Sunday, January 23

Godly Play 3: Creating a Space

If you are new to this space you might appreciate reading Godly Play 1: What is Godly Play and Godly Play 2: Materials before you read this post.
While many churches that use godly play have beautiful rooms filled with shelves of wooden figures, golden parable boxes and natural art materials, that just isn't practical for most of us in our homes.   I think that a small table or end stand can suffice.  We use a small end stand that is part of the furnishings of our rented home and house it in the corner of our dining room.  I would love someday to have a small alter for seasonal cloth and candle, small shallow shelves beside it to house our materials and a small desert table with a lid (so it can be used with or without sand).  But for now our simple table works quite well.

the story on the table is "The Man Who Said Thank You" found in Luke 17: 11-17
I've mentioned before that when I talk about godly play at home I'm not talking about using the godly play scripts that you find in the curriculums.  We do use those some; but what I'm talking about here is creating a place that children can play with the biblical story and christian practices.  Perhaps I should come up with another name for this, but for now, just know, that when I say 'godly play at home' it looks different than 'godly play' proper.  In some ways it reminds me more of the waldorf style story tables and less of montessori trays and lessons.  When I tell stories at the table (or often on the floor beside the table or at our meal table) I typically read the scripture before hand and then tell the story in my own words.  I particularly love telling stories from the Pentateuch (The first five books of the Old Testament) this way, as some believe they were told for hundreds of years before they were written down during the exile.  I love to think that I am passing these stories in my voice to my children, just as the people of God passed them to their children so long ago.

The Space:

We have a cloth the color of the church season over the table (above it is green for ordinary time) and perhaps some postcards or prints depicting some stories we are working with or coordinate with the church season hanging above.

Our table has one shelf that holds our materials: two baskets of figures, a small box with felt pieces, strips of fabric for roads, rocks and other small items, a box of blocks (we use haba's middle eastern blocks), a couple electric candles, and a stack of cloths (both for the church year colors and to create the landscapes for different stories).  There are so many more things I would love to make and add, but really a few figures and some cloths are all you need to start.

:Under the table we have some books -children's Bibles, Bible story books, The Common Book of Prayer, an illustrated Nicene creed, the Lords Prayer, and several other books.  I would love to share some of our favorites in this space and will work on that, but for now, it is enough to say that a good collection of books is a wonderful addition.  I sometimes find Jonah with figures and a book acting out what he is reading.

:Beside our godly play table is our nature table, which is actually a hunt-board filled with paper and other art supplies, so if there is ever a desire to do an artistic response everything is available to little hands.

If you decide to create a space for godly play at home, I'd love to hear what you come up with.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I'd love to hear your recommendations on Christian children's literature and children's bibles. . . I have so many wonderful children's books- but find it is so hard to find Christianity-based ones with quality text and illustrations. Thanks and God bless the work you are doing!

Noell said...

The seminary in our town hosts a children's literature blog that reviews books and often pairs them with appropriate bible texts. That might be of interest to you.

Michelle said...

This is amazing. I've been putting together a play room for my daughter based of the Reggio Emilia (child-guided play) idea. Simultaneously I've been pondering how to bring the liturgy, prayer and scripture into our home more. This is a perfect combination of the two ideas. I have a book nook, craft area, and a light box area. I hope to have a music corner as well. Adding the "godly play" table would be the perfect combination of both. Thank you!