And whoever welcomes a child like this in My name welcomes me. Matthew 18:5

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Popcorn Game

 This is an easy, fun, and inexpensive game for a lesson about hearing God, being close to God, or the importance of prayer. It's called, simply, the popcorn game.
All you need for this game is,
  1. Popcorn (Obviously)
  2. An Even Number Of Kids (If you don't have an even number feel free to stand in yourself.)
  3. A Big Open Space
  4. A Broom (To clean up after.)

 To start off have the kids stand in two straight lines, facing each other. The kids will be paired up in teams of two. Once they're in position hand one piece of popcorn to each team. Standing ten feet or so apart have the kids toss their piece of popcorn to their partner. 
 Now obviously they wont be able to catch it. So, when this happens tell them that they may take one small step toward their partner. Have them keep doing this until their partner catches the popcorn. 
 Also, tell them that anyone who eats their popcorn piece loses. I didn't think to make this rule the first time we played this game, and needless to say we ran through a lot of popcorn that day...Boys...*rolls eyes*. lol
Tie In
 For my lesson I talked about hearing God. If you're doing that or something similar here is a little excerpt from some pieces of notes I used.
 Our relationship with God is similar to the game we played. It's really hard to hear God when you're far away from him. But in James chapter 4 verse 8 it says to draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you. 

How do we draw nigh unto God?
  • Read Our Bible
  • Pray
  • Go To Church Regularly
  • Be Faithful In Tithes and Offerings
  • Praise and Worship God
  • Obey His Commandments
  • Have A Daily Time Set Aside For God

 Now, this game is super versatile, and can be used as a just for fun game or a lesson game. It's totally up to you, but be prepared to clean up a bit of a mess after. It's totally worth it though. Hope you have as much fun with it as we did!

God Bless,
Faith <3

Monday, February 25, 2013

Student Participation

 Student participation is HUGE to the success of a Sunday School program. I've had serious problem students over my time, and simply letting them participate in class helped tons. 
 The best way to start with student participation is incorporating them into your lessons, like a game where everyone can get involved or even a skit. 
Example, if you're doing a skit or using puppets you may ask some of your older students to help out. This always goes over really well. The older kids love the grown up responsibility, and the younger kids love seeing their friends be goofy.
 My favorite way to get kids to participate in class is to give them daily duties, like passing out Bibles, praying over snack, taking up tithes and offering, passing out craft supplies, and so on. Not only will this help you out each Sunday, but you won't believe how much the kids enjoy it. They fall all over each trying to get their hand up first when I ask for volunteers. Again, kids love feeling like they are doing a grown up job. It makes them feel like a "big kid."
 My kids started getting so involved that they would voluntarily stay after to class to help me sweep, clean the white board, straighten the chairs, take out the trash, and generally pick up the place. 
 Also, praise it key with student participation. Kid's love your approval. You don't have to gush about them in class, but a general, "Thank you (insert name of kid here lol)", will do when they are helping out. But after class I really recommend thanking them one on one. You can say something like, "Thanks so much for helping pick up Bibles after class it helps me out a lot!" Simple right? Kids will respond so well to little things like that. 
 When you bring participation and praise into your classroom you will see better behavior, a closer relationship with your students, and probably a cleaner classroom. haha 
 I believe in teaching our lessons through action, which is why I use so many games, skits, and object lessons in class. But, I also believe things like work ethic and responsibility are learned through action as well. It seems to stick with the kids better this way. They don't just have words to hold onto, but they have a fun memory as well, and that will stick with them for a lifetime. 
 At the end of the day know that your students want your love and approval. Maybe thats something you have difficulty showing. Obviously you love these kids or you wouldn't be back here doing this job. But for whatever reason maybe you have trouble showing it to your kids. So do me a favor, think of this as a homework assignment not to just to teach the kids, but to teach you as well. Show them love and approval, and they will do the same for you.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Curriculum VS. Self Made Lesson Plans

 A major debate among Sunday School teachers is the use of a curriculum versus self made lesson plans. Some argue that curriculums provide more structure for class and they save time. While others say making a lesson plan yourself gives you the opportunity to build a lesson around your class' needs. But we can't seem to break down exactly which one is better. So, I'm here today to give you my take. 


