Wednesday, May 24, 2017

DIY Classroom Farkle Game

This year for my class at church I wanted to make them something extra special. I love these kids, and it is a joy for me to use my craft skills to make gifts. I started out making this as a Christmas gift, but then it turned into a Valentine's day gift. It's a lot of work when you are making multiple sets, and Christmas came and went before I was finished! This game would be great as a gift, but also would make a great game to pass the time inside the classroom. There is always down time where a quiet game will do the trick. 
DIY classroom farkle to make for classroom or teacher
Farkle is a game played with usually two or more players. You can bend the rules for a game played alone too. Each player has an opportunity to throw the dice which will equal a score. The scores accumulate more as the game goes on. Some turns result in no points being made. The first person to reach the goal score will be declared the winner.

teacher gift idea classroom farkle game with students photos

Kids love to see their faces on things. It makes it special to hold something in their hands that is uniquely theirs. All the kids I gave this game to were SO EXCITED! Some were literally jumping up and down as I handed out the gifts. They couldn't wait to play, and it didn't matter if they had a friend to join them. The kids played the game all by themselves! The game is best for a few players, but can be used for solitary entertainment.

I started out by taking a picture of each child on a grey wall. This made an easy background for good face recognition later. The kids assumed I was going to give them a framed photo later for Christmas. Boy were they surprised to get their Farkle games!! I put the photos into Photoshop and sized them down very tiny! The size all depends on the wooden blocks you are going to glue them on to.


You can buy already cut blocks of wood from Hobby Lobby, or you can save money and buy long blocks of wood that you cube yourself. Either way it's a very inexpensive game to make. I have a miter saw, so I opted for the cheapest wood and set to work cutting my cubes. My cubes weren't perfect, but they pass the test for kids. Hobby Lobby sells the cubes in a variety of sizes. You can make them small dice, you could make them large! It's all about what you want. Just remember if they are too big, you might have trouble rolling all 6 of the dice together.

photo sheets of kid faces for Classroom Farkle

Once your cubes are cut, or purchased, it's time to size the photos to fit on the cube. This can be a little tedious as you glue the tiny photos on all 6 sides of the 6 dice required to make one set of Classroom Farkle. That's 36 photos you must glue on for one set of dice! I glued the photos on with Mod Podge. I did NOT seal them with Mod Podge. I'll explain why later.

A cube has 6 sides, so 6 different photos are required for each die. All cubes are made exactly the same. Just think of it as a regular die with the numbered dots from 1 to 6. The game needs 6 dice, so each of the 6 dice look exactly the same. (Except for the 1 Farkle die I explain later) If it makes sense in your head, assign each child a number. Then place their pictures on the dice in place of those numbers. Since I have more than 6 children in my classroom, the kids didn't get every single classmate in their game. I had to narrow it down and assign a few friends to their one-of-a-kind dice.

Photo cubes for classroom farkle

For Christmas one year I made Family Farkle for my son. He is an avid board game player. All of the Farkle dice had members of the family on it, with one side that had a family photo.

For these Classroom Farkle sets I thought it would be fun to make a special Farkle die. When you Farkle in the traditional game this means you rolled some non-scoring dice and your turn is immediately over, and all points you might have previously rolled during that one turn will be forfeited. To make the game even more fun, I called the die with my picture on it a Farkle. If they ever rolled the die with my picture showing, this would mean their turn is over with zero points added to the score.

You farkled die for Classroom farkle game

The special teacher Farkle photo is only on ONE side of ONE of the six dice. If you had the teacher Farkle photo on each die, it would make the game practically impossible to score on.



Classroom farkle dice with special teacher farkle die


This also means that one of the kids in your Classroom Farkle set will only have 5 photos instead of 6 like all the rest of the dice. When I gave the gift to the kids, I made sure the kid who only had 5 photos was NOT the one that gift set went to. Each set I made was unique for that kid it was given to.

After the photos were glued on each of the dice, I made sure to coat them in a Polycrylic protective finish. I bought this at Walmart in the paint section. This seals the photos in. In the past I have used Mod Podge, but found the items always stuck together and after time ripped the photos. So frustrating! This sealer does not stick to itself! It's water based and easy to clean up!

