September:Friends for life!


 Diary of Jonathan, Son of King Saul


 Father in bad mood again today. “Tormented by evil spirit!” Keep out of his way . . .

Still bad. Servants fetch lad from Bethlehem. Brown face. David. Plays the harp to Father. Great! The King feels better! We keep David on! . .

I get chatting to David. He’s about my age. Not shy! Looks after his father’s sheep. Asks me about my success in battle . . .

I talk to David again. Says he’s a warrior, too – he’s killed lions and bears with his hands. Really? But I like him – and so does Father! . .

Crisis! The Philistines threaten our army. Their champion Goliath looking for fight. Nine feet tall . . . INCREDIBLE! DAVID KILLED GOLIATH WITH SLING AND STONE! THE LORD IS WITH OUR YOUNG SHEPHERD!


David is here to stay! I love this guy! We make solemn pact – friends for life. Give him my sword, etc, as sign . . .

Yes! Father gives David high rank in army. Deserves it. Popular with the men – and the ladies!! BUT Father uneasy again. Feels God not with him as before. Horrible bursts of anger . . .

Father truly disturbed today. Wants me to kill David! Why? I warn David to keep away. I speak up for him. Remind Father of all D has done for us. Why kill innocent man, etc? Dad promises D is safe. Feel reassured . . .

David leads our army to victory again! Am I jealous? NO – because I know God is with him . . .

Strange – David says King trying to kill him. “What is his crime?” he asks. Know this cannot be true. Father would have told me. David says he’s keeping me in dark because of our friendship. We make a plan. David to hide in archery field while I confront King. If he means D no harm, I’ll go out later and shoot three arrows at target. Then shout to my boy, “Go fetch my arrows. They are on this side of you. Bring them here.” But if father does mean him harm, I’ll shout, “Look, the arrows are beyond you.” That’s D’s sign to flee . . .

I’m trembling. Angry. Spoke to King who flew into rage. Accused me of siding with David, giving him my future throne. “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” I asked. The King hurled his spear at me.

I saw his eyes, full of hate. Now I see, he means to kill David. It’s shameful. Call for my bow . . .

* * *

Feel numb. David is gone. We wept. Thank God he went in peace. We once swore friendship to each other and to each other’s families and we won’t forget that – whatever happens.

Pause for thought: They say that you can never have enough friends. The supposed diary extract above tells the story of the strong relationship between David and Jonathan – an unbroken friendship.

As parents, we want our children to find good friends and also to be a good friend to others. How can we help them to do so? Take time to think back to your own school days. How did great friendships come about and how have you managed to keep them going? Be prepared to pass on these stories.

It’s also great to model being a good friend by communicating our thinking. For example, “I’m meeting Sue for a coffee today – she’s been feeling a bit down recently. Maybe I can cheer her up.” “Ben’s got a job interview tomorrow, so I’m sending him a text to say I’m thinking of him.” We can also model speaking well of our friends, rather than running them down.

It’s interesting that David and Jonathan make a serious promise of friendship before God. It’s a decision they make and stick to, not something that comes and goes according to how they feel – or abandon when the going gets tough.

If children understand the true meaning of friendship, they can better understand the friendship that God offers to us.


 David and Jonathan: Read the diary extract above together about the friendship between these two young men. Wonder about it as follows:

  • I wonder why the King wanted to kill David
  • I wonder who was a good friend in this story
  • I wonder what you think makes someone a good friend

Pizza Party: Invite new school friends round to make pizzas together! You could buy some ready-made bases (or make your own dough) and prepare some tomato sauce in advance by heating tinned tomatoes with a dessertspoon of tomato puree and a pinch of oregano or mixed herbs.

Provide a variety of toppings for your friends to choose from, for example:

Tuna pizza: black olives, capers, tinned tuna fish, sliced onion

Spicy sausage pizza: chopped ham, sliced spicy sausage, sliced pepperoni, grated

     Mozzarella cheese

Courgette pizza: sliced courgette, sliced mushroom, sliced onion, gated cheese

 Lay circles of dough (about 13cm/5 in diameter) on a greased baking tray. Spread the sauce over the bases, leaving a small margin. Add the toppings and bake until bases are golden brown (approx 15-20 mins at 220 C/425 F/ Gas mark 7).


Friendship bracelets: You will need rectangles of white paper, about A5 size; pencils; crayons or felt-tipped pens; sticky tape; scissors

(Each piece of paper makes three bracelets)

Fold the rectangle of paper in half, short edges together, and then in half again (in the same direction). With the short end of the folded paper towards you, draw a circle (for a face or head shape) near the top of the paper. Connect each circle to the long edges of the paper with two lines (rather like a narrow watch strap). Repeat in the middle and bottom.

Cut out each bracelet, taking care not to cut along the folds of the ‘straps’. Open them out and decorate them with your friends. You could draw your own face and those of three friends. Or you could decorate them with pictures of David and Jonathan and some items from the story!

Help each other to fasten them around your wrists with tape. You could even make a long chain of everyone in your class or Sunday Club and hang it up on the wall!


A good friend . . .

Write this heading on a big piece of paper and leave it pinned or taped where family members can write their ideas. For example:

  • Always wants the best for you
  • Tries to understand you . . .
  • Never . . .


‘Friends’ scrapbook: Why not keep a diary, scrapbook or photo album of all the things you do with your friends this year. Write some notes to remind yourself in the future of all the things you are doing together now. Send paper birthday cards and tell your friends how much you appreciate them – or thank them for their support in the past. If you take a good photo of a group of friends, perhaps you could buy a ‘friends’ frame for it and give as a birthday present.


Bedtime meditation: Remind children that when God made the world, he wanted to be good friends with us. Chat quietly about all the things he did for us (giving us plenty of food, a beautiful world, trusting us to look after his world, etc). Ask children to close their eyes and use their imaginations as they listen, answering the questions in silence . . .


(Speak slowly and quietly) Imagine you’re standing in a beautiful garden with God. He smiles at you and asks you to walk with him through his garden. As you walk, he seems to match his steps with yours, so that he is always by your side. The sun’s just setting. What colour are the clouds? He points out some trees with fruit on them. What kind of fruit hangs on the branches? Now you come down to some water. Is it a lake, or a river? Is the water flowing fast or still? What reflections can you see in the water? A bird flies down to the water’s edge. What’s it like? Now God beckons and a horse comes trotting up to make friends with you.

You walk on together and God asks you about your day. What do you tell him? You chat together happily – what are you chatting about?

