The last lesson in the THUMB series is here. Meet Tenzin gives children ages 5-7 (K-2nd grade) an overview of what Tibetan Buddhists believe. This 30-minute downloadable lesson has three sections.
- A short skit for a narrator and one actor who plays the role of Tenzin, a boy from a small village in Tibet. Suggestions for a simple costume are included. There’s an option to do the skit script as a dialogue between the narrator and a puppet. A template and directions for making the paper bag puppet are included.
- An interactive activity that allows children to contrast Buddhist beliefs with what the Bible says.
- An opportunity to pray for Buddhist families.
Meet Tenzin is $5. Other lessons in the THUMB series include Meet Bakari (animism), Meet Amita (Hindu), Meet Jin (unreligious/atheism), and Meet Noor (Muslim). Want more THUMB resources? DVDs, curricula, and prayer tools are available through CMM Press.read more
How many shopping days until Christmas? It’s so easy to get sucked into the holiday hype and lose sight of the real meaning of what Christmas is truly about—the birth of Jesus Christ when “the Word became human (flesh) and dwelt among us,” John 1:14a.
Here’s a way to engage children in your church, class, or family in counting down the days until Christmas in a way that keeps the focus on Jesus and the reason He came. Wycliffe Bible Translators created Christmas Countdown: The Word Became Human. Designed for ages 5-12, each lesson includes a Bible reading from the Christmas narrative (Luke), a short story of Bible translation around the world, prayer, and an ongoing craft activity.
When you sign up for these free lessons, you can choose one of the following three options that matches your setting:
- Families: 25 stories, one emailed each day from December 1–25
- Christian schools: 15 stories, 5 emailed each Friday to use during the three weeks of school in December
- Churches: 5 stories, one emailed each Friday to use on the weekends leading up to Christmas
After signing up, you’ll receive an introductory email with a link to a PDF document. It contains lesson preparation suggestions as well as ornament templates to print out for the craft activity. Children decorate the ornaments to reflect each day’s translation story. Here’s a sample ornament for December 18th’s Bible translation story—the Urbed people receive Bible story recordings via cell phone. One enrichment idea is to use Scripture Earth to see and listen to some of the languages highlighted in the translation stories.
You’ll begin receiving the lessons on November 29, just in time for advent. Help children celebrate Christmas and share the excitement of people’s receiving Scripture in their language for the very first time!
Just discovered these three mission tools from LifeWay. These would be great to use with children during a mission event or lesson about God’s loving children from all cultures.
1. Bookmarks– Tell Everyone About Jesus bookmarks are 2 x 6.5 inches and come in a set of 25. $1.99
2. Stickers– Each sheet features illustrations of 8 children from around the world in their national costumes. Each sticker is 4.5 x 7.5 inches. Package of 10 sheets; 80 stickers. $2.99
3. Stickers– Each sheet features 6 beautiful photos of children from around the world. Each sticker is 4.5 x 7.5 inches. Package of 10 sheets; 60 stickers. $2.99
Take your family beyond the neighborhood swimming pool and playground this summer. You have the opportunity to explore 27 countries on six continents. Check out the summer issue of Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family magazine. They’ve created Around the World in 60 Days. Downloadable materials are free. They include a world map, itinerary, passport, and stamps that you can glue into it as you visit each country. Here are the areas you’ll visit:
Week 1: Oceania
Week 2: Asia
Week 3: Central Asia/Eastern Europe
Week 4: Middle East
Week 5: Africa
Week 6: Western Europe
Week 7: South America
Week 8: Central America/Caribbean
Week 9: North America
Bible lessons and activities help you get a glimpse into other cultures. General prayer requests for each region are included. Here’s a sample activity for Colombia, South America:
In Colombia, older members of the family are greatly respected for their wisdom. They are always served first at mealtimes. At your next meal, serve the people at the table in order from oldest to youngest. Leviticus 19:32
If you’d like to pray specifically for unreached peoples who live in these regions, go to Joshua Project. Click on the country you’d like to learn about to read about specific people groups and their needs.read more
Just ran across a set of 4 mission posters from Oriental Trading that would be great for anyone who is teaching the Biblical basis of missions to kids and youth. Posters measure 22 x 17 inches. They have color photos of international children and a left border of international flags. Each poster has one of these mission-related Bible verses:
The set costs $7.25 US. You can order the posters online or call 1.800.875.8480.read more
How can the Bible be one book and 66 books? Is Psalms before or after Joshua? Did Abraham and Moses know each other? Children sometimes have difficulty understanding how the books of the Bible fit together in time and space and how the same God is at work through the ages. DiscipleLand created a Bible Water Slide Chart to help elementary-age kids navigate the Bible and learn how the pieces together. The sturdy, full-color sleeve is 5×9 inches. One side features Old Testament books. Turn it over for New Testament books. To use, insert the white information card into the top slit. Slide the yellow arrow down to the desired Bible book and the following information will appear in four cutout windows: the author, the theme of the book, the dates/context when the book was written, and the key event. A 10-pack costs $19.95. You can download a list of suggested ways to use the Bible slider chart with your children.
