Category Archives: crafts & DIY

5 Favorite Lent and Easter Crafts for All Ages

We’ve been enjoying some Lent/Easter activities at our house this week, and I wanted to share some ideas that have worked for us. I’ve included tips for doing these crafts with a variety of age groups.

I had saved most of these long ago to my Christ-Centered Easter Pinterest board – makes it easy to select a few activities to do each day!

5 Favorite Lent and Easter Crafts for All Ages

Symbols of Easter Poster

This is the only idea on this list not from Pinterest, but instead from my own mom! She is a Christian-school Kindergarten teacher and I remember making this poster long ago when I was a student in her class!

I adapted it based on my memories, and we’re making it gradually as the days get closer to Easter.

I cut out a cross from purple construction paper (I just happened to have no plain purple paper, but did have this beautiful scrapbook paper when I went hunting!) Together Elle and I glued it to a piece of black construction paper. We used white glue to make an outline of the cross and added some glitter to make it fancy.

Now each day (as I think of it), we’re adding a symbol of the Easter story. I would use a hot-glue gun if possible, though it’s been working okay for me so far to just use regular Elmer’s glue.

Here are ideas for what to include:

  • green paper palm branch – for Palm Sunday
  • matzah cracker – for the bread Jesus broke at the Last Supper, saying, “This is My body.”
  • cardboard wine cup, painted silver – for the cup, saying “This is My blood.”
  • nickel – to represent the pieces of silver that Judas received for betraying Jesus.
  • a small piece of thorns – for the crown of thorns – You could use a stick that looks a little “pokey” if you don’t have access to thorns or are worried about injury.
  • a nail
  • white cotton – to represent the linens used to wrap Jesus’ body
  • sponge – to represent the sponge used to give Jesus a drink when He was on the cross
  • plastic toothpick sword, for the spear used to pierce Jesus’ side
  • paper bowl + small piece of white cloth, used to represent washing of disciples’ feet
  • white cloth or gauze – grave cloths used to wrap Jesus’ body

We had already put glitter on the outside of the cross, and then I was talking to my mom and she said that after Easter, they would put tissue paper to outline the cross as a “victory! Hooray He is risen!” sort of thing. I loved that idea. You could have kids crumple up little balls of brightly colored tissue and glue, or you can also use the end of a pencil (the eraser side) – wrap a tissue square around it, then place it on some glue, and it will look like flowers.

For younger kids: Cut and prepare all the parts of the poster ahead of time. If using hot glue, you will need to the gluing. Even for toddlers/preschoolers, this is a nice way to talk about the significance of some of these items – similar to doing Resurrection Eggs, but with a tangible thing to look at on the wall.

For older children/teenagers: They can cut and prepare the parts of the poster themselves. You could even offer a number of items, but allow them to choose the ones most significant (for example, make 6 items available, but have them choose each choose their 4 favorites). You could provide variety through different kinds of patterned scrapbook paper for the cross or different colors of glitter.

5 Favorite Lent and Easter Crafts for All Ages

“Stained-Glass” Cross from Motherhood on a Dime

I loved how super-simple this activity was, with just colored construction paper and a glue stick.

For younger kids: Cut out all the squares + a cross for each child ahead of time. Assist with gluing.

For older children/teenagers: Offer whole sheets of paper and have students cut out the squares and crosses themselves. You could provide ideas for different “shaped” crosses (some with curly embellishments on the end, different sizes, etc.) You could also provide different patterns of paper for variety.

5 Favorite Lent and Easter Crafts for All Ages

DIY Paper Palm Branches from Motherhood on a Dime

Another super simple activity. Afterwards, we used the branches to role-play the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem. We waved the branches and shouted “Hosanna.” My 3 year old went and got her stuffed dog off her bed and “rode” it like a donkey when she pretended to be Jesus!

For younger kids: This is perfect for young children who are still learning cutting skills. You cut out the shape of the palm branch, then let the child cut out the “fringe.”

