Ordering the Books of the Bible with Ping Pong Balls

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Last year I made a Books of the Bible Puzzle as a hands-on way for kids at our church to remember the order of the books of the Bible.  I thought it was time for a new activity and found inspiration from our Ping Pong Alphabet Bounce.


Here’s what you’ll need:  ping pong balls, a sharpie, 1″ white circle labels, and several white foam egg cartons.  


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I taped two 12-count egg cartons and one 18-count egg carton together on the underside using packing tape.


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Write the books of the Bible on the circle labels AND the ping pong balls.



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Match the ping pong with the labels on the egg cartons!




Check out more Sunday School ideas here.


Building Solomon’s Temple with Golden Blocks

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I am still working on supplementing our church’s curriculum for the unit on Solomon.  It is so intriguing to read about the building of the temple–how all the stones were pre-cut and no tool could be heard in temple while it was being built and all of the ornate materials used .  Since the temple was so magnificent, I didn’t want the children to build it with plain old building blocks.  It needed to be something extra special…hence building with golden blocks!


“And Solomon overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold, and he drew chains of gold across, in front of the inner sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold.  And he overlaid the whole house with gold, until all the house was finished. Also the whole altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold.”  -1 Kings 6:21-22


Here’s what you’ll need:  wooden building blocks and gold spray paint.  



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I purchased two sets of these blocks to make sure there was enough for a group of kids.



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 I laid them out on some plastic and then painted them with gold spray paint.  I let them dry for an hour, then turned the blocks and painted again.  All-in-all, I turned the blocks a total of four times.  Enough overspray got on the remaining two faces of the blocks that I didn’t need to spray 6 times.


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We used this blueprint to make the birds-eye view of the temple.

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SolomonsTemple“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


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Check out more Sunday School activities/ideas here and on our Pinterest board.

Proverbs 22:1 Activity for Preschoolers

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  Last year our church purchased and implemented a brand new curriculum.  It is wonderful but it needs some supplementation, especially for the younger children.  I am in the process of writing supplemental lessons for a unit on Solomon and needed an activity for our 4-year old class on this specific proverb. This Proverbs 22:1 Activity for preschoolers is easy and quick…two of my favorite things about Sunday school crafts!  I made a free Proverbs 22:1 printable that will make it even easier!  

“A good name is more desirable than great riches.”  -Proverbs 22:1

  Here’s what you’ll need:  this free printable (printed on card stock), a pencil, acrylic jewels and golden glitter glue (which were sent to us compliments of CraftProjectIdeas.com).   IMG 1402 Proverbs 22:1 Activity for Preschoolers

1.  Print out the free printable on card stock and then have each child write his/her name very large on the paper.

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2.  Have each child use the gold glitter glue (or puff paint) to trace his/her name.

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While the children are working, talk about what it means to have a “good name”.  In this context, it means having a good reputation, or what other people think about you.  The only way that you can have a “good name” (reputation) is by making good decisions that others see and being honest and trustworthy.

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3.  Add the acrylic jewels on top of the glitter glue.

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Let it dry and brainstorm ways that children can develop “a good name” through the daily decisions they make.


Check out more Sunday School ideas here and our Pinterest board.

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A Back to School Prayer for our Kids

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Sometimes I get frustrated that the Bible gives us such little explicit instruction on the task of raising children.  Honestly, there are few things that matter more than raising up the next generation to love the Lord.  I have been a little weepy at the thought of my firstborn starting first grade this week.  His love for life and zeal for God is amazing (and encourages me daily), but there is still so much I feel like we need to teach him.

As I was pondering all of this over the weekend, I began thinking about Jesus and how Mary must have felt when he was growing up.  Obviously Jesus was the perfect Son of God and would never sin even in his youth…but I find comfort in knowing that even so, Mary and Joseph probably discussed the best ways to bring him up just like my husband and I do about our very imperfect children.  The Bible tell us so little about Jesus’s childhood.   But there is one tiny verse that encompasses the monumental years of his youth that I have been dwelling on:

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
-Luke 2:52

As school begins once again, this is the verse I am praying for my children, specifically for my oldest.  It includes three of the most important aspects of a child’s life:  mind, body, and spirit.  Each of these aspects come with their own strengths and weaknesses, with obstacles and challenges to overcome in every facet of life.