Now you are both quiet, but it doesn’t matter at all because you feel quite at ease – with a good friend you can be happy whether you are talking or just being quiet together.


Prayer time: Thank God for particular friends or ask him to help us find friends. Ask how we can give them support. Thank God for sending Jesus to be our friend forever.

Vicki Howie







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 Let’s get creative!

The Story of Creation (Based on Genesis 1-2:3)

A story poem to read aloud, mime and join in the repetitions!

In the beginning, there was nothing. (Show empty hands) So God made the heavens and the earth. “Let there be light!” said God. And light appeared!

That’s good!” said God. “That’s very good!”

God made the land. But there was nothing growing on it. “Let all kinds of plants grow on the earth!” said God. And they did! There were trees and bushes, fruit and vegetables and colourful flowers. (Mime growing up, spreading branches)

   “That’s good!” said God. “That’s very good!”

God made the sky. But there was nothing shining in it! “Let there be lights in the sky!” said God. And there were! There were brilliant suns, glowing moons, spinning planets and twinkling stars. (Wiggle fingers like twinkling stars, spin like planets)

   “That’s good!” said God. “That’s very good!”

God made the sea. But there was nothing swimming in it. “Let the sea be filled with all sorts of sea creatures!” said God. And it was! There were crabs and dolphins, turtles, fish and sea-horses all swimming through the water. (Mime swimming, diving, floating)

   “That’s good!” said God. “That’s very good!”

God made the air. But there was nothing flying through it. “Let there be birds!” said God. And there were! The air was filled with birds. There were swallows and parrots, eagles and owls all flying and swooping and hovering (mime flying, swooping, hovering)

   “That’s good!” said God. “That’s very good!”

God made the jungle. He made forests, fields and gardens. But there was nothing moving through it. “Let there be animals!” said God. And there were! There were big animals and tiny creatures. There were wild animals and friendly pets. (Mime crawling, galloping, stalking, trotting)

   “That’s good!” said God. “That’s very good!”

So God made the world. But there was no-one to look after it. No-one special to share all it’s joys. “Let there be a man and a woman!” said God. And there were! And soon the world was filled with families – Mums and Dads, boys and girls, Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles. They sowed seeds, they made music, sang and danced, they made clay pots and carved wood . . . (mime different activities) . . . and God was very pleased – especially when they made time to walk and talk with him!

“That’s WONDERFUL!” said God. “That’s REALLY wonderful!”

And God was so pleased with all that he had made, that he stopped work for a rest and to bless and enjoy it all!


Pause for thought: Take time to read the story above and the Creation story in Genesis 1-2:2 on which it is based. The Bible story, written over two thousand years ago, is not meant to tell us how the world was made – scientists do not know for certain today. In fact, the writer probably believed that the earth was a flat disc mounted on pillars, with water beneath and above the great dome of the sky. What interested him was not how this happened but why – and he makes it clear that it was at the will of God and not by accident.

The writer was a devout member of a community which saw the seventh day not only as a day of rest from work, but as one on which to gather for worship, prayer and seeking the will of God – in other words a chance for recreation in a profound way. In his great hymn of Creation, he sees the working week as a reflection of the great creative acts of God who, on the seventh day, rests and refreshes himself, content with a job well done!

The Bible passage sees man in a privileged position, able to run the world but accountable to its Creator. He is made in God’s image and is therefore capable of great things, with the freedom to respond to God.

The summer holidays are a great opportunity for us to delight in the natural world around us and to encourage our children to do the same. We can help them to create memories and family traditions that will give them pleasure in years to come and which they in turn may introduce to their own families!


The Creation story: Read the story above out loud while other members of the family do the mimes. Wonder about it together, as follows:

  • I wonder if you could leave out anything that God made and it would make no difference to the world
  • I wonder which part of the story you like the best
  • I wonder how we can look after God’s world
  • I wonder why God rested after all his work


Recreation time for Mums and Dads! As a busy parent, it’s easy to feel we are simply “Emma’s Mum” or “Ben’s Dad”! The more relaxed summer months may be a good time to resume an enjoyable interest or therapeutic hobby dropped through lack of time. Arm yourself with the right equipment (water-colours, walking map, maintained bike, yoga mat, etc) and put aside some time to “recreate” your own identity! If personal prayer time has been short, perhaps now is the time to refresh it!


Recreation time for kids! During the summer holidays, encourage children to find new hobbies for relaxation both now and for their future benefit. For inspiration, you could:

  • Visit a craft store such as Hobbycraft for ideas and supplies
  • Visit a good bookshop or a library. Search for books that inspire, for example a book on how to draw/make origami animals or a storybook about an animal by Michael Morpurgo
  • Invest in a book of 365 poems for children and start reading one every day
  • Have a look in the supermarket for “creation-themed” sugar cake decorations, such as stars, butterflies or carrots (for carrot cake!)


On a car journey: On a long car journey, play the alphabet game, with each person naming something that God has made starting with A,B,C, etc. For example, Alligator, Berries, Corn, Daisy . . . You could do the same thing with names of people and countries, for example, Andrew, Belgium, Christopher, Denmark . . .


Put on a good show! Perhaps children could get together with friends to perform the Creation story above. Instead (or as well as) the mimes, they could draw and paint stars, animals, sea-creatures etc as props to be brought out of a box at the appropriate moments in the story. They could have some regular craft and rehearsal sessions.

Why not perform this to family and friends? Everyone could bring some themed refreshments (star biscuits, butterfly cakes, tuna rolls, etc) to serve afterwards. You could ask for donations to a favourite charity or towards the mission of your church!


Plants: Give children a small bed or container to dig over or look after during the summer. If you have a flower press, experiment to see which flowers press the best. Alternatively, wrap them in tissue and put between the pages of a heavy book. Once pressed, use them to make greetings cards.

Visit a garden centre to plant up a herb pot or small alpine garden in a container.


The National Trust: Look out for some fun family days out at local NT properties. In the south-east, for example, at Emmetts Garden, there’s a family trail from Sat 1 Jul – Sun 3 Sep (10am-4pm) and there’s a performance of Wind in the Willows on Thurs 31 Aug at 4pm. At Chartwell, there’s a “Winston and other animals” family trail over the summer and at Sheffield Park and Garden you can enjoy a night under canvas at a wild camping weekend (Fri 7 and Sat 8 Jul). Cook on the campfire and enjoy a spot of stargazing.