Polycrylic protective finish

Classroom Farkle is a little time consuming to make, but you are left with a beautiful, unique game the kids will LOVE. I made sure to personalize the directions for each child, with their friends names in the directions. This helps them understand what point value is given to each person. I also laminated their set of instructions so it can hold up to lots of use!

personalized Classroom Farkle instructions

Classroom Farkle Directions

To make the set all come together, I found some cute Valentine's Day pails at Dollar Tree. They came in sets of 2 for $1. I also found the plastic juice cups for shaking the dice up at Dollar Tree. You can get 6 of these small cups for $1. They fit perfectly in the small pails. I bought a paint pen, and wrote the name of each child on their bucket.

Dollar Tree Valentine's day pails and juice glass for holding dice


Farkle Directions
To get started: Each player must roll at least 500 points during one turn to get into the game. The players game entry score and subsequent scores are added up.

1. The first player rolls six dice and decides which dice they want to use for score. If they don’t roll a Zechariah (1) or Zakia (5) or other scoring combinations, their turn is over and they must pass the dice.
 Zechariah (1) = 100 points for each, Zakia (5) = 50 points for each

Scoring Combinations
3 Zechariah = 300    (DIE equivalent 1)                                     4 OF A KIND = 2000
3 Mariah = 200         (DIE equivalent 2)                                     5 OF A KIND =  3000
3 Ca'Shawn = 300   (DIE equivalent 3)                                     STRAIGHT = 1500
3 Carter = 400          (DIE equivalent 4)                                     3 PAIRS = 1500
3 Zakia = 500           (DIE equivalent 5)                                     2 TRIPLETS 2500
3 Kahzia = 600         (DIE equivalent 6)

2. Only Zechariah (1) and Zakia (5) count by themselves. Other people count as three-of-a-kind or more.

3. Dice can only count for score once. After dice are removed, you cannot add to them for a bigger score.

4. Some dice must be removed after every roll. You don’t have to remove all the dice that count, only the ones you want to use for score. Continue rolling and remove dice.

5. If you roll no scoring dice, your turn is over and you lose all the points you rolled on that turn. This is called a Farkle.

6. You may stop rolling at any time, take your points and pass the dice if you’re afraid of rolling a Farkle.

7. If you roll Ms. Amanda (the teacher) at any time, this is also considered a Farkle.

8. Rolling the dice off the playing surface means re-rolling all eligible dice.

9. When one player reaches 10,000 points, all other players get one more turn to try to beat them.

DIY Classroom Farkle for Valentine's Day craft

If you have any questions about how the game is played, or how I made some part of it, please feel free to ask. Hopefully I've inspired you to make a fun gift for your kids!

Monday, May 22, 2017

My Cup Overflows Coloring Page

My daughter is an artist. Every Mother's Day I receive a new painting or drawing done by her. This year she gave me the most wonderful gift.

Most people who know me are familiar with my life verse. "My cup overflows with blessings. Your unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life." Psalm 23:5-6. If you have found this blog, than you too know my life verse. My Cup Overflows with Blessings!

Several years ago I made a decision that I would always focus on the positive in life. I went through a depression for several years, and during that time I chose to think about all that was wrong. The bad things consumed me.

When I made the positive change in my thinking, I began to see God's blessings everywhere. I found Him in the big parts of my life. I found Him in the most minute details of my life. I was overwhelmed with God's love. My depression eventually vanished as I focused on the good around me. Since that year long ago when I made the conscious effort to change my thinking, my cup has literally overflowed with blessings. My journals cannot contain the goodness of God.

I don't say this lightly. This was not an easy change. In the beginning I struggled daily with choosing the positive.  In fact, every minute of the day I had to retrain my thoughts. I posted scripture verses around my house. I quoted them to myself. I disciplined myself to start a daily Bible reading routine. I prayed many prayers. I wrote hundreds of blessings that God was showing me. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. I'm happy now. God healed my broken heart. He is so good at doing that!

