I find this the best time to pick up little bits and pieces for the children’s worship space.

And if you are a parent this is a great time to pick up some items that you can use with your little ones at church during worship and still have at home, to reinforce the service message during the week.

I love shopping, or rather browsing at this time of the year in Australia. The holiday’s are over and I find this the best time to pick up little bits and pieces for the children’s worship space. All those crowded spaces are easy to move around in. The shopping centres are cool and inviting on a hot day and so I  want to encourage you to shop. Yep. Shop. It’s also a great time to pick up genuine bargains after the post christmas sales. And don’t forget that there is nothing nicer than internet shopping after a long hot day out and about either.

About this time last year I posted on how to set up the basics for a Church worship space, so recheck that blog  Spiritual Delights or Toy Box tat! As some of those places have since closed down, I will be changing some ideas and adding to that first list.

By the way I have now set up 3 church children’s worship spaces and am more than happy to help you out with yours. Just contact me here.

Please note that it is also important to include items that are significant to the area or culture of your congregation.

My general rule of thumb is, 1) no noisy toys, toys that make sound themselves, these toys are for use in worship and should not distract other worshippers from their worship.

2) They should be able to be regularly, hygienically cleaned

3) made of as natural and non-toxic materials as possible.

4) the aim is for spiritual play. Not entertainment.

I am educationally influenced by Montessori, Piaget, etc.

I love Ikea, they are well tested, recall when needed and most toys are built to last. Most products can be washed and even tumble dried. Also Ikea is a very family friendly place to shop. If you find things like I’ve suggested elsewhere then please feel free to buy those. The idea, not the product is my aim here.

There are still some heart cushions available, great for expressing the idea that God is Love, and God loves you

Definitely heart bears: reason as above.

play food: this one has loaves and fishes so perfect for “feeding the crowd”, communion, “

Lion, perfect size for small hands, great for story of Daniel or Joseph and faith  symbolism

Other animals in this series are great for general play and respond to ideas of how to act as a community. And for parents they easily fit in the back pack for church.

This Lion is super large and makes a great cushion or faith statement in the Children’s worship area,

Pigs, the prodigal son, or

Little People Great for imaginative play, crowds, people, retelling stories.

Boat Great for stories of Jesus and the disciples on the water, or fishing or Jonah or Paul.

Building Blocks  Ideal for free expression, building walls, or cities, even the tower of Babel.

Idea’s you won’t find in Ikea

Play mats, such as a city landscape

Safe mirror like this one in Target Theme: God loves You

Duplo’s creative play -my first emotions Good for emotions of psalms or a recreation of a Bible story. Might be useful.

Nesting sets, especially the blank ones. Great for recreating faith stories, or imaginative play.

drawing figurine, great for showing emotions, so, good for interpreting Psalms, and the emotions in Bible stories.

Rainbow jigsaw puzzle. God’s promise.

Noah’s ark

Nativity set

Baby dolls, especially mixed race and gender.

Battery operated candles

CRAFT Bits and pieces

Thick coloured paper

Paper plates

Drawing paper or scrap books

Crepe paper, i love this for texture and for it’s ability to break easily, and that it can be purchased in rolls or longer pieces.

My preferred drawing implement is washable textas’, They can be easily wiped off skin or pews. Not all washable texta’s are well washable, i love Crayola.

Crayons don’t, in my experience wash off, and pencils always need sharpening at the wrong time and seem to become an easy weapon.

I love felt, especially stiffened felt, as they make good backgrounds on which to stick felt pieces,

Felt pieces, or squares of many colours great for recreating Bible stories with.

I stay clear of foam as it breaks and becomes a chocking hazard.

Musical Instruments

Buy handkerchiefs to sway to the rhythm

Buy or make soft shackers

Anything else that does not have an overpowering sound ( it does not need to compete with the organ or band)

Have fun setting up your worship space or buying things to take in their church bags. Your enthusiasm will be infectious and encourage your little one to find an expression for their spiritual development.

Let us know what else you find useful so we can share our ideas.


Wendy L.




What would you place in the craft box?

Today’s thoughts are about a craft box in the worship space for Families, but it could also be of use to families that worship in a service without a Families Ministry.

A trolley or small chest of drawers would be ideal, but it may need a lock or child safety system if small swallowable items, or scissors (if you have scissors find a quality plastic scissor) are to be kept in it.

If possible try to make the materials all age suitable, which may mean not having foam sheets, as they can be bitten into and cause a swallow hazards. Or small buttons or google eyes for the same reason.

