If You Work with Kids, You’ll Love This–Erasable Colored Pens!

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“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Colored pens that erase, they make me sing
These are a few of my favorite things”

So that’s not quite how the song goes, but I think that if Frixion pens by Pilot had been around back in the days of The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews would have been singing about them.

They aren’t fancy, but they are amazing! Because. . . well, because if you happen to be having trouble making a capital cursive “Z,” and who doesn’t?. . .  No worries. Just use the little stylus-like hard rubber eraser tip and Ta-Da! You are, in this one small way like Jesus, making all things new again!

These little gems come in assorted colors and tip widths and well, they are awesome! (Insert angels singing here!)  I personally love the fine (.7mm) size in the traditional not retractable style. My current multi-pack comes with black, brown, blue, purple, green red, orange and pink.

frixion2Ok, Ms Dawn, is there anything else that makes them awesome??

Why, yes, there is!  Did I mention they are refillable??? Because they are. Seriously, what more could a creative, Kidmin loving girl ask for? Ok, several things, but today I’m choosing to be content in all circumstances!

You, on the other hand may be right now wishing you had yourself some Frixion pens! They are available through Amazon and other major retailers. I hope they soon become one of your favorite things, too!

*Thanks to my daughter in law, Jordan, for turning me on to Frixion pens. I am forever in your debt, Jordan! 

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Jordan and I the day she introduced me to Frixion pens last winter!! Woohoo!

5 Reasons I Love Easter in the Preschool Rooms

I love Easter. Love it.

Like Christmas, love it.

And so, I love to make the most of every opportunity to help our lil HiSKidZ see God’s Big Story about Jesus as we draw near to the holiday that is truly a Holy-Day.

Along with 5 reasons I love Easter in the preschool  5 (or more) ways we helped lil HiSKidZ at our church learn about and love Easter, too!

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1–We share things we know they won’t completely understand.

We know preschoolers won’t completely understand everything about Easter. But y’know what? Neither did the grown men who walked with Jesus. This month we taught that Jesus loved his friends so much that He tried to explain everything that was going to happen. He told them that He was going to go to Jerusalem, He was going to die and He was going to come back to life. They didn’t really understand at the time, but they would later, and it would mean A LOT when they realized He cared enough to try to explain it them.

Our lil HiSKidZ made this place mat to use at home so that just like Jesus’ Bible friends, He would be helping them understand what Easter is all about. It was so easy for them to just glue the pieces on, and then work with our leaders to watch the laminator do the magic!! (Kids love laminating!)

 

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2–We teach God loves everyone no matter how small, no matter what they’ve done.

Next, we taught about Zacchaeus. Because on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus met this now infamous man and changed his life forever. Jesus showed us again that He loves everyone–no matter how small and no matter what they’ve done–and that only He has the power to save them and forgive their sins.

We made the fun snack, (Twix bars, Rice Krispie Treats and Teddy Grahams) and our little ones made the craft! In case you needed to know one more thing you can do with a paper towel roll, try making a sycamore tree! Zacchaeus climbs up the tree to see Jesus and when Jesus stops by, down he comes.

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3–We celebrate Palm Sunday.

This week we will reenact Palm Sunday complete with Jesus in, not on, a donkey and our own interpretation of “palm” branches! You can make a million kinds of animals out of boxes, and be sure to hit up your local home stores for paint sticks–they are great for so many fun things.

My favorite thing this month has been our snack for this week. I saw this idea made with real rocks, (but not for a snack, obviously) which made me think of the verse from the Palm Sunday story where Jesus says that if the people stop praising the rocks will cry out. So, donut holes, candy eyes, some toothpicks, little flags and Hosanna! We are rocking the snack this week!!

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4–We get to have real Palm Branches.

As part of Palm Sunday, we always buy Palm Branches! And, yes, I think they should be capitalized. We get them for HiSKidZ of all ages, and they all love them. Several years ago, I almost stopped. I’m not sure why. Maybe they seemed old-fashioned, maybe I wasn’t sure if the kids liked them.

But, then, one of our 5th grade boys commented the week before Palm Sunday, “Next week is Palm Sunday! I love Palm Sunday! We always get those Palm Branches and we get to act like we were there.” ‘Nuff said. I’ve been buying them ever since. When a 5th grade boy tells you that Palm Branches have become a spiritual marker in his life, you buy them forever!

We live in midwest, and our palms aren’t always the best, but this year they are so green, I can’t wait for the kids to see them.

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5–The angel rolled the stone away, and Jesus is alive!

Like I said, I love Easter Sunday. I love saying, “He is Risen. He is Risen, Indeed!” I love singing Celebrate, Jesus, Celebrate, Rise and Sing, and Jesus is Alive Right Now with our bigs and Hosanna, 1-2-3 and Jesus is Alive with our littles. I love the power of the day, and the reason we celebrate. I love how God moves as we share who He is and what He has done.