I can honestly say, my cup overflows with blessings. God's unfailing love has pursued me all the days of my life.

My cup overflows with blessings pencil drawing Psalm 23:5-6

This year my daughter drew me a picture based on my life verse. I LOVE it! It's extra special to me that it came from my daughter. She is one of God's biggest blessings to me.

My cup overflows with blessings coloring page Psalm 23:5-6

To make things even better, she included in my gift a coloring page of my life verse. I love having coloring sheets to use for my class at church. I can't wait until the next time we are learning about God's blessings. You can be sure I will be sharing this coloring sheet!

God is so AMAZING!! 

Just wanted to share another recent painting by my daughter. We had a ladies painting party at church. So relaxing and fun!

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Luke 12:34

Here's my painting from the same party. This is another one of my favorite life verses! "Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag." Luke 19:26

Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag. Luke 19:26

Friday, May 19, 2017

Watercolor Inspiration

I have a confession to make. I stole the idea of watercolor bookmarks from a young lady who used to attend my church. Maybe stole isn't the best word for it. I was inspired by this young lady. Her family recently moved to a new town at God's direction. A lot of tears were shed by my family after their move. I love this teenager so much. She has the sweetest spirit, and loves to serve in any way that she can. In all the years I have known her, she never had an unkind word to say, and she is always positive. I want to grow up to be like her!

This young lady plans to go on a missions trip this summer, and advertised some gorgeous hand painted and hand drawn watercolor bookmarks. She only asked $1 for each. I fell in love with the paintings. They were all so beautiful and I just this week received in the mail my bookmarks I purchased from her. She gave me special permission to share them here with you all.

I'm excited! I can't wait to give some of these away to my friends and family members. I put in a special request for the "my cup overflows" bookmark. It's one of my very favorite scripture verses ever! I have it placed in my home in multiple ways because God really does pour out His blessings until my cup overflows...

my cup overflows purple pink watercolor bookmark
even the wind and the waves obey him Matthew 8:27 watercolor bookmark
Hers is so much better than mine! I'm jealous of her talent. I know it comes naturally to her!

the Joy of the Lord is my strength Nehemiah 8:20 watercolor bookmark
Philippians 4:12-13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Watercolor bookmark
watercolor bookmark cup of tea purple blue watercolor
blue watercolor bookmark we love because He first loved us.
green watercolor bookmark with quote Fill your mind with God's word
light pale purple watercolor bookmark with stars
blue watercolor bookmark God's hands quote
teal watercolor bookmark
sunrise watercolor painting bookmark

Aren't they beautiful? Simple, yet so perfect!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Watercolor Bookmarks

Everyone loves to paint, right? This is such a simple craft for children, and it's practically impossible to mess it up! Most of us have watercolors hanging around the house somewhere. I know my kids were required in elementary school to furnish a set each year. At the end of the year, we add them to our collection.

watercolors paint for bookmarks

This is a great gift idea for Mother's Day coming up this Sunday! Watercolor bookmarks are classy AND easy to make. Personalize them with mom's favorite colors. Add designs. Or simply brush on some color.

watercolor bookmark designs gift idea for mother's day

Once the paint is dry, add a quote, Bible verse, or other words of encouragement. My calligraphy ink was completely dried up! I didn't want to run to the store for ink, so I painted the words on with acrylic craft paint. Permanent marker would work just fine for this craft too!

watercolor bookmarks mother's day gift idea there's always time for tea

Simple and Beautiful.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Best Teacher Appreciation Gift Ever

After years of giving gifts to teachers, we finally stumbled upon the perfect Teacher Appreciation Gift! Each year the gift has been accepted with tears of joy. 

We have shown our teachers that we really love them by making a homemade t-shirt with THEIR NAME on it! 

If I had the money, I would buy shirts for the entire class to wear. But alas, I don't have the money. What I do have is time, and creativity, to work on a gift for my child to give. This idea came to me when a friend of mine was decorating the door to their child's classroom for a surprise to the teacher. They came up with a witty saying, and set to work taping on construction paper letters and pictures. I thought, why not turn that idea into a shirt for my kid to wear!?!

