Thursday, April 29, 2010

Food Fun Devotions for Children's Ministry

If you are looking for detailed, meaningful Bible lessons that incorporate food-oriented activities, Food Fun Devotions for Children's Ministry is the book for you. Dennis and Lana McLaughlin, of Group Publishing, have written some excellent lessons to engage kids, teach them about healthy snacks, and bring the Gospel to life.

Each recipe is based on a Bible passage and begins with a purpose statement (Cook's Eye View), an ingredient list (Stuff 'N' Fixin's), and directions for the adult leader (Gettin' Ready). The next section, "Mixin 'N' Movin,'" gives opening questions, tells when to read the Bible passage, and gives directions for preparing the snack. "Bringin' it to a Boil," uses discussion questions and large-group or small-group activities to drive the biblical lesson home. Children consider how to apply the lesson to their lives in "Turnin' Up the Heat," and they are given an opportunity to spread the Gospel in "Sharin' it with Someone."

Each recipe includes black and white sketches of the prepared snack, and there are lots of reproducible note cards (for example, the Jellybean Prayer) throughout the book.

Snacks are creative and simple. A cucumber becomes the whale that swallowed Jonah, canned cinnamon rolls are shaped into a cross, and popcorn is colored green and blue and used to make Earth-shaped popcorn balls.

The book includes a Scripture Index and a Subject Index, but no Food or Ingredient Index.

What I Like: I really like how detailed the McLaughlins are in their Bible studies. Children will get solid Bible teaching, and (mostly) healthy snacks. Bible stories start in Genesis, with Creation, and continue into the New Testament, dealing with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, but also extending to stories about the early church.

Also, the McLaughlins give great directions. They seem to think of everything! They note adjustments for various ages and sizes of groups, and they even remind readers not to hide yogurt-covered raisins in sunny locations.

The snacks are simple, sound tasty, and would be easy to prepare for large groups on a budget. However, the recipes would work equally well as summer or home school projects. I can't wait to let my own children pick some of the lessons to try after school is out.

What I Dislike: I only disliked a couple of nit-picky things. First of all, ALL the "-ing" endings in the book are shortened to "-in'." This was annoying and made the book harder to read.

Second, the snacks are categorized as "Food Crafts," "Food Devotions," "Food Games," "Food Experiments," and "Food Service Projects." However, I couldn't really tell the difference between the recipes in these categories.

Also, I wish the McLaughlins budget could have supported color photos of the finished snacks. The black and white sketches help, but you have to pay attention to times you may need food coloring, and it isn't always obvious what your finished project should look like.

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: 5 and up, with adult help

Publisher Info: Group Publishing Inc., 1999; ISBN: 0-7644-2081-X ; Paperback, $16.99

Buy it Now at for $13.99

OR Buy it at for $12.74.

Special Info: Pentecostal readers will note being "born again" and "being filled with the Holy Spirit" are described as happening at the same time, and are used interchangeably.

Also, in "The Sweet Taste of Obeying God," you make fancy, bright-colored cookies with no sweetener, and plain-looking sugar cookies. The activity has children choose a cookie. If they choose a pretty one, they will realize it is tasteless, much like choosing sin instead of following God's plan. Although they are allowed to trade the tasteless cookie for a plain, sugar cookie, I would only use this activity for older children, as I think little ones may be sad or feel tricked.

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Angela said...

Sounds great! I want to get this one!

Erin said...

There are some really neat lessons, and my son was asking to make the Noah's Ark on the cover today! Thanks for your comment! Erin