Ideas for Childen's Ministries and Programs

Walk in the Light

March 25:  John 12:20 – 36

Walk in the Light

Materials needed:  Book about butterflies “Born to be a Butterfly”, Easter stole with butterflies

As Pastor Barry reads the Gospel Lesson today, we hear Jesus talk about changes.  Let’s talk about one of the symbols we use in our church for Easter.  (Show stole with butterflies.)  We use butterflies to think about new life and resurrection.  (For younger children spend some word time with “resurrection.”)

Today let’s think about the change that happens in new life by thinking about the changes that happen for a butterfly.  This book is called, “Born to be a butterfly.” We’ll start here.  (Show a picture of a caterpillar. Let children identify the caterpillar.)  The caterpillar walks around and enjoys its life.  When the time is right the caterpillar changes.  (Show the chrysalis.)  Inside the chrysalis, I imagine it’s pretty dark.  Inside the chrysalis a wonderful change happens, the caterpillar changes into a butterfly!  The caterpillar is gone, but a wonderful new insect is in its place.

I like to think of that kind of change for us.  We are a little like the caterpillar.  Someday we will become even more amazing than we are right now!  Like the caterpillar, we can walk in the light, and we can really enjoy this life we have.  We can be sure Jesus will be with us to help us every day! Someday, we will go through a dark time like the caterpillar changing into a chrysalis.  We can be sure Jesus will be with us while we change and grow.  Then when we are ready, we will begin a new life just as amazing as the butterfly’s.  We can be sure Jesus will be with us then, too.

When you see the butterflies during Easter, remember you were born to be an amazing person!  Jesus loves you very much!

Alternative ———————————————-

Materials needed – Backpack, walking stick

In the Gospel lesson today Pastor Barry reads about Jesus tells his disciples to walk in the light while they have light.  Image we’ve all gone camping together way out in the mountains.  We take a hike up to the top of the mountain. There’s a little trail that leads to a beautiful waterfall.  We start walking and in the path there’s a big root growing across the trail.  What do we do? (Jump over it)  We keep walking and hear a sound.  What do we see? (Describe a few more hazards easily overcome… end of trail, waterfall.)  Suddenly it’s night and very dark, no moon.  What do we need?  What happens if we don’t have light to guide way back?

(Imagine trip back down trail without light.)  Walk in the light while you have light.  Jesus is our light.  He helps us see danger and step over it or around it.  He helps us see good things to do and enjoy.

Payer:  Thank you, Jesus, for being our light.  We love following you to all the wonderful places you take us.  We trust you to help us through all the dark places, too.  Amen


(Note: Children view death very differently during the ages of preschool to 12 years old.  Since our children cover these ages, I prefer to discuss death in groups more homogeneous with respect to age.)

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Laughter Sunday

March 18 — 4th Sunday of Lent

Scripture:  John 3: 14 – 21

Laughter Sunday

Finally!  We’ve eagerly awaited THIS Sunday – Laughter Sunday.  Members of the congregation will bring jokes and funny stories (appropriate for church, as our ads have stated), bring something funny to share, or wear something funny.  Pastor Barry always has jokes to share so he’ll have a reserve to fill in; he is also wearing a clown tie instead of the usual vestments.

For the children’s sermon, we’ll do a clown skit.  The clown comes to the children’s area, trying to catch a balloon.  When the clown (ok, it’s me) reaches a certain spot, I will find a small yellow ball.  I get an idea and bring it to the children.  I’ll guide the children to help me plant it.  They’ll use the materials listed below.  When we get the love (heart) over the pot, the plant begins to grow (clown daisy).  We’ll bring Pastor Barry over and pantomime words until he says the verse for the day:  John 3:16.  God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but have eternal life. (CEB)

We’ll give the kids clown noses (or happy faces) to help remember the verse.

Materials needed:  Clown outfit, for kids clown noses (or happy faces), balloon, yellow ball, giant flower pot, trowel, large watering can, sun, heart, and globe.

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Get Rid of Stuff Sunday

March 11

3rd Sunday of Lent

Scriture:  John 2: 13 – 25:

Theme: (Cleansing of temple) “Get rid of stuff Sunday”

Materials needed:  3 bins labeled – Throw it away, Give it away, Trade it; a broken toy, a baby toy, 1 sock, coat, some books, some games, some plastic scraps; church recycle bin for bulletins; heart inside a bulletin (1 per child)


Good morning, one of my goals for Lent is to make my life simpler by getting rid of some stuff. Could you help me sort some things?  (Tell kids about the bins. Help them decide which items go into each bin.  Note: discuss trading 2 or 3 games/books for 1 new game/book.)  It’s hard work, but it makes life easier if we get rid of stuff.


That reminds me of our Good News story today. Jesus and his disciples were going to the big Temple in Jerusalem. But as they were in the outer part of the Temple, there were booths set up like a market:  people trading coins, people selling animals, everyone making a lot of noise.  It was really hard to get into the temple because of all the commotion.  Jesus got angry; he wanted people to be able to get into the Temple and worship together.  He drove the sellers out and cleared the way into the Temple.


