Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Make Your Own Puppets, Part 1

There is an almost endless variety of puppets you can make with easy-to-find materials. And the good news is that most can be created from items found in your supply room or purchased inexpensively! We have lots of ideas for puppets, so this is part one in a series to help you create your own puppets for your Bible Club or any other Children's program.

Some puppets require nothing more than a hand to operate them. Others can be used with a simple stage or puppet theater. If you don't have the means to build a permanent theater, hand puppets can be operated from behind a table by placing the table on its side, folding two legs and letting the table rest on the other two opened legs on the floor.

Today's post is about puppets you can make from paper bags.

Colored paper bags from Oriental Trading
  • lunch-size paper bags (colored bags are fun)
  • construction paper
  • chenille wire, buttons, trims
  • scraps of fabric and yarn
  • paint, crayons, or markers
  • glue
  • scissors
Flat Paper Bag Puppets
Keep the paper bags folded and in a flat position. Decorate and draw faces in any way you wish. Animals work well as paper bag puppets since they have noticeable characteristics such as large or small ears, slanted or rounded eyes, etc. (If you make lions, you can loop orange yarn around the head to make the mane.)

You can draw the entire animal face or Bible person's head on construction paper and then cut the face in half just above the mouth or just below the upper lip. To make the puppet "talk," attach half of the face to the top flap (formed by the bottom of the bag folded down) and the other half to the bag itself. Glue the eyes and nose to the top flap and the mouth shape to the bag itself to enable the "mouth" to move up and down. You may also simply draw a face on the bag or glue on wiggle eyes and other features. Place your hand inside the bag and make the puppet's head move by moving your fingers up and down.

Stuffed Paper Bag Puppets
  1.  Open the bag and stuff it with crumpled newspaper to form the head. Crunch and mold it to form the shape you want (it should be about the size of a fist). Ears can be shaped from the bag or made from construction paper and stapled or glued onto the bag.
  2. Tie the bag loosely at the "neck" so a finger can be inserted into the head. 
  3. Cut slits on the side of the bag so the child's little finger and thumb can stick out to form the puppet's hands. 
  4. Paint or color facial features or add a yarn smile and wiggle eyes. 
  5. Use fabric to tie around the neck to form clothes, or paint clothes onto the bag itself. Add any other trims you wish, such as yarn hair.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bible Club Award Program

Did you know you can use the All-Stars for Jesus Awards Program with any curriculum, whether you're using All-Stars for Jesus Bible Clubs or a different curriculum? And if you use ASFJ curriculum, the Awards Program is elective, but is an important part of the Bible Club experience. It gives your leaders a chance to work one-on-one with kids and involve parents in your program.

With the Awards Program, students learn important Bible verses and concepts while completing a variety of fun and creative activities and projects that will build a biblical foundation for their lives.

Each child will be excited about earning an All-Stars for Jesus T-shirt, Cap, Pennant, and embroidered awards to place on his or her Cap or Pennant. (All are available for purchase separately.) The children will complete a variety of activities in the award book (memorizing Scripture, at-home-projects, puzzles, etc.), which reinforces what a child has been learning at All-Stars for Jesus, and gets the family involved, too. Learn more >

Children who are in the All-Stars for Jesus Explorers program for combined grades 1-6 will use the award book that corresponds to his or her age level.

You will find more detailed information on how to run your Awards Program and much more in the All-Stars for Jesus Director's Manual.

To learn more about All-Stars for Jesus Bible Clubs, visit eChurchDepot.com.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bible Story Transition Ideas

Helping young children transition from active times to more quiet parts of your lesson can be a challenge. You can create activities specially designed to give them a chance to calm down and turn on their listening ears. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Give children a warning when moving from one activity to another. A couple of minutes before you want them to finish what they are doing, say, "This is your two-minute warning. We will start putting away the toys (or crayons) in two minutes." As adults, we get frustrated when someone interrupts what we're doing. Children often have the same frustration when we stop their activity abruptly instead of giving them time to finish what they're doing.
  • If you want your students to move from an active to a quiet activity, provide a transition activity to help them calm down and get the wiggles out. This can be an action rhyme, "The Wiggle Song," a march around the room (getting slower and quieter each time around), or an action song such as "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" (getting faster and faster; then getting slower with each round until everyone ends by sitting down).
  • Do a fun action rhyme before the Bible story time, to help your students calm down and begin to focus their attention on you, the teacher. 
Here's a rhyme you can try with your class to help with the transition to your Bible story. Before doing the rhyme together, hold your open Bible and explain that the Bible is God's Word and it is true. Show your students how to hold their hands together, palms up, to look like an open Bible. Now lead them in this rhyme (younger children will either say the words with you or do the motions but probably won't be able to do both, which is fine).

I open my Bible (hold hands open like a book)
    And listen to God (hold hands to ear).
He tells me what I should do (point up).
    I know that He loves me (hug self)
He hears when I pray (hold hands folded as in prayer)
    And all of His stories are true (nod head)

I also know that Jesus loves me
    (point up, then hug self)
And watches over me every day
   (shade eyes and look side to side).
I like my Bible (hold hands open like a book)
   It's special to me (fold hands over heart)—
Like a friend I see every day (point to eyes).

So now I'll be quiet
    (put finger to lips and sit down)
My hands will be still (fold hands).
    I'll hear what God has to say.
(Hold one hand to ear and point up.)