These resources compile crafts, activities, bible and book study, worship ideas, and faith at home practices for families with children of all ages. If you're looking for online children's curricula, check this page. If you are interested in apps for prayer, see here. If you love podcasts, here is a list for Christian formation.
Bite sized blog posts with ideas for crafts, activities, prayers, books, and worship, for all ages. Hosted by Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal) and written by children/youth ministers, clergy, and parents around North America. It has a dedicated area for seasonal resources and a comparison chart for curricula from the mainline churches. Good for teachers, parents, and clergy in the Anglican tradition looking for some new ideas for faith formation at home, online Sunday School or Sunday morning worship, quickly. https://buildfaith.org/
Vibrant Faith - Faith at Home
A multi-age resource with short activities designed to stimulate simple practices of faith at home. The core practices are: Bible Stories, Caring Conversations, Learning about Faith, Prayer, Rituals & Tradition, and Serving Others.
You can download pdfs with ideas for children, teens, young adults, and intergenerational groups. The Vibrant Faith Institute is a leader in faith formation which embraces ecumenism from a Roman Catholic background. These activities are all free to download and can be shared in bulletins, take-home packages, emails, etc. https://www.vibrantfaithprojects.org/vibrant-faith-home.html
The Bible Project
A Youtube channel dedicated to short animated films on the bible. Topics range from the genres, themes, difficult words, and whole books we find in Scripture. Created by a Baptist seminary professor and a minister colleague, the videos are well made, entertaining, and educational if occasionally revealing some different approaches to biblical interpretation than other mainline biblical scholars might take. The introductions to biblical books are great for setting up a bible study, and they do give a good sense of the whole biblical story from a Christian point of view. Videos are appropriate for kids 9+. Youth groups and adults could learn a lot too. These videos could be shared on a Zoom call and then discussed afterward.
This is NOT Sunday School - online/offline program for Fall 2020
Covering the big stories from the Bible, this free online course includes weekly video storytelling with downloadable materials for families at home. It's produced by ChurchNext, an online course producer, that is part of Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal church.
Faith at Home - Lectionary based study
This is a free email or printable resource for children, youth, and adults to do age appropriate reflection on the Sunday lectionary bible readings. The format follows this pattern: Read a passage of scripture, discuss some questions, respond with an activity. Parishioners can sign up on the website or you can send out the format in your parish emails, websites, fb page, etc. The studies come out once a week and there is also a daily blog. It’s produced by Christian formation leaders in the Episcopal church. Here's a sample format for the week.
Flame: Creative Children’s Ministry
A website with many ideas for biblical and worship crafts for kids, 0-12. Very hands on ideas, which I find tend to attempt to address not just the content of stories (making a boat for Jonah’s story) but crafts that convey the concepts to kids (forgiveness, love, etc) without being overly complicated (young kids can ACTUALLY do them).
The Reverend David Taylor from St. Dunstan’s has crafted this easy to use catechism for young children. It moves through the big topics: who are we, who is God, etc., in an accessible, friendly way. Each session is only 15-20 minutes long; it comes as a 2 pager with big graphics. It can be used at home anytime of the year. You can download them here: https://www.st-dunstans.ca/pages/childrens-catechism
Faith formation resources centred on colouring and devotional materials. The language is inclusive, progressive and attentive to imagery (e.g. Jesus is not white.). Normally a paid resource, but during the Covid-19 pandemic they are offering resources for families at home for free here: https://www.illustratedministry.com/flattenthecurve. Founded by Presbyterian ministers and educators. Good for teachers or parents looking for seasonal resources for colouring during Advent and Lent in particular.
Messy Church at Home
Each week, the creators of Messy Church offer an at-home session with lots of craft ideas for children ministry leaders to send out to families to use as they wish. The website says, "the idea is to help you stay in touch with your families while churches are in lockdown, save you time scouring the range of resources across the web and to provide resources that reflect the Messy Church values as far as possible." You can also check out Rev. Robin Ruder-Celiz at All Saints, Ladner, who has made Messy Church videos for families at his parish.
This website has many of PWRDF’s publications for free which have age-appropriate activities and activity booklet to engage kids in faith related topics around various kinds of justice. PWRDF is the he Anglican Church of Canada’s agency for sustainable development and relief.
Worshipping with Children Blog by Carolyn Brown
A blog which has run for a long time with ideas for worship with children. Mainly aimed at those creating collective worship but many would work at home. Searchable archive by bible passage/theme, liturgical season, and lectionary. Aimed at school aged children, but could be used for younger. The blog often has many ideas for each Sunday, so you can pick which would work for your kids. She is Presbyterian.
