Children’s Session – Don’t be Afraid
This is a session designed to encourage children and volunteers to talk about the things that they are worried by, stressed by or fearful of and give some practical ways to negotiate these.
All you need to make stress balls are flour, a funnel, a black sharpie and balloons. Stretch the opening of the balloon over the end of your funnel. Scoop flour into it and shake down till it fills your balloon. Tie the balloon off and draw on your face with the black sharpie! When things get stressful or difficult giving the balloons a squeeze can help relieve some tension.
1. Cut the bottom part off of your plastic cup.
2. Tie a knot at the end of your balloon and cut off about 1/2″ from the other end.
3. Now stretch the balloon over the end of the cup.
Set up some a target that the children can shoot at – we had the word fear written in large cut-out letters. We asked children to name their fears and the challenge was to knock them down.
Magic Message Craft
Before the session prepare some white card with the message ‘God is with us don’t be afraid’ using a white crayon. Encourage the children to use different coloured water colours to uncover the message. God is always with us, we don’t always see him but he is always there. When we are having a difficult day we can tell him how we feel and ask for his help.
Fear Factor – Fly Challenge
Place five raisins on each of several paper plates and cover the “flies” on each plate with whipped cream. Have all the kids stand around a table and place one plate in front of each child. Explain to the party guests they are about to eat “flies” and the first one to eat them all wins the game. When you say, “Go,” the kids must eat through the whipped cream, eat the flies and open his mouth to show you he ate them all. The first child to complete this challenge wins the game.
Object Lesson – Trust and Worry
- “Today I brought with me some supplies which each of you could find in your own home. First, I brought some cooking oil.”
- Hold up the oil and pour some into one of the smaller clear containers. “This oil is going to represent worry.” Write the word worry on a piece of tape as a label for the container. Stick the tape to the container, so the children can see it.
- “What does it mean to worry?” Take some responses from the kids.
- “Worry is when we are afraid or concerned because we do not know what is going to happen.”
- “I also brought with me some water.” Pour some water into a second clear container.
- “I am going to add some food colouring to the water to make it easier for you to see.” Add a few drops of food colouring to the water depending on the amount of water used and stir until evenly mixed.
- “This water represents trusting God.” Write the word trust on a piece of tape as a label for the container. Stick the tape to the container, so the children can see it.
- “What does it mean to trust God?” Take responses from the children. “Trusting God means that we remember he is always with us. We don’t need to be afraid or scared because God is taking care of us.”
- “Does God want us to worry or to trust that he is always with us? “Let’s let our ‘worry’ and ‘trust’ show us the answer. Can trust and worry mix?
- Pour some of the oil and water into the third container at the same time. The oil and water will appear to mix at first. But, as the children watch they will slowly see the two separate with the oil resting on top of the water.
- God reminds us that we shouldn’t be worried or afraid because he’s always with us.
Craft: Paper Plate Dream Catcher
Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams both good and bad. The dream catcher when hung over or near your bed swinging freely in the air, catches the dreams as they flow by. The good dreams know how to pass through the dream catcher, slipping through the outer holes and slide down the soft feathers so gently that many times the sleeper does not know that he/she is dreaming. The bad dreams not knowing the way get tangled in the dream catcher and perish with the first light of the new day.
Give each young person a paper plate and encourage them to cut out the centre. This could be done in advance for younger children. Children design and colour the large circle they are left with – the more colourful the better. Once completed a single hole punch is used around the circle. This is what the thread of wool will be threaded too. All manner of things can be added from beads, feathers, sticky foam and/or paper screamers.
Craft: What’s behind the door?
This craft is more suitable for older children. It’s made using two sheets of card. On the top layer draw a bedroom scene with a door and have the young person colour or paint. Cut along the top, one side, and bottom of the door so that it opens. On the second piece of card draw something that might be scary – a monster, spiders, ghosts – anything that might be considered a fear. Once completed glue both pieces of card together.
This activity is a good discussion starter about the things that we all worry about. We all get scared but a lot of the time these things aren’t anything to worry about.
Craft: Worry Dolls
The indigenous people from the Highlands in Guatemala created Worry Dolls many generations ago as a remedy for worrying. According to the Mayan legend, when worrying keeps a person awake, he or she tells a worry to as many dolls as necessary. Then the worrier places the dolls under his or her pillow. The dolls take over the worrying for the person who then sleeps peacefully through the night. When morning breaks, the person awakens without the worries that the dolls took away during the night.
Items needed: Wooden Clothespins, Yarn or Embroidery Thread, Pipe cleaners.
1. Wrap & twist a pipe cleaner around the clothespin to create arms. Cut to size for arm length.
2. Begin wrapping your clothespin with yarn. Wrap over the pipe cleaner as well.
3.When wrapping gets to the waist, you can start wrapping each “leg” individually
4. Use markers, coloured pencils, or paint to add a facial expression, hair, skin tone, shoes, etc
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 things that make them afraid and find practical ways of dealing with fear?
- What is there for you to learn from this session?
- What might you do differently next time?
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