Seasonal SPECIALS for Children’s Ministry
Various, Bible Reading Fellowship, 2016

£11.99 (Approx)
4.4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Seasonal Specials for Children’s Ministry provides engaging material for ten key calendar events through the year. Each section offers a reflective time, craft, game, snack, drama and community outreach idea, and Easter and Christmas include extra activities to inspire, inform and celebrate. Whatever your form of children’s ministry, Seasonal Specials is an essential all-purpose, year-round resource to help children develop and enjoy their faith.

  • New Year’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Palm Sunday
  • Easter
  • Mothering Sunday
  • Father’s Day
  • Harvest
  • Halloween
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas

What do you get?

Leaders book consisting of 128 pages. Includes ideas for crafts, Bible study, songs and snacks. Also includes photocopiable resource handouts at the back. Available from www.brfonline.org.uk.

Who is it for?

A variety of ages. Each session specifies at the beginning who it best for, that is, age ranges are listed as: primary age, all ages, preschool and juniors.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Very good. A4, glossy cover resource. Layout of material is clear, simple and varied.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Aims or focus of section are written at the beginning of each one. For each of the ten seasonal events there is a lead in paragraph which gives a brief introduction to what the session is about.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Very accessible and clear. Leaders have the choice of using an entire section as a full session (there are ten sections) or the option of picking and choosing elements to make up a session. Target audience, list of supplies and all information for leading each section are included on each element.

    Who could lead it?

    This resource has ideas for children who are very little all the way up to preteens, so is best led by someone who is experienced in running sessions for the target age group like a youth leader or children's worker. Having said this, instructions are extremely easy to follow so a trainee leader would also be appropriate.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Handouts at the back for photocopying are relevant, simple and easily accessible for the sessions.

    How good is any digital material?

    No direct digital material but suggestions made for free resources to access for sessions, for example on YouTube for songs of praise.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    This depends on how the leaders choose to do the session and how many subsections they want to include. Instructions are clear and easy, but leaders will want to put together good sessions for significant Sundays in the year. Resources may need to be gathered for crafts, parenting consent may need to be given, junior leaders may need to be onboard too in accordance with the church's policy on safe guarding and working with young children. Sessions can last from 10 minutes to 1 hour depending on what leaders want to incorporate from each topic. Generally though, preparation is easy and sessions are well ordered.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Not explicitly for this resource, external links / websites suggested as optional.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    This is done well in the crafts section of each session and in the Bible focus section. At this point, leaders are prompted with questions to ask the children to encourage them to interact with the topic, and relate the activity they are doing to God and Christianity.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Very well. A huge variety of ideas (70!) which accommodate for all learning styles. For each of the key 10 Sundays this resource is made for, there is a Bible focus section, craft section, game, snack, sketch, song and outreach option. These more than accommodate for all learning styles.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Very adaptable. This resource is intended for seasonal Sundays - for example, Christmas, New Year, Valentine's Day and many more. Within these sessions there is a wide choice of easy-to-do activities with clear and simple instructions. Leaders can use one part of a session or choose parts to make the running time as is needed. The activities range from preschool age to preteens and each activity is labelled accordingly. Sessions can be done in a small or large space and with a large or small group depending on adults available to support. Preparation time can be short or longer too, depending on which sections leaders choose to include. Needless to say, a full session would take the longest to prepare, however this can be done so with ease as the instructions are so accessible.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Very well. Most sections of each session encourage leaders to relate the activity to the lives of the children. This is done directly so with an ‘ask' prompt for leaders.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Approximately 20% of each section within a session. The rest of the section though is brilliantly indirectly related to the text being used.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Biblical material is presented by reading it aloud and asking questions related to the text and children's lives.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Very well in the context of children and the session. For example, in the Mother's Day session, children are asked ‘What does it mean to honour your mother?' and then ‘What can you do to honour your mother?' In all sessions the Bible passage and theme of the session is linked back to the children's lives with questions.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    No, open to all and covers topics which form the backbone of Christianity so can be used with any denomination.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Gently through questions and discussion in the Bible focus sections. For example, children may be asked, ‘What does it mean to ‘press on' for God?' Children are encouraged to consider their faith in everything they do, and the significance of this is even greater with these sessions being focused around seasonal, key Sundays each year.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    It does this well while considering the age of the children too. The children may hear a story they have heard before, but they may not have before been challenged to apply it to their lives or put it in to their own context. This resource has brilliantly thought-out questions for leaders to ask, which open up an area for discussion and enable children to link the Bible to their own lives in ways they may not have thought previously.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    By having specific sessions on Christmas and Easter, this resource encourages children to look at the core of Christianity and the significance of Jesus. The other sessions build on this by stretching the children to think how it applies to their lives, and encourages them to think more about how the concepts relate to God and His vision. For example, in the New Year's Day Sunday, children think about how they can live for Jesus in the New Year, and then are encouraged that if we live every day with our eyes focused on Jesus we will have fewer regrets and continuous forgiveness. Children are encouraged to keep their eyes on Jesus to see what he has in store for them!

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Sessions connect with real life issues which are relevant for the themes covered. For example, relating conquering evil with good in the Sunday session on Halloween.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Not a main focus but indirectly suggested throughout at a level appropriate to young people still finding their faith.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Really well. Each session includes an outreach section with an activity based around supporting the community or reaching out to others. The sections also highlight within the activity the importance of reaching out to others in the context of the specific seasonal Sunday they are on. For example, for Easter Sunday, children are asked to make small jars filled with mini eggs and then donate them to a local food bank.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Teaches children about those less fortunate and the importance of helping them, this is particularly evident again in the outreach section. For example, on Mothering Sunday children make books to distribute to different GP surgeries where people may need some cheering up in the waiting room.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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