Pentecost – Acts 2: 1-21
This is a fun and quick game – basically you tape a balloon to a straw on a string and watch it fly! It can also be set up as a race between to balloons. Set up two chairs on either side of your hall or room. Tie the string to one of the chairs and thread the thread through the straw before attaching the other side to the second chair. Place the tape on the top of the straw. We used white masking tape. Blow up your balloon and either hold the end or secure with a clip. Pull the balloon back to the starting position and release the air from the balloon. Watch them fly to the other end of the hall.
Get your hands on an Airzooka – available here. Set up some paper cups as targets and have the children see how many they can knock down using the Airzooka. You could experiment with how far away the Airzooka will work. Today’s session is thinking about the power of the wind in the Pentecost story. Wind just like the Holy Spirit can’t be seen but the effects can. In our game the wind forces the cups over and in today’s story the Holy Spirit brings about change and transformation in the lives of the disciples.
Game: Blow Football
Set up a game of blow football. You could make your own using a table or box and some straws. Alternatively you can purchase the game here.
Trace a circle onto a piece of white corrugated cardboard. Try to get the circle to be between 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Use something like a cream cheese lid, sour cream lid, or pickle jar. Cut the traced circle out using the scissors.
Trace 3 smaller circles on the cardboard disc. Try to make each of the circles equal in width. This will enhance the visual aspect of the experiment.
Draw a single line through the middle of the disc that spans the entire diameter of the disc. Each of the three circles in the disc should now be divided in half.
Colour half of the smallest circle blue and the other half yellow. Colour the middle circle half red and half yellow. Finally, colour the largest circle half blue and half red.
Using a hole punch, place two holes in the cardboard disc. Make sure the holes are an equal distance from the centre of the disc and are about 1 inch apart.
Use the scissors to cut a piece of string or yarn that is 4 feet long. Thread the string or yarn through each of the holes in the disc and tie the ends of the string together. Make sure the knot you tie is reliable and able to withstand a substantial amount of force. You are going to be tugging pretty hard on it
Pentecost Spinner Art
Using a cheap salad spinner (£4 in IKEA!) try out some spinner art! It’s brilliant: quick, clean (because the spinner sits in its own bowl) and each piece is unique! The process of making the art really lends itself to Pentecost themes so here’s an idea to help celebrate the occasion.
You will need: A salad spinner; red, yellow and orange paint, small paper plates, a tub of hair gel
Put a plate on the bottom of the inside of the spinner and blob some paint in. Put the lid on and spin!
It only takes a few seconds of enthusiastic spinning to complete your unique piece of art. By adding a blob of hair gel the paint becomes runnier.
The noise and the spinning as you make the pictures is a strong reminder of the sound of the powerful wind that came upon the disciples at Pentecost and the ‘flames’ are obvious reminders of the tongues of fire. It’s a great visual and kinaesthetic aid to tell the Pentecost story!
Craft: Paint Blowing Pictures
- Mix some water into your paint to make it runny.
- Put a blob of the paint mixture in the middle of the paper.
- Blow the paint using your straw to make a spiky pattern.
Game: The Wind Blows
This is a good game for mixing up groups. Put chairs in a circle. Turn one chair to face out. Choose someone to stand in the middle. They (or you) can call:
The wind blows for…
everyone wearing a watch
everyone who supports a football team
everyone who can swim a length
everyone who had breakfast today
everyone who likes ice cream etc
If the statement applies to a child, they must get up and change places. The caller finds a seat. The last person standing, becomes the new caller. No one can change places with the person sitting next to them.
Children build up a storm by joining in volunteer-led sound effects one-by-one. It builds up to a crescendo and does down to silence.
It was still and quiet.
A gentle breeze was heard. (Leader rubs hands together – children to her right gradually join in)
The breeze grow louder (Rub more vigorously)
A patter of rain was heard (tap hands on palms)
It began to thunder (Stamp feet)
This is revered, dropping one noise at a time until all is quiet
Godly Play Script
A quiet and reflective way to tell the story of Pentecost.
Click here for: Reflective Story – Pentecost
Powerful Change Popcorn
Here in my hand I have a few small corn kernels: they are closed, tight, and hard. You can fit them in a small space.
They remind me of the first disciples: although they had seen Jesus after he rose from the dead witnessing first-hand the power of God, they remained small, frightened, and unsure.
We place them in a small place, a small upper room (put them in the popper) a room where they might re-enact a meal, a ritual of when Jesus was there with them.
To the frightened, scared and small disciples, we add something powerful: the Holy Spirit: a mighty wind (turn on the popper) and we begin to see a transformation: we cannot see the Holy Spirit herself, but we can see the change she makes the disciples.
(The corn begins to pop) An explosion of energy! A rapid expansion! Beyond the confines of the upper room and into the world, the disciples are no longer tight, hard, withdrawn, but open, fluffy, delightful!