Sometimes we need to clear a way into our hearts, too.  (Give each child the bulletin.  Let them find the heart inside and put the bulletin in the recycle bin) Please keep the heart and think about clearing a path to your heart so there is room for Jesus.

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Don’t Be Ashamed of Jesus

March 4

2nd Sunday of Lent

Scripture: Mark 8: 27 – 38

Materials needed:  clown hair, clown nose, (a few other clown props, if desired)

Don’t be ashamed of Jesus

Some people loved Jesus.  Some people were ashamed of Jesus.  Some people respected Jesus and expected great things from Jesus.  Some people expected Jesus to cause a lot of trouble.

Let’s think about being ashamed or feeling respect.  Let’s pretend you have a clown in your family.  (Put on wig and nose.)  People may stare at your family clown, but the clown is part of your family and you love the clown. (Honk nose.)

(Pantomime) One day you and the clown are walking down the street, and you see a little kid crying.  The clown sits down beside the kid, hugs him, and dries his tears. The kid shows the clown his scraped knee.  The clown puts medicine on the boo-boo, puts a band-aid over the hurt, and helps the kid get up.  Would the clown bring respect to your family or shame? Right! Respect!  (Honk, honk)

(Pantomime)  One day your family and the clown go out to eat at a very fancy restaurant.  Before you even get your food, the clown jumps up on the table and starts dancing and singing.  (Honk, Honk)  Would the clown bring respect to your family or shame?  Respect, right? (Clown encourages applause)  No, shame!  (“Rats!” reaction)  You would feel really embarrassed.

In two more weeks we’ll celebrate laughter Sunday, and I’ll give you a chance to be a clown.  We’ll see if we can be clowns to bring laughter and respect.

Of course, Jesus isn’t a clown.  Jesus is a great leader, and he wants people who follow him to believe in him and respect him.  This week think about all the wonderful things Jesus does to bring honor and respect to you and your family!

Jesus loves you very much.  See you next time!

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Angels Watching Over You

Scripture:  Mark 1: 9 – 15

First Sunday in Lent

Materials needed: 

  • 8 letter sized cards with words: Baptism, Spirit, Wilderness, 40 days, Angels, John in prison, Believe Good News, Lent
  • Extension rods (I’ll use a Swiffer duster extension) for the word Spirit
  • Water in baptism font
  • Angel pins

In the Good News story Pastor Barry will read to you this week, a lot happens in a very short time.  We are going back to the beginning and start over to tell Jesus’ story again.  I have some cards for you that we will use to tell the story quickly.

(Direct children to put signs – baptism @ font, Spirit above font, Wilderness (left side area), Angels @ pew left side, John in prison @ pew on right side, Believe Good News @ Communion Table)

Tell story briefly: Ok, let’s walk this story.  (Start at font)  Jesus came from his hometown and was baptized by John (pour water) As Jesus came out of the water, he saw the heavens open (Pastor holds up Spirit sign) and the Spirit came like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Kids and Spirit sign move to left area) the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness.  (Move 40 days sign across during this) Jesus was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; with the wild beasts; and (move angel sign up) the angels waited on him.

(Point to sign on right side) After John was arrested, (Move to communion table) Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, saying, (Kids sit in front of table.) “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” (Sign at table)

So many things happen here that we talk about them on several different Sundays each year.  You see that we have purple in our sanctuary again.  This church season is Lent. During Lent we get ready for Easter.  During this time we think about so many things:  good things, bad things, and confusing things.  We will have 40 days during the week to think about making room for God in our lives.  We’ll have lots of things happening to us: good things, bad things, and confusing things.  We’ll also have lots of help from God to get us through these 40 days.  We’ll have the Spirit to guide us to the places we need to go.  Jesus went through 40 days in the wilderness, and Jesus is always with us to help us. And did you notice right in the middle of the wilderness who was there to help Jesus?  (Angel sign)  Angels!  Angels waited on Jesus.  Angels are with you, too.  To give you little touches of God’s grace just when you need it most.

Today I have some angel pins to give you.  When you wear the pin or see it in your room, think about the angels God sends to watch over you.  This week when you’re going through good things, bad things, and confusing things, just remember you have a lot of help of your journey.

God loves you very much!

Miss Becky

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Laughter Sunday

Laughter Sunday

“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her;

rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her (Isaiah 66:10, RSV)

 Lent, from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday before Easter, consists of 40 days plus the Sundays.  Sundays are not counted in Lent’s 40 days.  Sundays are always celebrated as “The Lord’s Day,” the day of resurrection.  During times of preparation, Lent and Advent, our worship frequently takes on a somber tone.  We focus so much on awareness of the cross, death, and sorrow for sins that we neglect the joy and new life of the resurrection.  This year our worship will focus on preparing our lives to be open, welcoming places ready for God’s presence.  The center of our worship days in Lent will be “Laughter Sunday.”

“Laughter Sunday” has its roots in ancient tradition. In the Catholic Church, the 4th Sunday of Lent is called, “Laetare Sunday.”  Laetare (Latin for “Rejoice!”) is traditionally the first word of the first reading for this Sunday (Isaiah 66: 10 – 11).  As a midpoint in Lent, this Sunday is a brief period of celebration in the middle of the austerity of Lent.  Purple sanctuary colors are changed to rose colored ones.  Churches (which do not play the organ during Lent and bury the “Alleluias”) celebrate with organ music.  Flowers, normally forbidden during Lent, are placed on the altar. A special cake is made and shared. 