For older children/teenagers: This craft may be too basic for older children or teenagers.

5 Favorite Lent and Easter Crafts for All Ages

Holy Week Wreath from Wee Little Miracles

Here’s another activity we’re doing gradually, adding a symbol or two as the week goes on (that’s why it’s not all colored-in yet in the picture above.)

For younger kids: Cut out the shapes ahead of time. For my 3 year old, she seemed to color more thoroughly when I cut out the details of the entire shape and provided a piece of scratch paper underneath, rather than when I gave her the whole piece of paper, including some extra space on the outside of the shape, planning to cut it out later.

For older children/teenagers: Provide the entire printable (available at link above) and let them do their own cutting. I had trouble getting the text to print on the eggs, so I am just handwriting on a blank egg. Older children/teenagers with small penmanship can do this, too.

5 Favorite Lent and Easter Crafts for All Ages

Handprint Lilies from Oh Amanda

Check out the linked post for the idea behind this project, and a wonderful book to go along with it. The blog post doesn’t provide very specific directions, so here’s what we did:

  1. Trace handprints with a pencil onto a white piece of paper. (I just used computer paper, and it folded/rolled very easily, which was nice.)
  2. Cut out the handprints.
  3. Take a green pipe cleaner (the entire thing) + a small piece of yellow pipe cleaner (I cut a full-length one into thirds). Wrap the yellow piece around the tip of the green pipe cleaner – I just twisted them together. You’re trying to make the yellow pollen part of the lily, along with the green stem.
  4. Wrap/roll the handprint around the pipe cleaner, enclosing the yellow part, and secure with tape.

We made a few and put into a vase. We also made some hearts (“Because Jesus loves us!” said Elle) and wrapped those two together, which made kind of a tulip shape.

For younger kids: This activity would be great for kids who can cut. We’re not there yet with my 3-year-old, so I did find myself doing most of the “work” of this craft, but she was happy to help fold the pipe cleaner and tape it, and we did end up with a lovely table decoration!

For older children: Allow them to do the tracing and cutting themselves. Provide different colored paper for variety, or recommend trying different shapes besides just a handprint.

**Have you done any activities for Lent/Easter? Leave a comment below telling your favorites.

5 Favorite Lent and Easter Crafts for All Ages

Christian Valentine Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Christian Valentine Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We’ve been having fun preparing for Valentine’s Day at our house, and I wanted to share some of the simple activities we’ve been doing plus some ideas I have for the next few days. I have a 3.5 year old and 1 year old – both girls.

I haven’t had to get special supplies or do much prep work for these activities, so I hope you might still be able to use some of these if you have toddlers or preschoolers, even though Valentine’s Day is fast-approaching!

The Purpose: “We love because He first loved us.”

I personally love Valentine’s Day – in fact, I shocked my husband recently by sharing that it might even be my favorite holiday. As much as I love Easter and Christmas, I’m always filled with so much angst over the way our culture celebrates (bunnies and candy and over-the-top gift giving) versus the focus of these holidays as Christians (Christ and His birth, death, and victory through resurrection!)

I don’t feel that same angst over Valentine’s Day – after all, I think we all agree that loving one another is a good thing to do, whether our spouse, family members, or friends!

With that said, I think as Christians, we can particularly make sure our focus at Valentine’s Day is on God’s love for us as the REASON that we love one another. As believers, we don’t just love because it’s nice or makes us happy or wins us friends.

We love because Jesus already loved us (see 1 John 4). This is what sets us apart from the rest of the world!

So, as I’m talking with my kids about love and Valentine’s Day this week, I’m trying to focus WAY more on the love of God than on teaching my kids to love others.

Sometimes I see Valentine’s Day turned into a moral lesson about how children should act, with lots of discussion of their kindness and service to others.

