Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to our lesson for August 4, Creation, taken from Genesis 1:1-2:3, and also found in The Complete Guide to Godly Play, Vol2, the orange book, 14 Presentations for Fall.

What a wonderful story about gift giving and creating. As it says in the Godly Play book, you can tell much about the giver by looking at the gift, and what an incredible gift creation is! 

Be sure to ask the wondering questions. They're simple but they invite deep thinking!
1. I wonder which one of these days you like best.
2. I wonder which day is most important.
3. I wonder which day you are in or which one is especially about you.
4. I wonder if we can leave out any one of these days and still have all the days we need.

Classes at FBCGreenville might want to take a mini-field trip down the hall and take a look at our world created in tiles a few years ago during Sunday school.
What can they find on the tiles that shows God's creation?

For our Make a Gift for God time, here are some ideas to get the children started:
1. Choose a day (or assign a day) and invite the children to create and illustrate their own plaque or water color drawing- or clay sculpture or pencil drawing depicting that particular day. This could be done as a class mural or completed individually.
Here's an example in which children did water colors and then put them together.

2.Each child could make her/his own set of days, as is shown here.
Check out dozens of more ideas at the Pinterest site here.
Thank you for all you do for our children!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Parable of the Loving Father/Prodigal Son

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to a brand new lesson, The Parable of the Loving Father, the story Jesus tells in Luke 15, 11-32. We'll share this lesson this Sunday, July 28.
I've always called this parable the Parable of the Prodigal Son, but I like that many others call it by this name, changing the focus from the sins of the son to the amazing forgiveness, grace, and love of the father.

What an important lesson to teach our children, that nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:38-39!) The world is full of hurting people who need to hear this, don't you think? What a great story to help our kids explore.  Who hasn't made mistakes and felt out of the circle-- and who hasn't also felt a tinge of resentment when someone not playing by the rules gets a free ride? (Or maybe that's just me! :) )  Awareness of God's grace is so important to our kids. It's a perfect discussion topic for this week.

If you're one of our Sunday school teachers at FBC Greenville, you will receive an email with the script included. Let me know if you didn't get it or have trouble opening it and I'll see if I can fix the problem. (If you're at another church and would like to use the script, send me an email and I'll send it to you.)

The parable is in a gold box (after all, it's a parable!) in your Sunday school rooms, ready for you.

Now, how can we help the children deepen their exploration and understanding of the story through their art time? What ideas can serve as springboards for their own creativity in making a gift for God?

Why not make your art time a celebration of God's love and amazing grace?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Have a celebration feast, just like the father threw for the son, celebrating God's special kind of love. The kids could decorate cookies--or here's something corny... eat pigs in blankets--reminding them of the pigs the son took care of. You could eat at the end and spend the first few minutes making it really special, letting the children make have decorations for the table. Candles on the table would be nice. And as you prepare, you could help the children remember what the feast is all about: honoring God, who loves us and welcomes us back to him, no matter what we do, no matter if we misbehave or if we stick so closely to the rules that we miss the whole point of love all together.
I'm glad to reimburse you for any supplies you need to buy. Just bring me a receipt (with only Sunday school purchases on it) and I'll make sure you're repaid quickly.

The fourth graders make a special table cloth full of love messages.

The feast is ready!

2. Put a small mirror in a craft store frame which each of the children can decorate, writing on it with Sharpies something like God loves me exactly like I am. Children could decorate the frame however they like, by gluing on sequins or foam shapes, by using glitter glue or whatever supplies you have on hand. 
We have a few of these frames in the resource room. If you give me a call before 2:45 on Thursday, I can let you know how many we have and put them in your room for you.

3. Children could make cards for Meals on Wheels and for our folks in the hospital or in nursing homes. I'd be glad to see that they get to those who need them.
Valentines made by our first graders.

4. Older children might be interested in taking a look at the much loved hymn Amazing Grace. They could illustrate it --or record themselves singing it. Let me know before Sunday if you need a recorder.

5. Some children might enjoy acting out the parable. I'd love to tape this if you do it. Let me know ahead of time if you plan to suggest this and I'll lend you a camera to tape it.

6. I bet the children could be really creative if you ask them to make a valentine for God, however they want, however big or small, whether 2 dimensional or 3 dimensional (clay maybe?)

If your kids make something you think should definitely be shared with the parents in the newsletter, would you drop me an email or call? I try to check your rooms during the week, armed with my camera, but I don't want to miss anything!

Thanks, y'all! I appreciate you!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Hi Godly Play Teachers,
Welcome to our lesson for July 21, the Parable of the Mustard Seed, found in Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-32, and Luke 13:18-19.
The children love this parable, and if you help them process it through the wondering questions, they're sure to come up with some profound thoughts and ideas.

The wondering questions are in the book. I'll have them printed out for you. Thank you for documenting the children's responses. They're so interesting for the parents-and for the rest of us!

