Saturday, August 19, 2017

Building Through Bowling




An important aspect of children's ministry is spending time with the kids outside of church. We took our Sunday School kids bowling over spring break.

Why are times like this important? Kids need adults in their lives - and 60 minutes on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night is not enough.

Spending time with children outside of church helps you to get to know them better, and it helps them to get to know some adults better. Studies show that kids who connect with 5 adults in the church other than their own parents are more likely to stay in church when they grow up. George Barna found as few as one adult could make that difference if they had a close personal relationship with a child in the church. It is a chance for us to be faith influencers.

So how is this extra time so powerful with the kids? Well, they just might see you doing something like I did in the video below when we took them bowling. They loved it! It made me "real" to them. Be willing to laugh with the kids, and even at yourself when the situation presents itself.

Want to hear more? Read Melissa J. MacDonald's book, Missing. It was one of Melissa's seminars that inspired us to plan this event.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Esther and Purim, the Jewish Mardi Gras

via GIPHY

Esther is the perfect story to teach children (and adults) about God's sovereignty. From Esther's becoming Queen to the king not being able to sleep the night before Haman plans to have Mordecai executed you can trace God's hand all through the book.

Why didn't God just prevent the whole thing in the first place you ask? Well, then we really wouldn't know very much of God's power and the wondrous things he can do.


To teach the story, I used Free Bible Images "Esther" Power Point. There are several to chose from here. I used the one that Sweet Publishing contributed.

Before we heard the story, we made groggers. Groggers are noise makers. Traditionally the Jews make them to celebrate Purim (also affectionately known as the Jewish Mardi Gras). The video below shows how to make the groggers. I got my ideas from Design Megillah's site. Rita made lovely groggers on her site.


Esther groggers from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

Then as I told the story of Esther, the children shook their groggers every time they heard the name Haman to try and drown it out.

I also created a throne room so that we could act out the story, but we did not have time to do that. I give full instructions on a DIY throne room here. Here is this year's throne room:



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

DIY Foldable Bible Flashcards for Story Telling


via GIPHY
Remember the old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words."? Well, maybe you don't and I am really showing my age, but the point is truer than ever today. This generation is by far the most visual there has ever been. Whatever the cause is, the fact remains, you should use visuals when you teach.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

His Love Never Gives Up - Hosea for Kids


I had a seminary professor who said if he ever went back into the pastorate he would preach through the Bible chronologically. Well, today many of us are TEACHING through the Bible chronologically, which recently brought me to the book of Hosea...for kids. And I couldn't have been more thrilled with the truths I discovered in the book...for kids.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dunkin In the River with Namaan


Any Bible story with a visual "change" in it is candidate for a magic "change" bag. Namaan's leprosy is a perfect match. Here's how I told the story.

First, I made some cardstock figures. You can back these with flannel and use a flannel board. I simply used a pocket chart to save the extra work of backing them. These printable Bible character figures are free at Activity-Mom.com.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How to Showcase Your Children's Ministry


Sunday School 2016 by Julia from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

We made this video last year to show in church as a way to keep the children's ministry before the congregation. As many of you know, you never know how many children you will have on any given Sunday. This was a great way to let people see the whole picture.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Make a Giant Fish for the Story of Jonah


Jonah and the giant fish is one of my favorite Bible stories to act out. You can do it without a lot of props - as long as you can make a big fish that the kids can get into. I have seen many different ways to make a fish- from a table covered with cloth to the doorway to a classroom decorated to look like the mouth of a fish. Here, I used a simple pop-up tent (one of the greatest investments I ever made - especially since my neighbor gave it to me for free years ago).

I took the pop-up tent and covered it with black tablecloths I have on hand. You could use plastic ones from the dollar store if you don't have these or dark sheets.

I made 2 giant eyes out of felt. The felt sticks to cloth, so if you do have sheets or tablecloths, it is easy to put together.

I made my original tongue out of red tissue paper. This time around, I added red wrapping paper we had on hand.

I made a tail by twisting a rectangular piece of black cloth and taping it to the wall with black duck tape. I hung "seaweed" inside of the fish - just green crepe paper taped to the tent seams.

For an added effect, I covered the wall directly behind the fish with blue paper and some fish we had left from Bible school.


DIY Giant Fish for Jonah from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

I wrote a simple drama based on the book of Jonah. You can access that here.

We added a ticket counter (the window in our unfinished stage) and signs for the "city gates" of Nineveh to create a little atmosphere. Here's the link for my signs.




Monday, March 13, 2017

The 2 Commandments that Everything Hinges On

I love it when complex truth gets distilled into pure simplicity. Jesus was a master at this. The Pharisees and religious leaders were always taking Jesus on, and he was always taking them down. In Matthew 22:34-40, those tricky Pharisees come to Jesus, and they pick a lawyer (go figure) to ask Jesus, "What is the greatest commandment in the Law?" I love Jesus' answer - especially when he gets to the end and he tells them, "All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." Wow!