While it’s fine to use this time to teach how to love one another, we want to be sure that the emphasis is that God loved us first.That’s it. He did it. Therefore, we can now love one another. But that’s only after we remember His love for us first.

love Bible verses

Bible Verses to Use

Here are a few Bible verses we’ve been reading and discussing in our home (see the games section below for some ideas for how to do this). Though I typically like the NIrV version when working with children, so many of these verses are familiar to me in the NIV translation that I’ve been using that one.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

1 John 3:1 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

1 John 3:16a – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.”

1 John 4:7 – “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

1 John 4:8 – “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:9 – “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”

1 John 4:10 – “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

1 John 4:11 – “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. ”

1 John 4:12 – “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

1 John 4:16 – “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

1 John 4:19 – “We love because He first loved us.”

Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Songs

We’ve been singing…

“Skidamarinka dink” – which is not at all “Christ-centered” but a nice way to remind my kids I love them. Here’s a cute little video if you’re not familiar with the song.

“Be Ye Kind to One Another” (the words of Ephesians 4:32)

Be ye kind to one another

Tenderhearted, forgiving one another

Even as God, for Christ’s sake has forgiven you

Do-do-dootle-ee-do, Ephesians Four: Thirty-Two

This is a song I learned from a college professor, but I can’t find the exact tune. Here’s a very similar one on YouTube.

“Jesus Loves Me”

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

“How He Loves Us” by David Crowder Band <– click that link to listen

He loves us, Oh, how He loves us…

Valentine Cards

I like to have our kids send Valentines to our friends and loved ones, as an expression of “love one another.”  We made these hearts using this “shake up hearts” idea that I found on Pinterest.

splatter paper hearts

This was a fun activity using just some basic ingredients – paint, paper, and a plastic jar (thankfully I remembered we were running out of peanut butter so I used that one.) You can check out the directions at the link above.

The only warning I’ll give is that we used too much paint and it got pretty clumpy, especially after a few papers. So, if you’re planning to assembly-line 100 cards or something like that, you will want to wash out the paint periodically.

Bible verse homemade Valentine's Day card

After my daughters made the papers, I let the papers dry and later cut them into hearts. Then I wrote some messages and Bible verses on each one.

We’ll distribute some at a Valentine’s party we’re going to on Saturday, plus include some in our (much-delayed) Christmas thank you cards that I’m determined to send this week! 🙂

Valentine Crafts for Kids

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These Silly Heart Puppets (also a Pinterest find) were a big hit, and required just a few simple supplies – paint, popsicle sticks, plus a thin cardboard box out of our pantry.

We decorated two into actual puppets, using googly eyes and pom-poms, but we also liked just the plain painted hearts.

Bible verse heart puppet

You could write some of the Bible verses above on these hearts! (In all honesty, we didn’t really do this, because by the time I had that idea, my daughter had already distributed them as gifts to all her princess dolls – I just made this one as an example).

handprint heart

We made handprint hearts and feet.

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We made a Valentine’s Day sign using ripped paper. My daughter cut/ripped some pink paper, then together we glued it into a heart. (I actually intended for us to cut out paper hearts before realizing her cutting skills aren’t nearly that developed! So ripping the paper into pieces worked much better.)

Valentine’s Day Games

After making some crafts, I could tell we were all getting stir-crazy, so I came up with two very simple, no-prep-needed games.

love Bible verses

First, I cut out some hearts and quickly wrote a few Bible verses on them. (You’ll see from the photos I actually abbreviated some of the verses into 3-year-old language.) Alternatively, here are some printable hearts with verses that you could use.

Bible verse Valentine's Day Games for Preschoolers

Bible Verse Hide-and-Seek

Then, I sent my daughter into her room while I hid the hearts around the living room, taped onto the wall in various places. As she found each one, she brought it back to me and we read it together before she set out to find another.

Bible Verse Relay Race

For a more active version, I hung them all up on the door in our bedroom using tape (the only uncluttered part of the house at this point, so she wouldn’t trip). We had a starting line in the living room, and she ran to the door, picked up one heart, then brought it back to me, then ran to get another until she had collected all five. (We didn’t bother reading them aloud, though you could.) My one year old even enjoyed getting in on this one!

