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You Gotta ♥ Valentine;s Day

Valentines Day really has a lot of great applications for children’s ministry.

How about some “Conversation Heart” Bingo?  Using the sayings from a (clearance) bag of candy hearts, make up some Bingo  cards.  Then pick one heart from the bag at a time and call out the saying until one of the children has a bingo. Whoever wins, gets the hearts that were called. Tie this game in with a lesson on Christ’s love  – any time of the year.

Speaking of Conversation Hearts,  About.com has a free printable page with conversation hearts, in color and black and white. There are even some blank hearts which you can customize for your lessons, activities and games. Too cute!

Kevin Savitz also offers free printable Valentine items from games to cards and even candy box patterns you can use for your children’s class. He offers a family safe free resource.

Clearance sales after Valentines’ Day offer a great time to stock up on little items for treasure chests and prizes. And you can purchase boxed valentines to give to the children the next year or to use for craft projects.

Stuffies with hearts on them make great prayer reminders:

  • Attach a prayer card with the name of  a person or situation that needs prayer to each stuffie and send it home with the child as a reminder to pray for that person or situation.
  • Or use them during prayer time in class by lining them up across the front for a month at a time. Have each toy represent one prayer need.
  • Play a memory game associated with the prayer requests to see if the children can remember  what prayer request each stuffie represents.
  • You can also pass them out during prayer time and have each recipient pray out loud for the request associated with his stuffie.
  • The animals holding little hearts are a great reminder that Jesus loves. others. Use them to pray for the salvation of loved ones.

According to Jennifer at Clip With Purpose, these after holiday sales are a great time to pick up shoe box items for Operation Christmas Child too. Don’t forget, not only will valentine candy, trinkets and stuffies be on clearance, so will winter hats and mittens which make great shoebox items. (or gift items for your class for next Christmas).



Free Valentine Craft book and a coupon money maker!

I recently found a blog called Clip With Purpose which has all sorts of ideas year-round for filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Kudos to Jessica for doing that – it’s such a great resource.

But her blog can also be a good resource for children’s ministries on a tight budget as she features some “extreme couponing” and a variety of other things. Yesterday Jessica featured a “money maker” where you can buy several products using coupons and store deals along with a rebate and end up making $5! I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one. But if you’re interested,  see Jennifer’s blog hereIf you try it, let me know how it works LOL!

Today on her blog, Jennifer  had a link to a free downloadable Valentine Craft e-book. Now who doesn’t need free craft ideas for their children’s ministry class?????

The heart of the matter

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but hopefully you haven’t gotten rid of all the trappings just yet…

One of my favorite gifts on Valentine’s Day is my box of chocolates. Yum – I love the chocolate, BUT… the box is what I really want. I love those little heart shaped boxes because they are good for so many great things like object lessons.  So after you eat the candy, SAVE THE BOX!

One year I covered my box with all sorts of ribbon trim, creating this darling heart-shaped box. I happened to have a lot of the lace and ribbon trims  that I purchased from a ribbon outlet store so it only cost pennies to make.

What a great object lesson it made as I showed the kids how we think we’re okay on the outside, but we really have sin in our hearts. I invited them to each take a little baggie of dirt out of the box when I opened it up. You can also do the reverse of that idea by roughing up the outside of the box and then showing them what a difference it makes when Jesus comes into our hearts – the inside is white and clean.

I also used it for a devotional talk  about how God loves us  by filling it with Hershey kisses. Each kiss had a scripture attached to it with words of Love from the Lord. As it was passed around the room, each lady took one kiss and read the verse, sharing how that verse was meaningful to her. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!

How about using the heart box as a prayer reminder. Have each person write down a person they want to pray for and place the name in the box. Let them know that these people are now close to God’s heart as we remember them in prayer.

I’m sure you can come up with some great ideas to use your heart boxes too! E-mail me and let me know what you do with your boxes. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Hmmm – now how can I use that neat Christmas tree candy box I got last year…..

Tools for scripture memorization

It’s snowing today here in central PA.  The freshly fallen snow covers up the dry brown grass and the winter grit along the roadsides, leaving everything white and pure.

What a great day to spend indoors, perhaps memorizing scripture?

I belong to a great rubberstamping community, frequented by many Christian crafters. One of my favorite threads of conversation on that site is “Divine Bible Designs” where the gals encourage each other to memorize scriptures by creating a monthly paper craft project – a card, scrapbook page, altered book or anything else paper-crafty with a scripture as a focal point. ( You can visit the thread as a guest and scroll 100_0185down through the conversation, clicking on the various submissions to see the projects at Splitcoast Stampers. )

I’ve been a lurker in the past, looking but never participating. But this year, I decided to submit a card  each month with a scripture verse focal point.  In honor of our lovely snowfall, I submitted this card with Psalm 51:7 “Take away my sin and I will be clean. Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.