For these and other events, visit


Fabulous Fruit Lollies! Make some refreshing fruit lollies! Put 50g (2 oz) each of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries into a saucepan together with 1 ½ tablespoons icing sugar (sieved). Cook over a gentle heat for a short while until the fruit is soft. Puree and sieve, then stir in one 150g (5 oz) pot raspberry yoghurt. Pour into 4 ice-lolly moulds and freeze.


Prayer: In the story of Creation, God rested on the seventh day. As a way of making Sunday special, have a time of family prayer and thanksgiving for the summer holidays. Talk about the things that each person has enjoyed over the past week before each one says a simple one-line prayer thanking God. Finish by thanking God for our wonderful world and for giving us the gift of time to enjoy it.







A Father’s Day story for the young



Ready: Here’s a multi-sensory story to celebrate Father’s Day. It’s based on the Bible story of the Prodigal Son. The story ends with a party, so you might like to provide some party plates, cups, and straws for refreshments both to ‘play’ the story and to celebrate the occasion. Some chocolate coins would also link with the story.

When the children arrive, let them play with a toy farm that includes pigs, or toy shops/money tills.


Teddy: Use Teddy to introduce the idea that sometimes we need to say sorry for making others sad. Teddy could even play the part of the boy in the story!


Go: You’re ready to show that God is our loving Father, always ready to forgive us and to let us start all over again whenever we are truly sorry.


The story basket: Pack a basket with some multi-sensory props for the children to experience during the story, such as: a boy doll with an item of clothing, a small drawstring bag or purse with coins to jingle in it, a toy pig, a container of mud, some pieces of raw swede, paper party hats for everyone.


Story-telling tips: The finger rhyme, Two little dickey birds sitting on a wall, provides a good “way in” to the story:

Two little dickey birds sitting on a wall, (hold up index fingers)

One named Peter, (wiggle one finger)

One named Paul, (wiggle other finger)

Fly away Peter, (take first finger behind back)

Fly away Paul, (take other finger behind back)

Come back Peter, (bring first finger back)

Come back Paul! (bring other finger back).


Welcome: Hello, everybody! How are you feeling today? I’m sorry to say that Teddy’s feeling very cross. I wonder why? (Teddy appears to whisper in your ear.) Oh, he says he just woke up feeling cross!

Well, we all feel like that sometimes. We fold our arms . . . (encourage everyone to fold arms), we stamp our feet . . . (encourage everyone to stamp feet) and when someone asks us to do something, we shout “No!”. . . (encourage everyone to shout “No!”) Oh, dear! That makes our Mums and Dads feel sad and we need to say sorry! Here’s a song about saying sorry! Can you join in?


SONG: (To the tune of Morningtown Ride, sung by The Seekers)

Sometimes I am naughty,

And that makes you feel sad,

But if I say “I’m sorry!”

We can hug and all feel glad! (Repeat)


Who likes getting a bear hug? Yes! Well, Jesus told a story about a boy who got a great big hug from his Dad when he wasn’t expecting it! Listen!


Storyteller: (Show doll) One morning, a boy woke up feeling as angry as a lion shut in a cage. He sprang out of bed and got dressed . . . (dress doll)

Then he paced up and down, up and down . . . (walk doll)

Out of the window, he could see his father and his big brother working hard on the farm.

“Hurry up!” they called. “Come and help us with the work!”

The boy didn’t want to. So he folded his arms . . . (all fold arms), stamped his foot . . . (all stamp feet), and shouted “No!” . . . (all shout “No!”) That wasn’t very kind, was it?


Storyteller: Then the boy marched outside and spoke rudely to his father.

“I’m a big boy now,” he said. “Give me some money! I’m going to leave home.”

Well, the father loved his boy very much. But he let him go.

“Here’s your money,” he said, sadly . . . (show money bag)

“Take care. I’m going to miss you.” He held out his arms to give his boy a hug . . . (hold out your arms) but the boy just walked away, jingling his moneybag . . . (let children hear the money jingling in the bag)


Storyteller: At last he reached a busy town. In the market there were lots of exciting things to buy.

“Hooray!” he said. “I’ve got all this money to spend! Listen!” . . . (jingle bag again)

So he dipped into the bag over . . . and over . . . and over again . . . (give coins from bag to helpers) until . . .

Listen! . . . (shake empty bag) No sound! The bag was empty!

Soon the boy’s tummy was empty too! . . . (rub your tummy)

“I’m hungry!” he said. “But I haven’t got any money left to buy food. I’d better get a job.”


Storyteller: Well, someone gave him a job looking after their pigs (show pig) . . . can you smell the mud in the pigs’ field? . . . (invite children to smell mud!) Pooh! But no-one gave him any food.

“Oh, no!” he said. “I’m so cold and hungry that I could eat the pigs’ dinner!” Would you like to taste the pig’s dinner? . . . (offer some swede!) It’s not very nice, is it! Poor boy! So he gave himself a hug . . . (all hug themselves) and he stamped his feet to keep warm . . . (all stamp feet) and then he whispered “No!” . . . (All whisper “No!”)

“No more being rude and unkind! I’m going to go home and say sorry to my father.” What was he going to say? (all say, “I’m sorry!”) That’s better!


Storyteller: So the boy turned back towards home . . . (turn doll back) But when he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming and what do you think he did? He RAN to give him a great big hug! Shall we do that? . . . (Encourage the children to move a short distance from their carers) . . . Then one two three . . . (The children run back for a hug!) Shall we do that again? . . .

“Oh, Dad,” cried the boy. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry I made you sad!”

“It’s all right!” said his father kindly. “Pooh! You’re a bit smelly, though! Lets find you some clean clothes and then we’ll have a party!” . . . (Hand out some party hats)

Storyteller: When the boy’s big brother came in from working on the farm, would you believe it, he folded his arms . . . and stamped his foot . . . and shouted “No! . . . No party for that lazy boy! I’m the one who’s been working hard!”

“Oh, don’t be like that!” begged the father. “You see, I was very sad when your brother went away. But now I’m happy because he came back to say sorry.”



I expect they had a wonderful party, don’t you? Jesus says that God has a party whenever we say sorry! HOORAY!

Just before our party, let’s say another finger rhyme together:


Two boys working on a farm one day, (hold up index fingers)

One was rude and ran away, (take one hand behind back)

He came back (bring hand back) and his Daddy said “Hooray!

I’m so glad you’re home to stay!” (Link index fingers)


And now let’s put our hands together for a prayer:


Dear Father God,

Sometimes we do things that make you sad.

Please help us to say “sorry”.

