This is our new activity in our Friday children's church. We have a structure of a service which stays the same each week and in the middle we have a slot that we use for exploring something biblical.
We have been trying to use some godly play resources with them even though they are a bit young to do it properly (they are all under 3). LittleLanky found it difficult to concentrate during the story and wanted to pick up all the wooden characters which made it difficult for everyone else to follow what was going on.
So then we thought we would just let them play with the godly play resources in an unstructured way but that wasn't massively successful either.
So... the latest idea is the bible storyboard. This is an A2 board with a nice thick piece of A2 paper that we told the story on. Today I told the story of the Feeding the Five Thousand. They all had a packet of crayons and I told them from the start that they could draw anywhere on the paper at any time.
So I drew a hill that Jesus stood on to talk to the crowd and then the children found a wooden figure to be Jesus and then put other figures out to be the crowd. Then I asked them to draw extra figures on the paper as well as there weren't enough wooden figures to be a big crowd (the adults helped too!).
I carried on telling the story while we all drew and moved figures around. So then the children found a figure to be the boy who brought his bread and fish to jesus and stood them together. Then I drew 2 fish and 5 loaves and explained that he blessed them.
I wasn't really thinking too hard about how to draw all the different elements on the paper and when I described Jesus blessing the bread and fish I drew a cross to show this. I didn't know why I did this and didn't really think to hard about it at the time. Reflecting on this now I think it was a good choice. I think I chose the symbol because it's how a priest blesses the congregation. It's intriguing from a theological perspective using a cross symbol for Jesus blessing something, as obviously the cross is all to come but I don't have a problem with this.
I then explained that the miracle that happened that day was there was enough food for everyone with plenty left over. So we all drew extra bread and fish across the paper.
After we had finished the storyboard time the children then rolled out their own bread (I had made a pitta bread dough before hand) and then this was baked afterwards and they had a great time eating. LittleLanky with some help from LankyAnglican made a pitta fish, which she later devoured with relish!
It seemed to go well. I enjoyed it. LittleLanky enjoyed it. I think the bible storyboard will be making an appearance next week and we'll use the godly play resources to add to our stories. It's all good.