Activities and Other Ideas 

family date dinner

Family Date Dinner

For the first time this year, we’re going to have a “family date dinner” with our kids on Valentine’s Day. I was inspired by an idea I saw on my favorite Sorta Awesome Hangout facebook group.

We plan to prepare a festive dinner, decorate our table with some paper hearts and little decorations, and light some candles. We’ll all get dressed up and turn on some fancy music to listen to. I hope we’ll read and talk about some of our “love” Bible verses and have some special family time together.

(For what it’s worth, I’m not trying to neglect my husband on Valentine’s Day! He and I have an at-home date night every Tuesday so we are having some special dates this week and next week to celebrate).

Valentine’s Tea Party

For several years – even when our kids were just babies! – my sister and I have had a Valentine’s tea party with heart-shaped treats and activities. Whether you do this with cousins, friends, a Sunday school class, or just within your immediate family, it’s a fun way to celebrate with loved ones.

I’ve always loved reading about Jess McClenahan’s darling parties, which I think was the inspiration for our first party… you can read about them here: one  two  three  four

Serve Outside Your Family

Something we may do this year is put together some Valentine’s Day goody baskets for someone who could use some encouragement – maybe a “thanks” gift for people who help us, like our apartment complex managers; or sending a package to a friend across the country; or dropping one off at the local hospital or a nursing home.

If we do, we’ll probably just fill a basket with some items from Target, like some sweets and stickers, and then include a couple of our homemade craft items from this week.

Do you have any other ideas for ways to serve at Valentine’s Day? I’d love to do more of this.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Leave a comment below.

World Map Prayer Garland tutorial

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! Click here to check out all the posts in the series.

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This world map prayer garland is a decorative way to keep our sponsored kids and international missionary friends on our minds!

Here’s a tutorial for this simple world map prayer garland:

This world map prayer garland is a decorative way to keep our sponsored kids and international missionary friends on our minds!

I have been looking for a decorative way to keep our sponsored kids and international missionary friends on our minds, so I put together this simple world map prayer garland.

It features hearts to show our love for the nations along with photos of our sponsored kids and missionary friends.

I’m not very crafty, and I don’t like to spend a lot of money on craft projects, so I promise this tutorial is simple and the materials are inexpensive!

This world map prayer garland is a decorative way to keep our sponsored kids and international missionary friends on our minds!

Materials:

  • an old world map or map scrapbook paper (available through Joann’s or Etsy)
  • photos/prayer cards of missionaries, sponsored kids, or other friends around the world
  • colored scrapbook paper/construction paper, optional
  • scissors
  • yarn or string
  • glue or hot glue gun

Instructions:

  1. Cut hearts or circles out of map paper. (In case you don’t know how to cut hearts…)
  2. Cut hearts or circles out of photos of missionaries or sponsored kids. Use a drinking glass or measuring cup to help you draw the circles. (I used a variety of hearts and circles in my two garlands. I personally think an assortment of both looks best.)
  3. Optional: cut slightly larger hearts out of colored paper, then glue to the back of the map/photo hearts to make a “frame.”
  4. Optional: write the names of missionaries/sponsored kids on the edge of the hearts.
  5. Cut yarn to the appropriate length for the area you want to decorate.
  6. Lay out yarn on the floor or table, and position hearts in your desired pattern and position.
  7. Glue the back of each heart to the string. (This job went much quicker with two people – my husband held the yarn tight to the paper while I glued.)
  8. Optional: If you are a seamstress, you could stitch the pieces together, rather than using glue.
  9. Let dry, then hang.

Kids’ Version

I did parts of this project with my preschool-age daughter (but not the hot glue gun part, of course!) She liked it so much I decided to make her one…

I skipped the map paper on hers so it looked a little more kid-friendly, and instead did colorful construction paper hearts and circles. I used the same photos on both of them.