Thank you that you are just like the Dad in the story, always ready to forgive us and let us start all over again.










APRIL: Faith in the family activities for Easter

Story: The Resilience of Jesus

 God was delighted with his world, but not with the behaviour of his children. They were doing the one thing he’d asked them not to – deciding for themselves what was right and wrong. Soon his ‘clever’ children had stopped listening to their heavenly father. Instead they kidded themselves that it was fine to steal, to make war, to ignore the hungry, to pollute the rivers . . . Like straying sheep, they went their own way!

But God still loved his children. So much so, that he planned to send his own son Jesus into the world, a kindly shepherd who would gather his flock into the fold. Jesus would even pay the price for people’s mistakes by dying on a cross. But that would not be the end . . .

From the word go, it was not an easy life for Jesus. God gave him loving parents. But they were far from home when Mary gave birth and Jesus was born in a poor stable. Then they had to flee from cruel Herod. Refugees! But his childhood in Nazareth was peaceful, learning useful building skills from Joseph.

God provided Jesus with an older cousin John who prepared everyone to listen to his message about living God’s way – the way of kindness. But no sooner had he been baptised, than he was tempted by the Devil. Tempted to use his God- given talents for his own power and pleasure. His utter determination to do God’s will enabled him to resist and he voiced this in words of Scripture that he knew by heart.

At least the Devil recognized Jesus as the Son of God! Many people did not – especially those in his own town of Nazareth, where he was rejected. He was often criticized and questioned in a hostile manner but he parried with a question of his own to make others think. His close friends were a support and he taught them to love their enemies and to do good to those who hated them.

Even his best friends did not understand his real mission – especially when he revealed that he would suffer and be killed. But he resolutely set out for Jerusalem, saying, “I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day . . .”

What a welcome there was for Jesus in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday! But within a week, the same crowd was demanding his death. He was betrayed by Judas, arrested, mocked, insulted, spat upon, flogged, disowned by Peter and nailed to a cross on Good Friday. He died.

But he was victorious over death and on Easter Day he rose again. He had fulfilled his purpose to heal man’s broken relationship with God.

Pause for thought: There is no getting away from the fact that life is full of ups and downs. We all need a certain amount of resilience or toughness, to be able to survive the bad times and to provide the capacity to bounce back again afterwards.

Throughout his life and particularly at the end of it, Jesus suffered more than most (see the Bible story above). Knowing that he had to face death on the cross, he nevertheless resolutely set out for Jerusalem to do his Father’s will. Along the way, he faced temptation, rejection of his ministry, threats, betrayal, mocking, insults, he was spat upon, flogged and was killed. He survived it all, even conquering death itself for our sakes.

Children today face a particularly insidious problem in the form of online pressures and bullying. This can be constant since iphones go with them everywhere and parents may not be aware of what is happening. In our competitive world, there is also the pressure to succeed in all sorts of subjects and activities set against a background of complicated family set ups.

So how can we help our children to build reservoirs of strength to draw upon? Perhaps we can ensure that they have a positive view of themselves by being generous with praise. At the baptism of Jesus, and at the start of his ministry, Jesus heard God say to him, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” We need to show too that our love is not conditional upon achievement, but that they are loved for themselves.

Jesus surrounded himself with a group of close friends. We can encourage our children to join in with others, perhaps at one of our church groups, and we can welcome their friends into our homes. In such groups they can learn to share problems and support one another.

We know that Jesus often withdrew to a lonely place to pray. Again, we can build quiet times (without phones!) into our hectic lives giving our children the space to think and pray, and allowing them the chance to get things back into perspective.

Psychologists say that resilient people have a sense of purpose, making realistic plans and sticking to them. They are flexible enough to embrace change and are able to maintain a hopeful outlook despite what is going on. Here are a few family activities for Easter that might encourage resilience!

Sweet and sour recipe: Prepare an easy family meal using a ready-made sweet and sour sauce from the supermarket. Put any phones away and read the story above together. As you eat, chat about the sweet and sour aspects of Jesus’ life on earth.

What do family members find easy or difficult in their lives today? Share how you each deal with these things. Do people agree that a problem shared is a problem halved?

Ups and downs: Start playing some easy board games, such as Snakes and Ladders or Ludo, with young children to get them used to set-backs. At first, they may be upset at having to move a counter backwards on the board. But persevere and demonstrate a light-hearted attitude yourself at moving your own counter back.

The good news and the bad news: Play this game on a car journey or a long walk. One person starts a story about a character setting out to achieve a goal, but unfortunately . . . they run into a problem. The next person takes over the story, saying fortunately . . . and then provides a solution until unfortunately . . . etc. Keep the mini-story going for several minutes until the character achieves their goal and it is someone else’s turn to start a new story.

No gain without pain: It can be useful to learn to think positively about things we have to do but may not look forward to! For example, on the way to the dentist, chat about:

  • What would happen if we did not have our teeth checked
  • Modern dentistry methods as opposed to earlier ones
  • The short time in the dentist’s chair compared to the year!

Can everyone think up some positive thoughts about a cold, rainy day in the Easter holidays, an exam, a boring chore, etc!

What did we all gain from the pain Jesus suffered on Good Friday?

How do I look? Make a regular habit of complimenting children on their natural good looks, especially when they are least expecting it! “Your hair looks such a beautiful colour in the sunshine,” etc! When teenagers are getting ready for a party, you could say things like, “I know its fun to wear a bit of makeup, but with your beautiful eyes/lips/cheekbones, you really you don’t need it!” Give them confidence as they set off. “Wow! You look like a film star!”

Try to give young children the words they need to deal with run-of-the-mill hurtful comments from others. For instance, “If I were you, I’d tell him/her to go to Specsavers!” “Well, if they are going to say that sort of thing, I should think you ought to say, ‘[name], I’ve had enough of you for the moment’ and walk away.”

A home for bees and bugs: Help the mini-beasts in your garden to be resilient by making them a home. As a family activity, build a stack with various unwanted materials such as wooden pallets (good as a base), bricks (to keep the structure together), old terracotta plant pots, etc. Stuff the layers with bamboo canes, twigs, straw, moss and pinecones. Build in semi-shade and cover with something to keep the rain out, such as roof tiles. Mini-beasts will help keep pests away and also pollinate, helping your garden to be fruitful!




Teddy’s Easter Surprise!

Here’s an interactive story to use at a toddler group Easter celebration. It involves a hen laying eggs, a bird building a nest and a rabbit, but the inclusion of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly provides a simple metaphor for the Easter story.

