Monday, October 25, 2010

Creative Phase: The Tabernacle

The church plant that we are a part of offers a Family Brunch twice a month.  We brunch together and then I lead a children's worship service afterwards.  Last Sunday, I told the children the Godly Play story, "Die Bundeslade und das Zelt der Begegnung" ("The Ark of the Covenant and the Tent of Meeting").  The story was completely new to the children and even my son, who is quite knowledgeable about the Bible, was unfamiliar with the Tabernacle and its furnishings. 

Typically, after a Godly Play Story, the children choose their own art materials and express their thoughts on the story (or anything else they are thinking about!) to explore what they have heard or express worship to God.  There is a great discussion in German Godly Play circles about whether the creative phase can be "angeleitet" (instructional or not) and this same discussion is also going on in the Montessori world over how much an art lesson/project can be instructional.  (If it bugs anyone that I throw German words into my sentences, I can't do anything about it.  It just expresses who I am during this season of life.)  I happen to think that it can as long as the children have room to determine the course and outcome of their creation and I experiment with such in our worship service.

All that to say that on Sunday, we had an instructional creative phase based on the Tabernacle story.  I got the idea while doing an autumn art project from Deep Space Sparkle with my kids in which we painted leaves with white paint and made prints on black paper.

1. First I made stamps for the children using foam rubber and sponges based on the furniture in the Tabernacle (accidentally left out the bronze basin filled with water!), symbols for the Trinity, and a person.

(You might be wondering why I included the symbols for the Trinity.  I have been heavily influenced by Tim Keller's "Christocentric" method of teaching and I try to help the children see that the Old and New Testaments have a natural relationship to them rather than being separate entities that have nothing to do with one another.)

2. Next I instructed the children to think of a place where there they like to meet with God and paint this as a background of sorts.

3. Then, the children were encouraged to add the stamps, as many or as few as they saw fit, to their pictures.

The children, even the youngest (age 3), took lots of time with their pictures and the results were quite dramatic. (They especially loved the gold paint!)

 (age 7)

 (age 6)

(age 3)

(age 4)

I love my job!!


  1. I just discovered your blog after googling Godly Play tabernacle - what a nice discovery! I'm an Episcopal priest in Texas with a passion for GP/Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Loved your idea for the sponge painting. Thank you!

  2. Hi Jennings, Nice to meet you! Would love to hear more about your GP/Catechesis experiences. Do you have a blog? Feel free to join the conversation here. There are several other blogs in my sidebar on both GP and Catechesis and we dialogue through commenting on each others' blogs.: )