maybe draw a temple? Make one out of lego?

Make a scroll with Solomon's Prayer

Depending on the age of the children, you could have them copy the prayer (or use a preprinted version), ball it up and then smooth it out, dye it with tea, and attach dowel sticks.

Research and draw/paint a priest in Solomon's temple

I've got a good book that illustrates the kinds of garments priests of that time wore. Some children might enjoy discovering that and reproducing it in some way.

Have fun, y'all! And please take photos to share. Thank you for all you do!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Psalms

Hi Godly Play Teachers!

Welcome to The Psalms, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, Nov 1, based on the book of Psalms. I've emailed you the story script, which includes the first part of the David story from last week, found in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall, p.81. If you are not a Sunday school teacher at FBC Greenville and would like a copy of the Psalms story script, just email me and I'd be happy to send it to you.

In the script, we use the first part of the David story and then explore the idea that the Psalms writers went to God with all kinds of different emotions. We discuss how we can pray to God when we feel afraid, happy, angry, peaceful, sad or worried, and joyful, or when we feel sorry for what we've done. With each different emotion, we share a Psalm (or 2 or 3) that the Psalm writers experienced and shared with God.

To share the Psalms, we're going to use a beautiful book, Psalms for Young Children, written by Marie-Helene Delval and illustrated by Arno. In this book, Ms. Delval has adapted the psalms for children in a way that is so easy to read and to relate to. I've purchased one for each class (except for 3rd grade, which already had a copy.) You'll find it in your story basket, which I left near your Bible bookcase. I put it there to remind you (and me) that you'll need the Bible Bookcase as you tell the story. (You'll take the Psalms book out and place it on the underlay in part of the story.
By the way, the Psalms in this book are shared in order (by number.) They're so short that I think you'll find it hard to stop reading them!

To help the children follow along with the different emotions we'll be discussing I've made emotion cards for each class.

Older children might enjoy comparing the Psalms as written in the Bible with Marie Helene Delval's adaptations. They might like making their own adaptations as well. You might want to choose one Psalm to focus on, like #23 or 139.

The wondering questions are included in the story script.

Ideas for Your Give a Gift to God time:

1. Writing our own Psalms--Have children pick an emotion that they sometimes feel and write God a prayer or song that they might pray or sing while feeling that way.

2. Write a psalm showing how you feel today. Draw a picture to go with it.
Or read a psalm to a friend that shows how you feel.

3. Illustrate a Psalm. Choose a psalm and illustrate it, like Arno did in Psalms for Young Children. (Any Psalm would be good. If you want, you could choose the psalm for the children, like #23 or 139.)
4. Write a psalm together as a class, and then let the children illustrate it individually or together.
5. Work out a tune that fits a psalm that you like. Or write your own to sing.
6. Make instruments to play while singing a psalm. You can find directions to make a simple tambourine here, and a lyre here.
I hope you enjoy the lesson! :)
Love, Becky

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Story of David

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the story of King David, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 25, based on 1 Samuel 16-31, 2 Samuel and 1Kings 1-2. You can find the script for the story in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall book, p.78-85.

This week's story is another one (like Ruth and Samuel) that fits nicely after the story of the ark and the tent. And it follows right into the next story on our schedule: the Psalms, (to be followed by the Ark and the Temple.)

Some of the story's themes which you might want to help the children think about:
1. We can come to God with all sorts of feelings (as in the Psalms---we'll explore this one more next week)
2.God can help us be brave enough to do what is right and needed.
3. Friendship is a gift from God.
4. God uses people, even with their faults.
5. God forgives our mistakes when we ask for forgiveness.

Ideas for the Make a Gift for God Time:
Children choose how to respond to the story and get started!
Some children drew symbols of David's life on stones. You can see another made an ark of the covenant.
Stones with symbols of David's life

1. Children could reproduce the elements of the
story in some way.
* Make a harp
*Make a crown for King David
*Make an ark of the covenant
*Make a parable box for the parable that Nathan told David (there is plenty of felt in the resource room)
*Make a drawing of Jerusalem- or a watercolor.

2. Children could paint symbols of David's life (shepherd's crook, bottle of incense, two friends, crown, ark, etc) on small stones. There are stones in the resource room.

3. Children can celebrate David's childhood by making David with the sheep. Go to the site here, for plenty of options for crafting sheep. (Scroll down to "sheep")

4. Children could sculpt a David and Goliath out of play clay.

5. The class could work on a mural of David's life with one long piece of butcher paper- assigning parts of his life to individual children to illustrate.

6.  Children could focus on the friendship between Jonathan and David and explore what kind of friendship God celebrates.

I hope these ideas help!
Love, Becky

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Story of Samuel

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the story of Samuel, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 18, based on 1 Samuel 1-28:3. You can find the script for the story in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall book, p.72-77.

This week's story is another one (like Ruth) that fits nicely after the story of the ark and the tent. And it follows right into the next story on our schedule: the story of David.

The story of Samuel is also very interesting to children for a couple reasons: they relate to the idea of a child growing physically and in relationship with God and they think about how God communicates- and probably wish that God would call their names in an audible voice.
Themes you might want to help the children think about:
1.God answers prayer
2. You can serve God even as a child.
3.God plans to take care of you (if you want a memory verse, you could use Jeremiah 29:11)
4.God asks us to stand up for what is right, as Samuel did.
5.Obedience (Samuel obeyed God even though he was not happy about what the
people wanted-a king)

Ideas for the Make a Gift for God time:
Remember that one of the strongest parts of Godly Play is the child's ability to choose how he responds to the story. We want to give the child as many chances to have say so in what she does as possible.

