I wish I had some fancy, schmancy name for these... but I don't! Just a little simple GOODNESS that you can make for your kiddos!
Our oldest child is three years and we have always prayed with him periodically throughout the day. His speech development lagged a little, so in comparison with some other children, he may have been slower to "catch on" and really start to participate. He has reached that golden time now, eager to pray with us and always throwing something completely unexpected in - truly one of the BEST treats about being a parent to small children, hearing those sweet, sweet prayers (that are frequently funny too!).
From an adults perspective I realize that it is frequently trials and tribulations that we face, often over years as we mature, that grows our prayer life. It seems as blessed children, raised in a nation of "plenty," we have parents or other adults who fix SO MANY of our problems, that perhaps, just maybe, we don't really understand the importance of growing our relationship with God through prayer at an early age. Moving out, choosing and committing to a Lifetime Love, and having children REALLY grew my personal relationship with God. As a parent to small children I admit I do want to fix things for them, but I also know that I have a responsibility to give them tools to help them succeed as a Christian when I can't be there! Educating my children about prayer and helping them to understand they can have a personal relationship with God who will ALWAYS be there is one of my top priorities.
Now that we have a little one eager to pray, I decided it was time to "explain" prayer some more. Specifically, who we might pray for and why, not just the standard "thankful for our food" - granted that is super important too, but my little eater seems to have that principle down!
I saw an idea on Pinterest a few months ago where the individual had taken popsicle sticks and written family members names on them. Excellent idea, I just needed to tweak it some for my early learners who aren't yet reading!
First, I gathered digital images of family members and friends who we consistently pray for. I then printed the images on cardstock. Photo quality paper would make the images more vivid, but I was more concerned with durability due to the ages of my children. Of course you could easily cut photos out if you have standard prints on hand and even let older children help!
Knowing that little hands would be loving on these everyday, I felt like it was important to laminate them. I also used my "paper trimmer," as Staples refers to it - YES, this tool is a little outdated to many in the world of high fashion crafting (ha!) but I have owned this tool for twelve years and I'm certain I use it EVERY WEEK. Honestly, this tool is well loved!
Have you tried crafting with glue dots? I had "Zots" on hand and chose to use them. I first experimented with glue dots on a whim a few months back and I find they are frequently my go-to now. I find them to be much more substantial than most craft glues that I have tried. Feel free to try hot glue if you think a super tight bond will be needed with your little ones!
After adhering the laminated images to popsicle sticks with the glue dots, I chose to write each individuals name on the sticks. This makes them both an excellent tool for teaching recognition of family members who may live out of town to even younger ones, and name/word recognition to those who are beginning readers.
A few additional notes...
I added a photo of our church building. The age my child is currently, he is learning that the "church" is made up of people and is not the building, he seems to really get that, and it was important to me that there was an image to serve as a constant reminder to him to pray for our church family.
Currently, we are starting our mornings by selecting three "sticks" - three individuals who I can discuss with him why we are talking to God about them. For example, today we selected his Dad (my Lifetime Love) because he is traveling on business, his cousin Gates because he is traveling on a mission trip, and his friend Annika because she had surgery this morning. We placed the "sticks" that were selected on our kitchen table and they served as a great reminder throughout the day!
I have started collecting images for a few additions. We discussed the importance of the President and leaders of our country multiple times during the election, so I'm adding the image of a flag and labeling it "America". What additions would you make?
Feel free to decorate a coffee can, a jar, or a cup to keep your sticks in... for now I grabbed something simple I already had on hand :)
As always, thanks for taking a minute to enjoy a little GOODNESS and please share this post with your friends! -Katy