A few years ago, I won a silhouette machine. This machine comes in handy! I made my own stencil. But you can always buy stencils with letters and pictures on them.  I taped my stencil to the front of a t-shirt, put some cardboard inside to protect the shirt from leaking paint through to the back, and got out an artist paintbrush and some acrylic paint. I painted the picture on the shirt myself. 

Most people never know the shirt isn't machine printed. The paint fades a little bit after washing, but it still holds the image. I have made all kinds of shirts for my kids this way. You can personalize a shirt for a birthday party! Or if you have a favorite quote or Bible verse, this is an excellent way to share it with the world. I have even made a shirt for my husband with his favorite computer game quote! One year I tie-dyed a bunch of shirts and painted a logo for our church on the front. I gave the shirts to all the elementary girls I took to a kid's camp. They loved that we were all matching!

All it takes is a little patience, time, and non-washable paint. I don't even use fabric paint. I use the cheap 50 cents a bottle kind from Wal-Mart. The ideas are endless and so inexpensive! You simply need a shirt, and paint. You probably already have some of this paint lying around your house... if you are a craft person. It's so neat how a little bit of time can result in a heart being touched.


best teacher appreciation gift ever homemade shirt with teacher's name

Posted on Facebook by Mrs. Beauford

best teacher appreciation gift ever homemade tshirt with teacher's name

Posted by Ms. Jeffrey on Class Dojo

My son gets so excited for Teacher Appreciation Day! He can't wait to wear his shirt proudly into the classroom. This year he got a little sneaky and made sure to wear a light jacket. He gave the teacher a card which told her to look at his shirt for her gift. She LOVED it.

It's a very sweet surprise for a teacher and can be personalized in any way. Ms. Jeffrey is also a photographer and has used this talent to bless us parents with lots of photos of our kiddos this year. The camera saying was perfect for her!

There's all kinds of cute sayings for teacher appreciation day! Make up your own, or use one of these!

  • From my calculations, Mrs. Teacher is the best - draw a calculator
  • You're picture perfect, Mrs. Teacher - draw a camera or draw a Polaroid border around it.
  • Mrs. Teacher you've made a mark that can never be erased - draw an eraser or pencil
  • Thanks for helping me grow, Mrs. Teacher - draw a flower with it
  • I donut know what I would have done without you, Mrs. Teacher - draw a donut
  • Mrs. Teacher made me one smart cookie - draw a cookie
  • Mrs. Teacher brightened my year - draw a sun
  • You're the apple of my eye, Mrs. Teacher - draw an apple
  • I love you to the moon and back, Mrs. Teacher - draw a moon
  • I'm nuts about Mrs. Teacher - draw an acorn
  • Mrs. Teacher is one in a melon - draw a watermelon

Monday, April 24, 2017

Free Candy Corn

I struggled with some distressing information recently. My coloring sheet with candy corn on it is very popular. In fact, if you Google candy corn coloring page, my picture will show up multiple times in the top images. We're talking no scrolling is necessary.

candy corn bible verse coloring page count your blessings


That sounds more like good news, right? The bad news is they aren't exactly my picture. Or so they would like you to think. I designed the coloring page, but it is not my website you will go to if you click on the photo. In fact, my name is nowhere to be found. Another name lies at the bottom of the coloring page. My picture has been stolen more than once. I can't even find any of the image that links back to this website.

This made me sick to my stomach. How could someone steal my hard work? My creativity? My words? How could they claim it as their own? I was devastated. I felt violated and used. It looks as if I am the thief of my own picture. I never put names on my pictures. I share them freely.

This experience left me feeling very angry. I wanted to leave nasty comments on their websites. I wanted to demand they remove it. It felt like such an attack to my person. I thought about revenge. My honor needed to be restored. I'm embarrassed to be confessing how I truly felt.

All day long this ate at me. Even into the evening I felt the attack to my soul. This went deep inside of me. I couldn't shake it off. I despise injustice.

God spoke to my heart as I tried to settle my emotions. These people don't even know I exist. They did no bodily harm to me. In fact, they probably never once thought of me. They simply liked my coloring page. 