Summer is here and church lawns are decorated with colorful signs announcing Vacation Bible School. I attended VBS as a child and have served as a teacher for many years. Not only is the gospel message presented in an intentional way, but children are invited to receive Jesus as their savior. I’ve heard many stories of kids, churched and unchurched alike, accepting Jesus at VBS. My church celebrates these decisions by giving children a certificate and Bible.
But what happens between the gospel presentation and the certificate? When a child expresses interest in following Jesus, he or she is often sent to speak individually with a volunteer who can answer questions, share Bible verses, and pray with that child. Many volunteers feel ill-equipped to lead a child to Christ. Here’s a tool I just found that can help. The Good News Story is a 16-page booklet for children with seven Bible stories that focus on the gospel. It’s easy for kids to read with great illustrations. There’s even a “steps-to-salvation” chart with specific Bible verses. Comes in a set of 10 booklets.
Recently, I toured Heifer Project’s working farm in Arkansas. Originally, donated farm animals were kept there until they could be shipped overseas to poor families. The practice of shipping animals proved too costly so these days animals are purchased in the same area where the needy families live. The farm is now used for teaching. Thousands of children come on field trips to learn about the connection between farm animals and helping families to break free from the cycle of poverty.
I learned the 7 m’s, an easy way to remember what animals provide: meat, milk, materials, muscle, manure, money, and motivation. I also learned about a great program called Read to Feed ®. It gives kids the opportunity to combine leisure reading with helping hungry families around the world. We’ve featured it as our June/July Take a Stand opportunity.
Here are some books kids could read during the program to help them learn more about poverty and hunger-related issues:
Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier
Cups Held Out by Judith L. Roth
Faith the Cow by Susan Bame Hoover
Give a Goat by Jan West Schrock
The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway
Kids Against Hunger by Jon Mikkelsen
A Kid’s Guide to Hunger and Homelessness: How to Take Action by Cathryn Berger Kaye
One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway
This Child, Every Child by David J. Smith
At the end of the Read to Feed program, I’d plan a way for your kids to CELEBRATE! Invite parents to take part as well. Here are a few ideas.
- Visit a local farm or the petting area of the zoo to experience farm animals up close and personal.
- Attend a demonstration of sheep shearing, spinning wool, milking cows, making butter, etc. Check for these kinds of programs at local historical museums.
- Have kids make animal masks and have each “animal” explain what materials they provide for people.
Just came across this new 5-day mission curriculum from Regular Baptist Press: GO! 5 Mission Adventures for Kids. For grades 1-6, this curriculum introduces the Biblical foundation of missions. It offers separate Bible lessons for primary (grades 1-2) and middler/junior (grades 3-6). I appreciate that Lesson 1 includes a salvation message and opportunity for children to respond. Each day has a country focus (although not very detailed) with a corresponding snack. Lessons run about 80 minutes and include a Bible session, memory verse, prayer time, international snack, and songs. Optional materials for longer sessions include a brief missionary biography that matches the day’s country focus as well as mission prayer journal activities.
Day 1: Telling the World: What a Great Commission, India country focus, William Carey
Day 2: Pray Around the World, Burma country focus, Adoniram Judson
Day 3: Missionaries in the Old Testament, China country focus, Hudson Taylor
Day 4: What it Takes to be a Missionary, Bangladesh country focus, Mary Lou Brownell
Day 5: Changed!, Brazil country focus, Ken and Renny Snare
This set comes with a director’s guide, resource CD (student activity materials, 12 songs in mp3 format, art and logos), a world map, and posters. Download samples of the director’s guide and Lesson 1 content here.
