We attend an age integrated church, which means there is no nursery, Sunday School classes or Children's Church. We have a worship service for 2+ hours in which the whole family sits, sings and listens to the sermon together. To help the younger children learn to sit through an hour long sermon we have a church bag we take each week, with "quiet" things for them to do. (even though there hands are being kept busy, their ears still hear the sermon)
**please note: The intention of this post is not to debate whether or not children should be allowed to have things to keep their hands busy during sermons or not. This post is to give ideas and encouragement to those of us who choose to do this. Please do not submit comments to debate this. **
Lately I had noticed that our church bag was getting out of control. Too many old bulletins, broken crayons, unsharpened pencils, etc. Bleh! I also didn't like how awkward it is for the kids to get into all the different compartments of the backpack during the sermon. Zippers are noisy too. So, I decided to get a new bag, streamline what we take each week, and rotate what goes in it every couple of months. Here are the results:
Our "old" church bag - pink backpack with too many pockets, zippers and too much space to lose things in!
New items for quiet play for the girls: Woodkins dolls by Pamela Drake. Our chiropractor has had one in his office for years and my girls always play with it. These dolls will ONLY be in the church bag and the girls are not allowed to play with them any other time.
Here is how the inside of the new church bag looks after putting the things I want to have in it in. Using a smaller bag (and no noisy zippers!) will keep us from over stuffing it and changing out items every couple of months. Inside it are: a few coloring books, package of twist up crayons, two lacing items, two magna doodles (we love these for church use), several small, plastic animals (dollar store) and the Woodkins.