I have a daughter, a stereo typical art and craft loving daughter. She chooses to draw, write, colour, stick and generally create from dawn to dusk. When it comes to encountering Jesus she makes life so easy; it's a story, a chat and a paper based craft every time, no bother.
My godson on the other hand is a wonderfully boisterous and energetic boy who would prefer not to be constrained by paper, tables or walls. I adore him for all these reasons and because he's made me find ways of encountering Jesus without paper.
Here are ten ways of encountering Jesus without paper
1. Walk and Talk the Story
Instead of expecting the kids to sit and listen it can work really well to make it interactive. You can have actions incorporated, or set bases to tell the story which you walk round; you can dramatise it or use puppets. Mix it up and keep it interesting.
2. Pick a Question
Many children find it hard to think of a question to ask but will none the less have questions. A great way of dealing with this is to have some questions written on pieces of paper that the kids can pick out of a hat/box at random and ask you.
3. Jesus Says
We all know the game Simon says; well this is the Biblical equivalent. The format can be used for all sorts of stories and situations and the kids love it.
Jesus says touch your toes .... Yes
Jesus says let's pray ... Yes
jump up and down ... No
4. Sorry, Sorry, Forgiven
Have you ever played Duck, Duck, Goose? Well this was amended into Sorry, sorry, forgiven by a friend when she was helping me one week. What an inspired way to play a game and share a message.
5. Hide and Seek the Sheep
Jesus told parables about us being the sheep valued by God the shepherd. This game is hide and seem but getting one child to be God the Shepherd and the others the sheep.
6. Follow the Shepherd
This is follow my leader and can be used for lessons on lost sheep or used as a trust game. All you need is pairs of kids and some blindfolds and let the fun begin.
7. Throw away your sins
We use a parachute at the start of our sessions, we run underneath it to meet each other and then we use it for prayer. We write our sins, or think our sins onto paper; crumple them up and then throw them onto the parachute. With all our might we then throw away our sins and feel the breeze of forgiveness.
8. Pass the Fruit of the Spirit
It's a team game balloon race. First blow up balloons and write the fruits of the spirit on them. Get the kids in two teams and have them passing the balloon over their heads and between their legs as a race.
9. Hunt the Answer
You want the kids to connect with the story, you know they know the answers. So how about hiding answers as pictures or words and get them finding the answers to each question.
10. Gently Does It
Sometimes we need to remember to be gentle with each other physically and emotionally. What better way to learn this than with soft boiled eggs or water balloons. I'd play it outside :)
This is a mere 10 ideas of bringing teaching of Jesus to life, they've worked for me with kids aged 4-10. Give them a go, and have a load of fun.