Some are spread far and wide into the world (making a mess on the floor).
The Holy Spirit is here with us today, and can change and transform us too; the Holy Spirit can take our inner hardness, reticence, fear and doubt and help us to be open, fulfilled, and sent flying into the world to make a difference.
Pass around the popcorn and let the children enjoy eating it.
We light the candle to remind us that God is with us and that he hears our prayers.
Wrap your dove wings around us,
Spark your bright flame with us
Blow your refreshing wind among us,
So that we can be your Pentecost people today
Game: Flappy Fish
Split the children into small groups for the race. Issue each team with a fish (cut out of a sheet of A4 paper) and a newspaper. They must use the newspaper to flap the fish from their starting point to the top of the hall and back again. They then pass on the newspaper to the next member of their group. The first team to have all their members run and return are the winners.
Craft: Balloon Hovercraft
What you will need
- a balloon
- an old CD you don’t listen to anymore
- craft or super glue
- a sports cap from a drinks bottle (the ones you pull up to drink through)
- Close the sports cap lid and glue the bottom of it over the centre of the CD. Make sure it completely covers the hole. Leave it to dry.
- Blow up the balloon and hold the end so no air escapes.
- Making sure no air escapes, stretch the end of the balloon over the closed bottle lid.
- Put the CD hovercraft on a smooth flat surface with the balloon side up. Give it a push, how far does it travel?
- Now pull open the sports cap lid. As the air escapes from the bottle, give it a push. How far does it travel this time?
- Try making a few CD hovercrafts and have races with your friends. Explore how using different sizes of balloons on different surfaces affect the performance.
Craft: Easy Kites
This is a great kite for kids to make because it is easier to make than the traditional kite. Follow the step by step, illustrated instructions above. We are going to use a 12 inch x 12 inch square piece of paper. Cut one out if you don’t have one this size.
As see in (Figure #1), Fold the square in half. OPEN BACK UP TO SQUARE. As seen in (Figure #2), now fold corners #2 and #4 to the centre. Wrap masking tape around corners #2, #3, and #4, as seen in (Figure #3). Knot a loop in corner #3 by using a needle and 20 inch long nylon thread to poke thru corner thread and make a knotted loop (Figure #4). Now take a spool of kite string and sew it thru corners #2 and #4 and tie a knot…as seen in (Figure #5). Cut out paper squares and then wrap the 20″ nylon thread around the paper squares…one at a time to form ribbons. Now use the spool of kite string to fly your beautiful kite.
- Start out by cutting two identical squares from paper or card stock.
- You can leave the squares plain or colour and draw some patterns or designs.
- Cut out both paper squares.
- Glue the undecorated sides of the squares together. Remember to apply glue not just along the edges, but on the entire back area of the squares.
- Cut along the 4 diagonal lines. Cut the square halfway to the centre.
- Gather the four corners towards the centre without creasing the paper. You may glue the ends in place or just hold them together with your hand as you do the next step.
- Insert a push pin at the centre. If you did not glue the ends of the paper in Step 6, the push pin should hold all four ends together. Wiggle the push pin around to make the hole a bit larger.
- Push the pin onto a pencil’s eraser. Don’t push on too tight to allow the pinwheel to spin more freely. *As an option, you may put a bead or small button between the paper and the eraser. This helps the pinwheel rotate better and prevents the pin’s point from going through the other side of the eraser.
- Finally, try blowing at the edges of the pinwheel to make it spin. Loosen the pin a bit if the blades do not rotate well.
Craft: CD Wind Chime
Cover a tree branch or wooden rod with different colours of wool or yarn. The CDs will show a prism of rainbow colours from the light that they reflect, so think about a colour for the branch that will complement the dimensions of the CD colours as well as the space where you will be hanging the wind chime.
Use two CDs at a time and add super glue to the labelled sides of CDs. Press two CDs together at a time once super glue has been added. You will create several two-sided mirror disks once the sets of CDs are glued together. Allow ten minutes for the CDs to dry completely.
Cut ribbon or string into strips that vary between lengths of six inches and twelve inches.
Thread one end of each strip of ribbon or string through the holes in each two-sided mirror CD disk. Pull the thread through until half the thread is through the hole.
Attach the threaded ribbon or string to the rod by tying loose ends of each thread to the rod. Start on one end of the rod and fill it with ribbons or thread attached to CDs until they run the entire length of the rod. CDs will dangle from the rod and hit each other, making chiming sounds.
Tie a strand of string or ribbon securely around the centre point (or centre of balanced weight) of the rod.
The review can happen at the time or later – it maybe by yourself or with others.
Some useful questions to help volunteers consider and learn from the session include:
- Has each child been able to participate in their own way?
- What parts went well and why?
- Has each child been able to reflect, even a little, on the change and transformation that the Holy Spirit brings?
- What is there for you to learn from this session?
- What might you do differently next time?