Though Pockets is primarily a resource for children’s personal use, the magazine can be used in groups as supplemental Sunday-school material or with weeknight groups or Pockets clubs. Here are some suggestions for using the January/February issue, on the theme of Encouraging Others, in weekly segments.
Read: Barney’s Homework (pages 2-4)
Discuss: Why did Barney think it would be hard to live up to his name? Do you find it hard to encourage others? What makes it hard? What helps you?
Pray: For people who are discouraged
Do: Help group members learn the meaning of their names and talk about them.
Read: Thanks for Your Support (pages 10-12)
Discuss: How do you and your friends support one another? Why is supporting friends important? Why were Grace’s friends annoyed with her?
Pray: For friends having disagreements
Do: Read about the new contest on page 24 and work on your entries.
Read: Pocketsful of Scripture for January and the readings (pages 12-13)
Discuss: Why didn’t Jonah want to go to Nineveh? Is it ever hard for you to do some of the things you know should do? What makes it hard?
Pray: For people who are suffering because of the weather
Do: Collect socks and donate them to help people in need.
Read: Where in God’s World? (pages 28-29)
Discuss: Have you ever visited another country? What country would you like to visit? Why? What do you think you might learn by visiting there?
Pray: For the people of Moldova
Do: In this feature, we learned about one family tradition in Moldova. Talk about the traditions in group members’ families. What traditions are most important to group members? Why are traditions important to families?
Read: Tree Frog Trail
Discuss: Why didn’t Nate care about helping Callie at first? Why did he decide to encourage her after all? What helps you to be able to put yourself in another person’s place?
Pray: For families going through changes
Do: Make one of the recipes from pp. 22-23 to share.
Read: The Power of Words (page 30)
Discuss: Can you think of a time when someone used their words to help or encourage you? What did they say? How did it help? How do you use your words to help others?
Pray: To use our words in wise, loving ways
Do: Make bookmarks with Bible verses or other encouraging words and give them away to people.
Read: Gliding (pages 32-34)
Discuss: What have you learned to do that you could help someone else do? Why do you think Soren didn’t want to help his little brother?
Pray: To help others as we have been helped
Do: Take the quiz on pages 42-43 and talk about your answers.
Read: Where’s My High-Five?
Discuss: Why was Ruby worried about being on Denise’s team? How did Denise help her? Have you ever helped someone feel better about participating in a school activity or sport?
Pray: For kids who have a hard time fitting in at school
Do: Work the puzzle on page 35.
Though Pockets is created for children’s personal use, there are many ways parents can use the magazine with your children at home.
- The last page of each issue features a family activity. Set aside time during the month for the family to do this together. Share a simple snack while you do the activity and conclude with a prayer thanking God for your time together.
- Read Pocketsful of Scripture together and talk about the brief scripture readings. This can be a good way to end the day together.
- Check out Do 1 Thing. This feature encourages children to do one “small” thing each week in a different category (i.e. for your family, for the world, etc.). Talk to your child about his or her “one thing” for the week. Consider having a family “one thing” for each week, as well.
- Look at our Check It Out page together. Visit the suggested website to learn more about a different charity each month. Consider journaling together or discuss the journal prompt together. Add the Dates To Remember and prayer suggestions to your family calendar.
- Read a story together and discuss it.
- Read “Where in God’s World?” and together learn more about the featured country. You may want to plan a family night around that country, including trying your hand at preparing a traditional dish from the country.
- Read about the month’s Faith Hero and together learn more about that person. Have a family discussion about what makes a person a faith hero and some faith heroes that you know in your church or community. Talk about ways each of you can be faith heroes or incorporate a family practice of taking turns finishing this sentence: “This week I felt like a faith hero when I…”
- Use our special seasonal features, such as the Lenten intercessory prayer calendar, the Thanksgiving prayer calendar, the Advent calendar, and the Advent devotions. Make these part of your worship together as a family.
Churches have various ways of using Pockets in their children’s ministry. Many provide the magazine for children to take home to help the children in their spiritual formation throughout the week. Many use it in bags or packets provided for children to use during worship. Others use the magazine as supplemental Sunday-school curriculum or for Wednesday night programs or other activities. Some even have Pockets Clubs that organize their meetings around the contents of the magazine.
But there are also ways to use Pockets beyond your church to reach out to children and families in your community.
Here are some ideas:
- Place a few copies each month in the waiting room of your local hospital or health department or doctors’ or dentists’ offices. Attach a sticker to the front with information about your church.
- Offer to provide some copies to the after-school tutoring program at your church or another church in your area.
- Take copies to children who are in the hospital or at home sick.
- Donate copies to a food bank or shelter in your area.
- Take some along on outreach visits to families in your community as a way of letting adults know that your church values children.
- Order extra copies to give to children at community-wide events where your church is represented.
- Order extras for seasons when you know the church will have many visitors so that visiting children can take their own copies home.