Here’s a great prayer tool to engage your kids in interceding for children around the world who have limited or no access to the gospel. This coloring book has 25 beautiful line drawings of children, five from each of the THUMB [tribal, Hindu, unreligious (atheist), Muslim, and Buddhist] religious blocs. Each drawing includes the name and location of the featured people group. In the middle of the book is a “Where Are the THUMB Peoples?” map activity. Simple explanations of what each religious bloc believes along with brief prayer requests help children go beyond coloring to praying. Includes ideas for using the coloring pages in a mission festival, intergenerational prayer event, Christian school classroom, and homeschool setting. This coloring book is suggested for ages 5-10, but the drawings have enough detail that older kids who like art would also enjoy it.
Here’s the good news. You can get this book for less than a Starbuck’s latte. The price has been reduced to $1.50 plus shipping and handling.
Need a world map to use for your children’s mission activities? This colorful fabric map is light, portable, and will do the trick in most cases. It’s 3 x 5 foot, a good size to use with groups. Whether I’m doing an activity with my church kids or packing for an overseas ministry trip, this fabric map is one of the first things I grab. Here are three prayer activities your children will enjoy that use this map.
Stickers for the World
Materials: fabric world map, blindfold, stickers (Bible, cross, or heart shapes)
Directions: Attach the map to a wall. Blindfold a child and give him a sticker. Direct the child to walk toward the map, touch it, and attach the sticker. Read the name of the country closest to the sticker. Pray for God’s word (Bible sticker) to come to the people who live in that country OR pray for the people in that country to receive Jesus (cross or heart sticker) into their hearts.
Kids Like Me
Materials: fabric world map
Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have the children take off their shoes and sit around the map. Choose 4-5 children to stand on a country on the map. Read the names of the countries they choose. Let each child standing on the map pray for the children who live there, using one of the following categories. Here is a sample prayer: “God, please help the kids in Ecuador who like soccer to come to know you.”
same age same hair color
same eye color same grade
same name same favorite color
same sport or hobby same number of people in family
same kind of pet same favorite school subject
Materials: fabric world map, bandaids (don’t remove back), bag with the following 6 items: piece of fruit, cup, notebook, picture of house or house from Monopoly game, picture of mom and dad, medicine bottle
Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have the children take off their shoes and sit around the map. Choose children to put a bandaid on each of the following continents: Europe, South America, Africa, North America, Asia, and Australia. Tell the children that many boys and girls around the world don’t have what they need to grow up healthy and strong. Choose a child to pull one item out of the bag. Talk about what it represents (see below). Have the child pick up a bandaid from the map and replace it with the item chosen from the bag. Pray for God to provide for the need represented. For example: “God, please help the kids in Asia to have the medicine and doctors they need to stay healthy.”
fruit=hunger home picture=homeless
notebook=no access to education mom and dad picture=orphans
cup=without clean water medicine=without healthcare
It’s sometimes difficult to find missions materials for teens that are both engaging and informative. Here’s a new resource that fits the bill: Volume 4 of “The Waiting World” series. This special edition DVD contains six videos introducing the 10/40 Window and four worldviews prevalent among people groups in that region of the world: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and animism/tribalism. The sixth video is a music video set to Israel Houghton’s song, “We Speak to Nations.” The videos are short, 7-9 minutes each. They can be used to introduce a time of prayer for the nations or to help explain the worldview of a people group to whom church missionaries are ministering. Video content might also serve as a springboard for discussion with teens about elements of these worldviews that they observe in their own culture. To see sample videos or information on how to order this DVD, click here.
You can teach elementary-aged kids the same concepts featured in Volume 4 by using the “10/40 Window Kids” CD/DVD curriculum. If you want to go deeper with kids or are looking for mission-based VBS or summer programming materials, use the “THUMB Teacher’s Resource Kit,” also in CD/DVD format. This 6-lesson curriculum explores major non-Christian worldviews held by tribal, Hindu, unreligious (atheist), Muslim, and Buddhist groups. Each lesson includes a video, crafts, games, and other cultural activities. The kit includes 4 sets of Kids’ Prayer Cards to get your kids praying for children who don’t know Jesus.read more
Looking for a creative way to help your church understand God’s heart for the nations and the state of missions today? Do I have the book for you. The Kids’ Mission Skits book has 20 highly motivational dramas that can be presented to children or adult audiences. This book has been updated to reflect current mission statistics and now comes in downloadable format. 14 creative and fun skits on mission topics are suitable for children and youth to perform. They include a children’s version of the worldview demonstration.
