Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More than Cookies and Punch: 50+ Bible Story Snacks and Lessons

Whether you are getting back into the swing of Sunday School, Wednesday night church, or home school routines, or would just like some easy, creative after-school snack ideas, More Than Cookies and Punch: 50+ Bible Story Snacks and Lessons may provide the spark you need. Tina Houser uses her children's ministry background to design fun, innovative snacks relating to Bible stories from both the New and Old Testaments.

Houser explains we can use these snack ideas in Sunday School or home school, family devotion time, or as service projects. Snacks are arranged in order of books of the Bible (though not every book is represented). Houser begins with "Body Building," based on the Genesis lesson "God Created Man." She has us create our own person using a grape or cherry for a head, a cheese stick for a body, pretzel sticks for arms and legs, and fruit snacks for hands and feet. Each recipe page includes an ingredient list, a supply list, and The Main Thing, a retelling of the Bible story written at the third grade level, ". . .so children can read the story to the family." The directions are listed next, under the heading, The Fun Stuff. Some recipes include a box telling what other Bible stories the recipe can be used with.

Some highlights include the "Waffle Cone Basket," where kids wrap half a banana in a fruit roll-up blanket and tuck it into a waffle cone basket, just like baby Moses in the Nile and the "Graham Cracker Mat," where kids spread frosting on a graham cracker and place a gingerbread man or an E.L.Fudge cookie on it, to represent the man whose friends lowered him through the roof so Jesus could heal him. One of my favorites is the "Apple Face" which you could use for any lesson celebrating how God made us special and unique. In this recipe, you let children use toothpicks to attach cut fruit pieces, candy or licorice to apples to create an edible self-portrait. I can't wait to try "The Fourth Marshmallow," where you surprise children by adding a marshmallow to the three they have already placed on a graham cracker and put in the oven. You may have guessed the story to read is "the fiery furnace."

What I Like: I love how simple these recipes are, and for the most part, inexpensive. I wish I knew about More Than Cookies and Punch last year when I was teaching second-grade girls at church. I was always trying to think of something fun, somewhat healthy and simple to bring to class, and the fact these recipes are linked to Bible stories is even better!

I also appreciate the way Houser intentionally wrote the lessons at a third-grade level, and uses clear, step-by-step instructions. The recipes will be easy to follow, and each page includes a color photograph of what your end result should look like.

There is a great Scripture index and story index, to make it easier to attach a snack to a particular lesson.

What I Dislike: I wish the book included an ingredient index, for the times when you have extra apples on hand or grapes are on sale. However, the recipe titles almost all mention the type of food used.

Not all the recipes sound absolutely delicious, but they are budget-friendly, Bible-friendly and kid-friendly, so oh well. They still would be better than plain cookies and punch any day, and kids are often more forgiving in their tastes.

Overall Rating: Excellent!

Age Appeal: 2 and up (for eating); 6 and up (for reading)

Publisher Info: Warner Press Kids, 2006; ISBN: 978-1-59317-162-9; Paperback, $14.99

Buy it Now at for $11.99

OR Buy it at for $11.69.

Special Info: Read other CCBR cookbook reviews here.

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