Cheap Teaching Visuals for a Tight Church Budget

Cheap Teaching Visuals

Whether you are in a new church planting ministry, a church who has found itself needing to save money in the church budget, or a missionary with limited resources, you may find yourself in need of cheap Sunday School materials for your tight budget. Realistically paying for Sunday School materials can cost you an arm and a leg. Here are some ideas and strategies that can help you save money by creating your own teaching visuals.

Find free Bible clip-art or free printables online.

All you will need is a printer and if you want to make the pictures be long-lasting you can have the pieces laminated at a school supply store or buy a low-cost laminator to have at home or in your church office.

Free Bible Character Clip Art from Charlotte's Clips

Charlotte’s Clips provides a free 16-piece clip-art set from Teachers Pay Teachers but you can find Bible clip-art everywhere on the web. Just make sure you pay for it if you are supposed to, avoid copy and paste, if the clip-art is not free so that your ministry is not guilty of copyright infringement.

Another great free resource that I enjoy is the Jesus Rolon’s at Crafting the Word of God website. He creates great crafts for children’s Bible lessons. These crafts can easily be used to create visuals for when you need something to really catch the attention of your students.

Elijah Taken Up to Heaven 1

The flaming chariot when Elijah was taken to heaven

 

With clip-art or even free Bible coloring pages you can create story boards, stick puppets, flannel graph pieces, and more. Your imagination and teaching ability can easily take something that costs you less than the cost of an entire curriculum and make your teaching opportunities vibrant with life and interest.

Utilize Microsoft Powerpoint.

Use digital pictures instead of printable visual aids. You can teach using a laptop, link in to a projector that projects onto a screen or wall, or even plugs into a television.

Free Bible Images is a great resource for either using their Bible story images for Powerpoints, making your own visual cards, or using for creating your own project printables. They have great drawingss and even images that look like realistic Bible stories that have been acted out by actors and photographed.

Free Bible illustrations at Free Bible images of Moses and Aaron going to Pharaoh. (Exodus 4:29 - 7:16)

Moses speaking to Pharoah

A parable of Jesus about a Samaritan who cares for a Jew in need. (Luke 10:25-37)

The Good Samaritan

Kandace Long from Teachers Pay Teachers has created some Bible lessons of the Parables that are available for free. You can view them here and download them when you create a free account at their website.

Make your own Bible paper dolls or peg dolls.

Making Friends has a cute little template that you can print and personalize for the Bible story you are teaching.

A quick trip to Jacques’ My Little House website can give you so many ideas on how to print your own Bible paper dolls from the 3D calendars he has made. His digital pieces also make it possible for you to have great backdrops you can make for a storyboard or even a diorama. I have done this for teaching several lessons for a 4’s and 5’s Vacation Bible School class. I used our color copier at the church to blow them up to the size I wanted them to be.

When the angel opens the prison doors for Paul & Silas

Peg dolls are very popular and are great teaching visuals. Order some or buy them at a craft store then paint them either for the specific Bible story you are teaching or make generic Bible characters that could be used in a variety of stories.

Paula Stringer on Pinterest uploaded a photo of her own peg dolls that she created, I think these are some of the best I have seen.

Bible characters.  I painted these little people so that we could tell Lucy really short Bible stories that she might engage with a bit more than children's Bibles.  We all love it!

Peg Dolls by Pinterest User Paula Stringer

Even a simple search on the Etsy website of “Bible peg dolls” will give you some more ideas on how detailed you can be when you make your own Bible character peg dolls.

Create your own puppets and puppet stage.

Look at this idea of making a wearable puppet stage from Artists Helping Children. There is a tutorial at their website that will teach you how to do it. You can use this idea using Bible paper dolls or the clip-art like above or make your own puppets from socks or other materials. (If you ever do this, please send me some pictures so I can see your puppet stage.)

How to Make a Wearable Puppet Stage

Ask other churches if they have any extra Sunday School materials they are not using.

Often churches will put old curriculum into storage and may just be happy to let you take some of their older materials off their hands. Do not be afraid to use older materials, some people worry that children will not be interested in old Bible pictures, etc. I would be more inclined to encourage you to make sure your teaching is interesting and fun in the way you use the visuals more than what they look like. Great teaching can use any tool (old or new) to its advantage to be able to transfer the Bible truths from the story to the student.

Make your own felt visuals.

Do you like the look of felt visuals but do not have the money to pay for it? Search online for felt Bible story patterns or look below at a few of the ideas I found.

Sarah at A Little of This–A Little of That gives a great tutorial on how you can make felt visuals from your home printer and t-shirt transfers.

Then try something like this website from Pam at Keeping Life Creative. This lady has taken pictures of her felt pieces already assembled and put them together in Bible story sets. Many are free or low-cost on her Teachers Pay Teachers account. Print them on a color printer and laminate for long-term use.

Adam & Eve from Keeping Life Creative

Stories include: Creation, Adam and Eve, Moses, Noah’s Ark, Joseph, Jonah & the Whale, and The First Christmas ($3)

Make it Cozee shares a free Adam & Eve felt pattern for making your own felt story.  She also has a great tutorial that teaches you the secrets of how to cut felt.

Sarah at Stay at Home Educator created a free printable felt set of the nativity story.

Paint your own story stones.

Take an idea like this and create your own Bible story stones. While you teach your Bible story you would bring out the next Bible story stone and set it out. You could sit on the floor and teach the lesson with the children sitting around you or have them in chairs so that they are sitting higher and can easily see the floor where you are teaching.