God asked me, "Why did you make the coloring sheet all those years ago? Did you do it for glory and recognition? Was your intent to make money off it? No. You did it for the kids."

The air fizzled out of my inflated ego. I made that picture for my kids to hand out to trick-or-treaters. I wanted my neighbors to see a glimpse of Jesus' love. What I felt today was not love. It was plain and simple greed. It was about me, Me, ME!!!

I made a rather unhappy comment on one website in the heat of my anger. I am so ashamed. I never put my name on my creative works. But on this hateful comment I signed my name. Why?!? Why would I sign my name to greed, but leave my name out of love? I wish I could take it back, but the site doesn't allow for deleting comments.  It's stuck out there, along with my beautiful message from God. The two don't go together. It sounds hateful, mean, and greedy. Not loving, kind, and forgiving. Fortunately, the Christ that the picture talks about IS loving and ALWAYS kind. That Christ never makes heated comments that hurt and are rude. That Christ doesn't push to get His own way. That Christ gave everything for us. That Christ asked for nothing in return.

If you see my mean comment out there by my coloring sheet, remember I am flawed. I am imperfect. I mess up. I get things wrong. I need Jesus so much. I need Him like I need breath in my lungs. I am nothing without Him.

I'm excited that so many people are seeing God's love while they color. Those websites are reaching more than this simple little blog ever could. For that I am grateful.

The coloring page states simply, "Count your Blessings and name them day by day. You'll be reminded Christ Jesus' love overflows to you, right now in nearly every way."

That is the cry of my heart. My cup overflows with blessings. I remember praying about what words to write upon that page. I remember crying tears as God gave me a message. Christ's love doesn't just come to you in a half full glass, barely enough for you to quench your thirst. Christ's love overflows. You don't have a container large enough to fill with the blessings that He pours out.

I refuse to dwell on myself like that again. The message on that sheet is too beautiful and sacred to me to squabble over it. It's a gift freely given. I post pictures and messages because I want to make a difference. And I don't want to make a hurtful difference. I stand by the fact that what I have is freely shared.

I did decide to go ahead and start putting my name on the coloring pages I make. It's not because I want to stake my claim to them. It's more about the message behind it. I often pour my heart into the things I create. I love to write and share what God speaks to me about here on this blog. If my name is on the bottom of the page, it might point people back here to hear my heart some more on a different subject, or maybe even the same subject. I feel that God has given me a gift to be able to verbally express myself.  I hope and pray that I express myself in a way that truly honors God. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MASH

Remember when you were young, and you would play the game of Mash with your friends? You couldn't wait to see your name next to your crush, and the perfect life would roll out before you. Or maybe your life wasn't so perfect. Maybe your husband was a trash man, and you ended up living in a shack. Or maybe you got 15 kids with the boy in your class who teases you relentlessly.

I was pretty surprised when I picked up my son from school a few days ago to find him and his best friend giggling in the back seat of the car over the game of Mash! I had no idea that game was still around! It brought back so many fond memories for me.

I'm thankful my life didn't turn out the way Mash planned for me. At least not entirely how it was planned. I keep practically everything, and I had a good laugh that I still had a story I wrote when I was 12. The story was titled A Sad Story with a Happy Ending. It had a sequel called The Good Life. I read these Mash stories aloud to my husband last night and we were laughing so hard at the innocence of my 12-year-old mind.

The past two days I have played Mash with my son 3 different times. Each time we play, he adds more details and questions to the list. It's not exciting enough to have only 4 categories. We want the game to last and be over the top funny.

My husband played the game and ended up marrying our daughter, who had 18 children for them. He was a telemarketer and lived in a shack. They had a pet hippo, and cruised around town in a tank. The stories you can make from this game are endless. So much fun!

I always love to put creativity into action. This afternoon I put together a sheet for my son to make the game easier to play. When I picked him up from school, it was sitting on his seat. He was SO EXCITED! I got to be his first victim, err I mean participant. He is now happily writing his own story about the silliness of my new life. It seems no matter how many times I play the game with my son, I can't seem to marry my husband. I'm so glad life is what we make it, and there isn't a random order of things. We get to choose.