The skit book also contains six historical narratives of these famous missionaries – Gladys Aylward, Elisabeth Elliot, Eric Liddell, David Livingstone/Florence Nightingale, Harriet Tubman, and William Tyndale. These monologues are perfect for high school youth (or adults) to perform for children. Some churches have built time machines and had different missionaries emerge in costume to perform their monologue.
Drama is a great way to add ongoing missions education into your church’s mid-week programming or weekend classes. This book is also perfect for mission conferences! You can see the table of contents or sample skits here.read more
If you don’t have a 2011 calendar yet, (I always wait to buy mine after New Year’s when they’re half off) here’s one to consider, especially if you have a heart for the people of China. This year’s Intercessors for China wall calendar has the theme “Children and the Fight for Joy.” There are adorable photos of children and a prayer item for every day of the year. Main topics include God’s glory, family, church, workplace, government, poor and outcasts, and children. All the Saturdays have requests for boys and girls in different regions! You can see sample pages here. If you order the calendar, make sure to select the language you want – it comes in both Chinese and English.read more
With the launch of the new edition of Operation World, adults can join a 60-day prayer movement to intercede for the nations and ask God to fill the earth with his glory. What about the kids? Here are some great resources to get children involved in praying for their peers around of the world, especially those who have little access to the gospel. The first two use the THUMB acrostic.
T is for Tribal
H is for Hindu
U is for Unreligious (or atheist)
M is for Muslim
B is for Buddhist
1) Kids Prayer Cards: 25 colorful cards with a carabiner clip highlight children from 22 different people groups. Three activity cards give your kids directions for painting tribal art, making an Indian snack, and meeting and making friends with internationals in their own neighborhood. For ages 7-10. Get more details and see a sample card here.
2) THUMB Coloring Book: Black-line drawings of 25 children in unreached cultures. Includes suggestions for using the coloring book, important facts about other belief systems, focused prayer points, and a world map indicating where each people group lives. For ages 5-10.
3) Window on the World: This 220-page book uses an A-Z format to teach children about countries and people groups. Each 2-page spread includes a map, information on the people, and prayer points. Now in paperback. For elementary ages, but some have used this book effectively with middle schoolers as well.
4) Free resource: The pray page on the Stand4kids website features a month’s worth of photos of children around the world, each with a prayer request.read more
Voice of the Martyrs has a new Kids of Courage Vacation Bible school curriculum for kids ages 5–13. Content conveys the struggles endured by persecuted Christians in age-appropriate ways – no graphic descriptions or scary photos. The emphasis is on the persecuted Christians’ courage, obedience, joy, and perseverance in following Christ.
Children will hear stories of real kids in five countries: Egypt, China, India, Nigeria, and North Korea. Activities encourage students to pray for believers who are suffering for the faith and offers suggestions for hands-on projects to help persecuted Christians around the world.
Although the curriculum is designed to be used in a 5-day VBS setting, some components can be adapted to other venues likes Sunday School, Christian school classes, homeschool co-ops, AWANA, and kids clubs. For an overview of lesson themes, full list of components, and sample activities, click here.read more
Join millions of Christians worldwide in praying for the Muslim world August 11-September. 9. During this period, Muslims will observe of the fast of Ramadan. Here’s an easy way to involve children in your family, class, or club in interceding for Muslim kids around the world. The 30-Days Prayer Network produces a “Just for Kids” booklet for children and families with information on Muslim people groups in many countries, activities, and prayer points.To learn more about Ramadan, download Ramadan Basics in the “Free Stuff” section of Resources on our website.
If you’d like to introduce children to kids around the world who live in Muslim cultures, check out the Kids Around the World CD/DVD elementary sets. The series includes the following Muslim people groups: the Turks of Turkey, three Central Asian groups (Kazakhs, Tajiks, Uzbeks), the Malay of Southeast Asia, and two groups in Africa (Riffi Berbers and Fulani). Each DVD has a 5-10 minute video shot on site and narrated by children. CDs include activities on geography, flags, language, food, games, crafts, Bible lessons, and prayer activities for the specific people group.read more
When it comes to getting your kids to connect at a heart level with children from other cultures, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Are you hunting for visuals for an upcoming children’s mission festival or conference? I’ve been there. A few years back, I scoured children’s magazines and calendars for colorful, engaging photos of boys and girls from around the world. I also looked for simple maps that would help my students locate where these international children lived. Here are some ready-made visuals that can make your preparation easier and bring your kids face-to-face with a lost world.read more
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