Toddler groups might like to invite their minister to explain briefly to the adults how this metamorphosis mirrors the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The story leads well into an Easter egg hunt (and is available to buy from CPO with all you need for an Easter Celebration for your group!)


Ready: Decorate your meeting room and/or kitchen counter with some Easter items such as some spring flowers, some twigs with catkins, a decorative nest with eggs, chicks, mini eggs.

Pack a story basket with some props/pictures to illustrate the story: a toy hen, bird, rabbit, caterpillar and butterfly. Use a pair of socks for the cocoon and hide the butterfly in one of them.


Teddy: If possible, dress Teddy in some play clothes such as a pair of dungarees and wellingtons.


Go: You’re ready to mirror the sadness, but ultimately the joy of the Easter story.


Storytelling tips: Practice the story out loud several times before you perform it, especially hiding the caterpillar and bringing out the butterfly so that this becomes really slick. Alternatively, ask a helper to show the props for you.

Try to use your voice to show the sadness, happiness and surprise in the story.


Leader: Welcome to our Easter celebration, everyone! Have you noticed how everything outside is bursting into life? The flowers, the trees – even the birds are bursting into song! Well, one spring day, Teddy was out in his garden but he didn’t have anyone to play with. It made him feel sad. Poor Teddy! Can you make a sad face?

All: (All pull corners of mouths down and make sad faces)

Leader: If only Teddy had a friend to play with!

Just then, along came a yellow hen.

“Yellow hen, yellow hen, will you play with me?” asked Teddy.

“Oh, no!” clucked the hen. “I have no time to play. It’s nearly Easter. I have eggs to lay!”

And she went running off to the henhouse.

Song: To the tune “Polly put the kettle on”

         Yellow hen where did you go,

Yellow hen where did you go,

Yellow hen where did you go,

Where did you go?


I went home to lay some eggs,

I went home to lay some eggs,

I went home to lay some eggs,

Some Easter eggs!


Leader: I love Easter eggs, thought Teddy. But it’s much nicer to share them with a friend.

All of a sudden, a blackbird flew down from a tree.

“Hello blackbird,” said Teddy. “Will you come and play with me?”

“Oh, no!” sang the blackbird. “There’s no time to rest. It’s nearly Easter. I must build a nest!”

And the bird fluttered up into a tree.


Song: Little bird where did you fly,

Little bird where did you fly,

Little bird where did you fly,

Where did you fly?


I flew up to build a nest,

I flew up to build a nest,

I flew up to build a nest,

An Easter nest!


Leader: I wish I could show that nest to a friend, thought Teddy.

A rabbit came hop, hopping along the grass.

“Hello, Rabbit!” said Teddy. “Will you play with me?”

“No, no!” said the rabbit. “I’m not being funny. But Easter is busy, if you’re a bunny!”

And the rabbit hopped into a rabbit hole.


Song: Rabbit, say where did you hop,

          Rabbit, say where did you hop,

Rabbit, say where did you hop,

Where did you hop?


I hopped down a rabbit hole,

I hopped down a rabbit hole,

I hopped down a rabbit hole,

An Easter rabbit hole!


Leader: Then Teddy saw something eating a nettle leaf. It was a small, hairy caterpillar. Can you wiggle your finger like a caterpillar? Wiggle, wiggle! How did he go?

All: Wiggle, wiggle!

Leader: “Hello caterpillar!” said Teddy. “I’m feeling so lonely. Can you play with me?”

“Yes I can!” said the caterpillar. He wiggled his way onto Teddy’s paw . . . and up his arm . . . and onto his shoulder . . . and up, up onto his nose!

“Ooh, you’re tickling me!” said Teddy, with a BIG smile on his face. “Hooray! Now I’ve got a prickly, tickly friend!” Can you make a happy face like Teddy’s?

All: (All push corners of mouth up to make happy faces)

Every day, Teddy went to find his caterpillar friend munching leaves in the nettle patch. The more he ate, the bigger he grew. And the bigger he grew, the more he tickled Teddy and made him smile from ear to ear. Can you make such a BIG smile that it stretches from one ear to the other?

ALL: (All make BIG smiles.)

Leader: But one sad day, the caterpillar said, “I must go away now to do something very important.”

“Oh, no, don’t leave me,” said Teddy. “You’re my best friend.”

“Don’t be sad,” said the caterpillar. “I promise you’ll see me again and then you’ll be glad!”

The caterpillar began to spin a silky sleeping bag called a cocoon. (Show the empty sock) He snuggled down inside the cocoon, pulled it over his head and disappeared from sight. (Place the caterpillar in this sock and hide it) Teddy went indoors feeling sad.

But inside the cocoon, the caterpillar began to change. (Show other sock) He wriggled out of his hairy body, and then he grew long legs and silky wings, and on Easter Sunday, he BURST out of his cocoon – a beautiful, colourful butterfly. (Pull butterfly out of this sock)

As he was drying his wings in the sun, Teddy came down the garden. He looked inside the empty cocoon. (Show empty sock)

“Oh, no! Where has my caterpillar friend gone?” he said. “The hungry birds must have eaten him.”

“Look out behind you!” called the new butterfly. “Are you looking for me?”

Teddy looked round.

“It’s you!” he cried. “You’ve come back! But now you’re a beautiful butterfly! What a wonderful surprise!”

“A good friend always keeps his promise,” said the butterfly, fluttering around Teddy’s head. “Shall we explore the Easter garden?”

“Oh yes!” said Teddy, jumping for joy. “Lets go and find some Easter eggs together!”


Song: If you’re happy and you know it

           If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap)

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands   (clap, clap)

If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it,

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap)


If you’re happy and you know it, jump for joy (jump, jump), etc

           If you’re happy and you know it, say a prayer (ssh, ssh)


Prayer: Dear God, Easter is such a happy time of year. Everything is bursting into life! Thank you for the blossom on the trees and nests full of eggs, for the bright colours of spring flowers and butterflies’ wings. Thank you, God, for our friends who help us to enjoy your beautiful world. But most of all, thank you for Jesus who has promised to be our friend for ever. Amen


Party-bag: Why not encourage the adults to continue the theme of new life at home by giving them a “Happy Easter” activity sheet to take away with them?


Happy Easter!

Have fun looking out for signs of new life in the natural world when you are out and about with your toddler.