MASH game coloring page worksheet

If you've never played the game of Mash with a friend, it's so easy! You need a partner to play with.

  • Player one gives answers for each category, while Player two writes the answers down.
  • Before you can figure out how your life ends up, you must come up with a magic number. To find your magic number, Player two begins to draw a swirl. Player one closes their eyes and decides when Player two stops drawing the swirl. After stop has been called, Player two draws a line from where they started the swirl to where they ended it. Player two counts how many times the line crosses over the swirl. That is the magic number!
  • Player two counts each answer, starting with the M A S H at the top. When you get to the magic number, you cross that answer off the list. You continue counting where you left off until there is only one answer left for each category. Don't forget to count the letters of Mash separately. 
  • M stands for Mansion. A stands for Apartment. S stands for Shack. And H stands for House.

The answers you are left with are your future. Take turns with your friends. Be prepared to have lots of good laughs.

To make it even more interesting, when I played with my friends we always got to choose one answer for the other person. That way it's not all your dreams coming true. A little twist on life. We may get to make a lot of our choices, but there are still things that are out of our control.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Crafts for Easter

It's been a fantastic two weeks of teaching! The kids are learning, and fully engaged in the story of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection. Each Wednesday, I dedicated the entire day to planning my lesson. Our pastor loves to say each year at this time, "Easter is the Super Bowl for Christians." It should be one of our biggest weeks for attendance. If someone is considering going to church, they will most likely say yes to an invitation this weekend!

Last week we focused primarily on the death of Jesus. I did make sure to share the good news of His resurrection, however the focus of that would be the following week. My favorite way to teach this lesson is by using Resurrection Eggs. I don't know how long they've been around, but they are genius! Kids love hands on stuff to help them learn. I bought my set when my daughter was 2 years old, and we've been using them each year since. That's 14 years of Easter fun!!

Resurrection Eggs

Every egg has a piece of the story hidden inside. When you buy the set, they also come with a booklet that gives scriptures to read, and helpful information to tell. I typically don't follow the book. It's pretty wordy, and I prefer to share from my heart about each piece of the story. They might have updated the book since I originally bought my set. I do like to follow along with reading the different passages from the Bible. 

Whenever I bring the eggs to my class at church, the kids are enthralled. They LOVE to take turns opening each egg. I have found these eggs even interest my kids who usually need special attention. Everyone listens. Everyone learns. 

To go along with the story, I like to plan a craft. Kids really enjoy using their hands. After we had gone through all the eggs, the kids got to make their own resurrection pie wheel to bring home with them. This pie wheel has all the same things they learned through the eggs. The kids were very excited to make this. Now they would be able to share the same story with their family and friends. 

resurrection eggs craft wheel

To make the resurrection pie, you print both pages, and simply use a brass fastener in the center to keep them together. You cut out the pie piece on the top paper to provide a hole for viewing through. The bottom pie wheel should easily turn through the viewing screen. I left an area blank above each description so the kids can draw a picture in of what the object is we talked about. 

There are twelve pieces of the wheel, one for each resurrection egg. On the front wheel piece, you can see a list of all twelve things, along with their scriptures that we referenced. This was very easy to make, and the kids had a lot of fun with it!

Feel free to use any coloring sheets I put together, and post. That's why I share them online. I'm always happy to let anyone use what I have created. My goal is to teach all kids about Jesus, including ones I've never met! As always, if you click on the picture it will allow you to save a much larger file size.  

resurrection eggs craft coloring page

resurrection eggs coloring page

This week my lesson focused much more on the resurrection of Jesus instead of His death. I was so excited to teach about this. I prepared my thoughts and heart all day long. I showed a 13-minute video to the class of some clips I edited together from A.D. The Bible Continues. The video content is very well done, but a bit harsh and violent to show young children.  I put together several different, kid friendly clips to make a short video. A picture is worth a thousand words, and the kids were so into the movie. I think they were disappointed when the lights came back on. Some had never seen this acted out before. They had lots of questions, and we could have some really good discussion afterwards. Why did Peter lie that he didn't know Jesus? Was that Pharaoh in the movie? So cute and sweet!