In Wisdom

Lord, I pray that you will allow Caleb to grow in wisdom this year.  I pray that he will learn everything he is expected to know academically.  I pray that he will be successful in his studies and that he will be a diligent worker in what is asked of him.  Most of all, Lord, I pray that you would allow Him to grow in YOUR wisdom.  Help him to learn more about your character through his interactions with others.  Help the scriptures and stories we have been sharing with him from your Word to be a lamp to his feet and a light to his path.  Give us, his parents, the wisdom to help him discern between right and wrong in the situations he is faced with this year.  Above all else, help him learn to love You more.


In Stature

Lord, I thank you for the lives of our children.  I thank you that they are healthy.  I pray that you will protect their bodies and help them to continue to grow strong.  Protect them from illness and harm, Lord.

As school begins, I pray that Caleb will know that he is created in your image.  I pray that he will know that is “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  I pray that he will know that You created him exactly the way that you want him to be.  At times, words from others can be cruel.  Protect his heart and help him to rest in the truth that he is a priceless gift to us and, most importantly, to You…so much so that you sent your son for him.


In Favor with God and Man

Lord, I pray that you would allow Caleb to be a light for you.  I pray that he would be obedient to his teachers and kind to his classmates.  I pray that he will show kindness and compassion to everyone, but especially those who are treated poorly by others.  Give him the strength to stand up for the outcasts.  I pray that he will have integrity to do the right thing even when no one is looking.  Help him to surround himself with people who will help him grow closer to you.  I pray that he will be both a leader and a follower– a follower of yours but a leader for his peers.  Help his words and actions to be pleasing to you.


All this I ask in the name of your son Jesus.  Amen.



No matter whether your child will be attending public school, private school, or will be homeschooled, I think this prayer is all-encompassing for what we desire for our kids.  And I fully realize I am asking God for a lot…I certainly don’t expect my children to be perfect.  In fact, I need to pray much of this same prayer for myself.  But this is what I most desire for the lives of my children.

When we place the well being of our children in God’s very capable hands through prayer, we are surrendering control to Him.  I’m not sure there is anything else as equally scary, freeing, and comforting as this.  All I know is that He is certainly more capable than I am!



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PS- I thought I would create a printable scripture card for those of us who wish to consistently pray this prayer for our kids throughout the year.  Stick it on your bathroom mirror or in the visor on your car…any place that you will see it regularly.  There are 4 identical cards on a page…you can print one for yourself and give the others to friends/neighbors if you would like.

Click on the image below to access the printable file:


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Is your child heading off to school soon?  What else would you add to this prayer?  




Books about the Tough Stuff: Stranger Safety, Safe Touches, and How Babies Are Made

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We live in an imperfect world.  At times it even seems cruel and dangerous.  As much as I want to raise my children to believe that every person is good and loving, unfortunately this is not the case.  I want my children to always look for the good in people, but also know just enough that they won’t naively become a victim.

I’m sharing these books because I think they are a great way to open conversations with our kids about some very tough issues…issues we don’t want to discuss, but need to.  It’s our job as parents to protect our children and one way we can do this is by empowering them to help themselves through knowledge and education!

I’m sharing books about stranger safety, good touches, and even where babies come from!  I am a Bible-believing Christian, so the books I recommend come through this lens.  I will include any references to Christianity in the book description so that you will be informed about the content of the book, whether you share the same beliefs that I do or not.  I suggest using these books as a springboard for your own family discussions.  The books themselves will do little good unless there is follow-up afterwards. 


 Stranger Safety

I’ve never liked the term “stranger danger”, even as catchy as it is to say and remember.  I don’t want my children to be fearful of strangers because 99.9% of the strangers they meet are actually kind and good.  I want my children to know that it is okay to talk to strangers when they are with Mommy and Daddy.  In fact, my husband and I encourage it.  We want them to be friendly and respectful to the people that they meet.  Since our children are always with one of us (or a trusted adult like a grandparent, teacher, or a very rare babysitter), this isn’t a problem.   As they get older, however, they need to know that talking to strangers without us is not a good idea…just in case.

Big Brother is at the age where this discussion needs to take place.  He is extremely friendly and can carry on a conversation with any person of any age (he takes after his Daddy).  As endearing and adorable as it is, it is time to set some boundaries on the issue of stranger safety.


