The curriculum that my home congregation chose to use for vacation Bible school this year described how a "set" could be built as a backdrop for the main gathering area for singing and the message of the day. Within this set it was suggested to create paper banners. Being of good conscience our children's ministry director saw these paper banners as a good idea that could be made better by involving the children in their creation and making them out of fabric to make the project more sustainable. It was fun for Carrot Top Studio to support this idea. Instead of embellishing the banners with the "characters" that coordinated with the curriculum the children would develop the symbols that would be placed on the banners. We became a team in this project.This is what happened next:
- the middle school youth group spent time learning about and researching Christian symbols.
- the students each chose a symbol to draw as a flat shape....like the apple symbol is for Apple computers. No details within the shape were necessary.
- the group worked together to decide which symbols would work best for the five, double sided banners that would be created.
- the chosen symbols were drawn on a 12 x 12" piece of paper. These were cut out to create a pattern.
- meanwhile in the studio we were prepping fabric measuring 12 x 12" that was ironed onto a iron on adhesive.
- the students traced their patterns onto the prepared fabric and then cut out the shapes.
- we took the shapes into the studio and applied them onto the banner backgrounds that we had made. Note...this is a simple sewing project that middle school students could handle with the right adult guidance. We didn't have time for this type of involvement this year but this should be considered in the future!
What were the results of this project? The youth group was energized when they explored the symbols and discussed the historical meanings in addition to the meaning that they themselves personally saw in them. The banners are being used as a colorful, visual connection to our faith this week. Additionally the banners will carry on their purpose when they move to the children's worship space this fall.
It was great to be part of this project. I share it today to encourage you to take curriculum ideas and make them better, more sustainable or more specific to your church needs. Keep making those visual connections through color and symbols!