Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reach New Kids with a Harvest Outreach Program for Your Church

VBS is still around the corner, but it's not too soon to start planning for a follow-up program. Get new families to come to your church with a fun, faith-building fall festival or Halloween alternative. On the last day of your VBS program, hand out invitations to your fall festival. (Reproducible bulletin inserts, posters, and flyers are included on the CD-ROM.)

This flexible program can also be used for a Thanksgiving service of Psalms, an easy-to-do pageant about the story of Ruth, an optional puppet skit, ice-breakers, service projects, and more! 

If you're looking for harvest ideas, a Thanksgiving program, fall festival games, crafts, and outreach ideas, take a look at the Church Family Harvest Celebration outreach program with lots of reproducibles on CD-ROM. (Including the coloring pages shown below.)

This easy-to-use instruction guide tells you all you need to know—whether you've been planning church events for 25 years or this is your first time! Includes promotion and programming ideas, recipes for refreshments, games, craft instruction sheets, recipes, and lots more. Take a look at the contents and view sample pages from the Church Family Harvest Celebration.

Here are just a few of the ways you can use this flexible program:

  • Perfect for Back-to-School, Thanksgiving, or Halloween alternative
  • Step-by-step instructions for planning and set-up
  • Reproducible instruction sheets and patterns
  • Christ-centered games and crafts
  • Quick and easy decorations and centerpieces
  • Missions project ideas
Try out these coloring pages from the Church Family Harvest Celebration. There are two separate coloring pages in this file. Each coloring page has a memory verse. There is a coloring page in the file for the New International Version and a separate page for the King James Version. If you use a different Bible version than the ones given, feel free to cut off or white out the verse and replace it with the version you prefer.

You can make as many copies of these coloring pages as you need for your children's program. Click on either image below to download the harvest coloring pages. Visit our Sunday school downloads store for more coloring pages, crafts, and puzzle downloads—many as low as $1.99 each! We even have coloring pages and crafts designed especially for your VBS program. Visit our VBS downloads store  for more $1.99 downloads especially for vacation Bible school. May God bless you as you prepare to teach children (and their families) about the harvest season and how much God loves them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jesus Heals the Blind Man

Provide blindfolds for one or two children to use at a time. Tie one gently around the child’s head, covering his eyes, yet loose enough for the child to pull down as desired. Do not force any child to wear a blinkfold. Be sure to caution the children to move about the oom slowly and carefully (to avoid any crashes). Have the children pay attention to how it feels to be “blind.” 

Then say, This is a good time for us to show our love to Jesus by singing a praise song. Sing the following words to the tune of THE FARMER IN THE DELL. Begin the song with the children seated. Encourage them to clap with you.

God gave me eyes (point to eyes)
     To see (clap, clap).
God gave me eyes (point to eyes)
     To see (clap, clap).
I stand and praise my God above (stand and point).
     God gave me eyes (point to eyes)
To see (clap, clap).

Sing the song again several times as the children do the motions. Let volunteers lead the group in the song. Comment that in today’s Bible story, the children will be learning about a blind man who met Jesus. 

Talk with the children about what it would be like if they could not see. Then have the children close their eyes while you keep talking. Walk around the room and talk about the things you see. After each thing you notice, say, If you were blind, you could hear me talk about it, but you couldn’t see it. Do this for a few minutes. Then have the children open their eyes. Say, Now it is time to listen to a Bible story about someone who could not see. Encourage the children to shake their heads every time you mention that some people do not believe. Tell the story with feeling.

Step, step, step! Jesus and His friends walked along the dusty road. “There’s a man who can’t see!” one of the men said. “He’s been blind since he was born!” (Show Jesus and the Blind Man visual.)

“I will help him,” Jesus said. “God’s power can make blind people see.”
Jesus knelt down and spit on the dry, dusty ground. Then He made a wad of mud. He put the mud on the blind man’s eyes. “Go wash in the pool,” Jesus told the man.

Splash! Splash! Splash! The blind man washed the mud away from his eyes. Then he stood and blinked his eyes in the bright sunlight. (Show the Blind Man Healed visual.) He looked around, then he shouted, “Now I can see!” (Pull the tab so the man’s eyes open.)

The man born blind rushed home. He wanted to tell everyone his good news.Some of the man’s neighbors stared at him. “Isn’t this the blind man who used to sit at the gate?” they asked.

“No,” others said, “this man only looks like him.” (Show the Blind Man Healed visual.)

The man who had been blind said, “Yes, I am the man you’re talking about.”

The neighbors looked closely at the man’s eyes. “Then how can you see now?” they asked.

“Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes,” he told them. “He told me to go wash in the pool. I did, and now I can see!”

Some people still didn’t believe this man had been blind (shake heads). “Let’s ask his parents,” they said.

So they asked the man’s mother and father, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? How is it that he can see now?”

“We know he is our son,” the man’s parents answered. “And yes, he was born blind. We know he can see now, but we don’t know how it happened. Ask him. He can tell you.”

The neighbors did not believe the man’s parents (shake heads). They asked the man again, “Why can you see now?”

“I’ve already told you,” the man said. “All I know is that I was blind, but now I can see!”
Some people still didn’t believe him (shake heads). “Go away!” they yelled angrily.
The Bible says that the man went away. Then Jesus saw him again. “Do you believe in God’s special Servant?” Jesus asked him.

The man answered, “Who is He? Tell me so I may believe in Him.”

Jesus answered, “I am God’s special Servant!”

Immediately, the man fell down on his knees and worshipped Jesus. The man did this to show how much he loved Jesus. The man wanted to thank Jesus for helping him to see.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clay Pot Craft

Give each child a blob of modeling clay on a piece of wax paper. You may want to use air-dry clay so the pots will be dried overnight. Say, "You have been given a blob of clay. Even though it doesn’t look like much, we’re going to change this blob into a clay pot —something attractive and useful. 

Before we become Christians, we may not think we’re very special. But God can change us into something special and useful. God can help our lives produce good fruit. We can do good and helpful things for Christ. 

First, roll half the clay into a long rope or snake. Wind your snake around itself in a spiral to form a circular bottom for your pot. Now coil the rope on top of the outer circle of the bottom. This will form the sides of your pot. 

To make the lip of the pot, coil the rope sides into a smaller circle for a few coils. Finish by laying a couple of larger circles of the rope on top. Now carve your initials in the bottom of the pot using a plastic knife or pencil tip.

Place your pot somewhere where it will remind you that God can change you into something special and useful. We can do good and helpful things for Jesus when we follow Him.

If any children have questions or would like to know more about changing their lives into something special and following Jesus, talk with them individually.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Action Rhyme for Preschoolers

Here's an action rhyme you can sing with your preschoolers as you do the motions together. We've added some verses to make them appropriate for Sunday school and to emphasize that we are created by God.

Open, Shut Them
Open, shut them, open shut them 
(spread fingers wide and then close them into fists),
Give a little clap (clap hands).

Open, shut them, open shut them 
(spread fingers wide and then close them into fists),
Hold them in your lap.

Walk them, walk them
(walk fingers from toes to chin)
Walk them, walk them, right up your chin.
Open wide your great big mouth
But don't let them go in (place hands over mouth).

Walk them, walk them
(walk fingers from chin to toes), 
Walk them, walk them way down to your toes.
Then you give a great bit jump and land upon your nose
(jump fingers to land on nose).

Walk them, walk them
(walk fingers from chin to knees),
Walk them, walk them stopping at your knees.
God made fingers, God made toes,
And God made all of me!