Toys for Kids in Church

by SusanM

How to keep children quiet and happy in church.

Church can be hard for young children who are not old enough to understand what church is about. Being quiet and sitting for a long period can also be hard for a child. This means a toy or activity is often a good idea to keep them quiet, still and happy.

But not all toys are good for church. They need to interest your child. But they also need to be quiet, small and not messy. They also need to have the right mood for church. This can make it hard to find the right toy.

Why Do Kids Need Toys in Church

There are a few main reasons children under 8 years old need toys for church.

These are: 

1. Church services aren't made for children. Even Sunday School classes don't always take very young children. This means children often don't understand the service and become bored. This teaches them that church is a boring place they don't want to go to. Keeping them happy and busy lets them know church is a nice place to go. 

2. When you go to church you need to be quiet and to sit still for long periods. These are not natural things for children to do. But the more engaged your child is with an activity or toy the quieter and calmer they will be. That is if the right toy is picked because some toys encourage noise and activity. 

3. Children learn by doing not by listening. So if you want you pass on some of your religious beliefs to your young children it works best to do it with playful activities. 

Toddlers can be hard to take to church. Your toddler might understand some of the rules of church. Things like... No yelling. No running about. But this doesn't mean they really understand what church is all about.It also doesn't mean that they understand why you can't run around the church. They mightn't even remember the rules that often. It is normal for a toddler not to understand or remember these things. 

Toddlers are movers. They don't like being still for too long. This means they also can get restless in church. So picking the right toy will not only keep them busy, quiet and still. It will also teach them that church is a nice place to go. 

Toddler toys that are good for church include soft toys that they can play with not just hug. This means a toy they can do something with not just hold. These toys won't make a noise if they're dropped or thrown on the ground. They will give your toddler something to keep them busy. They also have a nice comforting feel to keep your toddler calm in church. But you might find it hard to find a soft toy like this that doesn't make a noise. Most toddler toys are made with noises because it's better for a toddler's development. But it's not best for a quiet church. 

Because it's hard to find quiet toddler toys I've recommended the Baby Scribbler and Touch and Feel books. This is with a  "BUT" though. They will keep your toddler happy and busy. They don't have small pieces that can be dropped and make a noise. They can also be used again and again unlike crayons and paper. They also aren't messy. The "BUT" is if these toys are dropped they will make noise. The book won't be too bad and there are lots of Touch and Feel books that your toddler will love. But the Scribbler will make you the center of attention if it is dropped. So you will need to supervise your toddler with this toy in church. 

Religious Toys for Toddlers

If you would prefer to keep a religious theme when picking a toy for church there are some around. I've selected a few with a christian theme because that is the religion I was raised in but I'm sure you would be able to find similar toys to match your own religious beliefs. 

If your toddler can sit on the floor to play during church the Playmobile Noah's ark is a cute choice. The Gund version is also an option if your toddler can't play on the floor or if you are worried about noise. The Playmobile Ark is plastic so it will make a bit of noise if it's dropped. But this won't be too bad if your toddler is on the floor playing as it does not have far to fall. 

Religious Books for Toddlers

There are also some sweet Christian themed Touch and Feel books that would be good to keep a toddler happy and busy in church.

Touch and Feel books are the best for keeping a toddler quiet and busy. This is because they engage young children through their sense of touch and sight. A much more interesting experience for a young child than just looking at pictures.

Toys for Preschool Kids

A preschool child will be able to understand some of the traditions and rules of church. But they also will also forget these rules from time to time. They will be able to sit still for longer than a toddler too. But a preschool child will find anything except their Sunday school class boring and long. Church services are meant for teenagers and adults. Sunday school services are usually created to be educational and fun for children. But often children sit in on part of the main service as well. 

This means there will probably be a time during church when they become bored and restless. If you want to encourage your child to enjoy going to church making these times more child-friendly can help. 

