Friday, August 21, 2009

Best Toys: Church Toys

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Our church is three hours long. Up until 18 months old, children are with the parents for all three hours. When you consider missed naps and missed meals...that makes for a fussy baby/pretoddler and necessitates some great toys. After 18 months, children are with the parents for 1 hour 10 minutes, so even after 18 months, great toys are nice to help keep children quiet during this time.

We have a special bag that is our church bag. In it are our church toys. Those toys and books stay in that bag all week and only come out for Sunday. These toys need to be quiet toys and yet entertaining toys. Here is a list of toys we have in our church bag, as well as some I think would be good additions. There will be toys for all age ranges.


  • Favorites: All children have a favorite toy of the moment. I will often add the favorite toy of the moment to the bag on Sunday (so long as it is a quiet and small toy).
  • Blanket: If you do blanket time, church is a great place to get benefit from it. Remember to training times of non-conflict; church is not the time or place to teach your child about blanket time.
  • Nesting Cups: Nesting cups are a great toy for a child under 18 months. For the child over 18 months, they are often more adept at stacking them on top of each other, which just creates a tall tower that can make a lot of noise coming down. But for the younger child, it offers lots of time for the child to focus on nesting the cups together.

  • Teething Toys: A tired child is a child whose pain from teething will be magnified. Teething toys are great for church: Teething Toys
  • Books: Books are a must for church. We have special books for church that stay in the bag all week and only come out at church. For a baby, you might want to have a favorite book, along with some that he doesn't see all week. I like to have books that are church related (like scripture story books, books with pictures of Jesus, etc.). For younger babies, I also will take some Baby Einstein books--especially the ones that are bath books so the baby can chew on it all he wants to. Touch and Feel Books are great for church, also, as are Lift the Flap books.
  • Quiet Books: Each child has a quiet book made especially for him/her. I like to get a little 6x6 Scrapbooks and make special pages for the child. I have a page with a picture and name of that child. I also do pages of siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins. I have a page with the ABCs and a page for numbers. I have a page with colors and a page with shapes. I have pictures of Jesus and pictures of prophets. I then have pages that are specialized for the child's interest. Brayden has a page with different types of trucks and a page for sports, while Kaitlyn's has several pages of animals and a miscellaneous page with stickers of favorite things (rubber ducks, Elmo, Winnie the Pooh, snowman, etc.). Brayden's is pages that were laminated and then spiral-bound together. I decided to do a scrapbook format for Kaitlyn so I could update family pictures as new people were added to the family. You can also buy quiet books that have buttons to do up and zippers to zip...they are nice little quiet challenges.
  • Foam Alphabet Letters: We have some small, foam alphabet letters that hook together. They are great toys for church because they require concentration. I can't find any on Amazon, but I have seen them at various stores.

  • Travel Set: We have a Fold and Play Travel Set of Thomas. It has little vinyl stickers (that re-stick) that can be placed on the activity board.
  • Blank Pads of Paper: We have a blank pad of paper for each child so they can draw, scribble, and color. We use this one by Melissa & Doug. Something I like about it is that it is a 6x9--so a smaller size, which is convenient for the church bag (and of course we also have crayons):
  • Travel Size Magna Doodle: We have a travel size Magna Doodle. I love the Magna Doodle because you know there is no danger of your child getting any crayon on the chair or floor as he colors.
  • Cars/Trucks: Both Brayden and Kaitlyn like to drive around trucks. We don't let them zoom around; they drive them in their small little spot. Also, we don't allow "vrooms" :)
  • Dolls/Animals: Kaitlyn will sometimes take a doll or stuffed animal along. When I was kid, my mom got some Cabbage Patch Lil Sprouts and they have been nice small dolls to take to church.
  • Lacing Cards: We have some lacing cards for church. They are really great for prolonged periods of quiet concentration.
  • Finger Puppets: My kids love to play with finger puppets at church. There are a lot of cute Finger Puppets available. My friend got some from IKEA that are very cute and they were a great price.
  • Bead Stringing: While writing this, I thought that perhaps Bead Stringing Sets could be fun. Consider it carefully. I could see beads being spilled all over the place :). There are sets with large beads, so those might be good. You could also do something like Cheerios and yarn.
  • Felt Board: I also thought a small felt board could be fun: Felt Board Set
  • Coloring Book: We have some coloring books that are of things like Noah and such. Religious Coloring Books . As much as possible, I really like to have our activities at church still be geared toward church. You could also Google "Bible coloring page" and get lots of free pages you can print off.
There is my list. Please share your good ideas for quiet activities for church!
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18 comments:

Sheri said...

