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Hash It Out
5 Creative Sunday School Crafts to Keep Kids Busy this Pandemic
Written by Olivia Beelby| Photography by Leona Flowers
At Mato & Hash we’ve worked with a variety of churches throughout our time as an apparel provider and printing shop. There’s no shortage of activities a church may need special t-shirts or gift bags for, and this extends to their congregations as well. The year is typically peppered with camp outings, day trips, youth group meetings, charity events, and the like. However, in a time where churches, schools, and even individuals aren’t gathering for some of their favorite activities, many parents are left wondering how to keep their children occupied, engaged, and in touch with their religious values. Considering these gaps in children’s regular enrichment and our faithfulness to the local Christian community we’ve decided to compile a list of blogger-tested and kid-approved crafts that can easily be adapted to convey the biblical messages your child is craving. This is an opportunity to get creative! While we've laid out suggested materials for each craft, don't hesitate to substitute with whatever materials you have around the house.
This Christian craft is perfect for those of us with old clothes, linens, or other fabric pieces laying around waiting to be transformed. It's also a fun way to customize new clothes. Tie dyeing a cross pattern is surprisingly easy and creates a beautiful visual metaphor for children on how the light of God shines through everything, even the things we don’t pay attention to or might not consider beautiful.
Tie dyeing old clothes can also be a fun way for kids to see how different fabric colors and types may react to the dyeing process. You could even make an effort to do this project on a range of fabrics or colors to compare the effects of the dye, for an academic element.
Check out our video above on how to do this tie dye pattern. The basic idea is to fold whatever you’re dyeing in half and, tracing a paper cutout or going freehand, drawing half of a cross in washable marker on the place you’d like your design to be. Then, fold accordion style along the marker lines so that the folds line up into a straight line.
For the area of your piece not containing the cross design the world is your oyster; make swirls, scrunches, or extra folds for an unpredictable result. Secure the cross folds along the marker line and any other folds with twine or rubber bands and proceed to apply your dye! Make sure you're either leaving the cross end of your piece blank or using two contrasting dye colors for the inside and outside of the design. Like most tie dye processes you’ll then let your pieces marinate for 24 hours. On the next day rinse excess dye and run your projects through the washer & dryer with like colors together. Let your kids do this part too to really feel the fruits of their labor when they get to wear their awesome tie-dyed cross apparel!
Origami Noah’s Arc
Materials: Construction paper, hard work surface, markers or crayons, scissors
For those looking to work on fine motor skills or with children already adept in this area, origami is a relaxing and educational craft with many applications and only a few simple materials. One great activity involving origami is to recreate the story of the great flood and Noah’s Arc. All you really need are some sheets of multicolored construction paper, something many parents already have! If you find yourself without this however, scribbled pieces of regular printer paper also create a cool result.
Origami boats are relatively simple to make, and can then be filled with an assortment of origami animals according to your child’s interests, what animals you see locally, or just what instructions you can find online. We lovedthis video by EzOrigami for making boats, andthis video from Super Mega Makers for animals. Making two of each animal is also a good way for your child to practice learning from instructions. They'll be able to see that repetition makes tasks easier and provides a better result.
The resulting boat and animals can be used for endless play reenacting the arc sailing a flooded Earth. One could even use laminated paper or sheets of easily foldable plastic to create a waterproof version of the craft for water play in the tub or a pond or stream (making sure to pick up any animals potentially left behind). For those daunted by the idea of creating tens of tiny folded paper animals, focusing on creating the arc is also great fun. The arc can be filled with cut out animal shapes or perhaps just let your child draw an array of animals on the finished boat. Whatever methods suit your family, the result is an engaging craft great for refining motor skills and visualizing a biblical story.
Homemade Air Dry Clay: Fruits of the Spirit
Materials: 1/2 cup corn starch, 1/2 cup white glue, 2 TBSP neutral oil, 1 TBSP lemon juice, food coloring, miscellaneous crafting materials
Depending on what you have in your home this craft can be done quickly and with little preparation. The recipe is exact however, meaning that if you don't have some of these materials you'll have to go out and get them. Check out our video below for the recipe and instructions on how to make the air dry clay. This activity touches on elements of the slime craze — kids will be able to mix a transforming goop, adding in their favorite colors and decorations — while actually creating a lasting result. Check out our video below for the recipe and instructions.
The idea is for your child to create 9 fruit charms. These fruits represent the nine fruits of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23- love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It's a great way for kids to think about how these principles are represented in the simplest things in their lives, like types of fruit! They’ll need a few different colors of clay depending on what fruits they’re planning on making, so be sure to make a plan with them and provide a few separate containers, perhaps Tupperware or paper cups. Or you could simply leave the "clay" white and paint them later. For decoration things like beads, glitter, or other tokens make great embellishment as seeds, dew, or leaves. As usual, let your kids get creative!
