Thursday, 15 November 2012

Lions Galore!

10th November at Messy...Daniel in the Lion's Den crafts....hmmm, now let me see, what could we do? It was fun thinking up all the different ways we could construct a lion, be it one we could eat, one we could wear or one we could use as a puppet. I heard so many 'Roars!' throughout the afternoon; the children obviously had a great time. 

Hand-print Lions
The messiest corner by far was where our hand-print lions were to be found (we ran out of places for all of them to dry, does anyone else have this problem?) Anyway, soggy lions aside, this craft was great fun for even the tiniest of guests (and some of the adults had fun too!) 

Our Fearsome Lion
Despite the fearsome image our Lion presented (left), the 
A fear of daddy-long-legs!
children were very bold in approaching him to post prayers in his mouth! We asked the children to think of all those things which most made them feel afraid and they then asked God to help them overcome these fears...most seemed to have a spider theme, but crocodiles and daddy-long-legs also got a mention! (Nobody mentioned lions, incidentally! :-))

Pasta lion
Having bought the biggest bag of Pasta Sainsbury's could offer and calculated that each child would use at least 30 pieces, I would obviously be no good at that game 'guess the number of pieces of pasta in the bag' - what, have you never played that game?). Well, 51 children WANTED to make a pasta lion, but sadly we ran out of pasta (I'd erroneously thought I might even  have some left over for my tea!). Undaunted, most children were very happy simply drawing a lion's face on the circle of card! 

Alex's Lion got a great hair-cut!
To help the children re-enact the story at home, we made puppet lions (used another 50 of those yoghurt pots, only about 1000 to go!). I've included this particular photo because Alex took so much care fringing the lion's mane - great work, Alex! 

Lion Masks
To help us in our re-telling of the story in church, we wanted the children to make lions masks. Sorry about the odd angle of this photo (I'll try and find another one), but you get the gist...we cut the centre from a paper plate and fringed the edges with orange and yellow paper and added ears. It was good to see so many of the children having a go at curling their manes. Lots of hairdressers in the making(!) 

Pin the tail on the lion
Pin the tail on the lion was very popular with children forming an orderly queue. Judging by the x's which were placed rather accurately on the lion, our blindfold may have had a few holes in it! 

Miriam the Lion
By far the most popular craft of the afternoon (and first to run out of supplies!) was our edible lions. With a toffee popcorn mane, liquorice lace mouth and chocolate drop eyes, these lions made our mouths water and only one or two made it home with the children! 

The King of the Lion Cakes
As always, we celebrated lots of birthdays in the month of November when we went into church. Our talented cake makers, Jane and Andrew, created yet another superb and guessed it... lion cake! Bagsie I have the nose! 

Our celebrations in church kicked off with a game of sleeping lions - never have I experienced such silence at a Messy Church before! Awesome work, Yvonne! The children gathered at the front to hear the story and everyone wanted to play the part of Daniel, or to be one of the hungry lions. Daniel and the lions having been chosen, there was a lot of roaring from the rest of the children as we all joined in with the story around our lion's 'den', courtesy of the rather brilliant Enid. 

Teatime, and we munched our way as usual through loads of pizzas, sandwiches and cakes.  Our 'keep the conversation going' table signs asked the children some questions about their afternoon and what they'd learned from the story, reminding them that just as Daniel did the right thing and carried on praying to God, even when the law told him to pray to someone else, we too should 'keep the conversation going' and  pray to God. He loves to hear our voices. I'd love to hear yours too...any ideas we can share to enhance our Messy lives for God! 

See you next Month when we'll be going on a Messy Christmas Journey (can't wait!), Jo xx

Thursday, 18 October 2012

In the Belly of a Whale!

It was our 4th Birthday at Messy Church last Saturday and it was wonderful to be able to welcome families who have been with us since the very beginning; families whose children weren't even born 4 years ago, and families who were joining us for the very first time. We have been so blessed over the last 4 years with some wonderful families who've made Messy Church their home, so we wanted to make this session extra special to thank God for all he's been doing in our lives and the lives of our Messy families! 

Our theme was 'Jonah' and  each craft helped the children and parents to think about the story....some children were hearing it for the first time!