Colour in the leaf, caterpillar and butterfly and then cut them out. Use them to tell and play the story of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly together. Use a stripy sock or the cardboard cylinder inside a toilet roll as the cocoon or chrysalis.


a/w simple caterpillar with about 6 sections to colour, smiley face and antennae, and simple cutting-out line around it


a/w simple nettle leaf (with tiny egg on it and piece bitten out of leaf) to colour and with simple cutting out line around it


a/w simple butterfly with simple pattern on wings to colour in, same smiley face and antennae as caterpillar, with simple cutting out line around it.


Mime being a caterpillar curled up in a cocoon, then wriggling out of your hairy body, growing long legs and silky wings and BURSTING out of the cocoon as a butterfly. Dry your wings then fly gently around the room or garden!

Vicki Howie

Toddler group Mother’s Day Celebration!

Ready: Decorate a table with a jug of flowers and plates of homemade biscuits (such as gingerbread people!) and cake as a treat for Mums and other carers. Slices of simnel cake would be traditional.

When they arrive, let the children play with any toys that represent the things Mums do (for instance a doctor’s set, toy computer, shopping trolley, household items, etc).

Teddy: Bring Teddy, plus a bigger Teddy to represent his Mum/Granny/ carer! Teddy could be holding a “thank you” card or other gift that you are going to make as a craft.

Go: You’re ready to help the children think about all the things their mums/carers do for them and to say “thank you”.

Story-telling tips: There are lots of actions in this story (based on the boy Jesus in the temple in Luke 2) to keep everyone engaged. You might like to ask them to practise these beforehand and then to listen carefully for the cue to join in.

The story involves everyone walking to another area of your meeting place (the temple), or perhaps going from a hall into church and back again. You might like to invite your minister to be a “teacher” in the temple and to say the prayer. You could use a boy doll to be Jesus and to leave in “the temple”. Divide the story between as many storytellers as you like.

 . . .

Welcome everybody! Introduce Teddy and his Mum/carer. Explain that as it is nearly Mothering Sunday, Teddy wants to thank her for all the things that she does to look after him. Ask the children what their Mums/carers do for them and mime any actions from the story.

 Storyteller: When Jesus was a baby, his mother Mary was very busy looking after him and taking care of Joseph, too. I wonder what she did? Perhaps she cooked delicious food . . . (all mime stirring) Perhaps she swept the floor . . . (all mime sweeping) And I’m sure that she rocked baby Jesus to sleep in her arms . . . (all mime rocking)

Storyteller: Mary watched Jesus grow from a baby into a toddler and then into a small boy. Perhaps she measured him each birthday – to see how much he had grown.

Storyteller: “Wow! You’ll soon be taller than me!” said Mary when Jesus was twelve years old. But what pleased her the most was that Jesus was so kind and helpful.

Storyteller: One spring day, Mary began to pack a basket with some food and clothes. “Where are we going, Mum?” asked Jesus. “It’s time to go to Jerusalem,” said Mary. “We’re going to visit the temple – God’s house – to thank him for looking after us.”

Storyteller: On the way there, Jesus always met all his aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, who were all going to Jerusalem too! Come on everyone, let’s pretend that we’re all going to Jerusalem. Let’s have all the Mums at the front of the line and all the Dads at the back, just like they used to travel! Right, are you ready? We’ll sing a song to help us along!

SONG: To the tune “The Grand Old Duke of York”

It’s a grand day for a walk,

In sunshine or in rain,

Let’s walk all the way to Jerusalem,

Then we’ll walk back home again.

And when we are there we will say,

And when we are there we will say,

And when we are there we will say a prayer,

For the ones we love, hooray! (Repeat as necessary)

Storyteller: Ah, here we are in Jerusalem at last, at the temple – God’s house. It’s like a very big church. Shall we say a prayer to thank God for the people who look after us?

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the people/our Mums who love us and look after us. They do so much for us! Thank you for loving us too! Amen

Storyteller: When everyone in the story had finished saying “thank you”, it was time to go home again. Mary walked at the front with all the Mums and babies. And Joseph walked at the back with all the Dads and the big boys. Come on everyone, can you line up again? Ready? Then off we go . . . (stop after a short distance)

Storyteller: Wait a minute everyone! On the way home, Joseph came to the front and asked Mary, “Where’s Jesus?” Mary stared at him. “I thought he was with you!” she cried. “No!” said Joseph. “I thought he was with you!”

Storyteller: Oh no! Mary and Joseph looked all around for Jesus . . . (all shield eyes with hands). Where could he be? They asked the uncles and aunts, “Have you seen Jesus?” But they shook their heads and said . . .

All: No!

Storyteller: They asked the cousins, “Have you seen Jesus?” But they shook their heads and said . . .

All: No!

Storyteller: They asked all their friends, “Have you seen Jesus?” But they shook their heads too and said . . .
All: No!

Storyteller: Oh dear! Poor Mary and Joseph were so worried. Let’s sing, “Where, oh where has my Jesus gone?”

SONG: To the tune, “Where, oh where has my little dog gone?”

Where, oh where has my Jesus gone,

Oh where, oh where can he be?

With his eyes so bright,

And his smile so warm,

Oh where, oh where can he be? (Repeat)

Storyteller: So Mary and Joseph went all the way back to Jerusalem to look for him . . . They looked for him in the streets . . . and in the market place . . . but they couldn’t see him anywhere. Can anyone guess where they found him . . ?

Storyteller: Yes! They went back into the temple – and there was Jesus! He was sitting with the teachers, learning about God. He listened to the teachers . . . Ssh! Can you keep very quiet and listen like Jesus? And he talked to the teachers . . . Can you make your hands talk to each other? And everyone was amazed at the sensible things that he said, especially as he was only twelve years old!

Storyteller: But Mary couldn’t keep quiet any longer. “Jesus, we’ve been searching everywhere for you!” she said. “Have you?” said Jesus. “ I thought you would guess that I was in my Father’s house!”

Storyteller: “Come on!” said Joseph kindly. “It’s time to go home.” So Jesus did as he was told and waved “Goodbye” to the temple . . . (all wave) Goodbye until the next year . . . Is everyone ready for our travelling song again?


It’s a grand day for a walk,

In sunshine or in rain,

We walked all the way to Jerusalem,

Now we’re walking home again.

And when we are there we will say,

And when we are there we will say,

And when we are there we will say a prayer,

For the ones we love, hooray!


Storyteller: Well, I’m sure that became a family story, don’t you? And I’m sure that Mary never forgot the time when she looked everywhere for Jesus and found him in the Temple – God’s house! I wonder why she found him there?

