Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for Holidays
I was invited to be a special guest again at Cherry Hill Community Church, where they have a wonderful children’s ministry. Whenever you are given the opportunity to teach at Christmas time, it presents a unique challenge. You are, of course, teaching the greatest story in HIS-Story – but it is also a very familar one. So how do you tell it in a new and creative way that will still engage children who can easily “check out” when they start to hear the familiar parts of the story. I searched my computer for countless ways I have addressed Christmas in over twenty years as a children’s pastor – and then walked into my vast kidmin prop warehouse and started seeing things that could be used to tell the story! At the same time, as I prayed about it, I was wanted to elevate the story above the mere facts of the traditional story to WHY did God sent Jesus? The story is truly epic and transcends the birth of Christ from the origins of time all the way to Christ’s Resurrection all the way to today!
Then it hit me! Why don’t I tell the ENTIRE STORY OF CHRISTMAS FROM CREATION TO TODAY!
I know, sounds crazy. But I’m known for crazy ideas. So I sought out to bombard the children with an onslaught of props to capture their eyes and engage their imaginations and begin with eternity past, creation, the problem of sin (yes, you can get philosophical with kids!) carry it through to Christmas, explain several of the rarely taught truths of Christmas such as why did the wise men know about the star (from missing writings of Daniel in Babyon) to the fact that they were not even at the stable as is often depicted! And then carry the story through Easter and then through to it’s conclusion today by presenting a child from the audience with the same choice Adam and Eve had – only a forbidden gumball from a gumball machine instead of a forbidden fruit from a tree!
I ended up with four trunks of propped, a few tables and a lit up star up on a pole!
Click to view larger
The kids enjoyed it and leaders even told me they learned some things they didn’t know! By the end, included were God, Adam, Eve, Satan (Snake), Cain and Abel, Noah, Moses, Prophets, Mary, Joseph, Caesar, George Bush, King Herod, Wiseman (just one), David, Solomon, Daniel, Shepherds*, Angels, Simeon, Jesus (baby and grown), Mary Magdalene and Mother of Jesus, Disciples, Roman Soldiers Angel and… and a boy from audience to represent today. (My son!) I think that’s everyone I covered!!
(And yes, my son was the boy who helped at the end. He did a great job!)
Note: I included a bit of the Cherry Hills opening to show how they do it, since they do such a great job and model how to start with a bang and lead into the teaching time with songs that start out upbeat and fun and gradually get more slow paced. It is a model of how it should be done. (I edited out their welcome time, it is extremely well done, but didn’t want to put visiting kids on YouTube without permission.)
There was A LOT to put away at the end! I didn’t even USE all the stuff I brought, later I kept seeing objects and agonizing, “Oh, I forgot that!”
This is a panorama, so click to view full size.
What have YOU done to bring the Christmas Story ALIVE for your kids?
*Note: I think during this second service recording I left out the shepherds… oops!
Over on the Kidology Forums, someone asked:
I need a simple lesson plan explaining the origin of Easter eggs and bunnies.
I don’t think much explanation is necessary. Since the eggs and bunnies have nothing to do with our Christian celebration, I think the simplest explanation is that they related to springtime when we are happy that winter is over. Spring also represents that new life will be coming forth from eggs, and nothing seems to represent new life as cutely as a bunny. However, as Christians, we think nothing represents new life better than JESUS, who proved he can not only bring new life, but he can even raise up the dead to new life!
I completely ignore the history of pagan celebrations with children. They are irrelevant and confusing to kids, and they are really just ancient history that has no bearing on today’s culture anyway. That isn’t why the eggs and bunnies are here today, so it’s a bit of a straw man. I would guess most of my non-Christian friends would take a slight offense at (or just laugh off) me accusing them of decorating with eggs and bunnies because of some ancient secular celebration that they probably know little about either!
So keep it simple, and quickly bring things back around to Jesus! Note in Galatians 6:15, Paul didn’t waste time on cultural debates, and instead said, “…what counts is the new creation.”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Tweet, Facebook and E-mail this URL to all your friends and family: www.kidology.org/hunt
Easter is a pretty big holiday, and while it doesn’t get the attention that Christmas gets, it’s a pretty important event! In fact, all of Christianity rests on this historic event! And yet, often kids don’t know all the important details of this story as well as they do Christmas. So I sat down with my wife a few months ago and we brain-stormed, “What would be a fun game to help kids learn the details of the Resurrection Story in an exciting way?”
