Wednesday, June 22, 2016

God's Power

Monday morning and the van is loaded for Fontana's Backyard Bible Club.  Once I arrive on location, it takes me about 1/2 hour to set up.  Kid arrive anytime between 9:00 (at my Campbelltown group) to 9:45 am.  When the kids arrive, they stop by the registration table to sign in, say memory verses, pick up their bags and Bible Bucks.  Note to all my kids:  you will get a new paper bag each week.  So leave your old bags at home. 

This week, we made a Pentecostal Rusher.  I got this idea from this website:
Not only did the kids love making this toy, they also enjoyed figuring out how to get it to work. 

For playground time, I had nine square in the air set up for the Fontana group and we played Tenzie with the Campbelltown group. Nine square in the air works best with 3rd grade and up.  When I made my game, I made the height adjustable so that younger (and shorter) kids can play.  Nine square in the air is four square and volleyball colliding. 

Tenzie is a great game for small groups.  The idea is everyone gets ten dice.  On "go" everyone begins rolling their dice trying to get the same number.  I use this a lot for small groups and/or a rainy day game.  If I have a younger group, then I only give them five dice. 

Tent Time began with singing.  Then I told a story about an empty glass of meadow tea and a black ant who discovered it.  This ant proceeded to tell all this friends the good news about the tea.  Soon, the ant and all his friends were at the glass enjoying the tea at the bottom.  Jesus wants us to be like the ant and tell our friends about him.  See Acts 1:8 for Jesus' command.  This is also this weeks Bible Verse.  Our Bible Lesson came from Acts 2.  Our word of the day and main character is the Holy Spirit.  We learned that the Holy Spirit is part of God.  Jesus promised that all who call on Him to save them from the punishment of sin (eternal death) will receive the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit gives us power to be Jesus' witness.  In Acts 2, we saw how the Holy Spirit gave Peter (who just 50 days before was hiding in fear) the power to boldly tell the people of Jerusalem that the Promise One came and they crucified him, but God raised him from the dead three days later.  Peter gave witness to the fact that he saw Jesus alive!  The crowd then asked, "What must we do to be saved?"  Peter answered, "Repent (admit your sinned and turn to God), and be baptized in the name of Jesus. Then you too will receive the Holy Spirit."  That day 3,000 people believed.  That was the beginning of what we call the church. 

After snack time, we played a game called the Bucket Game.  Because of my large group, I made my own buckets out of gallon milk containers.  I cut the tops off and punched two holes at the top of one side.  Through these holes I put a yard of twine.  We tied a "bucket" to each kids back.  Half of the "buckets" had blue caps and half at red caps.  This divided the group into teams.  To begin everyone got a bean bag.  I put the extra bean bags on a pile in the middle of the playing field.  On "go" each kid tried to toss, place/ throw their bean bag into a bucket of the other team.  They could only have one bean bag in their hand at a time.  After a set time, I had the teams return to their side of the field and we counted the bean bags in their buckets.  The team that had the least bags won.  For my smaller group (Campbelltown), we didn't play as teams.    I hope the kids had as much fun as we did watching them!

This week's missionary story told the true story of Saint Patrick.  St. Patrick was captured by pirates when he was 14-15 years old.  They took him to the island of Ireland where they sold him as a slave.  After 4 years, he escaped and slowly returned home.  Yet, years later, God convinced him to return to Ireland to teach the people to read and write AND tell them about Jesus.  This book was purchased from the Voice of the Martyrs. 

Our review game was called "Power Up".  I divided the kids into teams.  When a kid answered a question correctly, they could pick as many rocket ships as they wanted.  Their team received the points that were on the rocket ship, BUT if they picked a ship that said "POWER FAILURE" they lost ALL their points.  If they picket a ship that said, "POWER BOOST", then their points doubled. 

I handed out issue 2 of the Jerusalem Journal this week.  Can't wait until next week, when my evening Backyard Bible Clubs begin. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

God's Witness

The first week of Backyard Bible Club 2016 was exciting, crazy, uplifting and exhausting.  Just what you want for the opening week.  When kids and parents arrive, they go to the registration table manned by my host (and friends).  Then the kids are instructed to go to the playground area or the craft area.  This year I am fortunate to have my daughters helping me for some of my clubs. Joy Girl was the playground supervisor and KatieLyn, the craft lady.

