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Probably the most misunderstood element of the Dwell curriculum’s age-graded materials is its children’s resources. Being familiar with the concept of take-home resources for children’s ministry curriculum, most Dwell coordinators assume that’s all Dwell’s children’s resources are, at times opting to skip these enormously helpful materials.

But the important thing that gets missed with Dwell’s children’s resources is that they aren’t just take-home papers, they are also used during the Dwell session. Skipping these helpful resources will leave your Dwell leaders without all the materials they need.

For example:

  • In step 2 of the Imagine session “David, A Good Shepherd,” leaders are to read the story for the session from the children’s resource. Similarly in the Wonder session, “Go Tell!” the beginning of the story is on the children’s resource. So if the leader doesn’t have the children’s resource, they won’t have what they need for the story portion of the session.
  • In the children’s resource for the Imagine session, “Golden Calf,” a large heart is included. Leaders are told to cover this heart in contact paper and then use it for an activity in step 3 of the session to remind children of how God washes away their sins.
  • In each Dive session, young teens are regularly directed to read from and respond to prompts in the Dive magazine. At the Dive level especially, leading the session without the children’s resources would be very difficult.
  • In step 4 of the Wonder session, “Creation: Owls & Octopuses, Panthers & People,” kids play a game similar to tic-tac-toe using a game board in the children’s resource.  

In each of these examples, Dwell leaders won’t have everything they need to lead the session if they don’t have at least one copy of the children’s resource. This is why we try to make it clear that these resources are essential Dwell materials for our age-graded sessions—not extra add-ons.

In addition to using these materials in the Dwell session, they are also wonderful resources for connecting the session to home. With a little intentionality, families can move from missed opportunities to family faith formation—encouraging their children to show and share what they’ve learned each week.

For example:

  • In the Imagine session, “Jacob and Esau,” the children’s resource includes a version of the story with pictures for key figures that’s easy to read so the children can read the story to or with their families.
  • Each Play children’s resource includes a copy of the adapted story, written in language that makes sense to preschoolers, so that families can retell the story to their children at home.
  • In the Wonder session, “Jesus Goes Back to Heaven,” families review the story together by playing a game with the game board included in the children’s resource.
  • The Marvel children’s resources are designed to serve as a bookmark that can be placed in the child’s Bible where that week’s story is found, as a way to encourage the children to spend time the following week reading the Bible story from their Dwell session.

This blog post includes a variety of ideas for helping families use their Dwell children’s resources. It’s natural to see discarded papers throughout the church as a sign that the resources aren’t being used. But the response doesn’t have to be to stop providing these family faith formation materials to parents. A better response may be to help parents be intentional about using these helpful resources, encouraging simple, at-home faith formation.

In summary, Dwell’s children’s resources are beautiful, helpful materials that encourage children to engage the Dwell story both in the session and at home. If you are using Dwell’s age-graded materials, the children’s resources are an essential part of each Dwell session. Please don’t skip them!

If you already ordered your Dwell materials, but didn’t include these helpful resources, you can place an additional order on the Dwell shop page.

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