Friday, February 1, 2013

Some more Response Time Ideas

A Godly Play classroom can include all kinds of materials to help children creatively respond to and wonder about the the stories. And not just the classic story materials and art supplies that are usually seen. 

In Holland, our colleague, An from Belgium, brought these wooden toys for us to use in our response times. 

This hammer set is manufactured with younger children in mind to work on fine motor skills, but older children, teenagers and adults could also have a great time working with it in a Godly Play classroom. 

I like that whatever you create is not permanent and will eventually be taken apart. This helps children get away from the idea that our artistic endeavors are always something that we have to keep forever and put on our wall at home. Like land art, it a moment to be enjoyed between a child and God.

During one of our response times in Holland, I actually had a rather profound prayer experience  using the wooden Mandala above. I dumped all the blocks out and began making patterns with the colors. I watched as order and beauty came from chaos, and some of the shapes that come out of this had spiritual significance for me. It helped me to "hear" God's voice in a different way. 

As I've written in other posts, I also include Montessori Practical Life activities on my shelves when I have younger children present. Leslie from Thoughts from the Sheepfold has an article here that I have read over and over again about why we do this. 

Here is what we call a "transfer activity" below. The child transfers a hungry bird on the right to each apple in the ice tray on the left. This develops simple math skills and trains fine motor skills. 

When I visited my colleague, Heidi, in Wittenberg last fall, she had another interesting idea on her shelves. She had cut A4 mats of burlap and had a basket with bundles of colored wool in it. The children could then make pictures out of the wool by attaching it to the burlap. The unspun wool sticks to the burlap, so there is not need for glue. You'll be seeing more of that idea in our upcoming Easter Club 2013!

Burlap is an all natural fibre, and its rough texture is a
nice contrast to the soft wool.

What creative Response Materials have you used in your Godly Play settings?


  1. I love this and if I felt comfortable doing this with the preschoolers I would be putting together all these beautiful works.

    It breaks my heart that I am not able to share Godly Play with them for various reasons. Maybe one day!!

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. You know, there is a season for everything, and that season will probably come for you in the future. But right now, enjoy all of the brilliant things that you are already doing with your kids and Janessa. I honestly stand amazed at all that you do in one week.

  2. I love the burlap/wool idea - I will have to have a go. two popular response materials have been playdough coloured and scented with fruit or herb teas - very delicate, and particularly good for adults - also very cheap! My two boys have really enjoyed beading - onto elastic thread - I have been amazed at their concentration and ability with tiny beads. Bigger beads have been good for those with disabilities.

    1. Oh, those are both great ideas! I have seen recipes for scented playdough, but haven't tried it yet. And the beads are something worth offering as well. Thanks!

  3. What fun activity ideas, the little wooden shapes with hammer and tacks was one of my favorite things to play with as a child, I have a set that I haven't brought out in quite some time, what a fun idea. I also love the wool and burlap idea, I will have to give that a try as well. :)

  4. Wow, I didn't know those existed when we were kids. I certainly didn't have anything like it. I bought one for my little niece for Christmas. She is three and one of my favorite pictures is one of her with that little hammer in her hand.: )

  5. Do you presnet all these things, or just leave them out for the children to discover? Do you go around at the beginning of response time and ask each child what they will work on? If so, how will they know to choose these other items if they are not presented?

  6. Hi there, It depends on the context of the Godly Play lesson. If the children are already familiar with the classroom and know that they can choose activities from the shelves, then I wait until he or she chooses something and expresses a wish for it to be presented. However, in an after-school setting where the children are only together for 4 weeks and unfamiliar with the classroom, I explain the what the activities are before the Response Time. Then, I present the activity when a child chooses it.