Church is important. Church with little ones is definitely challenging at times, but it is important.
I grew up in the church (with a Pastor dad and organist mom). I was a church worker teacher (before I began staying at home) who is married to a church worker teacher.
We firmly believe that we need to be in church, training our children, from the time they are small.
Yes, there are many Sundays that I miss large parts of the sermon but we are there, by God’s grace.
I believe in modeling and teaching children from a young age. It’s the early childhood teacher in me! We are teaching our children to stand when we stand, fold their hands for prayers, and sing the liturgy. Some Sundays are smoother than others. Yet when the sermon comes along? Church can get long for little children and this is where our church quiet bag comes in.
In our Lutheran church, we believe in worshiping as a family and do not have children’s church. Adults and children go to their separate Sunday School classes after church. While we are in church, we are worshiping (and learning to worship) together. Our quiet bag helps my children learn.
I have been surprised how many times my children will ask about a hymn or something Pastor says in his sermon, even as they are looking through a children’s Bible. It may not look like they are paying attention but little ears absorb more than we know. The Holy Spirit is at work.
Our quiet bag for church has evolved over our 4 children. We have slowly and intentionally created a church quiet bag that is focused on Bible based activities. With so many wonderful options available, this allows them to stay focused on the faith aspect of church while we are in church.
After being at home for several months and watching church online, we are relearning how to be in church. Our quiet bag is very important once again!
A quiet bag is not a one size fits all solution. Nor is it a magic fix. Still, a quiet bag is a helpful tool for young children – especially as they are learning to worship.
One important note. We only use our quiet bag in church. I have different quiet activity bags I use at other times. Since our quiet bag is only used on Sundays, it stays special to the kids. It stays packed in the front hall closet so it is easy for me to grab on the way out the door on Sunday morning.
We decided (after trial and error with our first born) not to include snacks in our church bag as they became too distracting for our children. Instead, we have a bag of activities they can use – especially during sermon time. That is up to you, of course, as are any of the following ideas. You can decide what to include in your quiet bag for church.
The following list of ideas are simply that – ideas of quiet, Bible based activities that we use in our quiet bag. I have tried to include as many links possible to the actual activities we have, as well as similar ideas that we want to add to our bag.
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A Simple Quiet Bag to Fill
To start with, you need a bag. For now, go through your closet and just find a sturdy bag that you can use. Eventually, I highly recommend a durable bag without zippers and with pockets.
We use a 31 bag for our church quiet bag and it is the perfect size. I love that the kids or I can pull things out quickly without making a lot of noise. The pockets on the outside are great for putting tissues or crayons or even a wallet if you don’t want to bring your purse. Our friends who sit behind us at church use the same 31 bag we do. If you know a 31 consultant, check out their bags. They are a good investment from a Christian company! Here are some similar options that are available on Amazon.
- Teacher Bag with Pockets
- All Purpose Medium Organizer (The closest to the bag we use)
- Canvas Shoulder Bag with Pockets
Here’s a look inside our quiet bag…before I get to all the specifics of what is in our church quiet bag.
A Quiet Book
When I was 2 years old (way back in 1984), my Grandmother sewed me a beautiful quiet book. By now, some of the pages are missing felt shapes that have worn through but all my kids have enjoyed using it in church. We also have a store bought simple one my in-laws bought for my first born that the children have enjoyed as well.
A search on Etsy is probably your best bet for finding a quiet book…or finding a grandma who can make one for you!
Stickers are one of the mainstays of our quiet bag – and have been from the beginning! All of our children, no matter the age, love using stickers.
I Can Read…Bible Story Sticker Books
These sticker books were a recent discovery and are perfect for slightly older children. They allow you to match the stickers and then read a Bible story. While younger kids can certainly match the stickers, I would recommend these books for Kindergarten age or higher.
- I Can Read Old Testament Bible Stories
- I Can Read New Testament Bible Stories
- I Can Read the Easter Story
The Beginner Bible Sticker Books
There is a whole series of these beginner Bible sticker books, all priced very reasonably. A friend of ours gives a different one of these books to her godchildren on their baptism birthday. I love that idea!
- Wild About Creation
- Super Heroes of the Bible
- Super Girls of the Bible
- All About Jesus
- A Christmas Celebration
Michaels $1 Sticker Pads
Michaels is my go to place for stickers – especially when their stickers go on sale or I use the 40% off coupon! Where else can I get so many stickers for so cheap? The selection changes by season so I try to stock up, especially at Christmas when they have religious scenes and in the summer when I can often find VBS sticker pads. We use these sticker pads all the time! Not all our stickers are religious based, but stickers remain one of the best quiet activities for our children.
Oriental Trading Sticker Scenes
Oriental Trading has some great religious sticker scenes that my kids love to create. Whenever I find a free / discounted shipping deal, I buy a couple of these scene sticker packs and dole them out occasionally as a special church bag treat.
Quiet Activity Books
When it comes to activity books, I want it to be something that can be looked at silently and independently. Of course, I want it to be Bible focused as well. Here are some different quiet books we use.
Water Wow Bible Stories
If you aren’t familiar with these brilliant books, it is basically a reusable water coloring pad. The Bible stories version is perfect for church although we have many other versions as well.
Flap books are one of my favorite church bag activities for little ones. Even my one year old can learn to lift flaps and enjoys looking at Bible stories this way. There are also many great Bible options available for flap books!
- Lift the Flap Bible
- Lift the Flap Nativity
- All Aboard with Noah (Beginner Bible)
- Lift the Flap Stories Jesus Told
- Noah and the Animals (Little People – Currently Out of Print)
Seek and Find Books
As your children get a little older, seek and find books are a great addition to the quiet bag bag. I like these books because they are easy for children to do independently, simply by looking at the pictures. The My Church Words book is a board book that can be used as a seek and find book for your littlest ones.
Our church has a children’s folder available for kids at the beginning of worship. My kids look forward to coloring the picture that relates to the Bible text of the week. My son, now that he is old enough, loves completing the puzzle that is on the inside. If your child does not have this option available (or even if they do), here are some other activity books that are perfect for a quiet bag.
What quiet bag would be complete without a children’s Bible? At times, I keep a variety of Bible story books in the quiet bag (especially around Christmas and Easter). Other times, I keep a Bible or two that my children can look through. The Hear Me Read Bibles are excellent and perfect for beginning readers, too. Use any Bible you have at home and add to your Bible collection for birthdays or Christmas.
Of course, no quiet bag would be complete without the simplest additions of crayons and notebooks. We try to store our crayons in a crayon roll or cloth zipper pouch so they are not noisy when taken out. As for notebooks? Make sure you have at least one for every child to eliminate fighting.
- Diapers and wipes (if needed)
While this list is by no means exhaustive, I hope it has given you some good ideas on what to include in a church quiet bag of your own. If you already have a quiet bag for church, I’d love to know what your kids’ favorite activity is from the church bag.