We came up with a game based on the classic CLUE game and we think you and your kids are going to LOVE IT! We hired the top artist in children’s ministry, Todd Hampson, who has worked on What’s in the Bible, JellyTelly, Order of the Ancient, Yancy (not Nancy) videos and more – and then got our very own webmaster Steve Tanner, who is a CLUE game connoisseur – and came up with a game that is both fun and educational. Next, I asked a new friend I met at CPC in Orlando, Stanley Mearse, to team up with me on writing twenty short devotionals on the places, objects and people of the Resurrection Story, and he came up with the idea of adding QR codes to the game to add an extra element of interactive fun. Others helped with editing, design, game input and tweaks, and in the end, the collaborative process has resulted in one of the most creative and fun projects from Kidology yet! It is called: Resurrection CLUE HUNT!
Ladies… if you really want to impress your husband for Christmas this year. Don’t get him a tie. Get him something, anything, from Scottevest.com
I’m serious. And no, I’m not getting paid for this blog post, and get no benefit from it. I’m honestly just doing all the ladies out there a HUGE favor.
Your man loves his gadgets. But he doesn’t want to look like a nerd or dork carrying them around. He loves his iPad, but he doesn’t know how to carry it around without looking like he is taking work with him. He doesn’t want to be one of those guys… You know the type, with the batman utility belt filled with gadgets (like the step dad in Night at the Museum)
And he’s not going to wear some STUPID tech belt like I saw on my last flight in Sky Mall Magazine:
Are you kidding me? RIGHT.
But with a Jacket, Trench Coat, Sport Coat, Vest, Hoodie, Shirt or even boxers from Scottevest – your huck of love will be able to hide his tech gear and look like a normal sharply dressed man you won’t be embarrassed to be seen with. (Until he pulls out that iPad in the middle of the movie* from that hidden pocket to check IMDB to see who that actor is.)
So make this the Christmas you score major points, and tell ‘em @Kidologist sent you in the check out. (Just for fun)
And ladies, if you want to indulge yourselves, go for it!
For extra fun, try to find me in the 2012 catalog while it is still available.
*You can’t pull an iPad out of the boxers, just FYI.
Next entries »
How do you help kids develop an “Attitude of Gratitude?” Every holiday seems to get derailed with the wrong focus. Christmas is about getting presents and Easter is about candy – and Thanksgiving can end up being about FOOD!
MANY many years ago I wanted to develop a game for my students at church that would help them focus on being thankful, but in a fun and engaging way. I also had the issue of it being a low attendance Sunday with families traveling and as a result I often was short on volunteers. What to do?
I ended up creating a large group game that became so HUGELY POPULAR it became an annual tradition. The game has been available on Kidology.org for over ten years in my “home made” version – but we finally decided to create a “real” version worthy of the FUN that it creates and make it available for wider use!
If you have ever played Parker Brother’s classic card game of PIT – you will already know the basic rules – and get a mental image of how fun the game is. But instead of just a few players yelling out, “One! One!” or “Three! Three!” around a card table – picture a room filled with 100 kids milling around all calling out, “Two! Two! Two!” or “Four! Four!” or “Oh, no! I got a Gimmie!”
For you see, instead of collecting commodities, the kids are collecting things they are thankful for! And instead of inserting a “Bear” or “Bull” card there are some “Gimmie! Gimmie!” cards that must be avoided at all costs. Once kids have collected a set of one item they are thankful for, they sit down. The goal is to not be the last kids left stuck with the “Gimmie! Gimmie!”s.
In the end, everyone is a winner – and the chaos turns to a short but fun lesson on how important it is to be thankful for what we have, and to avoid the “Gimmie Gimmies” – that attitude of focusing on what we can GET instead of what we can GIVE (or already have.)
If you are looking for an easy and FUN activity for this month in Kids Church or even with your family – check out Kidology’s new downloadable game, “GIMMIE GIMMIE!” It comes in full color or grey scale and includes customizable playing cards so you can modify the game as you wish! Full game instructions included.
Available Now for only $5.99 (for Kidology Members) or $7.99 regular.
WIN A FREE COPY:
I’ll send a free one to the best thanksgiving story in comments – tell me how you have taught your kids to be thankful, either in your home or classroom!