A Sharefaith Kids Interview with Carolyn Warvel. Sunday School crafts have long been a staple of kids Bible lessons – and for good reason! They promote fine motor skills, self-esteem and creative learning, to name a few. Sharefaith Kids sat down with Carolyn Warvel, creator of Danielle’s Place, one of the premier online resources for Sunday School crafts for kids. Weather you are a seasoned crafter or a beginner in need of help, we think Carolyn’s insights and practical tips, will encourage and help you in your planning.
Sunday School Crafts For Kids
How do you come up with your craft and game ideas?
I have made Sunday School crafts and games my whole life. I can remember sitting in church as a child drawing mazes and making folding games to entertain myself. I checked out every craft book we had in our local library and experimented with all kinds of techniques. I worked with every kind of media I could get my hands on. This has proven to be very helpful to me today when I’m creating new crafts because I kind of know what will work and what won’t. Even so, I often surprise myself.
I start with a theme or Bible passage for my lessons. I research more, brainstorm, and ask myself a simple question: “What can my students learn from this message?”
I generate my best ideas when I’m not altogether concentrating on the process. Sometimes I come up with new crafts by just playing around with craft supplies, folding and unfolding, cutting, stapling, putting different things together, etc. If I need to make something specific like a bird, I might grab a cup or paper plate and experiment.
What basic crafting items should Sunday School teachers always have on hand?
Paper – lots of colorful paper, card stock, construction, and printer paper. Colored pencils or highlighter markers are great for older children. I use a lot of everyday items such as paper plates, cups, and cardboard from boxes. I suggest looking for stickers, lace, beads, feathers, buttons and anything that might be used to decorate crafts at yard sales or second-hand stores. Also consider collecting natural items such as acorns, pinecones, leaves, and river rocks when you can find them.
What makes a great craft?
There are several factors that make a great craft. The most important is it has to be cheap, easy to prepare, age appropriate, and relate to the lesson in some way. I especially like to use crafts that young children can manipulate and play with like toys when they are finished. Crafts that they can use to reenact the lesson or crafts that tell a story are great learning tools, as well as ones that help them remember Bible verses.
For older children I like the more creative crafts that are personalized. I try to include additional learning activities like acting out the story, and games that help them review the lesson or memorize the Bible verse.
Where do you look for inspiration?
When I first launched my website I would check out craft books from the library. Now, Pinterest is a great source for idea gathering. As an author, I generate my own ideas, but I appreciate that there’s so much creativity out there.
How do you determine what ages a craft is good for?
Most crafts can be adapted to many age groups. It really depends on the abilities and interests of your students. If you have a class of mostly boys, learning games may be more appropriate than a craft to reinforce the lesson. You really have to get to know your students to determine what crafts they will like best. Also if you have a large class, you might want to pick a craft that doesn’t take as much time to set up. Experience will help you decide. I usually include several different crafts in my lessons so that if one is too complicated or takes up too much time, the teacher can pick an easier craft.
Why are physical Sunday School crafts still important for kids?
I think it is very important to have the hands-on experience. Children learn more when they can create something themselves. It not only reinforces the lesson, but it teaches them self-reliance, gives them a sense of pride in accomplishing something, improves their manual dexterity, and gives them the opportunity to discover how to use new tools, materials and methods. When creating, children are interacting with each other, learning from each other and sharing their ideas.
What advice would you give Sunday School teachers who don’t consider themselves to be crafty?
There are so many resources out there that you really don’t have to be crafty to present an interesting lesson. Not all people are crafty, and not all students will want to make things, but we are all creative in some way. Use your creativity to come up with ways to present the lesson and techniques to reinforce the lesson that you are comfortable with and your students will enjoy. If you really don’t feel comfortable preparing Sunday School crafts, consider co-teaching with someone.
Always over prepare for a lesson in case something you present doesn’t work out or you have an extra-long class period. I have a 30-page free printout of fast and easy games that can be prepared in no time to supplement your lesson if needed. Carry game supplies with you or store them in your classroom so they are available when needed. You can use blocks, dominos, index cards, ping pong balls, white boards, balloons, bean bags, and many more items to create games that are fun and reinforce your lesson or help your children memorize a Bible verse in no time.
We’d like to give a special shout out to Carolyn Warvel for sharing for her wealth of insight and experience. If you’d like to explore her extensive library of crafts be sure and visit Danielle’s Place today.
Sunday School Lessons For Kids
Sunday School lessons and crafts go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you are looking for some Christ-centered Sunday School lessons that feature amazing design and powerful storytelling be sure and check out Sharefaith Kids. Our library of 100 lessons will take your crafts to the next level.