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Summer Arts and Crafts

Children's Ministry Magazine

Remember all those crafts you made as a child? Macaroni shells painted gold. Plaster of Paris handprints. These simple object lessons are a great way to help kids create a beautiful relationship with God.

Those artistic endeavors became treasure -- not because of how much they cost -- but because of what you invested in them -- yourself! Each child's craft was unique because each child's view of beauty and God's world was unique.

Craft time is more than merely a time-filler. Crafts -- when done well -- allow kids to express themselves with hands-on activity. Crafts can also provide a break for short attention spans, reinforce a lesson, and serve as a take-home tool to interact with parents.

The best crafts encourage individual expression. Since children's ministers understand that, crafts are almost always part of our Christian education programs. It's a wonder we don't run out of craft ideas.

If there's ever a time of year that a children's minister can use great craft ideas, it's now! With vacation Bible school, day camps, Sunday school, and other summer programs that stretch your repertoire of crafts, Children's Ministry Magazine knew you'd be looking for crafts that have the right ingredients:

• low cost,
• low preparation, and
• lots of options for kids to be creative!

That's what you'll find in this special section of summer crafts. Plus, we've included expert information on how to adapt crafts for kids with special needs.


What You'll Need: Poster board cut in half, tape, overhead projector, markers various craft materials, such as feathers, fabric, paper, beads, yarn, or glitter, and glue.

Kids will love making these fun self-portraits. When kids are finished, hang the portraits in your hallways for engaging decorations that parents will rush to see.

Tape a half-sheet of poster board to the wall. Place an overhead projector across the room from the paper. Have a child stand between the overhead projector and the paper so that his silhouette falls perfectly on the paper. Use a marker to trace around the child's silhouette.

Then write the child's name on the back of the paper and give the child the silhouette. The child can use craft materials to make the silhouette a silhouette a sillyette.


What you'll need: one rinsed 1/2-pint milk carton for each child, potting soil, grass seed, construction paper, fine-tipped markers, and glue sticks.

Here's a version of the Chia Pet planter! Only it's a Chia Samson!

Give each child a ½-pint milk carton. Open the top of the milk carton so the carton becomes an open cube. Have the children glue construction paper around the carton to cover the milk logo. Then help the children draw a Samson face (up to the forehead) on the construction paper. The top of the carton is the hairline.

Fill each carton with potting soil about ½ inch from the top. Then sprinkle grass seed on the soil and cover the seed with a thin layer of soil.

Set the "Samsons" in a sunny windowsill and keep them well watered.

After a few days, each Samson's hair will begin to grow! Once it gets a few inches long, kids can cut the "hair" and retell the Bible story.

Wendy Nelson
Hampton, Iowa


What you'll need: potatoes, permanent markers, knife (adults only), thick liquid temera point, small paintbrushes, pie tins, and poster board cut in half.

This is a great way for kids to use natural ingredients to create place mats for others, such as their families, your church, or a shelter.

Ahead of time, cut the potatoes in half. Draw a simple nature design on each half, such as a tree or a leaf. Use an X-Acto knife to carve around the design. The raised area will create the printed image. This will work better if you have at least one potato stamp for every two children so they can share.

Lay out the poster board and the potato stamps. Pour the paint into the pie tins or paper plates. Then have children take turns with this process:

• Brush paint onto the design area of a potato stamp.
• Press the stamp firmly onto the paper, being careful not to move or drag it.
• Lift the stamp carefully and repeat the process an inch or two away from the first stamp.

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