Yesterday I ran a session in God Squad (St Nicolas Earley) on the two houses built on rock and sand. The weather was fantastic so I decided that we would change what I'd planned and go outside into the church garden and connect with the story differently.
I started by asking the kids to go and find something in the garden that reminds them about nature and God and His wonderful creation of the world. Some of the kids picked daisies, a few others picked one daffodil which they shared, some got twigs and fircones and one found a massive branch. We stood in a circle with our objects and offered thanks to God in prayer for His creation and His love of us. It was so amazing to stand in the spring sunshine and pray; such a joy.
Our kids that came to God Squad yesterday have amazing imaginations; I therefore did something which I wouldn't do if some other kids had been with us, especially those with some special needs. It is so important to know the kids you minister to!
I divided the kids into two groups and asked them to each pretend they were building a house as a team. One built a very very tall house, it was reaching all the way up to the sky; the other team built a wide house with just two floors. They told me all about the bricks and stones and tiles and cement and sticks they were using; it was fantastic to watch.
When the houses were completed I told them that the wide house was starting to sink because it was built on sand. They were so shocked and all the kids in that house started climbing up the stairs to the top floor. The kids in the other house were cheering them on and telling them to keep climbing. The kids in the sinking house realised that they couldn't stay in their house so when they got to the roof they all jumped off and the other house welcomed them in.
Now all the kids were in the big tall house I asked them whether they thought their house would be safe. A few of them realised which Bible story we were engaging with, but some didn't and so weren't sure. The kids who knew the story then asked if their house was built on rock and when I said it was they reassured the other kids, mostly younger, that their house was safe and sound on the rock it was built on.
To reinforce the story we sang the song, the wise man built his house upon the rock, and the kids all joined in with the actions. That was fun and I realised that we must have been heard inside the church and by some of the houses nearby; you can't beat the joy of singing.
Before we headed inside for some craft we did two more activities.
The first was to compare a long, strong bamboo rod with a short, weak blade daisy stalk. The kids all felt the two objects and we talked about being strong with Jesus and being weak when we forget to ask for his help. The second was a game of Jesus says (Simon says) which the kids loved and which helped me get them inside when we completed with Jesus says doing a funny walk into the hall.
The craft was two fold.
There was an active craft of building a lego structure which we then tried to balance first on small clay balls and then on large clay rocks. The kids loved this, especially the boys, and had loads of fun knocking over the unstable towers on the balls and making sure the ones of the rock stayed firm.
The other craft was the making of a house built on a rock. Most of the kids made a picture using some squares and triangles for the house and tissue paper underneath for the rock. But some made 3d models of houses which they worked hard at. Here are some of the results, I never got a photo of the most complex house but take it from me, it was amazing.
I love the way the kids know that they can take my ideas or adapt them in a way that works for them. I adore the fact that they chose to write their own words about Jesus being their rock. And I loved the way they fed back to the congregation back in church.
I love these kids, they rock on their rocks!