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Our readers' favorite ways to harvest fun.

All Ages

To help children have a heart for your community, play this familiar game with a twist. Tape a large map of the world to the wall at children's eye level. Highlight your community.

Blindfold children one at a time, spin them around, and have them tape a heart as closely as possible to your community. Afterward discuss what things might be keeping people in your city from coming to know Jesus. Then lead children in praying for your community.

Sharon Daniel
Indianapolis, Indiana

All Ages

Rather than avoiding Halloween, our church redeems the opportunity with a creative outreach. After all, how often can you find 85 to 90 percent of your neighbors at home waiting for someone to ring the doorbell? Here's what we do.

Step 1-We send all our children out to trick or treat in their neighborhoods. Every time they receive a treat, they give the giver a thank you card in return. The card says, "I would like to share with you the best treat I've ever received. His name is Jesus Christ." The card also has a simple gospel presentation.

Step 2-One person in each family stays home to hand out treats to the neighborhood kids. Along with the treat, each child is given an invitation or ticket to come to our church on another date for a harvest party, a concert, or another big event.

Step 3-At our big event, we have lots of fun activities for kids to do with their families. We also weave a simple gospel message into the evening of fun and entertainment.

Gerry Galbreath
Renton, Washington

Ages 7 and Up

• Theme: Cleansed Hearts
• Text: Matthew 5:16
• Preparation: Carve a happy face into a pumpkin. Remove the pumpkin seeds and place them in a bowl inside the pumpkin. Before children arrive, turn the pumpkin so they can't see the carved face. You'll also need a trash can, a votive candle in a glass container, and matches.
• The Message: This pumpkin represents our hearts before we accept Jesus' gift of forgiveness. (Ask the children to come up one at a time and reach inside the pumpkin with their eyes closed.) The cold, wet seeds are just as yucky as our cold hearts are before we join God's family. Once you invite Jesus into your life, though, he cleans out your sin, just like cutting open a pumpkin and scooping out the yucky seeds. (Lift out the bowl and dramatically throw away the seeds. Turn the pumpkin around so the face shows.) Now Jesus makes our hearts happy like the smiling face of this pumpkin.

When our hearts are filled with Jesus, God's love can shine out from our hearts to a dark world. (Place the candle inside the pumpkin and light it. Read the Scripture.)

(Give each child a small pumpkin to paint in class or to take home to carve.)

Eileen Nelson
Randolph, New Jersey

Ages 4 and Up

For a fun fall craft, have children make these colorful T-shirts.

Ask children to bring a plain white T-shirt, or order a dozen heavy cotton T-shirts for $2.80 each from River Market Shirt Factory. Call 800-245-0056 or (816) 472-8887. Check out on the Internet. You'll also need scrap paper and acrylic paint poured into shallow pans.

To begin this craft, take children outdoors to find leaves. Enjoy God's creation as you encourage children to explore the colors and designs of each leaf.

Bring the children and their leaves inside. Have each child place a piece of scrap paper inside his or her T-shirt, lay one side of a leaf in the paint, and carefully press the painted side of the leaf onto the shirt. Have children repeat this process until they have several leaf prints on their shirts. Allow the paint to dry before children take their shirts home.

Mary J. Davis
Montrose, Iowa

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