Here are a few activities to engage all ages with the Luke 3 lectionary reading:
Sensory Table (preschool):
Schools have all but done away with play time (more about that here). Sensory tables are an opportunity for churches to promote play and wonder. Throughout the fall, when we are working in the Old Testament, we have sand trays available for the children to use during response time. In the new year, the sand is put away. On Baptism of the Lord Sunday, we will create a sensory water experience using a shallow plastic tub. Shells are added as the symbol of baptism. Plastic boats and fish are included when we learn about Jesus calling the disciples. Small cups for pouring are always available
Mural (elementary and middle school):
A few years ago I gave the older elementary class squares of watercolor paper, painter’s tape and watercolors. The students created designs with their painter’s tape and then painted over with watercolor. When the papers were dry, we removed the painters tape. Then, all of the squares were made into a quilt using blue duct tape. I remember being a little annoyed that the students had created their initials in their designs, as I was hoping for a more abstract look (representing the river Jordan, perhaps?). Now I see that the initials could have been a wonderful opportunity to talk about identity. Who and what gives us our identity? How does this relate to Jesus’s identity as God’s beloved son in Luke 3:22? How do we know we are God’s beloved children? How do we know we are part of the Church?
This just goes to show that sometimes during response time teachers often wonder if the children are relating to the Scripture. They are, if we can just see it with our adult eyes!
Recycled water painting (preschool & elementary):
At the food pantry we received a shipment of apples. Between each layer was a blue piece of cardboard. I took them home and think they will be a wonderful new material for children to paint on with tempera. They seem to have a wavy effect. I believe the preschool and younger elementary students will enjoy painting waves on this textured background. Bubble wrap, crinkles paper and even craft sticks can add a water-like texture to any painting – be creative! I’ll be asking them to complete this sentence to display with their creations: “Water reminds me…”
Relating Baptism and Confirmation (all ages, but especially potential confirmands and parents):
At our monthly faith formation for all gathering, we will be exploring the sacrament’s relationship to confirmation and covenant. The warm up asks participants to discuss images of water (you can use mine below*), share stories of their baptisms, and review the UMC baptismal vows. The complete lesson can be downloaded here.
One of the components of this lesson is using photographs to connect with Scripture which can then be posted on social media. I’ve written about how we do that on Building Faith.
*these are my original photographs, free to use for non-commercial purposes. Credit to Chrstine V. Hides is appreciated.