I painted a set of the creation cards out of wood sometime ago, which I have yet to saw out of the large sheet of wood it is currently on. In the next few days I will be going to Romania on a short trip, to serve Outstretched Hands of Romania and I was considering possible talks for children's ministry, when I thought Godly play would actually be quite a good starting point! So thought of making a little light travel set of a few stories and with regard to Creation looked up images and came across a nice example at United Montessori.
Making them out of felt and planning to use them as a travel set I thought joining them with a ribbon with buttons on the end would work well (I believe it did). I simply sewed a button on each end of a ribbon, then cut a little slit in each of the sheets, that way I am able to take each one off and use individually in a line as is meant to be used.
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.
For the play/ exploration time of our session on Pentecost I provided related activities 1. related to the day of Pentecost
2. The birth of the church (will post separately)
Blowing/ wind toys. Pin wheels, bubbles and straws with feathers to poke feathers in the end and see the effect of "wind" and blowing around floor/ up in air.
Make fire streamers, a really popular activity. This activity needed 100% adult support which I tend to avoid during this part of the session but I felt the end justified the means. This was very popular.
After separating the tinsel into lengths and taping bunches together to make the creating of the streamers easier I was left with all of this! So decided to just use it as a sensory activity related to fire.
Books related to different languages and cultures, in relation to the friends speaking different languages and going out into the world to tell of Jesus.
Unicef game, where you join childrens hands from different ethnicities. Again related to going out to tell of Jesus.
I absoloutly know this is not the Godly play model (except of course white circles and a dove) but needed an example of the Trinity for the context of the Pentecost story. Simply placed the three circles on the floor, pointing to each circle saying this one we will think about God the Father, God The Son- Jesus, this one God The Holy Spirit. Then placed each object on top,
God The Father: We often think of God The Father as the creator, he created everyone and the whole world with His hands (wooden hands). We also think of Him as the Father, a father who looks after us and holds us in his hands.
God the Son- Jesus: We often think of Jesus as a baby, who was born in a stable in Bethlehem (painted baby stone). But we also think of Jesus dying on a cross for us and then coming alive again.
God the Holy Spirit: We often think of the Holy Spirit, like when the dove came upon Jesus on His baptism.
I then moved the circles together and said that together this is God! Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I am not suggesting this is better than the Godly play trinity example used in the Baptism session- no way. I just felt this was right for this occasion. Check out Wonderful in and Easter kind of way's post on The Trinity
When planning this week's story telling I had not read the Godly play version "The Mystery of Pentecost" I was shocked to watch it on youtube after I had planned it, my goodness a little too similar to Jerome Berryman. Although differed enough to make it look like I expanded and adapted but that wasn't the case at all. This version went well.
(Which was told with timely interruptions from 3 year olds, in a very un Godly play fashion but entirely wonderful comments/ questions)
Introduction (The Trinity:- will post that separately)
Briefly talked about Jesus life using three props: baby stone, peg, cross. Jesus was born in Bethlehem (stone), he grew up (peg) and told people about His Father God and Heaven, some people didn't like this at all and he died on a cross (peg on cross). He was put in a tomb (covered with my hand) and then He was alive again, for forty days He met with his friends. He then explained to his friends that they must stay in Jerusalem, and His father would send them a special gift, Jesus then went up to Heaven.
Today we are thinking about that special gift, a gift is a special present and this gift is better than any other present. (Opened the box slowly and carefully). (Build the upper room perimeter) . The day of the festival of Pentecost came and Jesus' friends went to the same room where they had the last meal with Jesus. The twelve were gathered and also joined with many other friends of Jesus. Suddenly there was a noise that sounded like rushing wind (wave hands over people) Then what looked like tongues of fire came on each person's head. (Opened a little decorative box with the flames in very carefully) (Placed a felt flame on each head) Each one of Jesus' friends were filled with the Holy Spirit, the special gift Jesus had promised them. They started to speak in different languages they did not know before. In Jerusalem there were many people who spoke many different languages, Jesus' friends went out of the upper room and spoke and every person could understand what they were saying no matter what language they spoke. They Holy Spirit made them strong and brave to tell people about Jesus. The friends and their friends went all over Jerusalem and then to every corner of the earth telling people about Jesus. If we want the gift of the Holy Spirit we can, and He will help us to tell and show people about Jesus.
We had time for one wondering question due to a lot of responses. That was "I wonder which was your favourite bit of the story?" several replies were "Before the story when Jesus dyed on a cross and came alive again" "Fire on peoples heads" "People speaking in different languages" which made us think of languages we knew and listen to hello in several different languages from the book "Hello"
Almost at the end of the God made me project. For God made everybody I was originally going to use a beautiful people lotto game however decided I needed another imaginative activity to complement the other activities that were available. The playmobil people we have includes a range of people from different ethnic groups and includes a wheel chair, enabling discussion and or acknowledgement of peoples similarities and differences.
For God made my eyes, we used a range of things we needed to use our eyes for! "Sensory blocks" transparent centred wooden blocks for building, also great for shinning a torch through, and looking through to turn things a different colour. Interesting visual "experimenters" (the most popular, esspecially boys) colour paddles, torches, bug eye things (make you see billions of everything) mirrors, and magnifying glasses (turning everyone into detectives), the magnifying glass was good for putting up to your eye and saying "oh my what big eyes I have" drawing particular attention to the eye. Interesting mirrors, for looking at self and interesting effects.
When I recapped at the begining of our circle time session, this station proved quite difficult to prompt children into what we were using when we were there.
A selection of tactile and non tactile "stepping stones" for children to walk on. We all took our shoes off- optional but chosen, and walked on and around. Choosing textures liked and disliked was extremely popular.
This book also provided a context for talking about how God made our feet and all the things they can do. This is a small selection of the pages, I can email you a pdf copy if you email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org