Friday, 24 February 2012

The "Milky Way" Challenge

This is a very easy and short object lesson which I have used in School assemblies. I have used it all year round, however it would be best used in a September assembly when they are starting a new year, or during anti-bullying week/friendship week.

In my experience, kids of all ages respond really well to the lesson, however when looking for volunteers, I would pick pupils in key stage 2 (age 8+) – as the bamboo cane and fork can be a bit awkward for little ones to handle.

All you need is a kitchen fork. 2 bamboo canes (about 1metre in length) with a kitchen fork sticky taped to each cane, and some fun sized Milky Ways.

Top Tip- put the Milky Way’s in the fridge for about an hour before you do this lesson- otherwise the soft centre sticks to the fork and it is very messy.

Hands up who here likes chocolate?

Who likes eating chocolate?

Who has ever eaten chocolate with a fork?

Today I have a challenge for you. I challenge you to try and eat some of this Milky Way using a fork (show the normal fork.)

(Once you have picked your volunteer) There is a little twist to my challenge today. You see I challenged you to eat the Milky Way with a fork, but I didn’t mean this fork.

I have a special fork for you to use (show bamboo fork) I also have some rules when using this fork. You must keep both hands at the end of the bamboo cane (furthest away from the fork) and you are not allowed to bend your knees. (Hand the volunteer the fork, and allow them to struggle- it’s really funny.)

(After about 1 minute- or when they give up) Do you think the challenge might be easier of you had a friend to help you? (prompt them to say yes and let them choose a friend to come up.)

I will give my other volunteer a bamboo cane fork and put the chocolate on it for them. Can anyone in the room suggest how both of my volunteers can eat the chocolate, without bending their knees and without moving their hands from the end of the cane? (By now it is very obvious what they need to do.)

That’s right they need to feed each other their bit of chocolate. (Allow the volunteers to do this, let them sit down.)

My challenge today was impossible if you were to do it on your own. We needed someone else to help if we wanted to succeed in the challenge.

In the Bible it says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one...if one falls down the other is there to help him up.”

God loves it when we work together and help each other out, and that is why God has given us special friends as a special gift.

God knows that we sometimes get lonely, and we need friends to cheer us up. He also knows that if we are really excited, that friends are the best people to share those times with.

God has also given us another special friend who we can talk to and his name is Jesus. Jesus is always with us, and he loves us very much. He wants to help us, and listen if we need to share things with someone.

So I am going to leave you with another challenge. For the rest of the day/week I want you to try and be a good friend to all your class-mates. You can be a good friend by helping them if they need help, sharing your felt-tips, sit beside them at lunch etc.

End with a prayer asking Jesus to help them with their challenge if school allows.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Only Smarties have the answer?

I was once challenged by an 11 year old to base my next assembly talk in his school on his favourite sweets.

This is what I came up with. I have used it in a couple of schools, and every time it has gone down a treat. Kids love it because the teachers are against the pupils, and no matter what the kids always win. Nothing beats a bit of healthy competition!

"Today I have decided to find out something that I have wanted to know for ages. I want to know what the best football team is. (allow responses) Ok, we seem to be undecided, I wonder if we can agree on the best pop band, who is the best singer or band? (Allow responses) There seems to be a lot of good pop bands and football teams out there, we just can’t decide. But today I have a question that we will be able to answer today, who can tell me who is better; Pupils or teachers? (allow response) Ok well today I have come up with a test which will let us know who is better. I need 3 people. (let them come up to the front) Now which teacher would you like to challenge you? (let the children respond.)

Ok well all I am going to do is ask you a question and you have to answer it. But some of the questions are a bit difficult, so I have some tubes of Smarties to help the pupils (hand them over to the children) and I have a glossy magazine/ newspaper for the teacher.

(Have the answers printed and stuck onto the Smarties tubes- help the children set them out on the table, and point out to them that you have the answers on them. Older kids will pick up on the joke so best to pick 8year olds +)

Top Tip: Ask 5 questions (let the teacher answer first) Make the questions specific, so that it makes it harder for the teacher to get it right. For Example: A teacher probably knows the answer to “What age are Jedward?” But wouldn’t know “What date is Jedward’s birthday”

These are the questions I normally go for, but pick your own to fit your context:

1. What date is Jedward’s birthday? (16th March)

2. What colour is the “L” in the Google logo? (green)

3. What colour is my car? (white)

4. What was the bestselling pre-school toy in 2010? (Peppa Pig Rocket)

5. What is the most popular dog name? (Max)

The aim of the whole thing is for the children to get all the answers correct, and for the teacher to get none of the right. (Most teachers will catch on to what you are trying to do and will play along and come up with silly answers.)

