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/ 1 August 2017

Craft or construction

Craft items in a box

Over the weeks of the summer holidays, we’re giving you some ideas of what you can get up to with children and young people during August. This might be your own family, or with a group as part of some summer outreach. Whatever the context, you’re likely to have a bit more time to spend together, so why not try something different and more ambitious?

This week, it’s craft, or construction, if you like. There are plenty of craft websites where you can get ideas for individual craft activities (one of the best is Flame), so we’re going to look more at larger craft and construction ideas.

Often when we do a craft or construction activity with children or younger young people, it’s linked to a Bible story, particularly in a Sunday group or at a holiday club. Yet, there is value in doing a project for the sheer joy of making and creating! This will help you to build relationships together, create positive memories of being with people of faith and give space for conversations to happen in a relaxed atmosphere.

Often, children and young people will struggle to open up when sitting in a group, where everyone is looking at each other. They might feel embarrassed to speak, be afraid of getting something wrong or be concerned about what their peers will think of them if they say something personal. However, doing an activity together takes away that pressure. Minds are concentrated on the task in hand, freeing a child or young person from the potential of embarrassment or ridicule. You may well find that, as you work together, children and young people start to open up a little more.

Make something out of junk

This may take a couple of weeks to gather together all your junk, but it’s worth it! Collect (and get others to collect for you too) anything that is interesting that you can use to create – cardboard boxes, egg boxes, cardboard tubes, plastic packaging, newspapers, scraps of material, bubble wrap… the list is almost endless. Make sure you don’t have anything that is sharp or dangerous.

Show all the junk to the children or young people and challenge them to create something! If the group struggles, then introduce a theme, such as space travel, under the sea or pirates. Help them decide what to make and then get to work. Be led by the children – this activity will be more memorable if they make the decisions themselves. And be ready to chat as you stick, paint and staple your way to a magnificent creation.

A specific project

You might have people in your congregation with a very particular set of skills who can come and help the children or young people create something special (though if those skills belong to Liam Neeson, I’d leave it if I were you). This could be something like pyrography, pottery or go-kart building. This will be a great chance for the children or young people to make something they’ve never made before, and a good way to introduce them to other members of your church community.

Learn a new skill

Why not challenge your children or young people to learn a new skill with you? Choose something that your group will find interesting that no one, not even you, can do. This could be something like knitting, balloon-modelling or decoupage. Use online videos and how-to manuals to learn how to do your chosen hobby. The great thing about doing it like this is that everyone is in the same boat. The children or young people will enjoy being better at it that you!

Of course, with any of these ideas, if you’re working with other people’s children in a church setting, you’ll need to adhere to your church’s safeguarding policy. However, this isn’t a barrier to sharing some creative adventures this summer!

About Alex Taylor

Alex Taylor is part of the children's and youth team at the Diocese of London. He is an experienced children's and youth worker and writer.

Read more from Alex Taylor

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