The beauty of fruits is that they come in so many different shapes and colors, nearly anything your child makes will be perfect. After they're done decorating simply let them sit out and, as the name implies, dry in the open air. The resulting tiny hard tokens can be converted into charms on a necklace or bracelet (best if holes were made before drying for this purpose) or kept in a pouch to keep in one’s pocket or room as a lasting reminder of these principles. Making an additional charm with the verse reference or a decorative tag for the bag is a sure-fire way to aid kids in making this connection.
Sock Puppet Biblical Theater
Materials: Tube/crew socks, googly eyes, super or hot glue, scissors, craft and fabric scraps (get creative!)
This craft is fun for obvious reasons. Who doesn’t love making sock puppets, let alone putting on a show with them! The transformation aspect is endlessly entertaining. In this activity children can really flex their creative muscles as well as their comprehension skills. They can also transform cardboard boxes into a stage for their eventual puppet shows. It’s a great activity for groups of children with differing interests, as everyone will be able to find their part in the production.
The only necessary element of this craft are the socks. Everything else can be adapted using whatever materials you have laying around. Old clothes can be cut up to make clothes and hair. Straws, cotton buds, or popsicle sticks can be glued on for arms. And while googly eyes add the ultimate fun touch, eyes can also be easily made from paper or simply drawn onto the sock.
Shows can center around different stories and verses from the bible, or let your little one’s imaginations run wild creating their own screenplays exploring a specific virtue or message from a verse. This activity encourages children to incorporate their own ideas about what these stories and characters could look like, as well as how they can be told.
Encouraging children to look at the bible through their own understanding is a sure way to get them to personally identify with the messages and carry them throughout their lives. Perhaps my favorite part, this craft creates toys and an activity for your children to return to and explore as they’re introduced to new scripture and as they grow as people through the Bible.
Sword of the Spirit
Materials: Cardboard, tin foil, box cutter or xacto knife, clear tape or glue, scissors, paint, markers, stickers, miscellaneous crafting bobbles
Akin to a popular biblical visualization for children, putting on the armor of god, this craft encourages kids to create toys for themselves that speaks to biblical themes and values. One of these pieces of armor is the sword of the spirit. In Ephesians 6:17 we’re directed to “Take...the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God”. This craft emboldens children to think valiantly through the word of God — to imagine biblical texts as a tool for cutting to the core of all information presented to them. There are a variety of tutorials online for making cardboard and tinfoil swords, use whichever one suits your methods and materials.
We made our swords somewhat differently from any videos we could find. First, draw a sword shape onto a piece of cardboard, the key features of which being the blade, handle, and hand guard. The shapes are totally kid's choice! Big, small, thin, thick, curved, straight — whatever they feel suits them best. Look up some swords from different eras to emulate for that academic touch. Think of the handle as extending down from the center of the blade and the guard going around where your fingers will be. Then cut this piece out of the cardboard with your box cutter or xacto knife. This part can be tricky, so monitor closely and provide assistance where needed.
Then, we recommend decorating your handle and hand guard. This is where those markers and paint will come in handy, or you could use decorative paper. This is another area where creativity is key. Apply sticker, glue on beads or gems, paint swirls and stars. Let your children channel their inspiration into the sword.
After the handle is where you'd like it go ahead and wrap the blade of your sword in tin foil. Lay a piece at least three times wider than your blade shiny side down on a flat surface. Then position the blade of your sword in the middle of the foil. Make sure the bottom of the foil is where you'd like your blade to end. The edges of the foil can then be ripped into strips — whatever size is needed to fit the shape of your sword — and wrapped around the blade. Secure with glue or clear tape.
Lastly, add some finishing touches to the sword. You can write the verse containing the sword of the spirit reference, Ephesians 6:17, somewhere large and bold on your sword as a reminder. You could also decorate the blade with some of your personal favorite verse references. Anything that you or your child finds inspiring.
And there you have it! Five Sunday school crafts that are easily tackled at home during these isolated times. Encouraging children to flex their creativity is essential in their engagement and education. We had tons of fun adapting these projects and executing them, and hope that you've been inspired enough by some of our interpretations to try them at home! If you do end up replicating some of our crafts we'd love for you to share them on social media using the hashtag #MatoMoments so that we can check them out! If you have any questions or tips please don't hesitate to drop us a comment below. We'd love to know your thoughts! Thank you and congratulations, you've reached the end of the blog post!
About the Authors
Olivia is a designer from the Detroit area who's been working at Mato & Hash for over a year now developing apparel designs and web content. She loves gardening, activism, and BLTs.
Leona has been the resident photographer at Mato & Hash since the start of 2020, capturing flawless product images and actualizing breathtaking photoshoots. She loves her fur babies, hiking, and anything creative.