  1. It provides consistent structure to class since most curriculums follow the same basic patterns every class. (Prayer, Lesson, Game, Craft, Snack, ETC.)
  2. If you're not a full time Children's Minister then it can sometimes be difficult to find the time get an entire lesson complete with games, snacks, and crafts every Sunday. In this respect a curriculum is definitely a pro since all of your material is there and waiting.  
  3. They often have really good ideas that we haven't thought of. These people have spent months putting together dozens of lessons before these curriculums are published. So, chances are they've had more time to come up with awesome ideas, versus your often mad rush to get a lesson plan together 2 hours before church because the weekend suddenly got away from you, come on we've all done it. 
  4. They can be reused when kids change in class. Kids grow up and come an go in Sunday Schools. So, I think it's totally acceptable to repeat a Curriculum after some time has passed. 
  5. If you have a sick day, are on vacation, or have an emergency and need someone else to teach your class having someone takeover for a Sunday is as easy as handing them a binder. And you don't have to worry about what the sub will teach or how the kids will react.
  6. Finally, a big perk to curriculums is that they're just easier to use. Everything is always right there when you need it. If you can read you're set. 

  1. Sometimes faster isn't always better. Every Sunday School Class is different. They all have different needs, likes and dislikes, and time frames even. So, with you curriculum you are a little more constrained as to what you can and can't do.
  2. Sometimes curriculums call for you to buy odds and end things, anywhere from a beach ball to clown costume. Which is cool...if your church budget can stretch it. So, be sure before selecting a curriculum to check out what it calls for.
  3. Sometimes curriculums may have been written by people of different denominations than your church. So, things may not always line up with what you like to teach. But don't panic, just grab a pen write a few notes in the margins, and you'll be fine.
Self Made Lesson Plans

  1. With self made lessons you get a more personal feel. You can make it much more one on one with your class.
  2. You get the chance to always minister on what A. God ministers to you and B. What you see the kids needing or dealing with.
  3. You're more flexible with your time frames and your schedules. Curriculums often start their first lesson at the beginning of the school year so lessons will fall right on holidays like Christmas and Easter. With self made lesson you're more flexible.
  4. You always know exactly word for word what you're ministering because, Hello you're the one that wrote it. This makes you more prepared and confident when entering the classroom.
  5. It gives you the opportunity to be creative, and learn some yourself through studying God's Word.
  6. Kids can tell when you're just going through the motions. Often times with curriculums you get the feeling that you don't have to try because it's all spelled out in black and white for you. But with self made lessons you take your time, blood (Paper cuts hurt.), sweat (It's tough carrying all those papers around every weekend.), and tears (Yeah, I'm a waterworks kind of girl when God ministers to me.) to get done every week. Which in all honestly does give you an awesome sense of accomplishment.
  1. It often takes a lot of time out of your week to get a full lesson together, between studying (which honestly we should all be doing every day anyway), searching online for ideas, coming up with games, getting snack and trying out crafts. 
  2. If you have a substitute in your class they usually have to come up with their own lesson unless you have one prepared. So, Note: Pick a sub you really trust if they will be the ones preparing the lesson. If the sub says or does something wrong you will have some angry parents.
  3. It's often more difficult to cater to a larger class if you use a self made lesson plan. Simply because you're the only one getting all the material together, and if you're running 30+ students every week self made plans can not only be expensive, but they can be time consuming. We don't get a dress rehearsal for our classes if a game or craft takes longer than expected then you will have parents tapping their foot at the door and a lesson left unfinished.
  4. Chances are if you are as unorganized with your self made lesson plans as I am you won't be able to reuse them years later because they could be anywhere between your house, church, and the road you took on that spontaneous after church trip to the beach. 