So just what does the word "hang" mean? Well, you could think of it as coat hooks on a wall and everything is suspended from them. OR, you could thing of the hinges that a door hangs on. Those hinges support the whole weight of the door, and it turns on those hinges. That's how important these two commandments are.

To demonstrate this, I used a door, of course. The two commandments are #1 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and #2 Love your neighbor as yourself. We put the words LOVE GOD on the door by the top hinge and LOVE PEOPLE on the door by the bottom hinge.


Hanging the Commandments from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

To make it more interesting, I had printed up, cut apart and hid the 10 commandments. I hid them so well, we never found one of them. We let the kids each read the commandment they had found, and then we decided whether it went with the LOVE GOD hinge or the LOVE PEOPLE hinge. It was a simple way to help them see how each commandment related to one of these two principles.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Incarnational Relay Race



"If an alien in a titanium spaceship landed in New York would that be a big deal? Jesus, entirely alien from anything we know, landed on earth in Bethlehem" over 2000 years ago, and he didn't even use a spaceship. We call this the incarnation, and according to Alan Root who penned that quote, there is no bigger miracle than God visiting our planet in an earth-suit (so far anyway!).

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pirating Children's Interests




In my former life, I used to work in the children’s room at a local public library. One of my jobs included being in charge of the story programs for school-age children. I often used ideas I would have used in a church program to transition into a book. Here is one of my favorite story time programs that I did: Dress Like a Pirate Day.

Of course everyone including me had to

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Elijah and the Prophets of Baal


This is a very familiar story to those who grew up in the church, but if you have the privilege of teaching children who have never heard it before - it is dynamite.

I used a combination of flannel-graph and homemade action figures to teach the story.

The main point of this lesson is that Elijah is trying to bring the people to a decision - If the LORD be God, worship him, but if Baal be God, then worship him. They were wavering between two opinions and his job was to confront them with the truth and help them come to the right commitment. Their devotion was divided. God wants our undivided devotion.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Minions of Reasons to Make this Valentine


Mr. Mark, from Mr. Mark's classroom, made these cute minions from Twinkies. I loved the idea, but when I bought the Twinkies, I saw that Hostess has their name all over it. Sorry, Mr. Mark, but I had to dress this guy up more so he would really look miniony.

What you will need:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

6 Ways You Can Use Canva in Minstry



KidFrugal exists to help equip and resource those in the small church children's ministry. This post is to introduce you to a great resource that is FREE. It's called Canva.

Canva helps you design beautiful graphics and it can make you look really good. They have tons of tutorials to help you get started. Once you learn your way around Canva, I think you will find it very useful. I first learned of Canva from a podcast called "Oh So Pinteresting" by Cynthia Sanchez. (You can find her blog and material under Tailwinds now.) Canva enables me to make my blog graphic the correct size for pinning. But it does a lot more...here are just 6 ways you can use it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Feeding Elijah - The Widow


I used the story-telling method for part 2. Lifeway has an excellent blog on Bible storytelling that includes 6 steps of preparation for telling the story.

I acted out parts of the story as I told it, and then had 2 props I brought out at the appropriate time.

You always know when you have engaged your kids when they start to question things from the story. They wanted to know if you could really make bread with just oil and flour. I googled it, and sure enough, you can. Click here for the recipe. You have to add water too, but we know that the widow had access to water, because she was willing to get that for Elijah.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thanks for Your Commit-"mint"


I saw this idea for appreciating workers on Pinterest and tweaked it a little. You can find the original posts here and here.

Basically you purchase different types of mints. York Peppermint Pattys, Mentos, Andes, Lifesaver mints, peppermint gum, hard peppermints and so on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hello Jamestown NY 2017

This is the town that KidFrugal was born in. It is such an amazing place to work in and out of. Thought I would share it with my readers. It's downfall? Long, snowy, cold winters! But not as bad as Canada's.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Feeding Elijah



This was a fun themed review game for stories about how God fed Elijah during the three and one half years of no rain in Israel.  I like this review game for two reasons. First, it provides visual reinforcement of the story (God fed Elijah bread). Second, I like to have the kids do something active during a Bible lesson.

I put slices of bread in sandwich sized Ziploc bags and the kids tossed them into the hole if they answered a question right. Each kid had three tries.

I let the early arrival kids help make Elijah as a pre-session activity. They drew the face and hands (we actually let 2 of the kids trace their own hands). I had the board ready before class and then we just glued on the parts after the kids made them.

The idea for this game came from a Pinterest pin.