Decorations and Activities for a Successful Church Nursery
By: Mimi Bullock
Besides being safe for kids, the church nursery should be a vibrant, colorful, kid-friendly area. The nursery is no place for "untouchable" furniture or decorations; it needs to have lots of touchable textures that are easy to clean. A tough prescription, you say?
Decorate the church nursery with your kids in mind. Take a kids' eye view before getting started with your decorating plans. Add your safety knowledge, and you'll have a winner!
You may choose to go generic with the decorations. That is, decorating without a specific theme. Just clean, colorful shapes and images that interest kids or maybe a plethora of Bible images. Most nursery leaders I know choose a neutral theme for the walls and carpet but pick a specific theme, like Noah's Ark, for the decorations. Using themes makes it easier for donors to know what to give and themes excite the actual workers, too.
Try these decorating themes when decorating your church nursery or pick your favorite elements from each.
Block, Blocks and More Blocks
Lego toys are fun, for boys and girls. Legos don't just come in teeny tiny pieces; the toy company offers the large variety, too. Go for a building block theme for your nursery. Create a written motto like, "Building on a Good Foundation" or "Building Our Futures With God." You could be "The Builder's Nursery."
Decorate cribs and changing tables with solid, primary colored sheets and blankets. Put all the red linens in one area and all the blue in another. Buy large block tables with sturdy legs for toddlers to play at. Have plastic tubs of large blocks for building and creating. Cardboard blocks are fun for house building, too. Paint or trace images of Lego builders or characters on the walls.
A flower garden nursery decorating theme is a fun way to personalize your ministry. Start with a soft green color on the walls to represent "God's Garden." Paint tall flowers with long 3 and 4 foot stems on the walls. The painted blooms are the perfect place to add children's photographs of the children who visit.
Use floral printed linens and colorful flower shaped rugs on the floor. Hang tissue paper butterflies from the ceiling high and out of kids reach. There are tons of other garden details you could add too like painted flowers on trash cans or stapling plastic white picket fence to the bottom portion of the wall. Do secure the fence tightly to avoid children's fingers getting stuck. You may wish to put the fence outside the nursery on the walls leading to the room.
What Are Some Good Activities for Church Nursery Kids?
The church nursery isn't meant to be the "crying zone." You know the place–where parents and children tearfully part for a few hours during service. The church nursery can be the most popular place in the church, at least amongst the children.
Be ready for faith-filled action by providing upbeat activities for the kids in your care. Activities will allow children to learn about God and be entertained so that Mom and Dad can enjoy all the events on the church's event calendar.
Music speaks to the soul, even little ones. Who hasn't caught themselves humming a tune from their childhood? Place a CD player in an out-of-the-way place. Buy or burn a CD collection to use during nursery time. While some attendees will be too little to clap their hands and stomp their feet the older ones will love it. Songs like "If You're Happy and You Know It" or "This Little Light of Mine" are easy to teach children. You should sit on the floor or rest on your knees when demonstrating bouncy hand and foot movements. Smile and don't forget to show expression with your face.
Use your CD player to play a narrated Bible story or show a Bible video. To complement the lesson, offer children dress up clothing. A big box of dress up clothing will make a fun activity for children in the nursery. Make sure the clothing is size appropriate and safe. Don't offer kids clothing with buttons or embellishments they might swallow. Encourage kids to dress up like King David or Queen Esther.
Nursery age children love puppets. Buy or make puppets from socks and act out Bible stories. Keep in mind the "Minute Rule." Kids that are 1 will have a 1-minute attention span. Children that are 2 will have a 2-minute attention span etc. Keep your storytelling simple and exciting. Avoid reading from a script that is long on conversation but short on action. Kids like to laugh!
Coordinate your snacks with a Bible theme or lesson. For example, if your nursery theme is Jesus feeding the five thousand, have lots of Goldfish crackers. Teach little ones about building their house on God with peanut butter and pretzel sticks. Serve animal shaped bread pieces or sandwiches for Noah and the Ark. Always check with parents before serving snacks. Some children may have allergies to certain foods like peanuts or milk-based products.
Mimi Bullock writes for www.Ministry-To-Children.com, a resource started by Tony Kummer to solve children's ministry problems.