 So, to finish this debate on a personal note...I often use both a curriculum and self made lesson plans. It really depends on my time that week. I'm not a full time Children's Minister so between work, keeping up the house, running errands, and the general craziness some weeks throw at me I'm just glad to get to eat some days much less prepare a full Sunday School lesson so I'm a big curriculum fan. 

 However, sometimes God will minister to me about doing a certain topic in class. And frankly no matter my time constraints, I would rather do what God says. Sometimes I even like to do special days if we've had exceptionally well behaved classes for a few weeks. I will use a self made lesson plan with a few extra games or activities that week.
 Sometimes, I even combine self made lesson plans and a curriculum. Or, I take parts of two or three curriculum lessons and mix them together to make a semi self made lesson plan. 
 In all honesty, the main thing is to follow how God is leading you. We only see these kids on Sunday mornings, but God sees them all week. He knows what they deal with at school, at home, and even in their minds. So, if I can give you one piece of advice it's this, don't listen to cynics and the critics, listen to God. And you will see more growth and joy in your classes than you ever would with just a curriculum or just a self made lesson. No matter what you use, at the end of the day, let it be a God made lesson.

What curriculum is your favorite? Leave your answers in the comments section below.

God Bless,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Prayer Reminder Poster

 I think teaching our kids to pray is one of the greatest favors we can do for them.. Recently I've done a whole series on prayer, and one of the learning tools/crafts I liked was the prayer reminder poster.
 I hate wasting time, money, and supplies on crafts that kids either leave in the classroom or will throw away when they get home. So, I try to do things that they can use, wear, hang in their rooms, that are very thought provoking, or present a challenge. Like this...

The Prayer Reminder Poster


  1. Praying Hands Coloring Page
  2. Construction Paper
  3. Glue
  4. Markers
  5. Crayons
  6. Scissors
  7. Stuff To Decorate (Glitter, Stickers, Foam Cut Outs, etc.)
Here is a link to the praying hands coloring page I used.

Step 1.
Color praying hands using markers, crayons, or colored pencils

Step 2.
Cut out praying hands. You can let the kids do this or you can do it yourself.
Step 3.
Glue hands to the piece of construction paper...the praying hands...not the kids hands though I have had that happen before. Note: Always keep baby wipes and a first aid kit ready at a moments notice. lol
Step 4.
Have the kids write "Pray" at the top of their poster.
Then have them write a thing to pray for on each finger. Give them 5 fields to choose from, one for each finger.
1. A Ministry Or Group (Police, Church, Military, Missionaries, etc.)
2. A Person In Their Life (Parent, Grandparent, Friend, Aunt Uncle, etc.)
3. A Country (America, Africa, Japan, China, etc.)
4. A Spiritual Thing (Peace, Joy, Wisdom, Help Witnessing, etc.) 
5. A Material Thing They Want (Xbox, Dog, Dress, Movie, Bikes, etc.)

Step 5.
Let the kids go crazy with glitter, stickers, foam cut outs, and whatever else you have on hand. Just let it be fun. Remember this is something they will hang in their room, so the crazier the better usually.

The Finished Product!!

 This is a very simple craft, but it is very impacting. Tell your kids to think of it as a homework assignment for the week. They will hang the poster in their room to remind them to pray for their 5 things every day. By next week's class you should be able to discuss how things went. 
Was it hard to pray every day?
Did they see anything thing happen due to their prayers?
Will they continue to pray every day?
Why is it important for them to pray every day?
Did praying help them feel closer to God?

I hope this craft will help you minister the power of prayer to your class!

Is there another theme you need a craft for? If so leave them in the comments below, and I will try to work up something in a new blog.

Good Luck,

Sunday, February 17, 2013

In the Begining

The hardest part of teaching Sunday School is the beginning. So, I want to share with you, through my experience, the keys to starting off right. Please learn from my mistakes. haha

Key 1.
Having the courage to try.

