I’m a crafty person. I like to create things from scratch, piecing together jewels I re-purpose from around my house or that I find discounted at craft stores. In my pre-kids life, I used those skills designing info pieces for my employer.
However, I’m not a preschool crafty person. Doing a craft with my pre-schoolers takes an extra dose of grace and potentially extra caffeine. Finding the idea is my first chore, then implementing it?! The mess, the spills, the 100 questions about why we aren’t doing it a different way. And besides, I work so diligently at keeping a tidy home, why would I intentionally make more work for myself? Not to mention the different capability levels between my 1.5 year old and 3.5 year old. Just thinking about it raises my blood pressure.
Insert Building Blocks.
I love this ministry for several reasons and one of them is the Activity Packets. This past Friday at the “Big Picture of Sibling Harmony” they passed out a Thanksgiving Activity Packet (get it here). Home Run! There before me was a complete packet equipping me to teach my kids about Christ during Thanksgiving. Included were activities to help me teach them to thank God for who He is, who He’s created us to be, and for what He has done. Amazing.
I mean, I want to have intentional lessons with my kids. I desire to teach them of God’s Truths and raise them in the Right Way so they don’t depart from it when they grow old. But sometimes I’m at a loss on how to do that. Thankfully, other people within this church and ministry share their talents and bless those of us lacking in this “crafty” department.
First step completed; acquired the idea. Second step, finding making the time to do it. I literally scheduled on my calendar which day and what time “Thankful Wreath” would take place. That day came and went without me following through. It just wasn’t the right day so I re-scheduled for the next. Tuesday arrived and I told my 3.5 year old “today, we’re going to do a ‘special activity’ after rest time.” I needed some accountability and I knew Parker wouldn’t forget.
The only preparation I did was reading through the packet beforehand and making sure I had all the materials. I decided to do the Thankful Wreath activity. Didn’t want to bite off too much in one sitting. So after the kids woke up, we went straight to the kitchen table to begin our “special activity.”
Insert first mistake.
Next time I will feed them a snack before we start our activity. I made the mistake of starting the craft on hungry tummies. Mid-craft their bellies took over and we had a mid-craft meltdown. So in the midst of the mess and attending to two different capabilities, I was also popping popcorn and making drinks, only to have them spill the drinks and popcorn all over our craft. Sigh. Not going make it on Martha Stewart’s show anytime soon.
We marched onward. I used construction paper and traced their little paws. As I cut them out, I talked to them about the different names of God; something I hadn’t done before. I told them that God is All Knowing, Gentle, and Faithful. That He is our Rock, Redeemer, Bread and Living Water. My oldest asked questions, “what does that mean Mommy?” and the best I could I answered in a way he could understand. At one point I told Parker that God is our Protector. To which he replies, “God is our Protector? Just like I’m suppose to love and protect my baby sister?” “That’s right buddy, God protects us just like you help Mommy protect Callie in the parking lot when she tries to run away from me.”
I laid their hand prints in front of them to decorate (a slight detour from the craft). Although my 1.5 year old colored more of the table (and herself) than the paper, she loved it. My oldest spent all his time coloring one hand print instead of all nine. I kept suggesting he color the other ones too, to which he tells me, “shh mommy, I’m busy.” HA! “From the mouths of babes,” as our own Millye Hale would say. Even in this tiny craft, I’m trying to impart my own perfectionism tendencies instead of letting God lead my kids. Thank you, my love, for that precious reminder. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about learning what God has to teach us in the moment.
So as they colored, I wrote His different names on each hand print. Again, talking about what they mean and how God is who He says He is (as well as reminding Callie to not eat the markers and color on the paper not the table!). Then I cut the centers out of the paper plates and wrote “God You are… and we thank You that You are who You say You are.” I colored some along with them and then I glued the hand prints on the paper plate as each child finished “decorating” theirs.
The end result? It was messy. It took all my attention. It didn’t go as I expected. But it was 100% worth the effort. Our “Thankful Wreaths” are now displayed in our kitchen and serve as a great reminder not just to my kids, but to me as well.
They remind me that God is all I need. He is my Comfort. My Shield. My Strength. My Bread. My Rock. Not a clean house. Not a nap. Not an updated kitchen. Not more “me time.” Not more coffee. Although I wrestle with thinking I “need” these things; I’m acutely aware that He has shown me it’s not these things I need… just Him. See also Patrick Ryan Clark’s song, “You”.
The day after we made them, Parker says during his prayer, “God thank you for who you say you are.” Wow. He got it. Callie points to them and says, “Marrrrkeeer.” “That’s right baby, we used markers to tell God we are thankful for Who He is.”
That was the whole point. To create an opportunity to teach my kids about His love and it worked. So what I had to sweep my floors for the 10th time that day and scrub Callie extra hard that night in the bath tub? My kids learned one more thing about God. And that, my friends, makes this non-preschool-crafting mama want to do it again. – by Alison Treadaway