You can find some no mess art activities like Doodle Pro and Wikki Sticks. These will keep your child busy in church without creating any noise or mess. Puzzles like Rush Hour are also good. This does not need a large space like a jigsaw puzzle and will keep your child busy and thinking. 

Church Toys for Preschool Boys and Girls

Fisher-Price Doodle Pro
Fisher-Price
Wikki Stix (48 Pieces)
Wikki Stix
Rush Hour Jr.
ThinkFun

Church Toys for Preschool Girls

Toys for girls like lacing cards, felt sets and magnetic playboards are good. This is because they:

1. Don't make an annoying noise even when the pieces are dropped on the floor.

2. Keep kids busy for ages.

3. Aren't messy. It's an easy clean up even if all the pieces are dropped on the floor. 

Church Toys for Preschool Boys

You can get lacing cards, felt sets and magnetic playboards that are in themes that are good for preschool boys too. This is good because many boys toys are too active or noisy for church. 

Religious Toys for Preschool Kids

There are many religious themed toys and activities around for your preschool child. Now as with the toddler toys I've selected a few with a christian theme because that is the religion I was raised in. But it should be easier to find toys for preschool kids rather than toddlers in your own religious belief if it is not Christian.

For preschool kids you also have more options than for toddlers. If you really can't find what you are after in preschool toys you can always make your own felt pieces. These can be cut from colored felt squares you can find in any craft shop. You can buy the plain felt board to stick them on very easily. Free coloring in pages are also easy to find on the internet to print off and take with you. 

Children at this age have some understanding of a church service. They should be better able to follow the rules of being still and quiet. They should also be the perfect age for Sunday school if your church has one. But church services are still very long for a child this age. Much of the service will also be about topics and concepts that have little meaning for your child. To encourage your child to enjoy going to church it's best to have a few toys for moments when they need some distraction. 

Classic toys like an Etch A Sketch or Doodle Pro are a better choice than electronic games. But if your child's electronic games have an ear piece they can still be used. The real issue with an electronic game though is kids tend to tune out the world around them while they play. if you would like your child to be more "with you" these classic toys are better. (Many electronic games also have themes that you may not want to link with the experience of church.) 

Don't forget classic sliding puzzles which are a good choice for church. This is because they engage kids without making them zone out. They are compact with no loose pieces. Plus they are quiet for church. 

The toys suggested for preschool children are also good for children in this age group. 

Church Toys for Boys and Girls

Chicken Shuffle
Smart Games/Tangoes USA
Pocket Etch A Sketch
Ohio Art
Fisher-Price Doodle Pro
Fisher-Price

Religious Toys: 6 and 7 Years

Religious toys for 6 and 7 years old children are the same as for preschool children. They include things like Viewmaster stories (there are a few to choose from that tell the life story of Jesus).

Flannel boards also work for this age group because they still love pretend play. 

So you can mix and match the toys and activities given here with those suggested for preschool children. 

If you are looking for toys outside the Christian tradition you will probably need to look in specialty shops. If you keep the following tips in mind when buying you shouldn't have any problems in choosing a good toy for church.

What Toys are Okay for Church?

When looking for a good toy for church you need to keep a few things in mind. These are extra things in addition to making sure the toy is age appropriate for your child. 

Firstly the toy should not only be quiet but it should encourage your child to be quiet. Some toys even though they don't make any noise naturally lead children to create sound effects. A toy airplane might be one example of a toy like this. If the toy has small pieces they also shouldn't be noisy if they are dropped onto the floor. This is important because children's co-ordination is not fully developed so dropping things or knocking them over is common with kids. 

The toy shouldn't be messy. So it's best to avoid toys that have lots of small pieces that would be hard to clean up. Many art supplies are also not a good idea. This is especially if they are in the hands of a toddler. 

Finally, the theme of the toy should be suitable for church. This means it's best to avoid toys that may be thought of as aggressive (like many electronic games). You may also need to stay away from toys with themes that you think are unsuitable for your church. 

Updated: 09/04/2012, SusanM
 
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