Here you’ll find activities, events, and resources for children, youth and families. Enjoy and share!
Watch a Godly Play story here!
Here’s another great family activity from Melanie Dresbach
Children are heavily impacted by Shelter in Place and they are often the forgotten souls. Who would think that these tiny ones are sad, fearful, worried, scared for the adults in their lives? Embrace these beautiful angels, these gifts from God by giving them opportunities to release their fear and anxiety.
Back in the 80’s, we received into the school community on the east side of SJ many very recent refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam who had just gone through hell to get to a more peaceful life than their war torn homelands, and just as they were becoming settled, we in CA experienced one of the most damaging earthquakes ever recorded. The children were terrified, but the adults at home were in absolute shock. The children, with very limited English skills, came to the campus and tried their best to describe what was going on in their homes. I will never forget the words of one precious baby boy in my first grade class, Sarin, who told us this account. Using his best English, he told us: mommy see dog, dog die, ‘ooa’ die, dog down, ooa down. Fearing from what we surmised, that the dog and grandma had lost their lives, we made an immediate home visit to find that ooa, grandma, was fine and that the dog had alerted everyone ahead of time to get to safety!
Feelings, words, fear, hope, future, present: kids, too, need a release.
Butcher Paper Graffiti Wall: Mount a huge piece of butcher paper or a make-shift ‘wall’ of paper, give them writing and coloring utensils/tools, and let the children create a wall of graffiti so that they may express their laments of being in Shelter in Place. If they are welcome to express their feelings fully, let go of conventional rules and give them the freedom to express their hearts.
After affirming the work, place a new ‘wall’ up and have the kids create a positive wall full of hope and rainbows and images that allow for them to embrace the power of Love as Love conquers all.
Respectfully Submitted by Melanie Dresbach
Week of March 30 – April 5
Tuesday and Thursday, 7:30pm – Family story time and evening prayer. Everyone is invited to wind down for the evening with a spiritual picture book story, conversation time, and an all-ages prayer. https://zoom.us/j/
Friday 7-9pm – Youth Scavenger Hunt: Celebrate the end of the week with a fun scavenger hunt activity (bring your own snacks!)! You will be given a list and then will get to look around your house for items that you think fit the descriptions on the list. We’ll come back together at the end to determine the winner and show off what we found. Youth in grades 6+ are invited to participate! https://zoom.us/
Sunday 9:30am – Godly Play – Kids of all ages (not just our usual K-Grade 2 crew) are invited to participate in a Godly Play session with Shannon! Hear a Bible Story, reflect on questions, respond creatively! Parents are invited to listen in too if they’d like. https://zoom.us/j/591628
Sunday 11:30am – Youth Discussion time! Take time to connect with one another and discuss what is going on in your life and the world – and where faith might fit into all of that. https://meet.google.com/
Also, watch your e-mail for a “do at your own pace” lesson from Libby with a video and other activities from Sheryl.
Here is a resource with coloring pages and reflection activities for the 5th week of Lent to get you started! https://illstrtdm.in/
Here’s a free printable for families of all shapes and sizes, chock full of practical ideas for how to survive and thrive in this time of sheltering together at home. This resource is peppered with evocative biblical verses, full of lovely theological ideas, and divided into three sections: 1) simple activities that take no prep time at all; 2) medium-sized (but still doable!) suggestions; and 3) big ideas that can help enrich family life over time (but hopefully not for too long!).
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Youth Discussion Time
On Sundays for the foreseeable future
Youth Discussion Time (Grades 6+)
Join Dave Olson, Bill Dunbar, Laura Keating, and Sheryl Johnson for our regular Sunday youth gathering (which generally takes place during the service). Feel free to eat lunch while we meet! We’ll do check-ins, have a discussion, do interactive activities, and pray together – more or less as usual!
Afterward, those who can stay longer are invited to play some online games via Houseparty (this is an app you can download and play games with friends – find Sheryl via her username, sherylhejohnson)
For any questions, please contact Sheryl at email@example.com
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FAITH5 Family Faith Formation
Many kids may have questions and worries now: what is going on? when will things go back to normal? will I get sick? Amidst all of that and more, grounding practices are especially important. Amidst possible loneliness from canceled activities, family conversations are particularly valuable. Amidst changed routines, stability and predictability are important too. One practice I’d like to recommend is “FAITH5”: a simple ritual that families can do together over dinner, before bed, in the car, or at any other time. While this is designed for families with children, I think it also works in other settings. Maybe you’d like to call a friend from church and do this together on the phone?
The five steps are:
STEP 1: SHARE your highs and lows (these are the positive/happy/fun and negative/scary/sad/frustrating parts of your day).
