Sunday, July 5, 2020

What's In Your Bag?

Worship bags and worship boxes are nothing new to the church scene. However, I am willing to bet that they are new to a lot of people since the Covid-19 appearance and the changes we have had to make in ministry. Most churches have not reopened their children's churches. And even when they do, there are going to be some parents who will want to keep their children with them in the pew.

I have seen some very cool ideas for the contents to fill these bags and boxes with.

1. My all time favorite are these worship streamers. You can order these a lot of places online. The ones pictured here are from Oriental Trading (top) and Etsy (bottom picture). Oriental Trading has a huge selection to chose from. This particular set on Etsy was almost sold out, but there are plenty of others to chose from on Etsy. You can also make your own with ribbons and dowels or wooden rings. These are my favorite item because they actually help children to engage IN the service. That should be our ultimate goal, and this is one step along the way to that. For other ideas to get children engaged in the service, see my post, 8 Ways to Engage Kids in Big Church.

2. A close second favorite of mine is this Seek and Find book from the Good Book Company. If you haven't discovered this British based publishing group you owe it to yourself to investigate and invest. They have wonderful children's materials, not to mention good stuff for adults too. Seek and Find: Old Testament Bible Stories has 450 things to find and count. It is a board book, so you can wipe it down each week. This isn't really a frugal find, but some things are worth the money.

3. Reusable sticker pads. When I was a kid, these were called ColorForms. I love that kids can use these over and over again, and "tell" the Bible story with them. This Melissa & Doug product features 5 major Old Testament Bible stories with 160 reusable stickers. It is a great manipulative toy for young ones. Workers may find this one labor intensive to clean and keep track of though. You can order them from Christian Book Distributors, Melissa & Doug, or at some of the major retail stores like Walmart and Staples.

4. Water WHAT?! Water Wow. Reusable painting pages. The books come with a "water pen" which you fill with, what else but, water. As children "color" the pad page with the water pen, a picture is revealed. Four different Bible pictures are in the Bible pad. Another great product from Melissa & Doug. Available from Christian Book Distributors.

5. This is somewhat like the old fashioned Etch-A-Sketch they had when I was a kid. Only you had to turn dials to draw on that. It was a great toy, but I digress. These are not cheap, but would hopefully last. You draw with the permanently attached magnetic pen. This particular board is from Lakeshore.

6. This last idea is definitely frugal, but you know that frugal can mean it takes more time to make. It's a DIY idea from Path Through the Narrow Gate. This is a felt shape quiet bag. It is the same idea as the reusable stickers, only you use felt pieces instead. It is my understanding that the corona virus does not survive as well on cloth surfaces as it does on hard ones. So if left for a week, these should be virus free by the next Sunday. You can also purchase small Bible felt story sets from Betty Lukens and put them in ziplock bags or pencil holders as Anna Joy has done. Anna Joy, creator of the blog, has some other great DIY projects for worship bags on her blog.

There are lots of other ideas out there for what to put in your bags/boxes. These were just some extra special ones. Lacing cards, hidden picture sheets, as well as standard coloring sheets, books and small toys. If you purchase some of the larger items, I suggest ONE per bucket/box/bag. Then the kids have something to look forward to.

If you have any other ideas or pictures please share them below. For other ideas to engage kids in "Big Church," see my posts, 8 Ways to Engage Kids in Big Church and To Have Children's Church or Not To. There are some good book recommendations in the Children's Church post.

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