21 May 2011

Godly Play morning for (almost) all ages

Thank you, Leslie, for writing words of encouragement after my last post (about plans for today's Godly Play event), and also to my mother, who sent an email saying she was praying for us. My prayer had been that everyone would get something they needed from it.

There were thirteen of us in the circle. We had children aged 3-5, a young teen, a grad student, parents, adults without children, married couples, and at least one pensioner. We were people born in North America, the Middle East, Eastern Asia, Africa, and Europe (including Finland!). 

I told the story of "the Great Family" (of Abraham and Sarah), using a desert bag for the first time in our classroom. This prompted at least two people to make plasticine deserts in the Response Time. 

Some people responded to the literal distances in the story and the idea of emigration, while others responded more metaphorically, for example to the idea of travelling through the desert without the refreshment and guidance of a river. One person even connected ideas from this story with insights from a recent television documentary about the Second Law of Thermodynamics! 

In the picture below, you can see that Abraham's body has been buried under the "sand". 

Afterwards, I asked the children what their favorite part of the day had been. One said working with glue. Another said helping with the feast. However, the feast was something of a disappointment to at least one child, because there was no food, only drink (a decision I'd made because lunch was to follow almost immediately). Also, the children found some of the grown-up talk difficult to sit through: notice the two children amusing themselves below by wearing their napkins on their heads:

We ended our session with a very different kind of prayer time than we've had before. I put the desert out again, and handed around a basket of stones and blocks. Everyone took a turn and put one into the sand. If they wanted to, they said a prayer after doing so, either in their heart silently or out loud. 

I think this was the most successful prayer time we've ever had in Junior Church / Godly Play: we have one child who is often very awkward about prayer, but who seemed to handle this activity just fine. 

When we got home, Vandriver asked me what my favorite part had been. I said, "Entering the room after preparing the drinks for our feast [during the Response Time] and seeing everyone doing their work - whether chatting together over plasticine, making a glitter glue painting, taking a nap, or reading about prayer."


  1. I can tell this was a great day, Storyteller! The idea of having the plasticine deserts is brilliant. I can also see from the pictures that the participants are actively engaged. And most of all, I know God was there and pleased by all of it.

  2. the prayer time was superb

    I liked the discovering the desert for myself in the response time

    like the kids I was disappointed there was no snack with the feast

  3. What a wonderful event! I love the prayer you offered and think I'll try that myself! Sounds like next time you'll have to reinstate the snack! ;) I've never seen a desert bag - is that instead of a tub? How does it work? Congrats on this meaningful event! I love seeing how you are getting the word out about your program.

  4. Thank you, Sheila! Leslie, I plan write a post about the desert bag soon.

    And yes, stf, Leslie, and 4-year-old, I don't think I'll ever skip the food part of the feast again! :)

  5. the desert bag is wonderful :)


Thanks for conversing with me about Godly Play®! I do moderate some comments for the sake of the children I write about. Please be polite: to quote the Velveteen Rabbi, Whatever you're going to say in response to my posts, consider whether it's the sort of thing you would say to your host or their children if you'd been invited to someone's home for tea. If it isn't, then please don't say it here.

If you're new to commenting on blogs, I recommend that you "Comment as" Name/URL. You can use your real first name or a nickname. URL is the address of a website that you want to be linked with your name - feel free to leave it blank. Before your comment is accepted, you have to pass a spam filter. After clicking on 'post comment' or 'preview', just type in the sequence of letters you will then see (or click on the wheelchair for a recording of characters to type). Thanks for reading and commenting!