The Salt Project
Creators of well-designed devotional and worship materials for home and church. There is a free guide for family care during the pandemic here. They make booklets and liturgies for Lent, Advent, and Summertime that families with school-aged children and older can enjoy. Whole congregations can use them too. They also make short films that can be shared or used in worship.
Dear God - Prayers for Young Children
A small, illustrated book with simple prayers for children aged 5-8 to say in the morning, mid-day, and at evening. The Anglican Foundation of Canada has made the book online for free and accompanied by short videos. https://www.anglicanfoundation.org/store/dear-god/
Conscious Parenting - Centre for Action and Contemplation
Fr. Richard Rohr's popular website for spiritual formation includes a number of short articles on contemplative parenting. This is an archive of all the articles.
Blog posts about parenting and raising children of faith; it includes recommendations on prayer, books, the Christian calendar, and faith practices at home. Most of the writers are Anglican parents and lay or ordained leaders in the church.
Parenting for Faith - video course
A free eight session video-based course for parents to grow in confidence and ability to nurture their children and teen's relationship with God. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, foster parents, and ministry leaders can also find lots to use in their relationships. There's an outline of how to adapt the course to a completely online version here. The website is clear and easy to use. It's produced by the UK based Bible Reading Fellowship which has Anglican roots and sponsors Messy Church - a family-based worship ministry used in the diocese.
General Mental Well-being (non-religious parent support)
The Neufeld Institute has some great reading and webinars for parents. Notice the upcoming webinar on navigating the unchartered territory of supporting children at home with Virtual Learning, how to keep nurturing elements of family life at the heart of our actions (supporting emotional playgrounds, rest, rituals for resilience) https://neufeldinstitute.org/#
A Resource sheet on mental well-being from the BC Ministry of Education. This provides lots of simple tips, links, and phone line supports for parents and children with a variety of needs.
Rows of Sharon blog
Good blog about various formation topics, talking about worship at home, curriculum reviews. Episcopal. Her curriculum charts for all ages are really helpful for getting an overview of all the programs out there.
Children’s literature website that offers reviews of books for children and youth aged 0-17 and connects them to lectionary passages, the Christian journey, and spiritual themes.
Bread Not Stones Blog
Another blog about formation topics. Written by a Presbyterian pastor and parent who has a love for children's spirituality and especially helping them to engage worship and the bible.
Salt Project - The Okayest Summer Ever
This is a downloadable, printable booklet with weekly activities, prayers, and songs for parishes and/or for homes to use over the summer. It's reasonably priced and well-designed (for congregations up to 100 - $35.00 USD). It offers some simple ways to approach faith building and conversation. They have other resources for summer too. These could be printed at the church and mailed out or dropped off in a VBS in a box. https://www.saltproject.org/great-and-small-summer-guide/summer-resources-for-churches
PWRDF - Encounters 2020
A new summer daycamp program for full or half-day schedules. Encounter God through our sacred stories, our local communities and global communities using stories from PWRDF partners. Aimed at children aged 6-11, the program engages children in conversations and questions about faith, their relationship with God, the Church and social justice. The Planning and Prep resource is available now and day plans as well as videos are coming soon. https://pwrdf.org/encounters2020/?fbclid=IwAR3jQzG3pF2vTHv6GoXcsmbaWYpQ13EtqK26pjtDZADwLG0feitQesej-Io
Illustrated Ministry - Compassion Camp
A downloadable, printable, at home VBS program. This one is more ambitious than the Salt Project resource. It includes scripts and songs for leaders to do over Zoom or FB live. It offers tips on how to promote, lead sessions, and encourage full-bodied participation. It can also be offered to households to do on their own, but a mix of online and offline might be nice, and it can keep ministers connected to families over a week in the summer. Geared to children K-5th grade. $149.00 USD. You can view a sample of the program online: https://www.illustratedministry.com/vbs/
Francis and Friends - Faith and Nature Program
An adaptable VBS program that connects children's faith journeys with awe and wonder for creation and the Creator. Written by an Episcopalian priest, the program introduces children to the loving, peaceful theology of St. Francis and St. Clare. The program can include online, at home and in-person activities. All the resources are now free including the leader and kid's worksbooks. It might take some time to adapt the resources for your context, but it could be an option for holding an in-person, outdoor VBS with distancing made much easier.
Group VBS - Rocky Railway and Wilderness Escape
The popular VBS publisher, Group, has modified two of their summer curriculums for parishes in challenging situations due to the pandemic. They offer a mix of online and at-home guides. You can check them out as well as other summer resources here: https://covidupdates.group.com/