In Protestant churches in recent years, some churches celebrate, “Laughter Sunday.”  Pastors and numerous folk from the congregation tell jokes and stories, and everybody celebrates a wonderful time of laughter and good spirits. Churches have a worship time together by joking around, singing, dancing, and merry-making.  We celebrate the hope and joy of resurrection with God who is a God of laughter and joy.  

This year, Pastor Barry invites you to bring jokes or stories to share.  Bring only clean, respectful stories or jokes; think of this as “Holy Humor Sunday.”   If you have a funny picture or item to share, that would be welcome, too.  During the service, you will be invited to share!  Let’s laugh together!

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Planning for Lent

The Sundays of Lent and the worship services of Holy Week are often solemn, confusing services for children. 

The Sundays in Lent will have a different feel this year.  At the center of Lent, we will celebrate Laughter Sunday (sometimes called, “Holy Humor Sunday”).  The purpose of this Sunday is to remind worshippers that each Sunday (even during Lent!!!) is a CELEBRATION of the RESURRECTION!  Worshippers will be invited to share (clean) jokes, funny objects, or silly reflections.  The scripture for this Sunday contains one of the most memorized scripture verses:  John 3:16.  Everyone will be encouraged to laugh and experience joy!

The children will be invited to bring funny pictures or dress as clowns.  These will be shared during the children’s sermon.  More specifics on this children’s sermon will be posted near the date. 

The Season of Lent will feature:

  • 1st Sunday – Mark 1: 9 – 13: (temptations in wilderness)  Angels watching over you
  • 2nd Sunday – Mark 8: 27 – 38:  Set your mind on divine things; don’t be ashamed of Jesus (Take up your cross and follow); we will introduce clowns  
  • 3rd Sunday – John 2: 13 – 25: (Cleansing of temple)  “Get rid of stuff Sunday”
  • 4th Sunday – John 3: 14 – 21: Laughter Sunday
  • 5th Sunday – John 12: 20 -36:  Walk in the Light
  • 6th Sunday – Palm Sunday and Communion:
  • Maundy Thursday – Children will be involved in the Seder Meal

Please post comments to share what you are doing or post any questions I could answer about a specific service.

Grace and Peace to you!


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View from the Mountain Top

Season: Epiphany 7 or Transfiguration Sunday

Scripture:  Transfiguration Sunday, Year B:  Mark 9: 2 – 9

Scripture:  Epiphany 7:  Mark 2: 1 – 12

Depending on the length of Epiphany, some years we are use the Epiphany 7 scripture.  Since the pastor is using Transfiguration Sunday liturgy, the children’s sermon will introduce the Mark 9 scripture.

The story for Epiphany 7 appeals to children and provides opportunity for active involvement.  When we have used this story in the past, children helped carry one child in a blanket (5 minimum children).  Younger Youth volunteers help with a short drama presentation, and the story comes alive for kids.

Transfiguration Sunday:  View from the Mountain Top

The kids will be invited to climb the mountain.  You could pantomime the climb.  Our kids will climb steps to get to the top in the choir loft.  At the top of the mountain, a bright light will be lit.  We will talk about God’s glory changing Jesus.  The light will be turned off, and we will talk about a cloud making a shadow on the mountain.  A voice (from an unseen person) will read God’s words to Jesus:  “This is my Son, and I love him.  Listen to what he says!” (CEV)   The kids will tell what they heard the voice say.  As we go back down, we’ll talk about Jesus telling the disciples to keep the things they saw a secret until he was raised from death. 

Please note:  We will streamline the story and not use the Elijah/Moses part of the story.  Also, I will not use the phrase “raised from death,” instead I will say, “keep a secret until the time is right.”

The kids will be given a glow-in-the-dark star to hang in their room and remember Jesus shining in glory.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Our church kids really defined what it means to have a personal relationship with God.  On Sunday our kids made valentines for God and placed them on the communion table as a gift for God.  This card shows the child and God holding hands.  Isn’t that beautiful! Out of the mouth of babes…

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KidzMission February

We are so excited to announce a new program for the children of Granbery Memorial UMC!  Starting this week February 19 during the 11:00am worship, we will begin our KidzMission program.   We will have new projects every third Sunday of each month.   We will come together to serve the Lord, and we want you to help us show others God’s love by sharing our talents!

Our focus is on helping others in the community, showing appreciation, love, and caring for others.  All the children are welcome to attend.  The group is open not only for young children, but also any interested youth are welcome. 

 Projects include the following: 

  • February and March: creating Easter crafts to share with our church members that are in nursing homes, members that are unable to leave their homes,  and the residents of Covington Manor,
  • April:  bake cookies for Fire department, rescue Squad and Police department,
  • May:  putting together fun packs to distribute when our church has activities such as the Ice Cream sale.

This week we will make Easter crafts.  I hope to see you all there!

Marian Allen

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