Supplies used: Nestabilities small scalloped octagons to create the mats for the verse, the Cuttlebug snowflakes embossing folder to create the raised snowflake design on the blue and white striped design paper from DCWV, white and blue cardstock, rhinestones and ribbon scraps.

One of the things that helps as we work to memorize scriptures is to create a visual of the verse we want to memorize. By creating a card or scrapbook page, I take time to think about the verse as I plan the project. I involve  my tactile senses in the creation process and after completion, I have a visual reminder of the verse that I can look at each day to help memorize it.

Perhaps you’re not a crafty person? No matter! Here’s some other Bible memory verse ideas:

Make or purchase a screen saver  for your computer with the Bible verse on it.

Find an old calendar and print your chosen verse on your computer. Attach the verse to one of the photos and frame it, hanging it somewhere you will see it on a daily basis. You might move it from time to time so it doesn’t become “invisible.”

Print out the Bible verse words and cut them apart. Put a magnetic strip on the back of each word and put them on your fridge. Play a game each time you go into the fridge where you put the words in their proper order. It’s fun for the kids too – they can help you by mixing the words up each time.

No matter how you do it, you’ll be glad you started hiding God’s word in your heart!

Christmas Devotional for a ladies meeting–

As Prayer Coordinator for our local Christian Women’s group, I have to give a devotional at each meeting. I was never content to simply read a devotional because I know that people remember only 10% of what they hear. But by combining other physical senses in with the presentation, the lessons God wants to share with us will stay with us beyond the moment. 

For that reason, I love object lessons, because they  incorporate not only hearing, but sight, taste, touch and smell in the presentation. Not only will your group remember what you presented for a longer period of time, they are more interested during the presentation. Anticipation of what will happen next helps to hold their attention.

In our December Prayer Connection meeting. where we pray for our upcoming Christian Women’s luncheon, I chose a devotional by Mary Southerland of Girlfriends in God, called “Happy Birthday Jesus.” you can find it if you visit their site and check out the Devotional archives for December 8, 2010.

In her devotional, Mary shared four gifts that those around Jesus gave to Him at Christmas along with a scripture verse for each gift:

  • God’s gift to us – Luke 2:8-12
  • Mary gave the gift of trust – Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Joseph gave Him obedience – John 14:15
  • The shepherds gave a gift of praise Psalm 50:6
  • And the Wise Men gave the gift of sacrifice. (No scripture noted here)

I added   Romans 12:1 to the Wise Men’s section of the devotional and added one more  short points to the devotional since it was our Christmas prayer meeting.

  • Prayer is our gift to others this Christmas season – James 5:16

To set up the object lesson, I printed out each portion of scripture and tucked each one in a small box. The boxes were wrapped and placed randomly around the tables before the meal so they appeared to be decorations. During the devotional time, I instructed the ladies sitting nearest each gift to unwrap it and read the verse inside for each point of the devotional. This helped the lesson to be more visual and interactive.

As we readied our hearts for prayer – I shared that prayer is a gift we can give to  those around us – praying for salvation for those attending our luncheon; for our speaker’s words to be infused with the Spirit’s power; prayer for the needs of our friends, neighbors and others in our community.

I placed a “favor” at each place for decoration as well as a reminder  to pray. I used
Tea bag holders with a poem on the front:

Prayer Reminder
When I sit down with cup of tea
May I the needs of others see.
And may I lift those needs in love
To my Father up above.
~Bonnie Winters 12/10 ~


A tutorial for making the tea bag holders is at http://www.splitcoaststampers.com/resources/tutorials/teabagholder/

You could also use a small treat box for mints or candies as a favor and make up your own rhyme.You can find a wide variety of small treat box templates online as well by googling “treat box templates.” 

Quilting Bee – women’s spring banquet idea

We will be starting our planning in January for our Spring women’s banquet (formerly the mother/daughter event). So far we’ve done a Victorian theme, complete with hats for old-fashioned sepia colored photos, a home cooking theme with an actual cooking demo and an herbal theme with a guest who makes her own soaps and herb blends. It’s getting harder to top each one, but I think I’ve come up with a winner – a quilting bee theme!

Here’s some of the ideas I;ve come up with so far:

Invitations will be printed on “quilted cards.” I love making handmade greeting cards with various quilt block patterns on the front. they can be pieced with various design paper shapes or traced and colored in. Or perhaps take a photo of a favorite quilts/quilts and make computer generated photo cards for invitations.