Ideally, I would caution against “messy” items in a traditional service, as the clean-up can be time consuming. But on the other hand, if you have a member of the congregation willing to cheerfully help the clean-up it can lead to bonding with the rest of the congregation! Oh Yes, and what a wonderful outcome that could be!


Items I like to put in a craft area are

Coloured and textured papers and boards, (Riot and Officeworks are a good source for these especially when found on special)

Crepe paper ribbon or paper, if possible blue, green, yellow or brown. Crepe paper readily breaks so is easy to extradite small wriggling humans from it if they get a bit wrapped up!.

 Texta’s, for different age levels, ie egg crayons, Thicker texta’s to help grip and positioning for the pre-schoolers. I like Crayola, they are not made in China, they are large enough for a product recall not to be overlooked, and the thing that really wins my loyalty is they really do washoff, all surfaces. During one service, one of our youngest members decided to use herself as the surface, a wonderful expression of her spirituality and easily cleanable so she was no longer a body canvas, when her parents left for lunch with friends straight after church.

Glue sticks, no messy spills, and they stick a treat.

Icy pole sticks,

Spoon shaped timber sticks, (make great people)

Felt squares, pre-sticky felt squares or larger shapes, stiffened felt same colours as mentioned for crepe paper.

Envelopes, different sizes, and colours, including white.

Fabric craft squares Spotlight

Stickers, religious and otherwise.

Paint in sponges and large stamps (available from Riot)

Leaves (from non toxic plants)

Old fashioned timber pegs (no springs)

I don’t like

1) pipecleaners as the ends poke and hurt, and drawing blood during the service does break the worshipping mood.

2) Sticky tape can have sharp edged dispensers, and can be pulled out to great lengths (mummified little ones are also a worship stopper).

3) Bottles of Paint, same issue as for bottles of glue

The main thing is that they are safe, age appropriate materials that are not large mess makers during a traditional service the idea is to worship, not to damage or clean –up.

I remember from my Godly Play training “use quality products the children can tell the difference”

What would you add to this list?





Spiritual Delights or Toy Box tat!

The Back to school ads are on, and that’s my signal to check the toy box at church.

It’s usually been added to by kind people who think that ” that toys in good condition it will keep the kids quiet in Church” NOOOO!!! that’s not what the toy box is for it is a box of toys that will encourage any little ones to express their spiritual selves. Children’s work is play. So a well equiped toy box is important. Everything in there should be clean, cleanable, safe and be able to have an expression in the Word as heard in the service or be a Christian motif.

Some of the toy’s in your “toy box” may fit this criteria, but some may have to go. Especially if they are unsafe, (lead paint, asbestos in recalled crayons that were never thrown out, toxic dyes, small pieces that can come off and be put in mouths (swallow hazard)), or can’t be washed. Or make a  loud noise, or covered in building dust from a renovation. Check or

If starting from scratch it might seem like a big outlay, but you are investing in the spiritual development of children, and it can be slowly built up over time. If refreshing your toy box, remember that if you need to throw things out, under Victorian legislation we are responsible for suppling physically safe environments for children. It is not wasteful to keep people safe. If something can not be used to enhance the spiritual development of the child, recycle. Someone will enjoy it.

I’ve made 2 “toy boxes” for congregations. Here is what is generally in them. Let me know what you think I should also add. Let’s get a discussion going.

This is also the list I would recommend to parents as a basis for spiritual play at home.

Soft Toys  make sure they are fully washable and preferably machine dryable

Heart cushion, large and small from IKEA

Small bear with heart on top from Ikea

Sheep from Toy’s r us

Donkey from Toy’s r us

Play food from Ikea, especially the one with fish and loaves.

Timber toys

Nativity set from St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne

Blocks, different shapes and sizes.

Noah’s Ark

Cars from Ikea

Rollar ikea


Plastic Toys

People from Ikea

Boats from Ikea

Animals and Barn from Toy’s r Us

Fabric max 1x1m

Blue from Spotlight

Brown from Spotlight

Yellow from Spotlight

Sheep patterned brushed cotton from Spotlight

White fleece from Spotlight

White shirts for dress ups

Tea towels

Puzzles never small pieces that can be swallowed

Christmas floor puzzle from Korong

Jonah puzzle from Korong

rainbow puzzle


Battery operated candle

Child safe mirror


Village floor rug from Ikeas (great for both a prayer too and play)

Baby Dolls, multicultural baby dolls, not too large, about 15cm max. expensive but good Miniland Baby dolls currently on sale