1. Reproduce the story in some way- make pieces, such as the ark, a Baby Samuel, robes of different sizes, (showing how Samuel grew during his service in the temple), a sleeping mat, a crown

2. Children could make a life size drawing of themselves and caption it: I can serve God right now! This could be done by having another child trace around their body on butcher paper. They could draw clothes on their body or use fabric from the resource room. Maybe they could hold something in the drawing that gives a hint to how they can serve God right now.
 3. A collage or drawing of how children can serve God right now. Children could make these individually and then put them together as a class project. (Ways include how they treat others, through prayer, in worship at church, helping others...)
4. Children could think about how they might like to serve God in the future. How does a doctor or teacher or engineer or scientist serve God? They could explore this in a drawing or make a model with play clay.
5. Children could act out the story of Samuel hearing God's call and going to Eli--and the rest of the story as well. (Be sure to video!)
6. Hannah makes Samuel a new robe each year and brings it to him in the temple. Children could make a "robe" from a paper grocery bag as we often do with Joseph, as shown here. (Scroll down and see the girl modeling hers!)

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Story of Ruth

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the story of Ruth, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 11, based on the book of Ruth. You can find the script for the story in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall book, p.66-71.

As the book describes, this story doesn't "unroll" like many other stories, from left to right in chronological order. Instead it moves from the Promised Land (specifically Bethlehem) to Moab and back to Bethlehem. The whole felt block is shown throughout the story.

The story of Ruth follows the story of the Tabernacle, in which great emphasis was put on being one of the chosen people of God. It's wonderful that we now can share the story of Ruth, not one of the chosen People of God, but a Moabite, yet she was clearly valued and loved by God. She married one of God's People, Boaz, and eventually became the great grandmother of King David (and an ancestor of Jesus!) The story gives us a wonderful opportunity to remind children that God values "other-ness," that all are included in and welcomed into God's love and care.

Idea sparkers for the Give a Gift to God time:
There are several ways children and teachers can go with this.
1. Focus on the story itself.
a) Let the children act out the story.
b) Draw the scenes of the story or make a three dimensional representation of the story.
c) Help the children learn the meaning of "gleaning" by giving them a chance to do a modified form of it in this "gleaning game" (from the site here.)
 "Fill 2 roasting pans or cookie sheets with 2 lbs. of cornmeal and a cup of rice and place it in the center of the blanket. Set the paper cup to the side. Explain to the children that they will be gleaning grain just as Ruth did for Naomi. Divide the kids into two groups. Have each group stand around their pan. Ask them to work together to fill the cups with rice, one grain at a time. Tell the children not to put any of the rice into their mouths since it is uncooked. For a fun challenge, set a timer for three minutes. Ask the children to see if they can fill the "bushel" before the timer goes off. But remind them to be careful - if someone knocks over the cup they'll have to start all over again."

d) Let the children explore wheat. Give each child a single spear (I bought some from Hobby Lobby in the dried flower section) and let them try to separate the grains. Let me know by Wednesday if you'd like me to buy some wheat for your class.
e) Weave wheat into an ornament/hanging as described here.

2. Focus on friendship between Ruth and Naomi.
You can concentrate on the theme that friendship and the loyalty that goes with it is a gift from God. a) Children might make friendship bracelets, like those shown here. Or for younger children, make simple strings of beads made into bracelets. We have tons of material for these in the art storage room!  Or make a necklace for a friend, as shown here.
b) Children could make a mural together of what it means to be a friend- what friends do for each other. Each child could work individually or in pairs- and put the works together as a mural or for a bulletin board in your classroom.

c) Make a Friendship wreath for your classroom, as shown here.
d) Examine the song, "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds" and let the children illustrate it.

3. Focus on God welcoming all people.
a) How are we welcoming to others who might be different? Children could make a collage for  "God Loves Everyone"
b) Make a God's Love Note for a friend- like the ones shown here.

I hope these ideas help, y'all!
Love, Becky

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Good Shepherd and World Communion Sunday

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to The Good Shepherd and World Communion Sunday, scheduled for this Sunday, October 4, 2015.

This lesson comes from The Complete Guide to Godly Play, 20 Presentations for Spring, by Jerome Berryman.

How wonderful for our children, who will be celebrating World Communion Sunday in worship, to have a chance to explore this idea of Christ as Shepherd of our world during Sunday school.

It's a great time to remember the parable of the shepherd and apply this to World Communion Sunday, as well as a time to think deeper about communion-what it is and what it means. It's a pretty short lesson, so that leaves plenty of time to discuss these big ideas. Children may want to talk about what communion is like for them. At our church some families include children in participating and others prefer that their children wait until they are baptized. It's good for children to remember that whether or not we join in on the eating and drinking, we can be with God in our prayer during the communion time. God loves and wants to commune with everyone, no matter what.

Ideas for Art Response

1. Make a World Communion Circle for your class. Each child could make their own contribution- a clothespin person or the world out of paper or felt and put it all together.

2. Children could make their own elements from the story:  Jesus as Shepherd, the sheep, the fence, the table, the chalice or plate.

 3. Or children could focus on the World part of World Communion Sunday...
 Use Model Magic to make it in 3D.
 The children might enjoy a field trip to look at our world in tiles from a few years back.
4. You could also celebrate communion on your own in your classroom with juice and crackers. Bring me clean receipts and I'm happy to reimburse you!
Love, Becky