Thanks so much for this fantastic blog - It is a great resource for other babywise moms looking for ideas.

I actually have a question not related to church toys. I hope it's ok if I ask it here?

My baby is 5 going on 6 weeks and about 8.5 lbs. She has been a very sleepy baby from the start and I have always been waking her for feedings. She rarely will cry for hunger, although I have noticed other hunger cues that I respond to. I usually wake her from her naps to stick with our routine. I have always had to set an alarm for middle of the night feedings or else she would sleep 4 hours or more. Even in her first two weeks she would sleep that long at night. Right now we have first feeding at 9am and go every three hours until 9pm and then I wake her up at 3am to feed and back to bed til 9am. So my question is, if she's not crying for food and I'm waking her up, what approach do I take in trying to let her sleep through the night. And what is your recommendation on when I should try this out?

Erik, Paula and Janice said...

Thanks for all those ideas for church toys. My daughter is 8 months old and crawling like crazy, so I need some good sit-still/entertaining toys. Also, my parents had us use pencils or pens instead of crayons/colored pencils so it would minimize talking between siblings to ask for a different color. Just a thought. Thanks again for doing this blog, I absolutely love it!
-paula

Angie said...

Little puzzles are a good toy...they seems to occupy children for a long time, puting them together over and over again. Just make sure to get the right kind...the thick wood ones make noise when dumped out.

Christie said...

Loved this post!! Our two year old sits with me during service (husband is the pastor)and she loves "big church". We use coloring books, her picture Bible, and magnetic letters and shapes with a small magnetic board (I just make sure to bring only a small amount of the letters/shapes to not make a mess:)

So glad you had links for the lacing cards, I have been looking for those!
Thanks!

Jordan and Nikki Brown said...

Great ideas - These are nearly identical to my church activities & a few more for me to consider! Another that has been great for me are file folder games: a set of Noah's ark with animals that you velcro to the matching animal, or velcro the upper case letters to the lower case letter. File folder games have endless possibilities & we rotate only 1 or 2 per week.

Stefany Gess said...

Thank you so much for your blog and the time and effort you put into it. I was wondering if you had a previous post about waking up during transition. My 7 week old wakes up after 40 minutes as she is transitioning from deep sleep to REM again. Do you have any advice on how best to deal with this as she is getting older now and it is not hunger related. Thanks so much again.

Stefany Gess said...

Thank you so much for your blog and the time and effort you put into it. I was wondering if you had a previous post about waking up during transition at nap time. My 7 week old wakes up after 40 minutes as she is transitioning from deep sleep to REM again. Do you have any advice on how best to deal with this as she is getting older now and it is not hunger related. Thanks so much again.

lcluff said...

My son is still young enough to just hold during church but I have seen others bring flannel board pieces and they can stick to the back of the pew in front of you if they have the right kind of uphostolery on them (I think most LDS churches do) Then you don't even need the flannel board.

Kristi said...

Perfect timing on this post! My twins just turned one, and three hours of church is rough for them!!! I'm definately using some of their birthday money to buy some of your recommended church toys.

Plowmanators said...

Sheri, at this age, you can let her go up to 7-8 hours between feedings during the night. Slowly over the next few weeks, you can move up to 9-10 hours.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Paula! That is a good idea. We don't have issues with it, but if we do, I will keep that in mind :) I am sure there are parents out there with the issue.

Plowmanators said...

Good idea Angie! Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Christie! I love those lacing cards. They hold the kid's interest for a really long time.

Plowmanators said...

Oh yes Nikki! I forgot those. We have some of those. Did you make yours? Did you use some special velcro? The velcro on mine keeps coming off.

Kristi said...

We just bought a great toy for church. It's a bead maze (the kind with squiggly wires to move the beads from one side to the other), but it's small. It easily fits in the diaper bag. It is quiet, fun, and only cost 5 dollars at walmart!

My mom suggested things as simple as puffs ball in a tupperware. Babies love to put things in and out of containers.

Plowmanators said...

Stefany, I don'to have one specifically on transitions, but the Naps: Troubleshooting post and the blog label "45 minute intruder" will give you lots of ideas.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks lcluff! That is a really good idea.

Plowmanators said...

lol Kristi...rough for them AND you! And good idea about the pom poms--for some reason kids love to play with those things.

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