Crafts can be a fantastic way to keep children engaged in a Bible story just a little bit longer, helping them reflect and internalize the truths you are trying to teach them. But crafts can also be too complicated, messy and boring for children uninterested in crafts. How do you strike the balance of making something meaningful and unique, yet simple and time efficient? I have a few tips on finding this balance for all involved.
1. Make the process more important than the end result.
Most Sunday School or VBS crafts need to be completed in fifteen minutes or less. This is not the time for a great masterpiece of art. But we can do more than a coloring page to help engage and extend learning and discussion. How do you do that? Below are a few ideas
- Re-read the Bible story while children doodle or draw on their own. Keeping children’s hands engaged seems to allow them to listen more.
- Give children the memory verse printed on large paper and allow them to doodle or add illustrations to the words. As they draw, doodle or paint, children read the words to the verse over and over again, helping them to internalize the verse.
- Make the craft a way of applying the day’s lesson. The craft can be more of an activity than a project to take home.
2. Create a craft kit for each student
For crafts with multiple parts, creating a kit for each student containing what they need (including crayons/markers/glue if possible). Particularly for younger students, this can greatly simplify craft time. With all supplies pulled together in a kit, students have a much easier time following step by step instructions.
3. Modify messy crafts to cleaner options
- Make gluing projects neater by creating a glue sponge
- If glue sponges are not feasible, pour a small amount of glue into a cup (one for every two to three children) and have children apply with cotton swabs
- Add dish soap to paint to make it more washable
- Save dried out markers and use them in place of paint by dipping them in water (the markers will not last for large painting projects)
4. Plan ahead to simplify clean up
There’s nothing worse than teaching a full lesson, keeping kids engaged and then face a mammoth clean up job. A few tips to minimize this headache
- Lay out plastic tablecloths or newspaper over tables so you don’t need to spend hours scrubbing them after class
- Leave wet wipes on each table to wipe up spills or clean messy hands without having to take time to go to the bathroom
- Keep a stash of paint shirts for kids who are dressed up or mess prone
Craft time can be stressful, but using these tips can help make this more fun for everyone.