Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Baptismal Festival: Activities for kids

For Pentecost this year we had nine Baptisms.  The folks becoming baptized were people of all ages (6 mon to 35 years) which caused much celebration but also a bit of a catechetical task:  How do we teach and preach about Baptism to people at different ages.  We ended up having a big inter-generational class on Baptism.  Here were some activities we did and some learning for next time:

1)  Jesus Baptism
The basic point we wanted to get across to kids was that Jesus was baptized.  We had some coloring sheets, mazes and a YouTube video we showed.  I give this an A/A- for effectiveness. 

I was anticipating 10 kids and 30 showed up so I had to divide them into groups.  It was great to have parental help.

2)  Following Jesus
The next point we wanted to make was that Baptism is an invitation and command to follow Jesus.  To this end we did two things.  First, we had the kids make two footprints.  In one footprint they wrote their name; in the other they wrote something they could do to follow Jesus.  (Pray; go to church; be kind, etc). 

This picture here shows one of a three groups that did this.  We ended up with a sheet 100 feet long that made a great children's sermon!

The other thing we did was have kids color in a big poster that said "Come Follow Me."  This was a great filler of time when the activities went to quick/slow.

I give this an A+

3)  Forgiveness of sins
I wanted to convey something about the forgiveness of sins in Baptism.  I had this chemistry example set up whereby I would have a liquid (vinegar) clean off sins (baking soda).  It didn't really work because one kid kept saying over and over "That is vinegar."  Regardless, there are much better examples of chemistry and color change that I would use in the future, like this one.

4)  Adoption as child of God
We had each child make a sign that said "I, ____, am a child of God, claimed in my Baptism."  We took pictures of the kids.  I hoping to make a collage of the pictures.  Again, we had a bunch more kids than anticipated and I don't know if we got enough photos taken!

This was great overall and the picture I have here is absurdly cute.

5)  Baptism as Body of Christ; Communion of Saints
I made a weaving craft that used the waters of Baptism (blue strips of paper) to weave together three hearts, one for Jesus, one for saints in glory, one for saints living.

I think the craft was super cool.  But it proved too hard for many kids.  I think had I had a smaller crowd, I could have worked with the kids more; it was not at the "give them the supplies and model and let them figure it out" kind of thing.

There would be a way to simplify this in terms of multiple hearts; as it was, kids used lots of tape to make something that looked a bit like what I intended.

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