This wordless book craft creates a fun sensory learning experience and doubles as a take home story bag that children can use to share the gospel story in their own words.
I came up with this idea because I had all the materials on hand (I put leftover VBS materials to good use). This could easily be adapted to not include the cute little bag and that would make this a very inexpensive activity to do with your children at home or with the children in your church if you are teaching the wordless book. We just happened to have a bunch of leftover canvas bags and beads.
If you are not familiar with the wordless book, it is simply a book of colors that can be used to prompt the sharing of the gospel. Put very simply the colors represent the following:
Black= the “blackness” of our sin without Christ
Red= the blood of Jesus shed for our sin
White= Our newness in Christ as He cleanses us from our sin
Green= What God does in our hearts and lives as he changes us and helps us grow in Him
Yellow= Our hope of eternal life- living forever in the presence of God
When I was a child, I remember making a very simple flip book with these colors. Now of course there are many more creative applications of this idea. Wordless book bracelets, Lego retellings, colored balloons made into shapes to represent the wordless book, and more. I have used Duplos to tell the gospel story several times and really like the idea of using the shapes along with the colors to help children remember what each part of the story represents.
Lately I have also been on this kick of creating take home story bags that the children can use to retell the story to their family or friends and caregivers. The children seem to treasure these story kits as gifts.
I happened to attend a basketball game a couple of days later where one of the children was also there. She had her story set there along with all her little toys. Her mom mentioned that she had played with the set many times since making it. I know parents don’t appreciate a lot of junk coming home from church so I try to limit the type of thing we make and what goes out of the classroom.
I am also a little obsessed with felt. I like that it is easy to work with (cause I have a sewing phopia) and more durable than paper so it can be used again and again. I also like to provide the children with the best quality materials to work with that I can afford.
- Black heart
- Red Cross
- White heart
- Green leaf
- Yellow crown
If you are making these into a story bag, you can use a canvas bag like this one. I added a bit of flair and gave the children a short lesson on making patterns by adding a beaded leather strap zipper pull. The zipper pull doubles as a control card to help the children remember the order of the colors when they retell the story. We used: 1 red heart bead, two black pony beads, two red pony beads, two white pony beads, two green pony beads, and 2 yellow pony beads for our zipper pull.
As a prompt for the kids, I colored circles in the order the beads needed to go on a piece of paper. If you are doing this with preschoolers, you may want to make a control card for each one of them. They did well using the control card and having verbal instruction, but needed assistance getting started picking out how many beads they would need and putting them on in the correct order.
Some of the children may be resistant to putting the beads on in the right order. I didn’t push the issue, but explained that the order was important because it would help them retell the story. I am pretty sure all the kids were willing to follow the direction after that. All except my 7 year old daughter who made hers at home afterward with leftover materials. She insisted on making it in her own colors. It seemed important to her so I let it go.
We used permanent markers to color the bags. Paint markers would also work but they tend to bleed so we didn’t use them. I did place a piece of cardstock inside the bag while the children colored them so the marker wouldn’t bleed through to the other side.
Here is a picture of one of the children’s finished story bags. The children decorated their own.
We didn’t fuss about how the bags looked–after all it is THEIR work. The process of making the bags is more important than the finished product in this case. Plus much of the other elements of this project are dictated by the teacher so I wanted to include an element of process art into the activity time.
I set up the activity in three stations.
- Color and design the bags
- Create the beaded zipper pull
- Put the felt pieces inside the bag
The first two parts can be done interchangeably with half the group coloring and the other half making the zipper pulls. That way you can help a smaller group make the zipper pulls while the other children can work pretty independently coloring the bags.
We added the pieces to our bags as part of the lesson time. To teach the children the meaning behind the colors and the shapes, I told the lesson using the felt pieces and gave each child their own pieces as we went through the story. After sharing the wordless book story, I gave interested children a chance to retell the story using their story bags.
My intention was to simply cut out enough of each shape for each child to have one of each to create their felt wordless book story set. Then provide them with a canvas bag that they could decorate and keep the story in. But when my daughters saw me making the felt pieces, they came up with a much more creative way to use the materials. I just love it when children see more potential in things than I do!
If you are not familiar with the theory of loose parts, you can read more about it here and here. This is a great example of loose parts play and how providing children with open ended materials can spur their imagination.
I gave my girls a very brief and simple explanation of each color and shape while they were helping me remove the freezer paper from the shapes and they decided to make these beautiful pictures and patterns all the while talking about the colors and the shapes and what Jesus has done for us.
Right now in AWANA Cubbies we are learning about sharing the gospel so I was able to use these same pieces (I made lots of extras) in this sensory bin.
We used this good news sensory bin to go with our memory verses for the last two weeks:
Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation”
Romans 10:15b “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
I put lots of goodies in this little sensory bin. I used a base of green shredded paper and blue glass beads (blue and green the colors of the earth).
I hope this wordless book craft gives you inspiration. I love to hear little children share what Jesus did for us on the cross and about the hope we have in him because he did NOT STAY DEAD! Praise God!