This world map prayer garland is a decorative way to keep our sponsored kids and international missionary friends on our minds!

Now our garland is hanging in our dining room area, and my daughter has one in her room, too. I hope it will encourage us to remember and pray for our friends, and for all people around the world, more frequently!

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

5 Ideas for Global Home Decor

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! Click here to check out all the posts in the series.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

As we develop global awareness in children and teenagers, filling our homes with global home decor is a fun and meaningful way to keep the nations on our children’s minds (and our own!) throughout the day.

Filling our homes with global home decor is a fun, meaningful way to keep the nations on our children's minds (and our own!) throughout the day.

Do-It-Yourself Map Garland

Here’s a simple decorative garland to show love for all nations and remind you to pray for missionaries, sponsored children, or other people living overseas… instructions coming up in tomorrow’s post.

Filling our homes with global home decor is a fun, meaningful way to keep the nations on our children's minds (and our own!) throughout the day.

World Map Decor

We’ve already talked about hanging maps in our home, but obviously it’s worth mentioning again, especially by pointing out some especially decorative maps.

Filling our homes with global home decor is a fun, meaningful way to keep the nations on our children's minds (and our own!) throughout the day.

Yesterday I showed you our “children of the world” bathroom. We have a map shower curtain and some cute fabric of kids around the world in a frame on the wall. Maybe someday I’ll hang one of those vinyl wall decals with a verse about God’s love for all nations?

If you’re a creative type and you’d like to do something decorative with maps, here are some free map downloads and here are some more.

I did some hunting on Pinterest and found some additional great ideas – check out my Global Missions with Kids Pinterest board for even more!

If you’re not crafty, here are some ready-to-go maps and other decor that I found on Etsy. These are not connected with me… just cute products I found. 🙂

Display Items from Around the World

Filling our homes with global home decor is a fun, meaningful way to keep the nations on our children's minds (and our own!) throughout the day.

Young children will love seeing treasures from around the world. You may have your own souvenirs from travels overseas, or you could ask a traveling friend or family member to bring you some inexpensive items on their next trip abroad.

When I was a kid, a well-traveled couple from our church brought us dolls every time they went on a trip! What a lovely gift from these adult mentors! Now I am about to begin re-gifting one of these dolls to my daughters every year for Christmas.

An easier option would be to order some fair trade items online – Mercy House Kenya is a great place to begin.

You could also check out a store like Cost Plus World Market, which curates items from all over the world!

You can organize these items on shelves where your child can easily remove these items and look at them or play with them, or here is a page with some lovely – but time-intensive – ways to display items from around the world. As you can see from the photo above… I need to find a way to display some of our favorite world-wide items!

Use Map Fabric or Global Fabric

Filling our homes with global home decor is a fun, meaningful way to keep the nations on our children's minds (and our own!) throughout the day.

You could also display hang fabric on the wall or around a curtain rod, or use it as a tablecloth. Artwork or photos can be hung on the wall.

If you know how to use a sewing machine, Spoonflower.com has lots of custom fabrics, including many with world map prints. There’s also an adorable set of “wee are the world” fabrics featuring kids around the world.

Spoonflower’s fabric is really pricey, but cute! (I’m not connected with them – just love their unique fabrics, and I’m not even a seamstress!)

I imagine you could also find some nice fabric at your local craft store… my mom picked up some world map material years ago at a local fabric shop for our vintage travel-themed wedding. 🙂

In addition, of course, there is fabric with prints from around the world. For example, this web site offers Japanese prints and Indonesian Batik fabrics.

Paint a Globe

Filling our homes with global home decor is a fun, meaningful way to keep the nations on our children's minds (and our own!) throughout the day.

There are tons of painted globe ideas on Pinterest – you can see a few here.

You’ll notice the globe in the photo above is UNpainted! I had purchased our globe a few weeks ago hoping to paint it with our handprints and some words like “peace,” “go,” and “love.” Then my daughters decided a globe is their favorite toy in the world and protested at the idea of painting it… so I skipped that idea. But check out the link above because there are some really cute ideas!