STEP 2: READ a Bible verse or story (at this time you might want to focus on something familiar like the stories in a children’s Bible or some comforting psalms like Psalm 5, 18, 23, or 43)
STEP 3: TALK about how the Bible reading might relate to your highs and lows
STEP 4: PRAY for one another’s highs and lows
STEP 5: BLESS one another (this could be something as simple as “may God be with you all through the night”)
FAITH5 is a resource developed by Faith Incubators (https://faithink.com/)
Please feel free to give this a try and let Sheryl know how it goes!
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Enjoy some stories with Sheryl!
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Spring Planting Project!
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BAPTISM and WATER
In church school recently we talked about superheroes, looking at David… a scrawny kid who was the youngest of his family. He had the courage to stand up against Goliath, defeat him, and lift the oppression from the backs of his people. It can sometimes kind of feel this way for us, as we take on preserving the environment. It can seem like an impossible task! And yet, God calls us to have courage, to take his strength and help preserve the earth.
Now we’ll continue this theme by looking at baptism, a sign of renewal and affirmation. We’ll ask the courageous question: What can we do to make a difference?
Note: Click on the blue text to go to the links!
- A Story About Baptism, for some historical context, and if you like reading with your kids
- After reading this, you can talk about how the water that runs over us in baptism is a symbol of God’s love that washes and renews our heart.
Water is an ESSENTIAL part of baptism, as it is ESSENTIAL for all aspect of our lives
ACTIVITY: Water scavenger hunt: Walk around your house and name your uses of water. You might need a pen and paper to keep track.
For each faucet, (maybe choose three), come up with ways to reduce usage.
BONUS TALK: discuss as a family, your reliance on agriculture.
Is it heavy? Are there ways to reduce your dependance?
Would it be practical/ possible to grow your own garden?
How can your kids get involved in meal prep! (when we are involved in the process, we can see our impact)
Optional ACTIVITY: This would be a great opportunity to review how to wash hands to help prevent spread of Covid-19.
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Youth At-Home Lent Activities
Theme: Climate Change
Even though we aren’t gathering in person for now, there is a lot we can do on our own! Please consider one or more of these activities to continue our focus on climate change and reach out to share what you do with photos or videos. This is a great time to be creative!
- DIY Recycled-plastic dove
Did you know? On average, humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute. Single-use plastics pollute our oceans and leak chemicals into our groundwater. This DIY plastic dove is a fun way to repurpose that plastic milk bottle in your fridge. After you’ve created your plastic dove, you can paint it, use it as a decoration, or even fill it with seed to make it into a bird feeder.
- In the gospel of Luke, the holy spirit descends on Jesus as a dove. (Luke 3:22)
- Back in ancient Bible times, the dove represented a Hebrew mother goddess. The dove was seen as a symbol of femininity.
- Jesus calls us to be like doves: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)
- Sit down together as a family for a climate-themed Bible study (from Living Lent).
- Make a poster.
Draw/color a poster depicting your favorite alternative mode of transportation.
Ideas: Carpooling • The bus • Skateboarding
Extra points if you can find a Bible verse or Bible story to go with it! (Example – Carpooling: “Where two are three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20)
- Practice hope!
Lent is a time of waiting. As we look forward to Easter, we wait patiently for the resurrection of Jesus. Climate change is also a time of waiting. We may be waiting for our leaders to make better decisions about the environment. We may be waiting for a sign that things will get better. Sometimes, it can feel like we are waiting for the end! But as Christians, we know that the resurrection will come. God will never leave us or forsake us. This Lent, remember that with God in our midst, there is always hope.
Here are some hopeful facts about climate change (Source: NRDC and Climate Interactive):
- The manufacturer of the highly toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos says it will end production by the end of 2020.
- The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service will no longer import seafood caught within endangered porpoise habitat in the northern Gulf of California.
- CO2 emissions are beginning to level off! According to the International Energy Agency, global emissions have been flat for the last 3 years.
- Solar energy is going to be the cheapest source of energy in the next 10 years.
- After Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, U.S. cities decided to take matters into their own hands. Now, more than half the U.S. population lives in a city that is striving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Remember that even though climate change can feel overwhelming, there is always something to be thankful for.
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More Activities for Kids
How are things going for those of you with kids in your life? Are they navigating all of the changes and disruptions okay? Kids are surprisingly resilient – but also need comfort and reassurance — like all of us, in this time especially! Here are a few more resources from Illustrated Ministry that they are offering (and adults can feel free to use them too – coloring is definitely an all ages stress reliever!). Psalm 23 has been a support to so many people going through so many difficulties. And, if you do any of the sheets, please post a photo of your finished product! This packet includes:
- a children’s activity page
- Psalm 23 coloring page
- Psalm 23 devotional and activity page
- Lectio Divina based on Psalm 23
- A coloring prayer page with the prompt, “God, today I pray for…”