These wonderful CGI creations sing, dance, do comedy, and provide great lessons in character that kids young and old enjoy. While the songs can be very annoying for adults, we understand that using Veggie Tales isn't about our likes, its about conveying spiritual truth to kids in a way they understand and can get it. And I also have been pleasantly surprised by the newest releases, which have been copies of classic tales (Sweet Pea Beauty doesn't take much brainpower to figure out what story the copied) that have worked better than I thought.
9- Group's Coloring Creations Bible Activities
52 weeks of usable lessons for different age groups. What I like about this, for nursery or for home devotion projects with younger children (2-5 years old) is how simple they are. You get a list of the materials you need and told how to do it in bullet points, you get the story to read from your Bible, and the "Ask, Say, Pray" makes it simple how you can drive the point home. You can find the book at most Christian bookstores. Only takes about 5-7 minutes prep time, depending on the 'craft' activity and how many kids you have.
These things are just fun! They are certainly an 'Easter Time' thing, but what a fun way, especially with little kids or kids that need to 'handle' things, to tell the Easter story and get kids involved. It gives you a little booklet on how to use them (comes in English and in 'espanol) so you can practice a few times before doing it in front of your own or a group of kids, and even provides little stickers to label the eggs, in case you forget which color is for what! I have fun with these things every year, even telling the story to myself!
7- The Bubble Machine
OK, go to Target in the spring, but a $8 machine that shoots out bubbles (they have two different versions for $8, at least they did this year- I boughttwo of each!) then go to Wal-Mart and buy the 64 oz bottle of bubbles, put batteries in, fill the machine, turn on, and have a blast. Even more fun with nursery kids if you play some energetic music and make it a game to catch or pop the bubbles. Sometimes you just don't need to be spiritual, but if you want to you can use it as a devotion and talk about how the bubbles are different sizes, tints, and last for different lengths of time- then relate that to how we're all created unique and special by God!
6- K! Magazine
This is a great ministry/leader resource. It has object lessons, devotions, leadership articles, surveys, stuff to think about, ideas for improving your ministry...it has it all. I devour this magazine every time it comes (once every two months) and have copied many articles to use for training workers or parents, and copied many ideas for use as object lessons or ministry concepts. visit www.thekmagazine.com for more info!
5- Stuck In the Middle
I have blogged about this ministry/website before, so I won't go into it more here, but it's great. It is still new and under development, so keep going back to see what new content they add
4- High Voltage Kids Ministry
In the future I will blog about them more, but this is a great ministry resource that provides DVD based curriculum for Children's Ministry in series format. Some of the video content is cheesy, but in moderation (as a supplement to your regular material) it can be fun. And the lessons are pretty good because they've been developed by a Children's Pastor who is ACTUALLY using them. This material provides puppet skits, games, songs, the lesson, and the video content for usually between $79 and $99 a series. visit www.highvoltage-kids.com for more
3- Got Questions.org
This is a great website as a resource. (www.gotquestions.org) and while I wouldn't take everything as absolute truth (everyone is going to come from a certain doctrinal position, so investigate based on what you and your church believe, and then check what they say for yourself with the scripture) this is a great place to go if you have an obscure question. I was recently teaching a series and wanted to know about specific arguments against evolution without being bogged down. This site boils down the info into a much more detestable synopsis. If your child has a question and you find yourself saying 'I have no idea' this is a good place to start!
2- Object Lessons for a Year by David J. Claassen
Retails for $7.99 at any Christian bookstore, this is great for parents or kids pastors alike. Each lesson uses a simple object (like a watch or a basketball or a pretzel) and has a theme using a single, simple scripture passage. The lesson is easy enough that I can read through it twice and then just go spend between 3-5 minutes teach it. This is perfect for family devotions, for chapel services, or for a nice supplement to your ministry curriculum. Certainly one to pick up!
1- The Sludge Hammer
You may think this is a joke, but you'd be amazed at what you can do with a sludge hammer and a mirror, or a TV, or a toilet, or a pot, or a watermelon... I pull out my sludge hammer and the kids get extra quite, cause they want to see me whack something, but they also know its a special tool that I only use on certain occasions. We have had some of our best services, where God has really moved, when I've smashed something. Don't be afraid to be a bit creative and make a mess. I STILL have kids that talk about one lesson that I did three years ago. They even remember WHAT I was talking about, not just that I smashed something!