Baptism is one of the major foundations of all Christian churches. It can also be a special time for children whether they are preparing for their own baptism or learning about what it means before a Baptism Sunday. Different Christian churches baptise at different times -- some do it at birth while others wait until a person chooses to be baptised. Regardless of when, there are several hands-on crafts that can help make the rite concrete for children.
The dove is often used as a symbol for baptism. It is associated with holiness and new life. When Jesus was baptised, according to the Gospel of Matthew, he saw the spirit of God descending on him like a dove.
Give each child in your Bible class an empty roll of toilet paper. Have them cover it with white construction paper, gluing it onto the roll. Then have them draw wings, a head and feet for the dove and glue those pieces onto the roll. For younger children, you may need to cut those pieces out ahead of time from a template that you make. Let children decorate by drawing in facial features and feathers.
Washing Away Sin
Use a colouring craft to help teach the concept of baptism washing away our sins. Give each student a piece of thick paper or card stock and several very brightly coloured crayons. Tell them to cover the entire piece of paper with the colours in any sort of pattern. Talk about how this represents their true self that God created -- each one unique, colourful and filled with beauty. When they are done, give each of them a black crayon and tell them to colour over all the paper with a thick layer of black. Tell them that this is what sin does to their lives -- it blots out all the beauty and uniqueness and fills their life with darkness. Then give each child a craft stick or an old key and have them use it to write the word "Baptism" on the sheet. The colours will again shine through the words and you can tell them that represents baptism washing away sin so that God's intended creation can shine through.
Cut a slit in the bottom of a clear plastic water bottle or a clean, empty soda bottle and give one to each of your students. Have them create two puppets with craft sticks: one for John the Baptist and one for Jesus. Each child should tape or glue blue paper around the bottom half of the bottle or paint the bottom half of the bottle blue. Stick the craft sticks up through the bottom of the bottle and move them up and down to recreate the baptism scene.
Make puppets of John the Baptist and Jesus out of paper bags, craft sticks, old (but clean) socks or with clay and sticks. Create a puppet stand that includes a background of a lake. Let students act out the story with their puppets.