This summer I worked for YouthWorks organizing an afternoon Kids Club in Manderson, South Dakota. I was given materials and lesson plans, but was responsible for implementing and scaffolding the curriculum for a variety of ages, skill levels, and interests. Every day we had story time, parachute games, and crafts, then on Thursday we celebrated with water balloons and games.
Week One – Our themes this week were the Lakota value of Generosity and how Jesus Loves. Our memory verse is “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him” 1 John 4:16.
- Monday: Jesus Loves the Little Children & Bead Craft
- One day every week, the craft station is dedicated to making bracelets, necklaces, etc. out of beads and yarn.
- Tuesday: Good Samaritan & Tatanka
- “Tatanka” means buffalo in Lakota. The buffalo is integral to Lakota culture and spirituality; it is said that the coming of the white buffalo calf will bring prosperity. We colored the inside of the buffalo with things that we love (our families, Kid’s Club, dogs) and on the outside colored a home for the buffalo.
- Wednesday: Parable of the Lost Sheep & Sheep Puppets
- Along with learning the Parable of the Lost Sheep, we made sheep puppets using paper bags, cotton balls, and google eyes. This was a messy craft but so adorable.
Week Two – Our Lakota value is Courage we learned about how Jesus Prays. Our memory verse is “Devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart” Colossians 4:2.
- Monday: Daniel in the Lion’s Den & Lion Masks
- Using paper plates, google eyes, and crayons, we made lion masks to complement the reading of the story of Daniel.
- Tuesday: Fourth of July Party & Bead Crafts
- We celebrated Fourth of July with a water balloon toss, friendship bracelets, and ice pops.
- Jonah and the Whale & Make Your Own Ocean
- After hearing the story of Jonah, each kid got blue construction paper, ocean stickers, crayons, and a cutout Jonah/whale to make their own ocean.
Week Three – Our themes this week were the Lakota value of Wisdom and how Jesus Teaches. Our memory verse is “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth” John 17:17.
- Monday: Gods Eye
- Gods Eye is a traditional weaving craft made by gluing two craft sticks in the shape of a cross and weaving different colored yarn.
- Tuesday: Beaded Crafts
- The kids are extremely creative so they love to come up with their own beaded designs, but I have a cross necklace that I like to teach them how to make.
- Wednesday: Parable of the Lost Treasure & Treasure Chest
- The goal was to paint treasure chests, but we mostly painted ourselves.
Week Four – Our Lakota value is Respect we learned about how Jesus Forgives. Our memory verse is “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:32.
- Monday: Noah’s Ark & Build an Ark
- A local church donated Noah’s Ark storytelling and craft supplies, so we made an ark to hang in the Sunday School room.
- Tuesday: Paralyzed Man & Beaded Crafts
- The kids really liked the God’s Eye craft from last week, so we put out some craft sticks to give more options.
- Wednesday: Prodigal Son & Craft Stick Houses
- We learned about how the prodigal son was welcomed home and then made houses out of craft sticks and glue.
Week Five – This week we reviewed the Lakota values and learned about how Jesus lives, with the theme verse “I am the living one. I was dead and behold, now I am alive forever and ever” Revelation 1:18.
- Monday: Jesus Dies and Rises & “Jesus Rises” Cups
- When we learned about how Jesus rises, we made Jesus rise from Dixie cups by coloring Jesus and gluing him to craft sticks.
- Tuesday: Jesus Ascends to Heaven & Bead Craft
- This was the last chance to make friendship bracelets and necklaces. It was so wonderful seeing the kids show their love for the friends they made this summer.
- Wednesday: Jesus Will Come Back & Make Your Own Coloring Book
- I used construction paper and blank paper to staple little coloring books, which the kids could decorate to make their own coloring book.
To finish the summer, we had a party with root beer floats, and gave out backpacks filled with school supplies and give-away Bibles. It was a beautiful experience to love and grow with the kids this summer, and I can’t wait to see them again.