Monday, 13 June 2011

Church's Birthday

So for snack on Pentecost, looking for inspiration I did my usual response after praying for inspiration... yep googled! Found a host of cakes with strawberries on top... nope so came up with the idea of making icing people with candles behind. So we can use candles for "birthday" and also for flames of Pentecost. In the end I used Jelly babies (just being lazy) but actually it's not easy threading jelly babies onto candles and even hard to get off.
Sorry the photos aren't better quality. Cake went down very well, I used it to reinforce the story saying that what looked like tongues of fire were above the peoples heads, and then we sang happy birthday to the church. Then I said and can you remember what else the people heard on Pentecost... wind lets make some wind and blow the candles out (big mistake, I didn't much want the cake after a bunch of preschoolers had blown and spat on it, but would do again most probably). I could have taught the children happy birthday in another language to reinforce that concept too, but only so much time...
Play exploration option also included a party, as it was a celebration of the church's birthday and that's how we celebrate birthdays. I had anticipated this being the favoured activity, sometimes we are so wrong...

This was in fact the favourite, a simple replica of the church (well a bit of it, at least) made for the size of playmobile (I favour wooden less realistic toys generally but feel on occasion these can be used very effectively e.g. to highlight the diversity of the church and the playmobil people also includes wheel chairs etc.)
Pews were mad out of jenga bricks. I placed the church alongside a doll's house and presented on the floor on a large green mat. I felt it was important that the church was not viewed in isolation but placed in a "community" I am SO pleased I did this as it gave opportunities to discuss community issues, at first all the dolls were in the church and they were not playing with the house. I was able to use that to comment "Are the people going to stay in the church all the time?" and guide conversation and consequently play to if they did that the people would not be doing as Jesus had asked. We they had people going to dinner at the house, homeless people being taken to the hospital and fights being stopped by offers of lunch (if only it were that simple, maybe it is?). Some of this was spontaineous some prompted, I would always recommend starting form where the child/ren are playing and following their lead, resist temptation to over take play as it is likely to become a teaching session rather than exploration and individual conclusions. The use of "wondering questions" can even have its place in play... "I wonder what would happen if the people never left church?" "I wonder what this man who has no home could do?" "I wonder who lives in this house?" Where possible observe and only intervene or guide if you feel you can do so sensitively without taking over or stifling exploration.

I recorded a short piece of worship music onto a talking point to play in the church and this was utilised a lot particularly by the boys... I think I had the refrain of "Jesus you are all I need" in head for about 24 hours because of hearing off this so much.
I will attempt to use the church more often in sessions to highlight the application more fully.


  1. I have a question about the "talking point" buttons.
    I've been thinking about getting some for use in a prayer space, and wondered how you were getting on with them. What is the volume like and are they standing up to repeated use etc

  2. Hi There, we get on really well with the talking buttons and use them lots. The great thing is the batteries are replaceable but they work for loads of weeks I'd say a year at least with more than one day a week use. The volume is enough for the child who is pressing and a couple around them in a medium level sound environment. What I do is if I want to record something and don't want the users to change message i tape over the button with electrical tape or velcro. The one word of warning DO NOT let anywhere near sand totally ruins them