After our lively discussion, the kids had a quiet time of journaling. I keep a journal for each kid in my class. I never look in these journals. It's between them and Jesus. The journals stay in my supply cabinet, and only get removed during class time when the child who it belongs to is there. When the kids graduate from my class, they get to take the journal home with them. Parents love these! It's neat to see their kid's heart and growth through the two-year time span they are in my classroom. We do all kinds of writing in this journal. Sometimes it's as simple as copying a Bible verse, other times it's drawing a picture of something I prompt them to think about. Often we glue workbook pages into the book, and lots of prayers are wrote inside. The list is endless...

In their journals this time they wrote a prayer to Jesus. They confessed a sin they struggle with, and asked for forgiveness. The prayer was ended with thanksgiving. We were recognizing Jesus for His sacrifice, and giving thanks to Him. 

Once their prayer time was complete, the kids came back one by one to a table in the back of the room where I had supplies to pot a plant. We all potted some flower seeds. I made it an object lesson for the kids. I explained why we had these plants. It was about more than a pretty flower. It was about a lesson I was trying to teach them.

Each kid got to decorate their plastic pot with permanent markers. They could write the Bible verse. They could draw a picture that reminds them of Jesus. It could be a word that Jesus gave them. It could be something He wants them to remember. I try to get the kids to always think for themselves. I want them to get in the habit of talking to Jesus about EVERYTHING! It's about getting truth down deep in their heart. It's not good enough to have head knowledge. We all need some heart wisdom. And we all need to learn how to hear God's voice. 

object lesson Jesus dying on cross 
My lesson about our potted plants was that we all sin and miss the mark. Our sin is something we usually hide. We are often ashamed of it. The soil is dark like our sin, and dark like the way we feel about it.

The seed we plant is Jesus. He comes in to the dark places of our hearts. He takes our sin upon Himself. He is innocent, yet He still takes our punishment.

When Jesus was with His disciples He broke bread, gave it to them and said, "This is my body, which is given for you." Luke 22:19. Just like the bread broke, symbolizing Jesus' body, the seed coat must break open for the seed to begin to grow and sprout. Jesus gave up His life for us because He loved us so much.

The seed in a way goes through a transformation from death into new life. It must change for it to become a new flower. Just like the flower rises out of the soil, Jesus rose from the dead. He is alive. Because of this new life, we too can rise out of the darkness. Our sin no longer has a claim on us. We are forgiven. We are free. We are beautiful. We are a new creation. We are a flower that soaks up the "Son."


2 Corinthians 5:17 who is a believer in Christ is a new creation


The night was amazing. We were all connecting with Jesus. That is something to get excited about! I am so honored to be a voice for Jesus with these kids. I love them with all my heart!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fruit of the Spirit Prayer

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galatians 5:22-23

I'm in charge of the project center for the elementary age kids at church. I try to come up with a craft to help the kids apply the Bible stories they learn, and to apply the Bible verses they hear to their life. I will usually include in the craft some kind of cutting, gluing, and coloring assignment, but the overall goal is application. It doesn't always change your life when you make a craft. I'm not saying God can't work in this way. But normally, it takes a little more than the cutting and gluing. 

The point of making a project with the kids is to get them to think in more depth on the subject. I love doing crafts with the kids. But I love it even more when the craft brings them closer to knowing Jesus. 

This week we studied the Fruit of the Spirit. When we are growing in Christ, these fruit should be apparent in our lives. We had a quiet time of reflection. I went through this prayer letter that I designed for the kids, and explained what each fruit means. I explained it as simple as I could.  

Some of the harder fruits I had to explain again to them... 

Joy. Happiness is what we feel when good things are happening to us. Joy is a choice. Joy means we choose to have a good attitude even if things are going wrong. Joy is when we celebrate the good that God does. 

Gentleness. Sometimes when we are upset we let our voice sound really mad. We yell at people. Gentleness helps us to talk nicely and sweetly. It's not using an angry voice. It's making sure we care about the other person's feelings.