One of the above angel bags will be our craft on Easter Sunday. I’ll let you guess which one!

The picture on the left represents one attempt at an angel bag. I know it looks like a bird–a very surprised bird, but it is an angel. The bag on the right, thankfully, was created by one of our amazing volunteers so our kids don’t think angels are owls, and so their parents will let the come back to church with us!!

What do you love about Easter in your preschool rooms?

 

 

 

Are You C.R.A.Z.Y.?

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Are you C.R.A.Z.Y.? 

I hope so!

Whether it’s VBS, KidZChurch, Mid Week programs or specialized ministries, there are those of us out there who are crazy for helping kids to find and follow Jesus.

How do you know if you are C.R.A.Z.Y. for kidmin? Just answer the following questions:

1) Are you Committed to seeing kids know Jesus and grow in their relationship with Him?

2) Are you Relational, Reliable, and Ready to jump in and get to know kids where they are?

3) Are you Available to meet needs, teach classes, prepare crafts or snacks, clean nursery toys and pray, pray, pray for the hearts, minds, and lives of today’s kids?

4) Are you Zealous enough to do whatever it takes to help kids grow in Christ?

5) Are you willing to Yield to God’s leading and God’s way to get things done?

If so, then you are CRAZY, too! Crazy enough to give up time, energy, finances, and more to help kids live the kingdom life God has planned for them.

Welcome to the club!! It’s a CRAZY good time!

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Here’s my “crazy” mohawk on the last night of VBS. Thanks to my good friend, Chris, for the new do! Who knew that craft paint was good for hair???

Why I’m Still Jumping for Jumpstart3! (A VBS Story)

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Last week we had the privilege to host Vacation Bible School at our church. Many of you reading this understand that VBS is a crazy, exhausting, wonderful, glorious week–most of the time.

There are, of course, the years when all goes right, and the years when all goes wrong. Then there are the years like this one, when God does the things you could “never ask for or imagine.”

We invited Jeff McCullough of Jumpstart3 Scripture Memory Ministry to our VBS this year because we believed with all our heart that we need to get kids and families excited about the Word of God. Although Jeff and I had talked about the structure of our VBS, I think he was still a little shocked at the intensity of what we do and how we do it.

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Each morning we host our preschoolers (3 yr-K) for a morning VBS. Jeff led the music sessions for 4 groups of preschoolers each day. Each group ranged in size from 6-14 children. Each evening we host our “Big Kids VBS,” where Jeff led 3 groups of children in grades 1-6.

In just 2 days our preschoolers were saying their verses. SAYING THEM–not just singing them. As the teacher for the week, I got to review with them as part of our lesson the words of Matthew 7:24. They would speak to me the words,

 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rains came down. The streams rose. The winds blew and beat against that house. Yet it did not fall.”

Not only could they sing the words, and say the words our littlest HiSKidZ were grasping the meaning as we taught that these words weren’t about houses or rains or rocks or sand, but about us, and Jesus.

And our big kids were crazy for Jumpstart. Jeff helped us to be able to give each child who attended a CD of the songs we would use at VBS. In fact, we gave them one and offered them one to use to invite a friend. So, the kids in our town were blasting Jumpstart from minivans and pickup trucks all around town! Our “bigs” learned at least 5 verses this week, and could also not just sing them, but say them!

Jumpstart3 literally gave our children the Jumpstart on putting more than God’s Words into their lives. Jumpstart helped give our kids a passion for God’s Word.

God was at work in so many amazing ways this past week, and I’m looking forward to sharing them in the days ahead. If you have any questions about how Jumpstart3 could benefit your ministry, feel free to message me, or get ahold of Jeff through Jumpstart3’s webpage.

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Kids and parents at our closing night family experience with Jumpstart3. Can you tell what song they are singing? (Hint–They are pointing to their ears, the next motions are to make a Bible with your hands and to cover your face.)

Angel Treats

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For our lil HiSKdiZ lesson last Sunday we made these super fun angel snacks. Sure, somehow it may seem a bit harsh to eat angels, but they are SO CUTE!!! And SO TASTY! Our lil HiSKidZ loved them and do did our leaders. Our lesson was centered on when the angel Gabriel came to tell Mary that she was going to have a baby and named Jesus.

They are super easy. You just need some Bugles chips, (it’s amazing how many people love the Bugle!) small pretzels, Kix and Cheerios cereals and some frosting. We used the kind in a tube. It made it super simple to apply and made the angels look neat and tidy. (Something I’m sure angels are!) It also made the task really quick and we had our own angel army in no time at all.