Thank both the teacher and children and let them sit down (I find getting them to applaud as the children walk down helps the children to focus as there excitement id being channelled out through the clapping.) than teachers. Smarties obviously make people really smart….Can anyone tell me what Smarties motto is?

(ask a teacher as some children might be too young to know this).

Smarties motto is “Only Smarties have the answer.” And I have a confession to make, all the answers to my quiz were hidden on the Smarties tubes. So for my quiz, you would only have known what the answers were if you were the team with the Smarties as “Only Smarties had the answer”

In life we might have some questions that we do not know the answer to. Maybe you are feeling really lonely, and want to know if someone cares about you. Or maybe you want to know how the world began.

There is something that we have that has all the answers to these questions. It’s not Smarties, it’s the Bible. The Bible has all the answers to the questions about life we want to ask. The Bible tells us about a God who created us, and loves us very much.

Smarties may claim to have all the answers. We know that the Bible is the only thing that has all the answers!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Coca-Cola and Jesus

This is an object talk I would usually do in school assemblies. It works best with Primary Schools but I have done it in Secondary Schools and it was very well received. NB: If you are planning on doing this talk in a school, please check if they have a “water only policy”- or else use teachers for volunteers.

Overall this is a very easy and cheap talk, which requires very little preparation. Perfect for all busy youth workers and volunteers!

Please Note: I have adapted this talk to suit my context from “youth alpha”. If you would like to see the original talk it can be found in the teaching resource book under “How can I have faith?”

Items needed: 3 different brands of coke (one being Coca-Cola), 3 cups (labelled 1,2,3), 1 cup water, banner with Coca-Cola’s symbol and motto (optional).

(Before the children arrive, pour a small amount of each “coke” into 3 separate glasses- make sure you remember which one is coca cola though!)

Today I am going to talk to you about something I love, and I am sure some of you do too! I wonder if any of you can guess what it is?

I will give you all some facts about it, and when you think you know what it is, put your hand up.

· It has been in business for 124 years.

· It is sold in 200 countries.

· Santa likes it so much that he changed his suit from green to red to match the branding.

· It is the best-selling soft drink of all time.

(Take guesses as and when young people stick their hands up.)

Yes Coke, who here likes having a glass of Coke? (Allow response)

Why is Coke so nice? (Allow response)

Yes, the taste! In my opinion Coke has the nicest taste out of all the cola drinks on sale in the supermarket.

Today I have brought 3 varieties with me, I have Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Tesco Cola (or whatever you can get your hands on- Tesco is my local supermarket.)

Who thinks they could tell the difference between my 3 brands and pick out “Coca Cola”? (Pick 2 volunteers).

The first volunteer is going to smell the samples and try and tell the difference. (Allow volunteer to smell and guess)

The second volunteer is going to taste the samples and try and tell the difference. (Allow volunteer to taste and guess. TOP TIP: it is easier for the volunteer to guess if they are able to drink water between samples, it helps to neutralise their palettes.)

Brilliant, thank you; you successfully guessed which one was Coca Cola- give my volunteers a round of applause.

So now I am going to ask the teachers a question, can any of you tell me what Coca-Cola’s motto is? (Allow teachers to guess)There are loads of difference slogans for Coca-Cola, but only one motto. Their motto is “It’s the real thing”

This reminds us of our God, just like Coca-Cola, He is also the “Real Thing,” He is living today, and He wants to help us. And just like (insert volunteer 1 name) couldn’t what was Coca-Cola and what was not; we won’t know what He is like unless we “taste Him”, or find out more about Him.

We can find out about God by going to places like Sunday school, G.B, B.B, Scouts, Guides, Youth Club (etc)

Once you experience God and find out what He is like, you will realise that he is also “The Real Thing.”

Close in Prayer

Thank you for listening so well.

as always if you have any questions/comments/queries please feel free to comment below.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Jaffa Cakes and Jesus

This is a really fun object lesson that I have used for primary school assemblies. The only thing you need is Jaffa Cakes (I usually buy enough for the entire assembly so every child gets a souvenir). NB: I also bring 4 teeshirts with the letters J A F F A written on them and get the children to put them on....if you live near me and want to borrow them let me know.

Who here likes biscuits? (allow the children to respond)
Whao you have said some of my favourite too! But I wonder if you can guess what biscuit I am going to talk about today?
My biscuit begins with the letter "J" who would like to put this tee-shirt on? (allow child to come up and put it on).
Who would like to put on the next tee-shirt? (let a child come up and put the "A" on)
Pick two more children and then ask the group what it says on the tee-shirts.

