This week we continue our look at the children’s work equivalent of Desert Island Discs; if I were on the island what would I take with me and why. Last time I started off by taking a candle, a sponge football and some biscuits. I have limited myself to ten but I may cheat a bit by making some extra items out of things on the island! So what shall we add this time?
Item 4: Craft box
I know I’m going to get complaints but if I itemise by craft resources I’m going to get past ten pretty quickly. All I would want is a good selection of craft resources nothing too spectacular just some pens and pencils, scissors, glue, glitter (of course) and some paints and brushes.
I’m rubbish at craft so I’m not going to be trying to lead the children in stunning pieces of modern art instead I want to use craft as a way of helping the children to think and reflect. There will be no colouring in! So during the sessions I run I will allow time for the children to use the resources to draw and write about the bible story we have looked at, to play with the story for themselves and focus on a part of the story they find most important.
Another point to make about these resources is that they will be the best I can afford. Brian McLaren says that budgets are moral documents, they show our true priorities! The children will learn a lot about how the church values them by the quality of the resources they have in their groups so I would make sure we had good ones. Once we had them I would look after them, getting the children involved in counting the pens back in and cleaning up the painting equipment as we put it away. This communicates to the children that the craft materials are good and to be valued and it helps to build a community where the children can serve one another.
Item 5: Parachute
There is an argument that I don’t need to count this as I may have arrived on the island by means of one but I’d rather have a brightly coloured one with handles for the children hold. These are especially useful if you’re working with under-sevens and there’s all manner of things that you can do with it: games where you bounce balls around on top, games where you run around underneath it, games where you wave it in the air, it really is wonderfully flexible.
My favourite thing to do with them is to with them is got have the children sit in a circle under it sat on the edge of it so that it forms a tight tent over the children. This creates a wonderful space for story telling that feels close atmospheric while also being lots of fun.
Item 6: Gaffer tape
Another really useful thing to have as it fulfils about a million administrative purposes. I’m not sure how well it will stick to the sandy floor of the beach shelter my group may be meeting in but still it serves a variety of purposes. If you meet in a large space you can use the tape on the floor to divide it up to prevent the children from filling the full space by running around. It’s also really good for games that involve running around as you can use the tape to create clearly defined space and prevent the game spilling over into a bigger and bigger space.
You can also use it to stick anything to pretty much anything else meaning that there is no prop or craft project it cannot save!