You can tell how to put them together just by looking at the picture.

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I found the idea on Pinterest from the Blog, a http://showerofroses.blogspot.com/2010/12/our-2010-jesse-tea-for-advent.html”> in a post about snacks that can be used to teach from the book “The Jesse Tree.”

If you’ve never checked out “The Jesse Tree,” I highly recommend it, and the angel treats as well. Check out his picture of my friend Patti who helped put these together. I thought she was totally channeling her June Cleaver when she came in to the church the other day, but with the pic in black and white I think it’s even more perfect!! (She didn’t know I was going to snap a pic, but she was pretty sweet about it anyway!)

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Enjoy!! Taste and See. . . the Lord is good!

Very Blue Red Sea Cupcakes

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Like in many churches, we often map out a weekly teaching plan for our volunteers that includes a teaching point, Bible lesson, craft, activity, songs and snack. For our littlest HiSKidZ, snack is almost always something that ties into the lesson reinforcing the story or truth we want them to learn.

This month, our preschoolers are learning that they can praise God, and Sunday’s lesson was about how the Israelites praised God after they crossed the Red Sea. I love the snack that Susan, one of our veteran volunteers, shared with our classes to help them remember that God’s people praised Him after He helped Moses lead them safely across the Red Sea.

These super cute cupcakes were so easy to make with a simple cake mix, white frosting, Teddy Grahams, pretzel sticks and some Pillsbury Funfetti Aqua Blue Vanilla frosting (it comes with little fishes!)

funfetti

The cupcakes were fun, delicious and helped lil HiSKidZ learn more about God. Although it did bring up the age-old question, “Why is the Red Sea blue and not red?”

Taste and See. . . the Lord is good.

Introducing My Friend, The Scripture Lady

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It’s only Tuesday, but I can’t wait til Thursday to share a great resource with you! Don’t you just love it when you make a new friend? And when your new friend is totally awesome it’s even better! And when she happens to produce great resources for kids, well that’s just the whip on the mocha!

Recently I spent a weekend in Denver, Colorado, as part of the Kidology Coaching Summit where I had the pleasure of meeting some of the greatest kidmin people EVER!

One of them was my roommate, who is just the most incredible woman. Today, I am so excited to share a little bit about her with you.  I hope as you get to know her heart you will be as excited as I am about the work she is doing for the kingdom.

Kathy Vincent, The Scripture Lady, is from California and ministers to children through music. She does school and church programs, teacher/volunteer training, and writes and performs scripture songs for the young and young at heart.

Kathy is a precious soul with a heart filled with the love of Jesus and desire to help a new generation hide God’s Word in their hearts.

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From her website www.scripturelady.com you can hear and purchase her music and Bible games, singly or in bundles, and find some great object lessons and classroom helps. Kathy is available to do programs, talks, teaching and music anywhere in the country, although she keeps busy in the Orange County area where she resides.

With Christmas on the way, my friend the Scripture Lady is well worth your time to check out. When you do, be sure to put a few items in your cart and check them out from her site.

I hope my new friend Kathy will soon become one of your favorites. She is sure to put a song in your heart (and she can help you fill the stockings of the little ones you love, too.)

Here’s a little preview of some of her songs. Enjoy! 

Simple Ways to Help Kids Grow in their Faith

simple ways
I think I’ve been in “hype” overload. Sometimes I feel like I am constantly bombarded with so much information about so many things at such a rapid pace that it’s hard to keep up. Do you ever feel like that?

While some of this information can be good, even great, practical, and useful our quest for greatness, excellence and the pinnacle of “Pinterestness,” (yeah, I know that’s not a word, spell check already told me, but I’m a rebel!) we often forget that it is often in the most simple of things that we help kids grow in their faith.

Here are a few that we have used in our church lately with great results.

1) Cardboard. Never underestimate the power of cardboard. Our preschoolers have been in a fiery furnace later turned minivan (it was supposed to be a chariot, but I’m not a great designer). Cardboard boxes helped our lil HiSKidZ see that “God is With Them Everywhere,” and it didn’t cost us a dime.

2) Crafts that reinforce the lesson. Whether it’s been our “bigs” or our “littles,” we have reintroduced some simple crafts that help apply what they are learning and promote conversations at home. Adding a picture of that craft to our ministry’s facebook page serves as a reminder for the days when that craft never made it out the classroom door. We don’t do them every week, but we do them just often enough to make an impact.

3) Leftovers. They’re not just for dinner! We recently raided/cleaned out our resource room and found all sorts of things that we brought out to use at an arts table for our VBS family night. Kids and their families could stop by and start creating and they had a blast. Again, the cost was $0 and great connections were made within our families.

