Posts Tagged ‘Holiday club’

Our big Advent activity in the Vicarage is always the Jesse Tree – a bare twig we cover in decorations that take us through the salvation story to Jesus. We don’t always manage to get all the way through the readings and the decorating, but we make an attempt each year and cover at least some of it.

If you’re thinking of following God’s story from creation to the birth of Christ with a Jesse Tree for the first time this Advent, an excellently easy way to get your kit together would be to use free printables. These colour-in ones over at Life Your Way look great – there are lots of others all over the internet if you don’t fancy the colouring in, or if you want different bible stories. You don’t even have to use a twig – an outline of a tree drawn on a poster would work just as well (and not take up as much space in the kitchen). In the next couple of days we’ll be digging out our battered Celebrations tin and hunting round for the decorations that went astray when we packed up last year.

Another great Advent activity, especially good for holiday clubs or the like, or if school breaks up way before Christmas, is making a Nativity set. You could use this gorgeous cut up and colour set by Dutch designer Marloes de Vries or buy a set of Nativity Shrinkles, which my kids had lots of fun with last year. My goddaughters have each been sent a set this year. Our schools break up on the Friday before Christmas, so we may not have time for colouring activities this year, but I shall keep the Marloes de Vries colouring to hand, just in case the kids need occupying. We may end up with a house full of nativity sets!

I’ve linked this post up with one of Tanya’s – she’s posting some Advent reflections over the next four weeks.

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Bee has been here over the last couple of days, helping out with Messy Church last night and with the school Easter service this morning. She and I got together this afternoon to talk about next Thursday, when Cake & Chat becomes DIY Holiday Club. She had some lovely Easter craft ideas and we sourced some others online. We’re going to be making:

I was going to get hold of Baker Ross colour-in cards too, but looking at the list above, I think we’ll have plenty to do.

The crafts will give us good opportunities to chat about Easter with those who attend. Some will be joining us at the Maundy Thursday meal that evening and will be in church on Easter Sunday, but others won’t be at anything official. So we’re very much looking forward to our informal Easter service over cake and crafts.

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Tonight I’ll be preparing some crafts for this Sunday’s Junior Church, which will be on the crucifixion. I know it’s not Good Friday yet, but Palm Sunday is an All Age service and there’s no service suitable for kids on Good Friday. So this week it is. This is helping me get started on thinking how best to prepare for Easter in the Vicarage this year:

  1. I shall be fetching our Resurrection Eggs from their storage cubby hole in the cellar. I *think* they are buried with the Christmas decorations. You could also do something similar with a toddler group or even a holiday club. There’s still time to sort yourself a set out and get in a dozen or so readings.
  2. We’re still listening to the NIV Audio Bible at teatime – heading for Jerusalem in John’s gospel. Lazurus was raised this evening and the Queen remarked ‘Every chapter it talks about people who believe‘. I think our time listening to the bible being read has been worth it just for this.
  3. I am in charge of the catering for our first ever Passover Supper at church on Maundy Thursday. I have a great recipe for slow cooked shoulder of lamb but will also have to source matzos and parsley in appropriate quantities. I anticipate long lists and negotiations with our high street butcher.
  4. I have booked the lovely Bee to help out with an Easter Cake and Chat in the morning of Maundy Thursday. A sort of DIY Easter Holiday Club – she has lots of lovely Easter crafts up her sleeve.

How are you preparing to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord?

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At our previous church, the Vicar and I were involved in regular holiday clubs. We’d have around 25 kids from the church and church school attending and a team of about 10 from church leading and helping. Most of our holiday clubs lasted just a day, although we sometimes did a three day one. They were lots of fun and a great opportunity to teach kids about God and bless parents with some child-free time.

We would have around three clubs a year, depending on other church events and energy levels within the church family. You can do five days of 4 hours without Ofsted having to inspect you (oh the joys of government control). And you can do 2 hours as many times as you like.

The church here has a weekly Kids Club, but hasn’t really run Holiday Clubs before. It’s one of the things on the Vicar’s To-Do List, but not at top priority, as the church family are already really stretched by the regular activities.

But at Coffee, Cake and Chat, the coffee morning I recently started for school gate mums, there was a suggestion that we all get together with our kids in half term. People don’t have lots of space in their houses or gardens round here. If you have a few friends around it gets really squashed. And we mums like to be together as well as the kids, so the Church Hall is a perfect venue.

So I proposed a DIY Holiday Club. I volunteered the Vicar to do games and a talk type thing. We all agreed to bring food for lunch, and noone needed CRB checks as they all came with their own kids.

So yesterday, from 11am-2pm we had nine kids aged 4-9, 3 toddlers and about nine grown-ups (some came and went). It was terrific fun. We learnt a memory verse, we played relay games in the churchyard (thank you Vicar), we sang loud songs, we made bedroom door labels and those folded paper ‘fortune tellers’ (but with kind Christian sentiments…mainly), we ate a wonderful lunch and enjoyed ourselves enormously.

I think the kids were even happier than this

I think the kids were even happier than this. The mums certainly were.

I am so grateful that we’ve landed up here, with such a great and energetic group of mums. And a holiday club sorted with minimal effort. The next one is now high on the To-Do List.

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