* * *


FAITH IN THE FAMILY March: His mother treasured all these things in her heart

Pause for thought: This year, Mothering Sunday falls on 26th March. Traditionally this was the day when Christians visited their mother church (the most important church or cathedral) halfway through Lent. In Victorian times, the entire family went to church and returned to a special meal. Working children were allowed the day off to visit their mothers. They took with them a gift such as flowers, gloves or a simnel cake. American soldiers who came to Britain during the Second World War revived the idea of a special day for mothers. Cards were designed to show how hard mothers worked in the home.

Being a parent is never easy. Take time to read the Bible story below. Here Mary has to deal with the first signs of independence shown by her son Jesus as he reaches maturity in cultural terms. Today, we still struggle with the challenge of finding the right balance between letting go of our children, allowing them the freedom to learn and explore, and keeping them safe.

When facing any difficult issues as a parent, it can sometimes be useful to think how our own parents treated us. We may want to follow their example in some areas and do things differently in others. Certainly God (whose love for us is sometimes referred to in motherly ways in the Bible) gives us the freedom to make mistakes. The gift of his friendship is always on offer as well as the chance to make a fresh start.

Being a good friend to our children is important and can be difficult to achieve if we did not have that sort of relationship with our own parents. It implies a ‘coming alongside’ for non-judgmental communication, rather than an inflexible imposition of rules from above. Praise is always encouraging to them and it can be very powerful to speak well to others of our children in their hearing!

A few weeks ago, the book Little Women was serialized on Radio 4. In one episode, Jo bemoans her inability to control her temper. Her mother, far from chastising her, reveals that her own temper was far worse as a teenager, and explains how she gradually came to deal with it. She expresses confidence that Jo will do the same. What a great example of good mothering!


Have you seen Jesus? (Based on Luke 2:41-52)

Mary was bent over a large basket, packing for the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The children were playing, so she could work in peace! A thought struck her. Of course! Jesus would walk with the men this year, now that he was twelve. She straightened up. Twelve years since . . . ! It didn’t seem possible! He’d grown from a helpless baby into this lively boy. She smiled. In some ways he was just like the other lads – always hungry, clothes dusty from play! But she knew he was no ordinary boy. How could she forget the visit of that angel with his heart-stopping message – those visitors to the stable with their unearthly story? She’d been over and over it all, trying to think what it would mean . . .

* * *

   Mary relaxed on the long walk to Jerusalem, chatting with relatives and friends, and watching Jesus with his cousins.

“Who’ll be the first to see Jerusalem?” they challenged each other.

“Who’ll be the first to see the Temple – God’s house?” asked Jesus.

* * *

   They spent the week celebrating the Passover and thanking God for bringing their ancestors safely out of Egypt. Mary treasured this time away from so many household chores, soaking up God’s presence. Too soon, it was time to walk come again.

She was at the front of the party with the women and babies, when Joseph caught her arm, his eyes anxious.

“Where’s Jesus?” he asked.

She stared at him. “I thought he was with you.”

“No! I thought he was with you!”

Her breath quickened as she turned to the other women.

“Have you seen Jesus? Oh please, have you seen him?” Heads shook. She could hear Joseph asking the same question, his voice urgent.

“No, no we haven’t seen him – not since we were in the city. You’d better go back there.”

Afterwards, the next few days seemed a bewildering blur. Disjointed memories of market places, narrow streets hemmed in by city walls . . . Often she thought she heard his voice, saw his back view, only to be dismayed as an unfamiliar face was turned to hers. By the third day, even Joseph could not reassure her that their precious son was alive.

Then they entered the temple. And there he was – sitting with the teachers, asking those profound questions of his. She could see they were impressed. If only they knew the way he’d treated his parents! The pent up emotion burst out of her.

“Son, we’ve been searching everywhere for you!”

He turned to look at her, those eyes bright and warm as if lit by an inner light. “I thought you would know I was in my Father’s House!”

She could not speak, her mind struggling with his words.

“Come on!” said Joseph, kindly. “It’s time to go home.”

And as always, the lad obeyed.


Have you seen Jesus? Read the Bible story together as a family. Wonder about it as follows:

  • How do you think Mary felt at different moments in the story?
  • Do you think Jesus meant to worry his parents?
  • Do you think that people can seem angry when they are really just anxious?
  • Do you think this episode became a family story, often repeated? What family stories do you have?


Unbelievable chores! This could be played on a car journey or long walk. Parents think up chores they do that their children may not even know exist! For example, sorting recycling from the rubbish! Children ask questions to which the answer is “yes” or “no”. Can they guess each job in less than twenty “nos”?


How many times? Anyone for some Maths practise? Everyone works out how many times the person caring for him or her has:

  • Made their bed for them so far this week/year
  • Provided a taxi service for them so far this week/year
  • Cooked something for them so far this week/year
  • Been thanked by their children this week!


A thank you card: Place an A4 piece of paper in front of you, landscape (long edges top and bottom). Fold the paper in half from left to right and then again. Open the paper back up.

On the first panel on the left, draw yourself holding a huge bunch of flowers/wrapped present. The bouquet or present should spill over a lot into the second panel. Draw the person you are sending the card to in the third and fourth panels, sitting in an armchair with some tea on a table in front of them. Colour in your drawing. Cut out the part of the bouquet/present that spills into the second panel.

Fold the card in half again, but then fold back the first panel so that the flowers/present pops out! You could write “Just for you . . .” on the front, then     “ . . . to thank you for all you do!” where there is space on the third or fourth panel.


Where does it belong? Are you always searching for things at home? Who usually knows where they are? Why not challenge everyone to improve the way things are stored in their rooms, so that there is a special place for everything? You could decorate some shoeboxes, or label tins/sealable freezer bags/old mugs, or buy supermarket storage baskets for spare coins, crayons, hair bands etc.

Has anyone ever lost something precious/a person? Link with the Bible story. Why do you think Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple? I wonder what this family story told them about Jesus?


Building a nest: It’s nearly Spring when birds will be building nests. You could place some nesting materials such as moss, dry grass, wool, animal hair and scraps of material in a plastic fruit net and hang in a tree.

Go for a walk and collect some small dry twigs, leaves, bark and feathers to make a collage of a bird protecting chicks under its wings. You could supplement with a bag of craft feathers. Write a caption, “He will cover you with his feathers . . .” from Psalm 91: verse 4.


Gingerbread Family: Make some gingerbread dough. Everyone cuts out a gingerbread man, woman or child to represent themselves! Before baking, press currants into the shapes for eyes or buttons. When they have cooled, add other features and clothes with writing icing. As you do so, discuss whether you think it is easy to be a Mum/Dad/child today. Was it easy for Mary to be the mother of Jesus? Do you think the story is pointing ahead to something that happened at the end of Jesus’ life?

