This is one of those posts where you have to look at what would work for you and your kids, take what you want and leave the rest. There is no “right way” or “look what we’re doing,” but just sharing ideas. I get lots of ideas from other moms so I like to share things my kids really enjoy. My kids are all little and close in age so it works for us right now. But don’t let anything in this make you feel like you need to do more. Just reading to your children while they’re cuddled in your lap is all they really need for a good “circle time”. 🙂
There are those days when I can’t get anyone to sit down, someone is having a meltdown, or the baby is crying and we just scrap the whole thing. But for the days when everyone is happy…
The kids love circle time. This can be done with just one child, or with lots of children. We don’t do it every week, but we try. They enjoy it even if I only do it once every week or two. Just about anything can be incorporated into circle time, but here is a layout of what we do with a 3 year old, 1.5 year old, and a 4 month old. (UPDATE: as the kids have gotten older, this has evolved into Morning Time, which is lots of reading around the breakfast table!)
1. Blanket Squares and a song
They each like to have their own little space to sit and it helps for them to have a space to return to when they decide to run around like loony toons and I tell them to go back to their blanket. We pick a fun song to start with-itsy bitsy spider, wheels on the bus, open shut them, if you’re happy and you know, head and shoulders, etc.
2. Bible Story and re-enactment
Then we read a Bible story. After reading, I may point something out about the story-like how someone showed courage or love. Then we do some sort of movement re-enacting the story. We keep it super simple and fun. Examples: After reading the Battle of Jericho we marched around the kitchen seven times, singing “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,” blew our trumpets, and then ran to the living room and fell down as the “walls came tumbling down.” They really loved this one. Another example: the story of a paralyzed man’s friends lowering him through a roof for Jesus to heal, and we used a diaper box or a hamper, little people dolls, and a washcloth to lower the man down and re-enact it. We just use whatever is laying around.
Once in a while I will do a simple craft that can be done on the floor with the kids. I am NOT a crafty person, so this will need to be easy and simple or I won’t do it. For the Battle of Jericho we colored a piece of paper, then rolled it up and taped it as our “trumpet.” Simple. Or for the pool of Siloam, we printed out a square and wadded up blue tissue paper and glued it on the square to create our pool. Then we used the little people again to re-enact Jesus healing the blind man. (John 9:1-12)
4. Bible verse
After we act out a portion of the story, we will read a Bible verse that goes along with it. My husband bought these at Lifeway Christian Bookstore. They are post it notes with Bible verses. We wanted to use them over and over so we got them laminated. I pick out a verse from these that goes well with the story we read and leave it out all week in a place where we see it as we’re walking by (on a table, taped to the wall) and read at random times or when an opportunity presents itself to use the verse.
For The Battle of Jericho, I read: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.
For the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man I read: “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20
After I read the Bible verse we get on our knees and pray. I pray the Bible verse over my children. Example, “Lord I pray that M, T, and E will be strong and courageous for you. I pray they will not be afraid or discouraged, and that they know you are always with them. Let them be strong and courageous all the days of their lives, serving you without fear.”
We end with a group hug!
And then there’s those days where I can’t get anyone to sit down, someone is having a meltdown, or the baby is crying and we just scrap the whole thing. 🙂
Oh, and as a side note, I recently listened to a researcher who wrote a book about how to connect your children’s hearts so they are bonded closely. He said that one way to do this was to have them spend time reading together. So, this is a great stepping stone to that. And just in case your curious like I would be, he said the number one way (according to his research) to bond your siblings was to have them support one another. In extra curricular activities like piano recitals, sports, or just in general encouraging one another and cheering each other on. Great info!