Explore and respond
Activities marked with an asterisk next to the activity title are in addition to the resources in the Ready to go sessions. Suggested timings for these activities are also shown. NB The inclusion of additional activities varies from week to week.
VERY YOUNG CHILDREN
Plant and water
Play and wonder at growth in nature
Provide seeds, compost and pots and encourage the children to plant and then water their seeds. Talk about what they might grow into. When they see their plant growing, children can remember how God’s kingdom grows.
Create a reminder of growth with God
Prepare a large outline of the word ‘Kingdom’. Invite the children to stick seeds or pulses inside the outline as a reminder of how God’s kingdom grows like a tiny seed.
Create the right environment W E
Think about what it is that helps you to grow
You will need: pictures and examples of scenarios (see below).
- Divide the children into two teams. Explain that you will give them a scenario and ask each team to go and choose what they need to help them grow from the selection of pictures on the other side of the room. For each scenario, they can only choose two pictures.
- Call out a range of scenarios and invite one player from each team to race to collect what they need.
- After each scenario, discuss what else they might need to create the right environment for growth.
Examples of scenarios
- learning a musical instrument
- sitting exams
- developing cooking skills
- playing a sport
Paint ‘God’s kingdom’ rocks! E S A
Share God’s values in your community
You will need: large stones, acrylic paint, brushes, varnish.
- Invite the children to think about what some of God’s values are and what values might be needed in the local community.
- Ask them to paint messages and pictures on stones, e.g. ‘Care for others’, ‘Be generous’. If you have a church social media presence, paint the name on the back of the rocks for people to post and/or include the phrase ‘God’s kingdom rocks’.
- Varnish the rocks after your session and leave them to dry.
- Give the children their rocks to take away and hide somewhere in the local community.
Preview song, then buy online and download.
My Number One, Hillsong Kids on Tell the World
Find more suggestions on the Hymns, songs & music page.
Talk together and talk to God
Use these questions to discuss the Bible passage and then bring your thoughts together by praying to God.
- When have you felt like you have really grown in something?
- What do you think Jesus wanted people to understand about growth?
- How can you create the right environment for God’s values to grow in your life?
Talk to God: Plant nature labels E S
Pray about different stages of faith
You will need: large wooden lolly sticks, a tray of soil, pens.
- Discuss how everyone is at different stages of growth in life and faith. Show the lolly sticks and explain that growers write the names of plants and vegetables on sticks like these and push them into the soil to remember what is planted.
- Ask the children to write on a lolly stick a kingdom value they would like to show, e.g. gentleness, thoughtfulness, or write a prayer asking God to help them grow in faith, then push their stick into the tray of soil.
Handprint plants 10 mins E
A reminder of our own growth
You will need: brightly coloured paint, paper, washing-up bowl and towel, pens.
- Invite everyone to make handprints using the paint to represent flowers, then paint a stem underneath.
- Invite each person to write things they are interested in and gifted at around their paintings, to represent their own fruitfulness.
- Leave the paintings to dry, reminding the group of their developing skills, talents and faith.
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Enviable environments 10 mins W E
Create an ideal space in which to grow
You will need: catalogues/magazines; scissors, glue, paper.
- Give out magazines and ask the young people to cut out and stick onto paper, things to create their own designer ‘environment’ which would best help them to flourish.
Play the track ‘You Make Me New’, The Royal Royal on The Return of the King.
- Discuss how our environment – the places where we live and learn – can help us.
Decorate plant pots 10 mins E S
Create a symbol of God’s values growing
You will need: plant pots, soil, seeds, marker pens.
- Together, plant seeds in pots. Talk about what they will grow into and what they need in order to grow.
- Invite everyone to decorate the pots with words and phrases about God’s values that they want to grow in their life.
- Discuss these values of God and ways they can help them flourish in their lives.
Birdsong prayer 5 mins W E S A
Pray for those who need safe environments
You will need: recorded birdsong.
- Discuss how an example of God’s kingdom values is caring for others.
- Play birdsong on a phone/laptop. Ask the young people to close their eyes and think of birds finding shelter in a tree. Then pray for those for whom the right environment is difficult to find: those seeking refuge from war/danger, those needing help with mental health issues, those who are lonely.
Check-in: Connecting faith with everyday, real-life issues
Small adventures 10 mins W E A
Share real experiences of the adventure of faith
- Compile a list of words that the group associate with the word adventure.
- Ask the group if they think being a Christian is an adventure.
- Invite a leader to share a personal example of how following Jesus has been an adventure. Ask: What helped you to grow in faith? Who/what helped create the right environment?