Sticky fingers, wobbly stares from googly eyes, glitter clinging to everything, and so much to cut out! Crafts… why bother?
Well…God loves making things! From stars to starfish, from quantum mechanics to unquantifiable forgiveness, he made it all. And he’s created YOU, so YOU can do good things in YOUR group. “For we are God’s masterpiece,” Paul writes in Ephesians, “He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph 2:10, NLT) And guess what? God has created each child in your group with good works prepared for them too!
Craft is a gateway to story
Crafts are a beautifully visual and tactile way to help a story stick (literally and metaphorically). You don’t need to be the next Picasso or have the world’s best idea – that’s what Pinterest is for! Craft can bring the pages in a book to life, helping children to explore characters and events in a playful way that contributes to their understanding, learning and development. Craft can deepen the personal connection between a child and the Bible story.
Craft is a gateway to conversation
Children and grownups alike talk more openly when their hands are busy. When I taught as a nursery teacher, I had many conversations with children whilst they were engrossed in craft. When talking with a child about a Bible story, relate it to their own experiences, such as their family, home or favourite toy. e.g. “Who do you love? (Mummy/Daddy/Grandpa etc.) Did you know we have a heavenly Father, Daddy God, who loves us too?” Conversations are so important, and craft can spark ‘lightbulb’ moments in a child’s faith journey (and so can play time, snack time, and take-home activities!)
Craft is a gateway to our creator
To paraphrase a famous verse, we craft because God first crafted us. When children are being creative, they can connect with their Creator, who made them in his image – isn’t that amazing?! I love how God is a holistic God, not limiting himself to Sundays or special times, but making ordinary activities extraordinary. Realistically, craft can often feel chaotic and messy but God wants to join us in our mess. So, let’s be praying over the craft times, inviting the Holy Spirit to be at work. It’s time to shift the paradigm, because craft is an opportunity for ministry, not a time-filler.
Onward Christian Crafters…
Toddler groups without crafts would be like Blue Peter without ‘Here’s one I made earlier!’ or Hobbycraft without any hobbies!
So, keep going because YOU and every child in your group are God’s masterpiece. And keep remembering that a good craft is not only fun but also a simple yet powerful gateway to faith. It’s so much more than googly eyes and glitter!
Anna Martin is an experienced Kids Worker at her local church, and has worked on a national level with New Wine and Hope for Every Home, through her business Martin Creations. She is author of X-Cavate, HomeTime and Bible Buds – a toddler group curriculum bursting with crafts, play activities, conversation starters, puppets, Bible stories, take-home activities and more! Anna lives in Coventry with her husband and her Bible Buddies, Betsy Bear, Bertie Badger, Bud and Mr Bible!