My Sabbath Bag – Activity Bags for Church Worship

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For a long time I have wanted to make quiet activity bags for the children in our churches to use during the worship hour. I have been planning to make a stash of them that I can pass out to children as they arrive or to guests with children to use during church.

It occurred to me a few days ago (while again sitting in church watching little ones squirm) that a personalized bag for little ones would make a really nice Christmas gift.

I am sharing this idea with you, even though I have not actually made one yet! My idea is to take a plain canvas bag and decorate it with acrylic paint and use a fabric paint pen to write the child’s name on it along with the words “My Sabbath Bag.” Then, I would fill it up with some activities to keep them occupied during the quiet worship hour.However, making generic bags for all the kids in your church would be just as much fun! The bags can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want to make them.

Here are some ideas to put into the bag:

Really the possibilities are endless! I would suggest that you keep the items in the bag in keeping with the holy Sabbath day, but other than that, I think these could be so much fun to put together. If you do these for the children in your church, you could hang them on hooks in the bag of the sanctuary or in the foyer of the church, or have the Sabbath School teacher pass them out as the children leave class.

Oh, and one more tip – if you make a collection of these bags for your church, it would be important to number the bags and then place a corresponding number on each item that goes into the bag. You can make the bags all different so that the children don’t get bored with having the same exact bags each week!

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  1. I think Sabbath bags are a wonderful idea and have always had one for each of my 3 children. However, I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for older kids. Mine are now ages 9 to 13. My 9 year old boy gets especially "bored" during church. I'd like for my kids to get more interested in listening, but understand that it's not always easy to focus on what they percieve as being "only for adults." Right now, I have 3 kids who sit and read "Sabbath" books or the Guide or Insight magazine during the service. I accept this because I feel it's better than them hanging out in the foyer, or outside, as many kids their age are allowed to do. I was just wondering if anyone had any good ideas about keeping older kids interested in church.
  2. Ronna-Lee, my older kids read the Guide during worship sometimes, too. One thing that has been helpful for the older kids is for them to make a list of words. For example: Jesus, God, sin, love, grace, Satan, Bible, etc. Then, they listen to the sermon (their dad is the preacher ;) ) and put tally marks next to the words they hear and then tally them up after the sermon. This little activity helps them actually listen to the sermon! It can be difficult to get kids really interested in the worship service - just be thankful they are even interested in reading the Guide magazines (we love the Guide here, too) and keep encouraging them to participate in the worship experience! Melissa
  3. Cute idea. But as a mom that goes to a Family Integrated Church. (the whole family stays together) I have observed the children that behave the best in church are the ones that don't have toy's. We have children as young as one in our church that can sit still. Those families that do bring toys, snacks, and even drinks for the kids are the most noisiest. I think it's good to teach children to sit still. They don't always have to be busy. Probably not a real popular idea for 2011.
  4. I have to agree with Tracy. When we lived in PA our church introduced these little bag. After two or three services with these bags for my two youngest children and the children's programs I banned all of it. We are not sitting in services to play. We are there to focus on the Lord not our needs. Not everything in life is fun and games. Kim
  5. I am a 20+ year kindergarten teacher and have two grown children of my own who have always and still attend church on a regular basis. You all make good points. The emphasis should be on developmentally appropriate practices and each child is unique in their capabilities. There has to be a balance between discipline, purpose, and enjoyment. We have always kept our children in church with us. When they were younger we did bring basic things with us to church always keeping the focus on why we and the people around us were there and our role in worship. Participating in parts that made sense (prayer, music etc). Then as they got to be old enough to read, following along in the prayer and hymn book with us, keeping eyes and ears open for particular repetitive words and even using highlighters to highlight where we were in the Order of Service bulletin. Looking for and counting crosses, observing others who worship and counting how many wore ties, have glasses etc. As a teacher, I appreciate getting children who have been expected to sit and listen quietly without being "entertained" and who have been taught how to engage their minds when there is time that is not "filled up" with something. May God bless you as you teach your children the joy of worship!

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