4) Theme Snacks. Theme snacks aren’t always simple. But can be easy to find a snack that you can tie in to a lesson as you teach. There are a lot of ways to tie blue jello into a Bible lesson. . . You Know! Two weeks ago, we served iced oatmeal cookies because they look a lot like chariot wheels, and in doing so, Dollar Store cookies became a simple teaching tool to connect our lesson to kids’ hearts.

5) On sight cross cultural missionary for VBS. This year we scheduled an entire session for our missionary at VBS. It helped that he and his wife (she is native to their country of service) are from our church and were back home visiting his parents (of which I am one!) But it was so neat to hear kids making the connection that if this guy who was from our same small town could be used by God in another country so could they. Spending 5 days with a missionary helped HiSKidZ imagine what God might do in them.

6) Love. More than anything, love. It’s that simple.

I’d love to hear what simple ideas you have been using in your church lately. All you have to do is simply share!

Get Out There and Insulate Yourself—How to Use Insulation Foam Board to Spruce Up Your Space

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Maybe you are like me and are from a church on a pretty tight budget. I am from a pretty small town with a pretty small budget when it comes to pretty much all things Kidmin—or most all things for that matter. We are also in a location that is pretty far away from major shopping. So we are often pretty limited not only in supplies, but the cash for those supplies. But that pretty small budget shouldn’t hinder you from making things “pretty” around your kidmin space.

Anyway, God isn’t hindered by budgets—those disciples didn’t even have silver or gold, but they did some pretty incredible things anyway. And Jesus didn’t even have a children’s area. He had to share His space (and it was really His space, yknow??!!!) with, well, with the whole world and He never complained. And so, neither will I, well, most of the time I won’t.

This is why years ago we came to the decision that we would not let finances stop our creative minds from doing what we could with what we have to the glory of God.

Here’s the thing:
When it comes to practical ministry and design, one of my favorite things to use is insulation foam board. It comes in different thicknesses and sizes and it is super easy to use. It’s lightweight, easily paintable, easy hangable and easily change-outable!! Your lumber yard will cut it down to a manageable size for you or if you are as blessed as I am they will even deliver it to your door for no charge.
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Here’s How You Can Use It:
VBS
It’s VBS time and we have used foam board to make a time machine, a giant paint brush, a gazillion apps for room signs, check in signs and logos.
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Add a little “pop” to your space
Last year we updated our hallway, which we share with our Christian School by using insulated foam board to create signs and arrows pointing the way to our “big kids” Sunday school class.
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Signage & PropsWe’ve used it to make signs for our KidCheck check in stations and props for our preschool rooms. It’s so lightweight you can hang it with fishing line. It’s easily transportable, and easy to carry.
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It’s not new, but I’m always amazed at the number of people who haven’t heard of using it. Maybe you are one of them! If you haven’t ever given it a try, now may just be the time to spruce up your next space or event for next to nothing–or maybe even nothing if you know someone in your church who just finished doing some insulation! Behold the joy of someone’s trash becoming your treasure!

So go on, get out there and insulate yourself or your space and be sure to let me know what you have done, or if you have another great inexpensive idea for ministry design. I’d love to hear what you are doing.

Giving Thanks It’s Rightful Place…mat

placemat

Sorry November Christmas lovers, Christmas isn’t until December, and it just drives me crazy when we plow right by Thanksgiving in our quest for all being calm and bright, merry and white.

So for those of you who join me in my attempt to preserve the pilgrim holiday, here’s a fun idea you can do with your tiny tots to give thanks, and Thanksgiving, its rightful place in our holiday celebrations. Try making these Thanksgiving placemats that can be used all month to help center your family on all the things they can be thankful for. (I only had my Children’s Ministry magazine when I made mine, so it’s a little limited. Oh, well, onward we go. . . .)

What do you need?

Glad you asked.

Paper, magazines, glue sticks, markers and either clear contact paper or a laminator–cold or hot will do.

Give the paper a little heading of some kind.

I stayed pretty low key with the simple, “I’m thankful for. . ”

Let your kids cut out pictures of things they are thankful for and glue them on to the paper. Or they could draw things or they could use pictures. For those of you who are really into crafting, grab the glitter and your little foam stickers and let the kids embellish away!

Seal the paper with the contact paper or laminating sheets.

Ta-da! You are one crafty mom, gramma, Sunday school teacher, small group leader, neighbor, aunt, uncle. . . . .

What a simple way to be reminded all month long of just a few of the things that you are thankful for.

And for those of you who just can’t help but be in the Christmas zone, why not have your kids make these for some of the people they are thankful for. Just include pictures of things that remind them of why they are thankful for that person and give them as gifts!

Smart. Tiny Tots giving the gift of thanks–I love it. Have a fun Tiny Tot Tuesday with the little ones you are thankful for!