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).

 

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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.” 

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