Jelly Lucky Dip!
I wrapped a bucket in blue paper and stuck a whale (with a big mouth!) on the front. Inside the bucket, I made up 10 pints of jelly (lemon yum!) and then added a few bits and pieces from around the house (bouncy balls, giant paper clips, keys, plastic toys etc, together with a figure of a someone who looked as if he could be Jonah!). We asked the children to have a delve in the bucket to see if they could find him! There were sweetie prizes as an incentive, however most of the children (and even some adults) didn't seem to have any kind of reservations about fishing about in the belly of this whale! We talked with the children about what it must have been like for Jonah inside the whale - probably just as slimy as this bucket but maybe not so sweet-smelling!

Which Fish? Game
We covered a table in blue cloth and scattered whale cut-outs, some of which had a picture of Jonah stuck on the under-side. The cut-outs had paper-clips attached to their mouths and we handed the children home-made magnetic fishing rods (we've used these so many times over the last 4 years!) to see 'which fish' had swallowed Jonah!

Jonah prayers
Using speech bubble post-it notes, we asked the children to stick their 'Jonah Prayers' onto a cut-out of a giant whale with Jonah sitting in the middle. We took this into church for our celebration time and read out the prayers that the children had posted. We took the time to remind the children that although we all do things wrong sometimes, Jesus died for us so that we can approach God knowing that he will always forgive us when we are sincerely sorry for messing up. 

Jonah Fish Sandwiches
We made 'Jonah Fish Sandwiches' using whale cutters I'd found on a visit to Hobbycraft (10 for £1!). However, when the shape was cut out, it didn't look much like a whale so not one of my better bargains! The children spread the inside of the sandwich with a choice of honey, marmalade or jam (or all three!) and then sandwiched the two halves of bread together with a gummy bear inside to represent Jonah.

Origami boats
Our origami boats are ones we've tried and tested many times before (Jesus calms the storm, Noah and the Ark, Jesus calls his disciples to become fishers of men, etc etc!) The children also fixed sails to their boat using a drinking straw mast. We talked about the part of the story where Jonah tried to run away from God and how he and his fellow crew members were in danger from the storm which blew up when they were on the ship. Jonah knew what had to be done - but he couldn't have guessed what would happen next! 

Pop-up Jonah!
'Peggy' the Whale!
Using a photocopied
template of a fish, which we folded into a cone shape, we then attached a Jonah picture to the end of a straw and the children had great fun re-creating the part of the story where Jonah was spat out onto the beach!

Our 'Peggy the Whale' craft was popular with the children, simply attaching two 'halves' of the whale to the bottom and top of the sides of a peg. Great fun! 

In the Belly of the Whale
As the children came into the church, we displayed all of the craft session photos on the overhead screen, accompanied by the Newsboys 'In the Belly of the Whale'. During our celebration, adapting the words of 'Our God is Great Big God' and writing another couple of verses to make it a song about Jonah (sort of worked!), we also involved the children and adults to tell the story of Jonah using a very simple script and a power-point on the overhead screen as a prompter for everyone to join with sounds effects (storm noises, splash! as Jonah was thrown overboard, people of Nineveh saying 'sorry God' etc). The whale was made from 2 zimmer frames (yes, I did say zimmer frames) covered in black bin liners with paper teeth and polystyrene balls for eyes , but you could use a child's pop-up tent, small table, etc - anything large enough for a child to climb into! 

Our tea time was great but you should have seen the children's faces when I produced the bucket of jelly and asked who wanted some! :-) Can't wait for the next Messy on 10th November when we'll be looking at the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den!  

If anyone would like more information (scripts, templates) you can contact me via e-mail

Thursday, 11 October 2012

My Messy Church journey began in October 2008, four years ago now. Every month since then, apart from 4 Augusts when the world goes on holiday, we've explored some of the greatest bible stories using a mix of glitter, glue, paint, icing sugar, squirty cream - you name it, we've used it. 

I am the children & families worker at Holy Trinity & St Saviour's Church in Knaphill & Brookwood and I wanted to share our Messy Church journey in the hope that it will help inspire others who may be taking their first tentative steps in this great family ministry. Patience may be needed as I am an inept blogger, but bear with me, and I hope you enjoy your visit!