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Summer Fun Crafts for Kids!

By Mary Wright

Whether you are leading an outdoor Day Camp, a Vacation Bible School, or a Backyard Bible Club, you will need a full grab-bag of activities each day.  Children need to have times of fun games and vigorous activity, interspersed with quiet times of creativity or listening.  You can include fun crafts in your summer activities at no or low cost that will captivate kids of all ages and give them something special to take home.  Each of these crafts will help children use materials they can find around the house or in their community.

These crafts work well on the mission field, too.  On a summer mission trip to Grenada, our team ministered to children in an area devastated by Hurricane Emily.  The church where we met each day had been totally washed out by a wall of water.  There were no supplies available, no materials to use, and no space for the children to play.  We had 100 children cramped in a modest sanctuary space and two small side rooms.  The church had no back wall and all of the windows had been blown out.  We divided the children into smaller age groups and shared the space the best we could.  A quick survey of the debris in the neighborhood provided the materials for the creative crafts and activities described in this article.  By pouring the glue into small drinking cups each day and using Q-tips from our first aid kit to spread it, we were able to share the supplies in each class.  Our materials lasted until the final day of camp.  The Lord provided just enough!

  

Craft #1: Two-faced Bottle Puppet

Collect the small-size plastic detergent bottles, opaque plastic juice bottles, and discarded plastic spray bottles with the spray top removed.  Discard the caps and wash the bottles thoroughly.  Collect buttons, bits of yarn, scraps of material, scraps of paper (newspaper and magazines work fine), and use permanent markers in a variety of colors.  Have small cups of white glue available, with Q-tips as applicators.  Have pencils with erasers available for the children to draw the face on the puppet before gluing on the features.

 Have each child turn the bottle upside-down so that the top opening of the bottle is at the bottom (this is where the child will insert his or her fingers to operate the puppet).  Ask them to draw a happy face on one side of the bottle and a sad or angry face on the other side.  Tell them that one side of the bottle is how we feel when we dont know Jesus and feel all alone.  The other side of the bottle is how we feel when we find out how much Jesus loves us.  (This puppet is a good one to use when telling the story of the conversion of the Apostle Paul.)  When the faces have been drawn on opposite sides of the bottles, encourage the children to use buttons, yarn, or bits of cutout paper or material to glue eyes, nose, and mouth onto the bottle where they have drawn the features.  Yarn or ribbon can be used for hair.  If available, an old sock can be used as the puppet body.  To switch from one expression to the other, the child simply rotates the bottle on his or her finger.  The bottles are durable and create puppets that can be used again and again.

Craft #2: Gods Treasure Box

Collect small plastic boxes that contained diaper wipes, lunch meat, or band-aids (any small plastic box with a lid will do).  Wash the boxes thoroughly and have each child select one.  Take the children on a nature walk and have them collect shells, interesting pebbles, seed pods, small twigs and interesting leaves.  Have them decorate the outside of their boxes with the items they collect, gluing them in place with white glue.  Use permanent markers to write Gods Treasure Box on the lid of each box.

Give each child a small index card or piece of paper and pencil.  Ask each child to make a list of his or her favorite treasures from Gods creation (for example, a sunny day, a beautiful flower, a mountain view, a sunset, a babbling brook, a swimming pond, ducks to feed, etc.).  They are to peek inside the treasure box whenever they feel lonely or upset C just to remind themselves how many blessings God gives us!  This is especially effective in areas that have suffered a disaster.  It helps children remember that God loves them and will continue to bless them, even when something bad disrupts their lives.  

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