The Berenstain Bears learn about Strangers Books about the Tough Stuff:  Stranger Safety, Safe Touches, and How Babies Are MadeThe Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers by Stan & Jan Berenstain

This book is a great resource for parents who wish to instill a sense of caution into their children regarding the issue of strangers without being scary or intimidating.  Brother Bear and Sister Bear are very different when it comes to strangers–Brother Bear is very shy and cautious and Sister Bear is friendly and will talk to anyone.  Papa Bear talks to Sister Bear about the dangers of talking to strangers and she becomes scared until Mama Bear clarifies with apples as an illustration.  Most apples in the barrel are just fine, but there is sometimes a rotten one in the bunch.  When a stranger has a model airplane that Brother is interested in, he forgets all about his caution with strangers and nearly gets in the car with the owner of the model airplane.  Sister intervenes and the family has another discussion.  The incident is not scary, which I appreciated, especially since was the first time I’ve discussed this topic with my children.  A list of “rules” can be found at the back of the book, which I modified slightly to best fit our family’s needs. This book would be appropriate for children ages three to five and is a good introduction into the discussion of stranger safety.

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Not Everyone is Nice by Frederick Alimonti and Ann Tedesco

This book is much more intimidating than The Berenstain Bears and is probably more appropriate for older children (6+).  A young girl named Kathy has an incident as she is waiting for her mom to pick her up from school.  As she is waiting, a “nice” man pulls up in his car and begins to talk to her.  After chatting with the girl and building her trust, the stranger then tries to lure her into the car with candy, assuring Kathy that he will take her home since he lives on the same street.  Her mom arrives right before the child gets in the car and the stranger zooms away when questioned by the mother.  After the incident, Kathy’s dad talks to her about how some people may seem nice, but they really might be dangerous.  He then introduces her to several ocean animals that appear harmless, yet are extremely deadly.  I have not read this to my children yet, but will keep tucked away until they are slightly more mature (or if an incident happens close to our home).  I think it is a great resource for school-aged children, especially for children who are no longer supervised 100% of the time.

Safe Touches

This is the part of the post where I get a little squeamish.  I don’t like talking about this stuff with adults, let alone children.  It disgusts and even angers me that there is a need to discuss it.  But sadly, there is and it makes me want to cry.  According to Parents for Megan’s Law:

  • “1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday.
  • Children are most vulnerable between the ages of 8-12 .
  • Children with disabilities are 4 to 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than their non-disabled peers.”

These statistics are scary.  I don’t want my child to become a victim just because his parents are naive and don’t equip our child with this vital information.  Here are some books that I found to be helpful when discussing “safe touches” with your child.

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God Made Me:  The Safe Touch Coloring Book by Dr. Beth Robinson

This coloring book written by Dr. Beth Robinson, who happens to be my Dad’s cousin, was created after she was asked to counsel a church where a 9-year old boy had molested younger children during small group meetings held in homes.  The coloring book is designed to be a non-threatening way for parents to educate their children about sexual safety.  The book starts off telling all the things that God created, “And best of all, God created me.”  The book then goes on to state how God wants us to take care of our bodies (brushing teeth, washing hands, etc) and then begins the discussion of safe touches.  Nearly every aspect of sexual abuse is tackled in this little coloring book, including assuring the child that he/she won’t get in trouble for telling a trusted adult, that it’s not okay to keep secrets when someone touches you, and a place to write the names of the grownups that you can trust.  I think this is the perfect way to introduce sexual safety to your children without it being scary or intimidating.  Even though it is a coloring book and the illustrations are black-and-white, it is the book I recommend ahead of all the others.  If you aren’t religious, there is also a generic Safe Touch Coloring Book that is available that does not include any references to God.

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Your Body Belongs to You by Cornelia Spelman

Your Body Belongs to You is a great introduction for very young children to the concept of sexual safety.  The book is written in short sentences with colorful illustrations.  The author encourages children not to give or accept hugs if they don’t want to.  I admit that I often encourage my kids to give hugs or show affection to relatives and close friends, even when they might be hesitant at first.  After all, I don’t want them to be rude!  But I think this book helped me see the need to read my child’s body language to assess whether they feel genuinely uncomfortable or are just being strong-willed and noncompliant.  This book does not go in-depth about  unsafe touches, but does tell children that the parts of your body that are covered up with a swimsuit should never be touched, unless a parent or trusted adult is helping you bathe or go to the bathroom OR when you go to the doctor.  Overall, I think this is a helpful book for very young children.  If you’re looking for a more thorough book (for slightly older children), I would suggest the other books shared in this section.

