What kinds of activities are appropriate for the church nursery?

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So I am curious what some other churches have for nursery activities. Do you ask your nursery volunteers to play with the children and actively engage them? Or do your volunteers spend most of the time visiting and drinking coffee and just keeping an eye on the children's free play (helping when needed of course)? We have 2 nurseries: one for infants and one for toddlers up to age 3. The infants are usually getting constant attention of course, but what about the toddlers? Our church's Tech Team has graciously provided us with a flat screen moniter on the wall so that we can still watch and hear the service and not feel so disconnected. Our hope is this will make it easier to get volunteers to work nursery but I think it may also impact the quality of our attention to the kids. So what do other churches ask of their workers? Engage the kids in play, or just watch & keep them safe and happy till the service is over? Any opinions as to which method is preferable and why?

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Nursery care is a very important part of our ministry with children and their parents. At our church we believe that how you welcome children is as important as how you welcome the seniors. The welcome and care babies and toddlers experience in a church nursery is often the first experience most of them have, outside of their family relationships, with the LOVE of God. Therefore we are very intentional about our nursery care and are constantly reminding the nursery volunteers (both adult and teen) that the nursery is the beginning of the child`s lifelong journey of belonging to a faith community. That first experience is so important.
All this goes to say that our volunteers are asked to interact with, play with, hold, cuddle, read, etc the children. It`s really all about developing belonging and beginning the discipleship journey at a very young age. (So, no watching the service from a video feed...too distracting). In fact, this fall we hope to begin a short circle time with the 2 year olds using the God Loves Me program from Faith Alive. It will require another level of care and involvement from our volunteers but one that we feel is going to be very valuable in the lives of our little ones.
Faith Alive has a wonderful publication entitled: So You Have Been Asked to Serve in the Nursery. It has some great information in it on how to establish a welcoming nursery. You may want to purchase one! The booklet ends with this...(the nursery is) a place where each little one can experience concretely the reality of God`s love. I think that`s exciting stuff!

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