Pre-school Play  (photo shown above) has a great tutorial on how to make story stones out of all types of mediums (magazines, etc.). You could even use old Sunday School materials to create them, or Bible stickers!

 

I hope that this has been a blessing and benefit to you that are looking to save money on your Sunday School curriculum. Yes, it may take an investment of your time, but think of how you will not only be saving money but also branching out creatively to make some really excellent visuals aids to help you teach effectively. These visual aids can be used in your ministry now and in the years to come.

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5 Bible Lessons to Teach Boys While Building Things

My sons received their first toolbox and some of the Lowe’s building kits. While we were working several days in a row on putting all of them together, I began to think of Bible lessons that could be taught to boys while you work beside them building things. Even as a mom, you can teach your sons manly Biblical principles while they are learning to avoid hitting their fingers while driving their first nails.

All you have to do is read through these simple little lessons and then when you are working on your project, talk about them. You don’t have to read word-for-word any of this script, it is just here to help you have a starting place to be able to teach your children while you work beside each other on a project.

Teaching Boys While Building Things

God’s Word is like a hammer.

Did you know what God’s Word, the Bible, is like a hammer!? Yes, God’s Word is strong and true, think about this verse:

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29

God’s Word breaks the rock in pieces! The hard rock of our hearts can be broken by God’s Word. Just as a hammer is an important tool to have in your toolbox, the most important tool in your life is the Word of God. Learning God’s Word and obeying it will help your heart not to be hard. There are times in our life when we do not want to give up the sin in our lives, and when we learn and hear what the Bible says about that sin, God takes the hammer and strikes us right in the heart. When God speaks to you about something it is just like a hammer when it strikes a nail, in your heart, you know exactly what God is speaking to you about. It will be best, when God speaks, to do what God wants you to do and give up what God wants you to give up.

Optional Idea: Take some time to try to break a rock into pieces with a hammer. Is it difficult? Does it take a lot of strength?

Guide the nail, just like God guides His children.

When you start to hammer a nail into a board, you have to hold the nail in the exact place where you want it to go. You hold it still between your finger and thumb and raise the hammer, and tap, tap, tap, you hit it a few times to get it in the right spot. Then, as it sinks into the wood, you can let go of the nail and finish driving it in with the hammer.

God can guide His child with his eye, just like you do when you watch carefully as you begin to hammer. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalm 32:8

We are never alone, once we are saved, God promises to guide us in our lives until we die. Psalm 48: 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

God is the best carpenter and builder. He builds our lives because of His skillfulness. He knows and sees everything, and has a heart to take care of us in the best way, if we will let Him. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.Psalm 78:72

Your words are as powerful as power tools.

Power tools are awesome! They are like a manly steak dinner, they are so awesome! Power tools have some special “powers” that help us do our work faster as well as better. The feeling of holding a power tool and pulling the button to make it work, makes you feel strong and capable of doing any type of construction job.

Power tools must be used properly or they can be very dangerous. If you were to be irresponsible with a power tool then you could hurt yourself very easily. Just as power tools have strength, our words are just as powerful! The things we say can fly out of our mouth and hurt someone very quickly. We may also use our words and help and encourage someone when they are having a difficult time, and it may make all the difference in the world to that person.

Our words can be like a deadly poison if we use them in a wrong way.
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8
And our words can bring life to a person’s life if we use them in a right way. Death could be the result if we disregard the warnings signs when we become angry, rude or disrespectful.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

Follow God’s plans for your life.

Almost everything you build will require plans or instructions that will teach you step by step how to make the object that you are building. We follow those plans so that we do not build the object incorrectly. The plans are very important or you might lose time if you have to take things apart and start again. It might cost you materials if you do things in the wrong order and ruin your pieces.

God has plans for our lives. In Genesis, God gave Noah plans on how to build the ark. In Exodus, God gave Moses plans on how He wanted the tabernacle built, as well as all the furniture that was to go inside it. These plans were very detailed, specifically drawn out and described, so that the builders could follow them and build it exactly the way God had described. God did not leave Noah or Moses with a huge task to complete, without a way to do it. He gave them plans and instructions. God does not leave us with a life to live with no plans for our life.

The Bible is our instruction manual, the plans for our life. When we read it we learn how to put the pieces of a godly life together. It is very important to always read your Bible and learn what God wants for you to do. God will speak to you through your personal time with the Lord as well as when you listen to Bible teaching and preaching.

Be faithful like Noah.

In Genesis we can learn that God instructed Noah to begin building the ark because the flood would come to destroy the entire earth. God tells him ahead of time that he and his sons and their wives would be rescued with the earth’s animals inside the ark. Noah went to work constructing the massive boat of gopher wood, and followed God’s instructions to seal it with pitch on the inside. Then, the day came when all the animals were inside, and Noah walked into the ark with his wife and family and God shut the door. On that day the rain began to fall for the first time.

Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…”

In this verse we learn that God warned Noah about things he had never seen before. He showed his faith, that even we he did not understand or even know what a flood or rain was, that he still moved with fear and prepared the ark. Are you the type of person when you do not know the answer, you still have faith to trust God and do what He asks you to do? We all have Noah, the great builder of the ark, to look up to, when we are scared to obey. His faith is encouraging!

Reading these simple little lessons can give you talking points in which you can help grow your child’s faith as you sharpen your axes as you work together. Please remember that you have to teach these lessons with a right heart yourself, and a gentle and kind manner, so that they will cling to your child’s heart and memory.