Five Essential Tools Every DWELL Leader Should Have on Hand

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Who knew leading a Play session of the Dwell curriculum could be so dangerous? It all started with a simple craft, but fell apart when I realized I needed a hole punch and didn’t have one on hand. Take my warning, friends, scissors will certainly make a hole in paper, but they will also go straight through the paper and make a hole in your skin—even if they’re kid scissors. As I tried to stop the bleeding, I thought once again of how important it is to have the right supplies.

That same day I ordered hole punches for all my Dwell leaders and from then on, I was intentional about equipping my Dwell spaces each year. I thought through what I reached for the most when leading, asked my leaders for input, and came up with a list of items I wanted to provide.

Here are the top five things I included when stocking our Dwell spaces:

  • Baby wipes: Whether from crafts or snack or other activities, kids have a habit of getting their hands messy. This is great! It’s a part of learning! But with younger kids, a whole-group trip to the bathroom can take a while. So I stocked each Dwell space with baby wipes that are safe for use on hands and faces.
  • Creative supplies: This article from NAEYC provides a great list of supplies you can adapt for your space. I tried to have the following in every Dwell space: markers, crayons (kids especially love Twistable crayons), scissors, glue, construction paper, white art paper, tape, and play dough. I regularly pulled these supplies out to fill extra minutes when we had them. The children loved that they got to decide which art supplies to use as they creatively reflected on that day’s story.
  • Dry-erase markers, chalk, or flip chart markers: In my church, dry-erase markers often went missing, so it was helpful to have extra on hand. I usually bought a big box for children’s ministry and encouraged my leaders to pack up their markers with their supplies so that they would know where they were the following week. These were especially important for our older Dwell groups.
  • Hole punch and grown-up scissors: Learn from my mistake! Especially with younger kids, you’ll be amazed at the number of times it’s helpful to make a quick hole in something (nametags, art projects, etc.) And though kid scissors can be sharp (as evidenced by my injury), they don’t cut in the same way as grown-up scissors. I found it helpful to have a pair or two of grown-up scissors on hand, but always out of kids’ reach.
  • Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer: Cold and flu season is just around the corner! In general, I’m not a big fan of hand sanitizer, but when you put a group of kids—many who haven’t yet learned the “elbow sneeze”—in a small space, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are extremely helpful in keeping germs contained.

How about you? What items would you be lost without? Comment below or join the conversation on our Dwell Leaders Facebook group.

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This is a fabulous list. All of them essential items for sure.

Your scissors injury reminded me of a time I was making holes in cardboard boxes. I had forgotten to bring my trusty, blunt, vegetable knife so I grabbed the only knife I could find - large, very sharp. A little boy watched from a distance, went to the play kitchen, found a toy knife and another box and came close enough to watch what I was doing. And imitate every move. I ensured he was at a safe distance. As I hacked into the box the knife slipped, glanced across my thumb, and an impressive little fountain of blood squirted up. In one smooth action I grabbed a towel and banged it over my hand. At the same time I looked at the boy. His face was contorted with surprised and horror. He immediately jumped up and ran to his mother. 

PS. No lasting injury to my thumb. But I doubt that boy will ever play with knives. 

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Oh my! I've been there! Thanks for sharing. It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one injured in the line of teaching Sunday School. :) Glad to hear there was no lasting injury!