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I Said No!  A kid-to-kid Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private by Zack and Kimberly King

This is a unique book because it is co-authored by a mother-son team.  Kimberly is a kindergarten teacher who decided to write this book, along with her son, as way to help him heal after an incident where inappropriate touching occurred at a sleepover at his best friend’s house.  The book is written in first person from Zack’s perspective and is quite a bit longer than the other two I shared above.  It is more appropriate for school-aged children and it includes specific scenarios that a child should watch out for.  The book is written for a parent to read to a child and includes some discussion thoughts throughout.  The book does not use the names for private parts, but encourages the parent and child to talk about them saying, “There are doctor names and lots of other names for your private parts!  We are sure you have heard of a few of them!  You might want to talk about some of those names now.”  The book teaches a child to identify “red flag” and “green flag” people as a way to know which adults you can feel safe and comfortable with.  The book also talks extensively about treats, bribes, and threats and how they might be used to make a child do something they aren’t comfortable with.  One thing that I DON’T appreciate about this book is the fact that the author uses the word “heck” (i.e. Get the heck out of there!).  Although I understand that this language is meant to convey urgency, this is not a word we use in our house. This isn’t a huge problem right now because I can edit it while reading aloud, but I still would have preferred the author use a different phrase.

How Babies are Made

The question is inevitable.  At some point during the first several years of your child’s life, he/she will ask how babies are made (or where they come from).  If you’ve never watched this Kia commercial, watch it for a good laugh.  As much as we might want to credit storks or space launches from Baby-landia for the little bundles of joy, it isn’t going to fly  for our kids (even if it is much easier on us).  :)

With sexuality constantly in our faces in one form or another (via billboards, the internet, television, or scantily-clad women), it is important to equip our children with facts and sex and procreation…censored facts for their tender ages, but facts nonetheless.  I am sharing two books for your regarding this issue:  One for younger kids (ages 5 to 6) and one for slightly older children (7 to 8).  Both of these books are part of the God’s Design for Sex series.  Obviously, both of these books are written from a Christian perspective with Biblical teaching on our bodies and sexuality.

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The Story of Me by Stan and Brenna Jones

This book begins with a small boy asking his Daddy and Mommy to tell him where he came from.  His Mom and Dad begin by telling him that God created both him and his Mommy and Daddy (and their Mommies and Daddies).  God began by having his Mommy and Daddy love each other.  Then after they were married, God took a tiny piece of his Daddy’s body and a tiny piece of his Mommy’s body and made him.  God made a special place in his Mommy’s body for him to grow while he was a tiny baby.  And then when it was time, the baby came out.  The book uses medical words for the body parts, which you may or  may not be comfortable with.  I personally would rather my kids know the actual names of their body parts rather than nicknames.  After this description, the book the proceeds to talk about how God made us to love and obey him.  It also tells how we can show love to each other by hugs and kisses, and taking care of each other.  There is a short page that describes how hugs and kisses aren’t good if you don’t want them.  “God doesn’t want anyone to take love from you that you don’t want to share.”

Overall, I think this is a good book for traditional families who are striving to raise their children to love and honor God in the way that is shared in the Bible.  This book might be confusing for children who were adopted, although there is a short mention  in the book regarding adoption.  This book would also cause more questions for children who are raised in a single-parent family.  The publisher recommends this book for ages 3-5.  I would say that it is more appropriate for ages 5-6 or even older!

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Before I Was Born by Carolyn Nystrom

I’ll be honest:  I nearly had an anxiety attack while reading this book.  It is VERY descriptive in words and pictures, even though the pictures are soft and muted.  The publisher recommends this book for children ages 5 and 8.  I have a five-year old and there is NO WAY that we will be reading this book within the next year or two.  Not because I think it is bad or dirty, but because I don’t think he is ready for it.  I do, however, think it is an important book to read when the time is right (like 22…just kidding, around 7-9).  This important information needs to come from PARENTS first, not peers or schools.  We need to be responsible for ensuring that our children know how God created our bodies.  Again, this book approaches the subject of sex from a Biblical viewpoint, including the fact that God designed sex to take place when two people are married.  It also goes into a lot of detail regarding conception, pregnancy, and birth.  Overall, it is a beneficial book for parents to use a springboard for “the talk”.


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Phew…now we’ve tackled a few of the tough subjects in life with books.  Which books do you prefer to use for teaching these subjects?  

Also, be sure to check out these books on another super tough subject:  Death, loss, and grief.  

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