Sunday, March 16, 2014

Children's Church: St. Patrick's Day

I started this fairly regular feature to share what I've compiled (mostly from Pinterest) with other Sunday school teachers. Find other similar posts here and see more ideas on my Sunday school Pinterest board.

I started this lesson of with a brief telling of the story of St. Patrick.  I had seen the cutest St. Patrick's story bag idea at "Rhythm of the Home." That inspired me to bust out Max's pirate ship and a peg doll so I could act out what happened to him.

Sorry for all the blurry pics. My camera has not been the same since it was hit by a basketball...

Patricus (his Latin name) was kidnapped by pirates and carried to Ireland at age 16. He remained a slave there for many years.  I wrapped a chain (a broken necklace) around the peg doll at this point. After six years, he escaped (removed chain) and went back home (I took the pirate flag off and told the kids he got on a "nice ship" to sail back home). There, he became a priest, but had a heart for the people he had lived among as a young man. So, he went back to the place that probably had a lot of bad memories for him and preached the word of God. I gave my tiny Patricus a little tiny shamrock to use as a prop to teach people about the Trinity.

To split the kids into groups, I had them all line up and grab a pretzel shamrock treat.

These were made from a combination of two ideas: this one from "That's What Che Said" and this larger one from "Visiting Teaching Pinspiration." I used three mini pretzels and three mini Rolos. I melted the Rolos on the pretzels in a 200 degree oven for about two minutes. Then, I smooshed green M&Ms onto each Rolo, popped the pan in the freezer for a few minutes and they were hardened! (Sidenote: If you give up sweets for Lent, don't make these. It's torture! Also, it seems immoral to wipe perfectly good chocolate off your fingers!) I had bought a bag of mint M&Ms, so my shamrocks were three different shades of green. I had my kiddos grab a shamrock, then told them partner up with people who shared their color. Two color groups went to the craft table, where they made shamrocks. The largest color group went with me, where we talked about Lucky Charms marshmallows.

Shamrock Craft:

Before we divided, I had showed them my shamrock craft sample. We had already discussed God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit, who lives in us. I showed them how to make the craft, inspired from this one I found on Pinterest by "Bible Story Printables." I had precut a bunch of hearts out of cute green scrapbook papers and punched holes in their point.

All they had to do was write on each heart, cut a stem, and stick a brass brad through all four pieces. I explained how they were separate, but the same (a concept that I can't wrap my own brain around, but I guess that shows how incomprehensible God really is). And when you fold it all up, it makes the shape of a heart, so I quoted 1 John 4:8, "God is love."

Lucky Charms:

Isn't it funny how most "holy"days have been hijacked by cute little characters? What in the world does a leprechaun and a pot of gold have to do with a priest who taught his former slave holders about God?! Anyway, we briefly discussed the real meaning of several holidays and the cute characters that are fun, but easy to get distracted by. Then, I gave each kid a coffee filter (my favorite snack container!) full of Lucky Charms cereal. I told them they could eat the cereal pieces, but they had to leave each type of marshmallow until we'd discussed the shape. Then, they were fair game. I had them find each marshmallow one by one and tell one way that we could make these silly "charms" represent something more important. The kids came up with some things I hadn't even though of - some really deep! I told them what I had written down, including a Bible verse for each one, but applauded their own creativity. Here's what was on the hand-out I made for them to take home afterwards. Most of these came from this post on "This is Katie's Life."

I didn't know about horseshoes and "gold" when I made the hand-out.

rainbow - a symbol that God keeps his promises - Genesis 9:12-13
balloon - God LIFTS our burdens! - Psalm 55:22
heart - God is abounding in love! - Exodus 34:6
star - He is SO big, not only can he count the stars, but he names them, too! - Psalm 147:4-5
moon - Our sorrow only lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning! - Psalm 30:5
clover - a reminder of the Trinity - Matthew 28:19
horseshoe - We should shod our feet with the gospel of peace. - Ephesians 6:15
gold - God's wisdom is more valuable than gold. - Proverbs 8:10

I learned from the back of the box that the gold is actually an hourglass. Oops. The kids came up with all sorts of great connections. God is bigger than time. God has always been. God invented time. God wants to spend time with us. I'm sure you could find a great verse to go with one of those concepts, too.

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