 I had the gaga pit set up in the playground area.  For those of you who have never heard of gaga ball, it is dodge ball in a fenced area.  The kids love it.  My gaga pit is portable - well if you have a truck or van and strong arms.  I got my plans for the pit from this website:   I began with six sides, but soon had to increase to eight.  This year, I learned that the ball must be a heavier playground ball.  A light ball flies out of the pit too easily. 

 No-Sew Drawer SachetsThis week's craft was scented drawer sachets.  Click here for the instructions 
All winter, I had different people saving socks that had no mates.   Ahead of time, I filled 1/3 cup of rice in snack bags.  The kids then added 5-10 drops of liquid scent.  (Some kids did not listen to directions and put 5-10 DROPPERS of scent!  What a smell!!!)  Also, I declared the next time I use liquid scent, I am using only one scent.  By the end of club, my scents were intermixed.  I chose this craft to remind the kids of Mary Magdalene perfume that she was going to put onto Jesus' dead body.

Then it was "tent time".  I opened by introducing the host (and friends), my girls and myself.  Then we sang about 5 songs.  This year, our songs are all Bible Verses.  I try to do everything I can to help the kids memories Bible Verses.  So here are the songs we began to learn: "That You May Believe: John 20:31" by Faith Weavers, "You Will Receive Power: Acts 1:8" by Faith Inkubators, "Give Thanks: 1 Chronicles 16:8" by Faith Weavers, "Galatians 6:7" to the tune ring-around-the-rosy, and "Let Your Light Shine: Matthew 5:16" by Faith Weavers.  I try to use American Sign Language where every I can as motions.

This week's memory verse was John 20:31.  After explaining the verse, we played follow the leader.  I choose a child to come up and draw a leader card.  Whatever action was on the card, that child needed to lead the group in doing the action AND saying the verse.  We did this about 5-7 times.  I have decided NOT to put squats ever again on a card.  I have been sore all week.

Then I moved into the Bible Lesson.  I used Child Evangelism Fellowship, Inc material.  This summer I am using their "First Christian" series.  We will be focusing Acts 1-12.  But this week's lesson is a prequel to Acts.  So our text is John 20.  The "word of the day" was WITNESS.  Jesus chose Mary Magdalen, then his disciples and now us to be His witness. 

After tent time is snack time.  The snacks are supplied by my host.  I do ask that they serve only water.  This is much easier to clean up than juice and there is ALWAYS spills.  I purchased character cups for the kids to use.  The kids seem to love choosing their cups each week.  Between each club, I throw them in the dishwasher.

Next, we play some group games.  This week we began with bean bag snowball fight.  I divided the kids into two teams.  I placed down the middle of the playing area.  On this line, I dumped maybe 40 bean bags.  For two minutes the kids could throw (underhand) the bean bags across the line, but they were not allowed to cross the line.  At the end of two minutes, the teams counted how many bean bags were on their side of the playing area.  The team with the least amount won. The next game we played was bean bag basket ball.  It is played just like it sounds.  This was a little difficult for the kindergarten-2nd graders.,204,203,200_.jpgThen we returned to the tent for our missionary story.  Did you know that the Apostle Thomas was the first person to bring the Gospel message to India? Today, many Indian believers trace their heritage of faith to the man commonly referred to in Christendom as “Doubting Thomas.” However, Thomas’ real legacy was to carry the message of Jesus Christ to the far reaches of the known world. While doing so, he faced many who despised the message he so tirelessly brought them. Thankfully, his strong faith sustained him even when facing martyrdom. Although his life came to an abrupt end, the legacy of His faith continues on today in many lives.  The kids heard all about this through the book "God's Missionary: the Faith of Thomas" by Voice of the Martyrs.

To finish up our time, we played a review game.  Again the kids were divided into two teams.  I asked a question about our lesson to a child.  If he answered correctly, he could "fish"(with a magnet attached to a string on a pole) for points (that were on metal lids).  If he did not answer correctly, the question went to the other team.  I alternated questions between the two teams.  The team with the highest score at the end won.

Each week, the kids will get a copy of the Jerusalem Journal.  Click below for your copy.

This was an amazing start to the summer.  I can't wait to see the kids again next week.