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Creating an Environment the Pixar Way

16 Aug

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Right now the Minneapolis Science Museum is sponsoring a special exhibit called The Science Behind Pixar

The exhibit runs through Labor Day and is worth a visit. Not only do you learn about all the cool math and science behind the movies, there are lots of photo opportunities with characters from the films. My favorite part, however, was the short video clips of people who work at Pixar explaining what they do and why they do it.

A Set Supervisor told how he put things in the set that will evoke a memory in those watching. In the film, Ratatouille, you find him looking out over Paris with the Eiffel tower in the background. In A Bug’s Life the grass is made to resemble a forest. In creating these places or in placing a prop strategically, the viewer enters into the experience by past memories.

In kid’s ministry, the way we approach designing a room or decorating an area should start with asking ourselves “what kind of experience do we want the kids to have?” When we incorporate props from their everyday life, it helps them to feel comfortable and at home. Creating an area that is imaginative will lead to curiosity and open their minds to learn. Having areas with large pillows to sit on and lean against will instill a sense of calm.

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I’ve found that there are a wide range of areas that can help children experience God. Finding one that is right for your ministry is the key. For some a large stage with fun lighting and high energy props works. For others rolling a special carpet out each week with hands on type props passed around a circle while the story is told in an engaging way works. Others love to create an environment that transforms a room into an Egyptian marketplace, a movie studio or a bubbling science lab.

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Test Tube Fun with CSI Camp.

The key is whatever we do, let’s make sure that we are thinking about the experience we want the children to have and work towards preparing that experience long before they arrive.

 

What type of experience are you creating in your ministry?

 

Top 5 Educational Summer Activities

24 Jun

With three months of summer to fill with activities, it can be challenging come up with answers when the kids state the inevitable “I’m bored”. It can be even more challenging to find enriching activities that engages kids minds, without boring them. Here are 5 ways to combat the “I’m bored” statement that are educational and fun.

1.  Nature Rubbings/Painting
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This educational, yet fun activity will get your kids outside and exploring. Collect sticks, bark, flowers, leaves, etc. and bring them back home. Take a piece of paper and carefully place it over the item from nature. Take a crayon and rub it over the top of the piece of paper. The outline and texture of the item will appear. Taking this a step further, next has your students use the items from nature as their paintbrushes and create naturalistic images.

 

2. Visit the Library

Your local library may be your best source for activities. Most libraries have some activities set up for kids around the Children’s section, while many libraries offer extensive activities, book clubs, and projects for kids to sign up for. If your library does not offer any programming, take your child to the hobbies/How To section of the Children’s area and have kids pick out a book about cooking, cars, how to draw cartoons, or whatever their interest may be. Reading through these books and completing activities that go along with them keeps kids occupied for hours.

3. Check out your local Nature Center, History Museum, or Zoo

P1000449Even if your child doesn’t like bugs, or history, or science, they are bound to be engaged at these various locations. Nature centers and museums aim at helping their subject come alive in an exciting way to kids. Most nature centers are free and many museums and zoos have free days! For example, majority of Chicago’s Museums have at least one free day a month for residents to check out their exciting exhibits.

 

4. Take a trip to Barnes and Noble and get a free book

During the summer, Barnes and Noble has a kids reading program where they can earn a free book! Barnes and Noble’s reading program is kids grade 1st-6th and they must complete three out of four different reading challenges. When completed, just bring the completed sheet to your local Barnes and Noble and your child will be able to pick out a free book! Click here to print out the reading sheet from Barnes and Noble.

5. Photo Scavenger Hunt

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Head to your local zoo or park with a list of distinguishing characteristics of animals, plants, and bugs and the kids must try and find each one and take a picture. Scavenger list ideas include: find a mammal with four legs, find a animal that is yellow, find an animal that is a bird, but can not fly. Kids will be
using their brains and sleuthing skills.

 

 

What are your favorite educational activities to do with kids in the summer?

Father’s Day

15 Jun

Each year Father’s Day creeps up on us. With Mother’s Day and Memorial day in the books and thoughts turned towards Fourth of July, Father’s Day thoughts often do not dawn until the weekend of the holiday. Plan something special for the fathers in your church community to thank them for the important task they have to be leaders in their homes and examples to their children.

Photobooth areas are a great way to capture a special memory or send a special greeting to your father or a father figure in your life. These photobooth pictures are from Mother’s Day, but could easily be altered to feature a fishing pole, football goal, or an array of comic books.

What are ways that your family or church shows appreciation to the father figures in your life?