Vicki Howie




February: Faith in the Family Activities

February: Love story

Ruth and Boaz – a love story (Book of Ruth)

Obed wasn’t ready to sleep yet.

“Can I have a bedtime story?” he asked his mother Ruth.

“Of course,” she replied, sitting on his bed. “Which one?”

Obed thought quickly. “Tell me the one about how you met Dad.”

Ruth laughed. “A long one! Well, as you know, I used to live in Moab, where there was plenty of food. One day, I met a lovely lady called Naomi . . .”

“You mean Grammie Nammie!”

“Yes! God brought her to Moab to find food for her family. Sadly her husband died. But my sister and I married her two sons.”

“So you were married before you met Dad?”

“That’s right. But my husband died soon and so did his brother.”

“Poor Grammie Nammie,” said Obed, frowning. “No husband and no sons.”

“I know,” said Ruth. “It was a terrible time, but my sister and I took good care of her. Then one day, she felt God wanted her to come back here.”

“To Bethlehem?”

“Yes. She heard that the fields were bursting with crops again.”

“And so you came with her.”

“Yes, I did. She said I didn’t have to – but by then I really loved her and I told her ‘wherever you go, I’ll go too!’ ”

“I bet Grammie was pleased,” said Obed. “But what about my Dad?”

“Well, I first saw Boaz when I went to work in his fields. People who were poor and hungry like us were allowed to follow the men gathering in the harvest and pick up any leftover stalks of grain.”

“Did he say anything to you?”

“Yes,” said Ruth. “He noticed me straight away and asked his workers who I was. Then he came over and told me that his servant girls would look after me. He even told me to have a drink from the water jars and to help myself to bread at meal times.” Ruth smiled. “I thought he was such a kind man.”

The story was interrupted by Boaz himself, coming in from the farm.

“Not asleep yet, young man?” he teased, waggling a finger at his young son.

Obed yawned. “Nearly! Just tell me – what did you think of Mum when you first met her?”

Boaz sat down on the bed, next to his wife. “Well, I’d heard all about her great kindness to Grammie. And I could see she was brave and hardworking. I felt that I wanted to protect her.”

“So you got married!” said Obed, grinning.

“Well, they needed a bit of help from this old lady!” boasted Grammie, looking round the door.

Obed felt his eyes closing. “Not just you, Grammie!” he said sleepily. “I think God had a lot to do with it too!”


Pause for thought: Take time to read the story of Ruth and Boaz above. You can read their full story in the Book of Ruth, which only consists of four short chapters. Theirs is a gentle love story, full of compassion and honourable conduct, set amongst hardworking country folk. It is a welcome relief from the violence and power struggles of the preceding book of Judges, and shows God at work in the everyday lives of ordinary people, despite the background of political intrigue.

In February, our thoughts turn to love as we see shop windows displaying hearts and roses, and inside, shelves packed with Valentine’s Day cards, perhaps for sending anonymously! All good fun!

However, as parents, we may recognize the serious need for our children to be brought up within the security of long-lasting relationships and for society to be founded on strong family life. Yet do we share our own experiences (whether good or bad) with the children in our lives in order to help them make good choices and achieve long and happy relationships themselves? In today’s world, where the “selfie” seems to be all-important, how can we demonstrate that our outward appearance is less important to others than the state of our hearts and the sort of people we are?

The following family activities might provide some conversation starters and fun activities as we approach St Valentine’s Day.


Ruth and Boaz: Read the Bible as a family together, perhaps using a heart shape as a visual aid. Wonder about the story as follows:

  • I wonder how many love stories there are in this Bible story
  • I wonder what you think attracted Ruth and Boaz to each other
  • I wonder whether God meant Ruth and Boaz to be together
  • I wonder what you think helps two people to live together happily


Make a Valentine’s Day card: Fold a large rectangular piece of paper in four and lay it in front of you as if it were a greetings card. Now draw a heart shape on some cardboard and cut it out to use as a template. It should be the right size to fit on the front of the card.

Open your card, place the template on the centre fold and draw around it. Now ask an adult to cut around the top half of the heart, so that it pops up when the card is opened.

Place the template on the front of your card and draw around that too. You could add some more drawings and colour them in. Add a message or poem to tell someone why you love them!

Smaller children could stick scrunched up red tissue paper to a big heart shape, which could then be used to make a card.

Send the card to someone you love. Will you sign it?


How did you meet? On a long car journey, or round the table, parents/partners could tell the story of how they met. What attracted you to each other? Was this to do with personal qualities, or appearance, or both? Did anyone else help to bring you together? Why did you decide to make a commitment to each other? What things do you always agree about? What things do you think differently about? How do you deal with this?

On a wintry February afternoon, bring out any wedding photos and have a look through them together. If it was a church wedding, why did you want to marry in church?

Today, many couples meet each other online. What does everyone think could be the advantages and pitfalls of this? Think about a couple you may know who make a great team. Why do you think it works so well?


Recipe for love! Invest in some heart-shaped cookie cutters in different sizes. Invite some friends or grandparents to tea and make them some scrambled egg with heart-shaped pieces of toast on top. You could make heart-shaped biscuits or a sponge cake or no-bake biscuit cake made in a large heart-shaped tin. Perhaps you can find a good recipe on the Internet. While you are busy, see if you can make up a recipe for a happy marriage! For example, you will need:

  • 1 cup of kindness
  • 1 cup of forgiveness
  • a good pinch of patience
  • a dollop of going out when you feel like staying in, etc



Take two people with similar interests and . . . Mix in a cup of . . . etc!


Welcome to our nest! This is a good time of year to make or buy a nesting box to encourage birds to visit your garden. A box with a small entrance hole may attract a Blue Tit, whereas a House Sparrow will prefer a larger one. The box should be fixed to a wall that is covered with a climbing plant and the entrance should face north or east as direct sunlight may kill baby birds. It should be more than 2m from the ground, out of the reach of cats. Watch out for visiting birds and see if they bring nesting material and then food for their young.


Bedtime story: Borrow a picture book about love from the library, such as Guess how much I love you by Sam McBratney or Bear in Love by Daniel Pinkwater. Talk about how much God loves us and say a prayer to thank him for all the ways he shows his love for us, for instance by making our wonderful world, providing us with food, sending us Jesus to be our friend, etc.