Now, for some ideas to spark their imaginations as they do their work, making a gift to God...

1. How big do they imagine the mustard seed growing? Why not lay out butcher paper on the floor and let the children draw the tree? I've seen a class of fours do this, so I know all of ours can do it to. One team of kids could draw and fill in the tree, another do the leaves, another do the birds and birds' nests, and another do the sower.
Our fourth grade class did this a year or two ago and it turned out great!

2. Children could individually glue a seed to a paper and draw what the tree will grow to be.

3. You could plant a seed, if you haven't done that lately. It might be fun to plant grass seeds and draw a face on the pot/cup so as it sprouts it looks like hair.

4. The kids could make their own parable box for this one. There's felt in the resource room for the different parts, and they could also make a person out of a clothespin, birds and nests out of clay.

5. Make a mustard seed necklace as shown here

6. Sample different kids of mustard with pretzels or crackers as a snack.

Love, Becky

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Parable of the Leaven

Hi Godly Play Teachers, Welcome to our lesson for July 14, the Parable of the Leaven, found in Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:20-21.

It will be interesting to see what the children make of this parable. As Godly Play often encourages us, it's good to remember that the children may find meanings that we haven't even thought of- meanings we can learn from- so it's important not to steer them too much towards our own understanding.
It's also good to share how much three measures of flour is. I've read that it's enough to make a dozen loaves of bread- enough bread to feed 100 people!

Be sure to use the wondering questions to help them tease out their own thoughts from their heads.  I'd love to be able to share them with the parents in the newsletter, without names attached, of course.

Idea Sparkers for the Make a Gift to God time.
1. It might be fun to depict the parable by drawing out exactly how much bread this tiny bit of leaven can make rise. The children could make a mural showing the title of the parable, a drawing of a small amount of yeast, the dozen loaves of bread, and the baker woman. They could write out the short parable at the bottom, and we could put it on one of our big bulletin boards. Drawing out the dozen loaves would bring home how much bread the parable is talking about.

2. Eat bread! Let children shape croissant dough from the refrigerator aisle of the grocery store. If there's time, they could even "paint" it before baking with egg white colored with food coloring.
You could also compare unleavened bread with leavened bread by sampling each.

3. The older children could work on the question of how do you show your leavening--or what kind of leaven are you? How do we participate in the kingdom of God? What things do we do to "make the bread of the kingdom rise?" To further the God's kingdom- to make the world like God wants it to be? This could be done in drawings, with a collage, a poster that the class works on together or separately.

4. Experiment with yeast, testing what happens to warm sugar water with yeast in it.(We have yeast packets in the resource room.

Thanks, y'all!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Parable of the Sower

Hi Godly Play Teachers,
Welcome to our lesson for July 7, the Parable of the Sower.
 Jesus told this parable to answer the question, "What is the kingdom of heaven (God's kingdom) like?" The wondering questions this week are really important, because they can help the children understand the meaning of the parable. I hope you'll let the children struggle with each question. Sometimes it's very tempting to give them an answer, but a little mind struggling will allow them to find an answer that they can own-instead of one they don't really get, but feel you want them to believe. Even if they go down a wayward road, (if so we can always ask more questions to try to help them find their way) we will have "planted the seed" (how appropriate!) which they may discover later.

As you ask the wondering questions, if children have trouble, try to help them put themselves in the place of the sower. (Particularly helpful for questions 3,6,7,8,13)

So the important wondering questions we'll use this week are:
1. I wonder if the person had a name.
2. I wonder who the person could really be?
3. I wonder if the person was happy when the birds came and ate the seeds.
4. I wonder if the birds were happy when they saw the sower.
5. I wonder who the birds really are.
6. I wonder what the person was doing when the little seeds could not get their roots in among the stones.
7. I wonder what the person was doing when the little seeds were choked by the thorns.
8. I wonder what the person was doing when the little seeds were growing in the good earth.
9. I wonder what the harvest could really be?
10. I wonder what the sower used for seed?
11. I wonder what the sower sold?
12. I wonder what the sower kept for food?
13. I wonder what part surprised the sower most?

Idea Sparkers for our Create a Gift for God time:
Check out this pinterest site and see a whole bunch of ideas which children could use to make their gift to God!

What a perfect time to actually sow some seeds! You could use Styrofoam cups or small terra cotta pots which the kids could decorate, then fill with soil in which to plant a seed. You could also have them write a verse on a popsickle stick to put in the soil near the seeds they sow. They could choose a verse from the Bible story (a good way to have them look up the story themselves) or use Psalm 119:16b  “I Shall not forget your Word.”

Children could also reproduce the parts of the parable box-the sower, the birds, the pots, the rocky ground, the thorns, the plants.

Children could illustrate the parable with watercolors or markers or colored pencils.

Love, Becky