Think about your aims in working with this age group. For many, the primary aims will be for the children and their families to know that Jesus loves them; for the children to have fun; and for parents to form relationships with and gain support from each other.
A familiar structure is important for toddler groups: parents and children feel safer when they can predict what will happen next. Thanks to Sheila Beamer, of Trinity Tots, for the following well-tested structure:
A very useful starting point for anybody wanting to initiate or revitalise a Christian toddler group is Scripture Union's Building Blocks training material, which is freely available to download, along with a range of helpful advice on topics such as: how to use the Bible with very young children, music, prayer, child protection, and so on.
Family Ministry provide some useful pointers and resources for working with Under-5s.
Some parent and toddler groups have successfully extended their ministry to include evening parenting classes.
Another idea is to provide something like "A Hug from Above", which is a monthly opportunity provided by Wellesbourne Church, in Fosse Deanery, for parents to meet and chat in a cafe after the school drop-off.
Clergy can visit the mid-week activities, so that they and the parents get to know each other.
Children can come to church for toddler services, Easter egg hunts or other activities.
Colouring sheets at the toddler group could have Family Service information printed on them.
Craft activities that parents help very small children to complete at a mid-week group can be done by older children on their own in the children's corner or Junior Church.
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