Monday, January 14, 2013

Church bag essentials

Church with kids is different than church without kids. Ha. What a profound thought, right? Church with kids is hard. It’s exhausting. It’s often a wrestling match. And, I must admit, that some Sundays I come home and wonder if it was even worth being there. Sometimes I don’t hear a single word of the sermon. Sometimes I miss almost every song. Not usually, though, because we are lucky to have lots of people who always have the girls sit with them. Our church has a staffed nursery but for the most part, but for personal reasons, we choose to keep the kids in the auditorium. Of course, there are some days that are exceptions and Eva goes, but mostly, she “sits” through church.

Enter the church bag. About a year ago, I felt like it was time to put together a special bag of stuff that come to and from church with us. This morning as I emptied out the church bag to reorganize it, I thought it may be helpful to some to see what our church bag looks like. So, here it goes. Our church bag essentials.

2013-01-13 Church bag

1. Quiet book – this was gifted to Gwen from a sweet lady in our church and Evalyn loves working on the activities in it. It has lacing, beads, velcro, snaps, zippers and a few other fine motor tasks in it.

2. Magnets – I got the Magnet Creations Farm for Evalyn last year just after Christmas (15 months old) and she has consistently played with it every single Sunday during church since then. She still loves it. It has different seasons to add magnets to. The Lalaloopsy magnetic paper dolls were just added to her collection this Christmas.

3. Magnadoodle and crayons – she loves to draw shapes and letters and numbers on the magna doodle. Crayons are an obvious essential.

4. Stickers, stickers, stickers – There are always a plethora of stickers in the church bag. She is obsessed with sticking them on papers and people around her. Currently, she’s really interested in the sticker books that have stickers that go in specific spots on specific pages.

5. Interactive, quiet books – Lift a flap books, I Spy books and touch and feel books are great. Better than story books. We don't have to read these books to her – she will look at them quietly and they don’t get boring. We have typically had one or two of the Heads/Tails/Sniff/Moo books by Matthew Van Fleet  in the bag, too.

\6. Snacks – our typical church snacks are fruit leathers, little boxes of raisins and yogurt covered raisins and baby food pouches (juicies according to Evalyn). Goldfish, fruit snacks and cheerios also make the occasional appearance. 

Some other good church bag choices are lacing and tracing activities, puzzles (we have a few wooden puzzles that have been in there at times as well the M&D Basic Skills board, although it’s a big large), stamps and scrap paper (church bulletins work well).

Right now, the church bag is this precious painted canvas tote bag made for Evalyn by Gina. However, with two kids and more stuff, I’m thinking an upgrade to a backpack will soon be in order. The lovely thing about the church bag is that it typically stays tucked under Evalyn’s car seat in the truck. This means no having to remember to grab the church bag on the way out the door. Which is great considering there are 5489358 things to remember as it is.

 2013-01-13 Church bag1 Evalyn loves her church bag. She knows it’s special. As we get out of the truck at church she almost always asks, “Do we got the church bag?” The things in it tend to keep her engaged because she only sees them once a week. I try to remember to bring it in every now and again to clean it out, get rid of garbage and stuff that gets collected and change up the contents for some new things.

What are your favourite church bag items?


Anonymous said...

The church bag is a great idea...I just still don't see how she sits through a service. I have a 2.5 year old boy, and there's just no way. There's a 2.5 year old girl that sometimes sits in our services and she is never, ever quiet. My husband is an assistant pastor and my father-in-law is the pastor, and kids in the service is one of the most distracting things. If your child is quiet, that's one thing, but if they're not, it can be very distracting. I don't know how you do it! I can imagine sometimes you hardly hear a word of the sermon. That stresses me out and I've never attempted it! :)

Jennifer said...

That is such a great idea!!! Perfect for car rides or trips too!

Ramblings of a Suburban Mom

Bon said...

I found a Sesame Street book with a felt board in it and felt pieces to stick on it. She loves to play with it during church. We also have stickers, flash cards, crayons, colouring books, blank notebooks and snacks. During morning service they have the nursery class and during evening service she gets her church bag.

Gina said...

Thanks for the shout-out and failing to mention that I got the verse wrong. XO

Mommy Mandy said...

This is such a great idea!! Going to try this with our girls this weekend at church!

Jessica G said...

I don't remember having the lacing toys/boards when I was little but I bought them for my god daughter for Christmas and they are such a hit when she goes to church! Thanks for the other ideas, these will be great for some gift ideas and "special" toys :)

Laura @ My Thoughts-Uninterrupted said...

What a great idea! I had full intentions of making Ethan a quiet book last year. I bought everything, made one page...then moved and got pregnant. It hasn't seen the light of day since. I need to check out the magnet books.

Anonymous said...

We also have a church bag, but it's not fancy like yours hehe!

I am working on making a quiet book for the kids. Hopefully it serves it's purpose!

One thing that keeps L busy (sometimes) is a wallet with cards and such in it.