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

**Do you have any global home decor in your home? Leave a comment below with your ideas.

 

Elle’s Baptism

Originally published at faithpasseddown.blogspot.com in 2013

Aside from the day Elle was born, one of the most memorable days of Elle’s life was her baptism day. My husband and I come from a church tradition that baptizes babies, and we chose to have Elle baptized when she was seven weeks old. We knew that she obviously wouldn’t remember that day when she grew up, so we worked hard to make it extra-special, and to record the details so we can continue to celebrate her baptism as she grows up!

The morning started off with snuggles and nap time for Elle with her grandma (my mom, who had come into town early to help us with the baptism festivities), while my husband, Jay, and I got things ready at his mom’s house.

We got dressed and ready to go… Elle ended up wearing two different dresses on her baptism day. I initially wanted her to wear a new dress, so we picked one out from Target before she was even born! But, Jay’s mom had saved the baptism dress that his sisters wore, and we knew it would be special for Elle to be involved in a bit of family history. She ended up wearing the family dress for the baptism itself, and the new Target dress for the party afterward.

We are so grateful for our pastor, who encouraged us to do some special things during the baptism in the church.

First, Jay was able to baptize Elle. Our pastor oversaw it, but Jay was the one actually holding her, pouring the water (our church just pours water on the person’s forehead), and saying the words.

Second, we were able to read a special prayer/blessing over Elle during the service. I got the idea from OhAmanda.com (her blog is down at the moment, but I’ll try to remember to put in the specific link once it’s working again!) – she did something similar for her son’s baby dedication service.

Overall, it was a wonderful, special service.

Afterwards, we went to Jay’s mom’s house for a lunch. We wanted to make this a special celebration day – with at least as much fanfare as we’d do on her birthday! So, we kept things relatively simple, but tried to be festive.

We served pulled pork (kept warm in a crockpot), pasta salad, fruit, bags of chips, and a beautiful cake made by Jay’s sister (a pastry chef in training… isn’t it amazing?)

One of the things I thought hard about before the party was how to make it Christ-centered, and not just a fun (secular) party. I’m not sure that we did this perfectly, but I was pleased with some of the things we tried.

We put together little treat bags for the kids who attended with some playdough and bubbles, and a cute bookmark that says “God will always take care of me.”

The decorations were my favorite part of the party. I am not usually very crafty, but I needed some kind of creative outlet after living the life of a parent of a newborn for the past two months, so my husband was sweet enough to help me make some banners and pinwheels.

In addition, though, we tried to make some specific “Christ-centered” decorations. We took photos of Elle and recorded Bible verses about baptism and new life and attached them to the photos, and then we placed the photos around the room.

We printed out Elle’s blessing and framed it, and my sister had made a beautiful painting for Elle, so those were on display at the party, too. They now both hang in Elle’s room.

We made a tree and had everyone add their “fingerprint” to it as a guestbook (something I had seen on pinterest).

Before we ate cake, we had everyone gather together and Jay prayed a special prayer for Elle.

Finally, after the party was over, I put together some mementos into a “baptism box.” I bought a cheap white shoebox at Michaels’ craft store and used some puff paint to decorate it. Inside, I put the photos with Bible verses, one of the pinwheels we used to decorate, a copy of the sermon our pastor preached that day (on an audio CD), and the cloth and certificate we received from the church. A couple sweet family members gave Elle a small photo album (which I filled with photos from that day), plus a little statue of a praying girl.

Elle’s baptism box sits on her dresser, and we’ve looked through it a couple times together since then (she’s now nine months old). Every year on her baptism birthday (August 19), I hope to look through the box with her. We can look at the photos, perhaps listen to the sermon on CD, and talk about her baptism day. We can read the blessing we wrote for her (we do that frequently already since it hangs on her wall), and enjoy some cake or ice cream too.

I hope Elle’s baptism will always be a special part of her life!