Sunday, February 20

Godly Play - Joseph

Because of our work with the story of Joseph this week I brought home the godly play box from church and thought I would share our entirely homemade and found object Joseph set.
Before I start into sharing the materials for the godly play of Joseph (found in Godly Play: Volume 6) I should point out that I don't like the way it is told in the curriculum.  In fact, I really don't like most of the enrichment lessons of volume six - at least not for young children.  The stories are important ones, but they don't interact with the materials playfully.  Most of the lessons have you lining the items up on a mat (see above) as you tell the story.  There is nothing wrong with this, but lesson after lesson it gets old, and I want to play with the pieces of the story.  I want to put Joseph's coat on, have his brothers bow down to him, have him march to Egypt as a slave, have a sleeping Pharaoh who dreams... not line items up.  The children enjoy matching the people to the circles and the items to the outlines on the underlay (see below), but they aren't truly playing with the story in an imaginative way.  Older children would be more likely to be able to retell the story, putting the pieces in the correct spots, but with the wee ones I teach (2-5) I prefer to make a scene and let them play with the pieces.

But, despite the fact this isn't my favorite way to tell the story, it is fun and we enjoy it (though I do put the coat over the Joseph figure and act various bits out with the figures).  We had the most fun acting this story out this week - Jonah playing Joseph, Rowan as Benjamin and me being everyone else.

For those of you working on making your own godly play areas here is a list of the found and handmade items for this story...

underlay: cut from a thrifted curtain (left over after making the Magic Treehouse bags for Jonah's birthday).  I used a sharpie to draw on the images.

Joseph and brothers: These are wooden peg people from Casey's wood products.  I painted Joseph with acrylic paint and rubbed in some beeswax to seal the paint.

Coat: Simple coat shape zigzag stitched around the edges (with wrong sides facing together)

Grain: A friend found these on the farm she lives on.  I tied them with ribbon.

Day one creation card: The first time I told this story I used the foam board creation card, but have now made one with card stock (which I plan to put contact paper on) so that the set is ready to use when little ones draw it off the shelf.

Small jam jar filled with silver coins

Pyramid: a repurposed amazon box made several pyramids

Cow: Perhaps I should repaint the blue wonder cow, it came with some wooden train track Jonah was given at some point.

Sack of grain: brown flannel pinked at the top and sewed on two sides.  I filled it with pieces of grain and tied it with a bit of white cord.

So the lesson calls for 'corn' and late one Saturday night (I'm presenting this on Sunday) I whipped up this ear of corn.  But as I read the scriptures and prepared the story Sunday morning I realized that they don't mean corn in the American sense (after all corn is a new world food and certainly not around in the time of Joseph), but in the British English sense - corn meaning grain.  Had I thought for even a moment or read through the scripture story when making the materials I would have realized, but I was just looking at the list of supplies (and the picture, which is american corn - silly) and creating them with what I had on hand.  Oh well, it works for now, and maybe I'll figure out something to make later.  It would be really fun to make a little 'corn' that could be enclosed in a bigger 'corn' as in the dream.  But using some elipses (three yellow and four green) to stitch up american corn is a whole lot easier than making grain stalks and there is grain from Joseph's dream, so there is something nice about the item in Pharaohs' dream being depicted differently.

More on Playing with the Joseph story here.


Storyteller said...

What beautiful objects in your box! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas for a homemade / found object set.

I'm also interested in your comments on Vol 6. I too am working (mostly) with very young children, so haven't even bought Vol 6 yet, but that does mean missing out for now on some really central (to me, at least) stories.

Watkins said...

Volume six has the stories of The Fall, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Ruth, Samuel, King David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Job. I do think some of these are very foundational stories to our understanding of God's bigger plan and story. So many of them look at God as the great promise keeper and great promise maker (my big idea - not necessarily explicit in these lessons) and that is one of a few foundational ideas I want the children to have a firm grasp on in these early years.

Other thoughts on this volume:
The creation account/the fall is questionable as to whether it is orthodox. I would never use it as it is written. They try to oversimplify in the wrong ways and I think it is more confusing than helpful. If I'm remembering correctly the rest of the stories are fine in my evaluation (with perhaps small adjustments - I don't remember as it has been awhile since I've taught these).

I hope that is helpful, I don't think it is written well for younger children and they are almost all line ups of items, but there are some foundational stories.

Sue said...

You constantly amaze me! It is a good thing when a mother-in-law is in awe of her daughter-in-law! :)