Decorations can include a quilt frame with a quilt top in it, quilted wall hangings and actual quilts on display with note cards telling about each one’s history. Even framed quilt blocks or quilt photos can be used. Perhaps even old sewing machines or anything to do with quilting. Maybe even a tree decorated with quilted ornaments.

 I plan to cover the tables with white paper table cloths and make simple runners consisting of a single strip of 6-8 inch blocks sewn together which I happen to have already cut in my fabric stash.Fabric flowers would make a fun accent in vases in the center of each table as well. I will be looking for patterns to post  as I find them. They could also be used for door prizes  or favors.

Speaking of favors, there are lots of fun ideas – little sewing kits, small counted cross-stitch kits,  quilted potholders, quilted ornaments. My sister in law would probably find a pattern for plastic canvas that looked like a little quilted box to hold nuts and mints. LOL! A few years ago, I found some wooden trivets at Michaels which looked like quilt blocks and were relatively inexpensive. There are probably all sorts of inexpensive things to purchase or make for favors.

Quilts speak of warmth, love and friendship.During the early part of our country’s westward expansion, women made friendship quilts and signed each block so the recipient would have something of her friends to carry with her to her new home. They didn’t know if they would ever meet again. In Amish communities, women make quilts as gifts for their sisters who are getting married or about to have a baby. They work together, stitching love and best wishes into each one. This would make a great theme for a speaker.

We love games where  the attendees can mingle and get to know each other before the meal. How about “Name the quilt pattern”? You can place a few patterns on each table and the ladies have to go from table to table to  complete their list.

Or how about an activity where each one receives a muslin square when they come in. Fabric paint markers might be placed on the various tables (all the yellow markers on one table, all the red on another, etc.) so the ladies have to go from table to table to find the color they need. I realize if you have a large group, this might not be practical, but it works well for smaller gatherings.  All the squares should be signed, then gathered up and made into a friendship quilt after the dinner. The quilt may later be used to raise funds for  a missions project or as a gift for the pastor’s wife, etc.  

If you were really ambitious, you could send out or distribute the squares a few weeks before the dinner and assemble them for a grand prize drawing!

For the younger set (and the young at heart LOL!), you could pre-cut pieces of clear contact paper the size of placements and let them stick various shapes of design paper scraps to it to make a “crazy quilt” place mat.

The possibilities are endless for this theme. I can’t wait to see what my ladies come up with – but our banquet will probably be near the end of April in 2011. Wanna come?

The Armor of God

The Armor of God is a fun lesson series which generates lots of ideas!

Consider some of these:


The Sword Drill with a twist: Using a jousting tournament theme for the lesson about the sword which is the Word of God, Ipaired the children up, an older child with a younger child. Since the younger ones weren’t all able to read, I wanted them to still be able to participate. Using masking tape, I made 10 lines on the floor about a foot apart. The older children were lined up at the 10 foot line while the younger ones were lined up on the first line, opposite their partner.

After the bible references were read, the younger children shouted “Charge,” which signalled their partners to look up the reference. The older child who found the verse first, read it aloud and then he and his partner each advanced the the next line, closing the distance between them. The pair that met in the middle first was the winner. 

Indoor “snowball” fight: For the lesson on the shield, we made chipboard shields and played a game similar to dodgeball. One team lined up against the wall while the other team launched wadded paper “balls” at them. the team being attacked, used their shields to fend off the paper wads, but if a person was hit by a wad, he was “out.” Then we switched sides so the other team had a chance to dodge the paperwad snowballs.


Helmet of Salvation: We used heavy duty paper plates. Make a straight  cut from the outer edge of the plate into the center. Then overlap the edge an inch or two  until you have a hat shape. Staple the overlapping edges for added strength.cover the hat with foil and add a face protector with brads.  Cut the face protectors out of card stock, chipboard (opened and flatened cereal boxes) or other sturdy material You may add feathers if desired to look like plumes on the helmet.

Shield of Faith:  Cut out a shield shape from chipboard (cereal boxes  which have been carefully
opened up work well!). Glue ric-rac onto the chipboard. This will make a raised design under the foil
in a later step. The children can get creative with their ric-rac, putting it around the edges or making cross designs, etc.

Using a glue stick, put some glue on the chipboard to hold the foil in place then cover the chipboard and ric-rac with foil. Using their fingers, the children should smooth the foil on the shield, especially rubbing the areas where it covers the ric-rac – this makes a raised (embossed) design in the foil.

They can decorate the front of their shields with foam shapes or any other embellishments you have on hand. Cut a strip for the back to use as a handle (I used plastic canvas so it was sturdier) and fasten it on using gold or silver brads.

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