 I've been at the same church since I was 5, and things never seemed to change a lot. Growing up I had the most amazing Sunday School teachers, and up until last year they were still hard at it. When they decided to step down it was a tough blow to the program. They'd been teaching for about 13 years, and the kids adored them. Needless to say there were big shoes to fill. When the position fell open I was recommended for reasons unknown to me at the time. When I was officially offered the position I didn't know how to react. I'd never thought of myself as an authority figure much less a Sunday School teacher. Now, looking back I think I was crazy, but I said no. I was absolutely terrified by the responsibility of it all. I'm a 20 something with no children...what did I know about taking care of kids? However, as a favor to my pastors I said I would fill in until they could find a replacement. Well, that lasted for about two months before I finally knew it was God's will for me. When I finally accepted the job my pastors just laughed and said, "I knew God was going to do that to you." Believe it or not I kept getting those comments for months after I became the new Sunday School teacher. Apparently everyone knew it was my calling except for me. 

So, my first key is this. 
Don't be motivated by fear. If God is dealing with you to step into Children's Ministry the first thing I would do is pray...also pray...and then pray some more. Chances are you already know the answer in your heart. The answer may scare run and stick your head into a hole kind of scare you...but have the courage to try. Because I can promise you this, you will never feel easy until you say yes. I spent two months tossing and turning, thinking surely it was just me wanting to do it...not God telling me to. Why would God trust me with kids? But when I had the courage to try I never looked back, and I've never felt more settled in what I'm doing.

Note: I still had no clue what I was

Key 2.
Establishing Rules

 In my experience, I went in thinking, "Oh I'll just play a few games, read a few verses, and we'll have snack. The kids will sit nice an quietly, and we will all have an awesome time!" Well, little did I know that kids don't always take well to change, they will test you're authority to see just how far you'll let them go. I had to send kids out of class it got so crazy at times. But I had no real rules and consequence  system. I hated having to play the bad guy. So, I often tried not to throw rules in too much. Which was a huge mistake. And that brings me to key number 2.

 Rules are one of the most important things in my classroom. It's what often separates Sunday School from Circus. I know people often take the "It's just Sunday School though..." stance, but for me I always like to stress the word S-C-H-O-O-L. Yes, we want kids to have fun and be silly, but at the end of the day we want them to walk away having learned something. So, rules are a big part of making that possible. I can't stress how important it is to start a rules and consequences system EARLY ON. Write the rules out hang them in your classroom so they are clearly visible. You don't need 50, just four or five will do usually. 
Ours are written out as,

1. Listen when someone is speaking. 
2. Raise your hand to speak.
3. Follow directions quickly.
4. Be a caring friend. 
5. Always do your best work.

Here is a link to printable versions of my rules: Class Rules

And when a rule is broken correct it only so many times before there HAVE to be consequences. If kids think you will let one by with it...then the whole class will think they can get by with it. So, it is best to nip it in the bud right at the beginning otherwise the whole class gets out of control and extremely difficult to reel back in. When you say there will be consequences don't go back on your word...follow through no matter what. The kids will respect you for it. 
Some of the consequences I use are,

Switching seats...This is usually if they're talking to a friend a lot.
Sitting by a Helper 
Sitting At the Front of the Class
A Good Old Fashioned One On One Correction...Do this one away from the rest of the class so as not to embarrass the child.
And finally, the one I absolutely hate using...
Sending them out of class to sit in service with their parents.

Being the disciplinarian is never fun, but as strange as it sounds when I did this my kids started to communicate with me more...behave better in class...participate more...and dare I say even like me more? Even though it's hard, and sometimes may even make you feel bad it will be worth it. The main thing is to not embarrass the child, and not to loose your temper.

Key 3.

 It took me a while to learn that being prepared for anything and everything is HUUUUGE when teaching. I could cover so many things with this topic, but I'll shorten it down to 3. 

1. Have your lesson (including coloring pages, lesson plan, games, snacks, etc) ready at least my Wednesday of every week. Otherwise you will be scrambling every Saturday night running to the store to get snack, printing out coloring pages like a mad woman, and going through post it notes like it's no tomorrow just trying to remember what else needs to be done. Then by Sunday you're exhausted because you've totally lost your weekend. 