Yes Jaffa Cakes! I love Jaffa Cakes, does anyone here like Jaffa Cakes? (allow children to respond)
Depending on how long you have allocated, you could ask them how they eat their Jaffa Cakes (picking the chocolate off, full moon/half moon etc...)

Another reason why I love Jaffa Cakes is because they have a secret message hidden in them. You see each letter stands for a word. (get the children with tee-shirts turn around to reveal the words "JESUS A FRIEND FOR ALL").

JAFFA stands for Jesus A Friend For All.
Can we all say it together (allow response- again with time permitting you could get them to shout it, whisper it etc.)

Yes- Jesus is our friend. He loves us and wants to help us. He doesn't care what we look like, if we are really tall or small. He is a friend for everyone, and he can help us when we are having a bad day, as he loves us very much- all we have to do is pray and ask him to help us. So remember whenever you feel lonely or sad- remember "Jesus is A Friend For All."

Close in prayer if your school allows you.

questions/comments/queries leave me a message!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Jelly Babies and Jesus

This is a great story/ object lesson which can be used at any part of the year (just alter the information). I usually use it when I am speaking at "Remembrance Day" services, especially if the church is full of young children in uniformed organisations. Please note that you have to use Bassetts Jelly Babies for the story to work (see picture.)

Who here likes sweets? (pause to allow the children to respond)
Who can tell me what their favourite sweet is? (Let Children tell you what they like.)
Well, today I am going to tell you a story about my favourite sweets.

My favourite sweets are "Jelly Babies" - does anyone here like them too? (allow children to respond)
"Jelly Babies" when they were first made were not called jelly babies, they were called "Peace Babies" because they were produced after the 1st World War, and each colour represented a country which fought in the war.

But we all know that it wasn't long before the 2nd World War started, and because sweets and chocolate were not essential goods, the production of "Peace Babies" stopped.

But our story doesn't stop there, you see after the War, a man decided to buy the factory were "Peace Babies" were made. This man was a very special man, as he loved Jesus.
Can I let you into a secret? Not many people know this secret....(build suspense)
There are secret symbols hidden on each "Jelly Baby" which can help us tell others about the wonderful love of Jesus Christ!!
Do you want to know what they are? (allow response)

(At this point you can get the children to lick the flour of the babies as you explain the symbols, or what I normally do is draw Jelly Babies onto A2 sheets with the symbols on them so that everybody can see the symbols- that way you can give the children a packet to take and try the exercise out for themselves!)

Black = When you lick off the flour you can see a Heart, which represents the sin in our lives.
Green= You will see the Baby Crying, which represents God's sadness that People didn't know the way to Heaven.
Red = You will see a B which represents "Blood" as Christ died to show how much he loved us and to show the way to heaven
Pink = Is a Baby, when we become a Christian we become a "child of God" (or born again).
Yellow= Is wearing a Necklace, which represents the riches of Heaven.
Orange= Is wearing a Bum Bag which tells us that we need to be prepared for Jesus coming again.

At the end you could give the children a small packet of "Jelly Babies" so they can try the story for them selves.

Any questions/queries please leave me a comment.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

"Acts" of kindness...

Recently I was at a funeral of a man whose teenage children attend youth programmes in my church. This funeral was unlike any I have ever been to or probably ever will be at. You see, this man was very well known in N.Ireland, and this was reflected in the 900 or so guests that were trying to pack themselves into the pews of our church. In fact this man was so loved that “Stormont” was suspended for that day to allow politicians a chance to say their farewells to a man who they all knew and loved. However the most striking thing about this day was not the amount of people in attendance, but the personal reflections people were making about this man and how this impacted their lives. It is not every day that you will see a former first minister break down in tears as they reminisce of how this person has challenged and shaped the way they think.

When I was at school, a teacher asked the class to list the things we would like the world to remember us by when we died. Our list contained a mixture of things from “the person who found the cure for cancer” to “the world’s best football striker”, but one of the statements which still stays with me was from a girl in our class who was quieter than the rest of us, she walked up to the board and wrote the words “the person who showed kindness and love to everybody she met.”

The man whose funeral I was at, shared this same philosophy; he was “the person who showed kindness and love to everybody he met.” Jesus did some pretty amazing things when he was here on earth, but the most profound thing that Jesus showed was unconditional love to everybody he met; his ministry was built upon friendships, and Paul in Acts 18 is showing us the importance of being relational and having friendships when we are witnessing to others.

If you haven't read Acts 18 before, I recommend you have a read, it's a wonderfully encouraging yet challenging at the same time. Afterwards, ask yourself " How do I need to develop/build/nurture relationships that will impact your spiritual growth and outreach?"