You’ve worked so hard to find a great craft idea, searching through craft book after craft book. You’ve been to the supply closet to gather materials enough times that you’re considering pitching a tent in there. You want kids to create something memorable, something that reinforces learning. But it happens again, just as it has in the past: When you walk out of the building, you see the latest creation in a trash can near the door.
No teacher enjoys discovering that crafts created in the classroom never made it past the parking lot.
That won’t happen with Give-It-Away Crafts for Kids because these fifty-two crafts are designed to be given away as outreach or encouragement. Some of the crafts won’t even make it to the parking lot because they’ll be handed to the pastor, the Christian education director, or even the church custodian.
There are two main goals we wanted to accomplish with these crafts.
Real Learning. There’s little educational benefit in making a craft for the sake of making a craft. But when the craft reinforces a Bible point or leads to the application of Bible truth, it becomes a powerful teaching tool.
Each craft reinforces and references a Bible truth (a Bible story or a Bible topic), so there’s always learning happening when crafts are created. They’re fun, but they’re fun with a purpose!
Giving to Others. Kids will not only be proud of their work in the class but will also be able to share it with others. Each craft is designed to be given away to one of these five categories of people and places:
• church staff and volunteers—where foam mouse-pad creations remind the office staff of the lives they are changing, even with menial tasks;
• family—where a simple chocolate gift can communicate love and send a message that someone cares;
• friends—where a yo-yo can launch a fun, lifelong relationship;
• those in need—where a cushioned encouragement card cheers up someone in a local hospice and communicates the love of Jesus; and
• the community—where a badge of courage given to a police officer or a simple mobile to hang over a dentist’s chair can be used for outreach and community involvement.
The projects are even arranged by category, so you can easily find a craft for a different area in which to reach out and serve. Or if you need something to make a Bible point or reinforce a Bible passage, check the indexes in the back.
We call these fifty-two projects crafts because they are created by children, but it’s probably more appropriate to refer to them as child-sized service projects. As children unleash their creativity, it’s a great time to sneak in some lifelong learning…and serve others.
“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Thinking about the future can be a worrisome experience for kids. That’s why they need to hear that God knows all about our unknown future. As your kids create this cool button craft for their friends to attach to their backpacks, it will help your kids (and their friends!) remember that our loving God is in control and has good plans for their future.
1) Give each child a foam circle. Direct kids to write “Jeremiah 29:11” and “God has good plans for you!” around the circumference of the circle with markers or colorful pens.
2) Help each child punch two holes in the center of the foam circle about one-half inch apart.
3) Give each child a large button and a chenille wire. Show kids how to bend the chenille wire in half and insert the ends through the buttonholes and then through the holes in the circle. Kids will need to twist the chenille stems together two or three times to keep the button secure on the circle.
Discuss these questions with your children:
Say: God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that he has good plans for us. The passage says, “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” You take your backpacks almost everywhere! God also goes with us everywhere, working out his great plan in our lives. We can trust God’s plans because he loves us and knows what is best for us. Give your button to a friend this week to remind him or her that God has good plans for people who love him.
Pray: Dear God, thank you for having great plans for our future. Help us trust that your plan is best and encourage others to follow you too. In Jesus’ name, amen.