2. Make sure your room is stocked with everything you need. 

First Aid Kit
Paper Towels

Every Sunday arrive a few minutes early to get all your supplies laid out. This make things so much easier every class when you're not banging around your cabinet trying to find a glue stick that isn't dried out.

3. Make sure you have a helper lined up each week. 
This tip has been one of the most valuable ever for me. I admire teachers who go it alone, but I am so not one of them. I feel like I'm doing a poor example of a juggling act trying to teach, correct, make snack, walk kids to the bathroom, all while communicating whatever the lesson is that week. When you have a helper scheduled and ready to work every Sunday your class will go so much easier. You can focus on teaching while the helper fixes snack, walks kids to the bathroom, and makes your day go a lot smoother.
 Talk to your pastors about who would be a good helper, get the word out in your church. I'm sure you will be amazed at how many people want to serve. For me a good helper is someone who loves kids, understands your vision for the ministry, is helpful and not lazy, is fun, and most importantly someone who is trustworthy. Find a person like that, and you are on your way to an awesome Sunday School experience.

Key 4.
Have Fun

When I started out I took everything so seriously. If any little thing went amiss I would be crying by the time I got home. Never take it too seriously. As long as you're doing your best let the rest just roll of your back. Play with your kids...don't just be that person standing in the corner barking out rules during a class activity. Sunday school should be taken seriously, you are accountable to God for what goes on in your class, but I don't believe Sunday School should be serious. One is respectful and one is just boring. Sunday School is huge task, but at it's core it's simple...Teach kids about the amazing Savior that loves them. As long as you're doing that you will do just fine.

Any other Sunday School Teachers have some advice to share? Leave your's in the comments section below. 

God Bless,
Faith <3

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sunday School Teachers

 Sunday school teachers, our job isn't doesn't usually pay well (if it pays at all)'s messy and loud...and it's probably one of the hardest things you will ever do. But you will also find that it is one of the most rewarding and fun things you will ever do.
 Every Sunday we cram dozens screaming children into our classrooms, and attempt to teach them something of value...The Bible. Now, chances are if you've been in this game long enough you've discovered that Sunday School doesn't always look like those pictures you've seen on Google of kids sitting quietly with hands folded in laps listening to an aging Sunday School teacher read from God's Word...those times happen once in a blue moon if you're lucky. The truth is Sunday  School is usually somewhere between the juggling act at the circus, the monkey exhibit at the zoo, and a church service. And you know who the ring master/animal keeper/pastor is? Yup, that's and me. 
However, there are a lot of golden moments that make up for the craziness we take on each week. 

When you see that connection in their eyes, that they really get what you're teaching them.

On Sunday morning when they can't wait to tell you how something you taught them helped that week. 

When you're out in the store and one of your kids runs clear across the building screaming your name to give you a big hug. 

When they trust you with their problems, and aren't afraid to ask for your prayers and advice.

When you watch them playing a game or making a craft, and you see that smile on their suddenly know you have the coolest job in the world.

Being a Sunday School teacher isn't easy, but it is by far the best thing I've ever devoted my time to. 
 If you open your heart to these kids, you'll find that you may learn just as much from them as they do from you.  You've never seen faith until you've observed the faith of child first hand, it's a beautiful thing. I consider it my privilege to be able to help cultivate that faith. Too often we forget as Sunday School teachers that we aren't just telling Bible stories. If we're doing our job right we are helping to lay the foundation of our kids Christian walk. And that is a very fulfilling line of work. :) 

 So, that is what this Blog is for, to encourage all of my fellow Children's Ministers out there, to provide you with lessons, crafts, classroom managements tips, and anything else that I've found to be useful. 
 To's to the golden moments...the sticky moments...the funny moments...the loud moments...the silly moments...the crazy moments...the happy moments...the messy moments...and every other moment we would never change. But most importantly here's to our kids who make the whole thing worth it.

Sunday School Teacher 
Grade 3-6