Peace. When we are afraid, or angry we get really upset. God's peace helps us to calm down. We know that He is going to help us, and take care of everything we need. It's being happy with what we have.

Faithfulness. Being faithful is about keeping your promises. When you say you will do something, you do it. You can't change your mind and hurt your friends feelings. 

Self-control. I am in control of my body. I decide what I will say, and what I will do. It means I don't yell when I'm angry. I don't hit other people. I make sure to not lose my temper.

I encouraged them to talk with Jesus as they wrote out their prayer. This wasn't time to talk to their neighbor, or to be silly with their friends. This was time with Jesus. If they had questions, they could quietly raise their hand and I would come help. I explained words better to them, I spelled out words for them to write, and I read the hard to read words like "patience". 

It was so neat to see all the kids writing out their prayers. They were talking with Jesus. I know God was smiling. If these kids can learn at a young age what God's voice sounds like, when they are old it will be second nature to them to dialogue with Him. He cares about all details of their lives. He listens. He answers. He comforts us. He is with us.  With His help, we are able to have these fruit in our lives. Jesus is what makes the difference.

Fruit of the Spirit prayer coloring page for kids

Thursday, March 2, 2017

More Animals for God

My class loved being animals for God a couple of years ago.

 Scripture verses and goals for the year for kids. Growth capsules object lesson

In fact, as we were all gathered around our glasses of water this year, watching the sponges transform into animals, a former student from my class walked into the room. She remarked to everyone, "I still have my animal! I miss being in this class." High praise indeed.

Remember the growth capsules you used to get as a little kid? They looked like colored medicine, and when you put them in warm water, they grew into a sponge. You never knew exactly what you were getting. It was so fun to be surprised with a different shape. I don't remember doing anything with the sponges after they had grown; the whole point was watching them change.

animals for God

I found a pack of 12 capsules at the Toy Store. Dollar Tree was completely out of their packs. I spent a little more for my animals, but I also got a bigger variety. Everyone in my class got to be a different animal for God this time.

Again, after much prayer, and help from my mother and Gabriel, I came up with index cards of information for each animal. I used this as an object lesson on growth for my second and third grade class at church. The kids were going to have the opportunity to be a safari animal for God. I found a Bible verse to go with each animal, and I tried to highlight different characteristics I thought the animal might exhibit.

animals for God with Bible verse

When you see the capsules, you have no idea what animal you will be getting. You choose what color you like, and the animal is a surprise, a theme for the year. The kids in my class got so into this. Everyone was excited to see what God had for them this year.

If you would like to download a PDF version of the files, click here.

Romans 1:16 ostrich

Proverbs 28:1 Lion

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Wildebeest

James 1:19 Cheetah

1 Corinthians 10:13 Rhinoceros

2 Timothy 2:22 Kudu

Psalm 71:8 Monkey

1 Timothy 4:12 Hippo

Deuteronomy 4:29 Anteater

Philippians 1:9 Elephant

Ephesians 6:11 Zebra

Philippians 3:14 Giraffe

The anticipation for the kids in finding out their animal was great! They loved it. I hope and pray they continue to walk in the footsteps of their animal.

anteater
My son is part of the 2nd and 3rd grade class that I teach. He too came home with an animal for God. He brought home the anteater. His card was a little weathered and worn by the time I got to take a picture of it. But that makes it more special. His card was placed in a spot of honor that he could daily look at. I love that God gave him the anteater. The anteater will gobble up God's word, and has a sticky tongue to quickly remember all the promises of God. THIS IS SO TRUE! My son loves to memorize scriptures more than anyone else I know. He has a definite hunger for the word of God. AND he always seems to remember the verses that he has learned. My son really does have a sticky tongue for God's promises!

These animals might seem a little silly, but God can use the silly to speak to our hearts. There is no limit to the way God works. I love the innocence of children. This makes them very trusting. Their ears and eyes are open to all the ways of God, even if it's a little sponge capsule that reveals an animal with a message.  They hear God's voice, and answer to His call.

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