Category Archives: Kids’ Corner

Loreena Thiessen: Celebrate Canada!

This year Canada is 150 years old. What does this mean?

In 1867 a group of men, the Fathers of Confederation, decided that Canada should have its own government and laws. Its name should be Canada. At the time there were only four provinces. It was July 1 and Canada was born.

How has Canada grown since 1867?

Canada is a country of immigrants. Most of the people living in Canada have come from other countries. First it was fishermen. They were Vikings from Iceland. They came to find more fish. The Atlantic Ocean around Newfoundland and Labrador was thick with codfish. That was 1,000 years ago, long before Canada was a country. The fishermen loaded their ships with the fish and returned home.

In time the King of England and the King of France sent men to explore new lands. The French wanted gold and riches. The English wanted to find a shorter trade route to Asia. Each king wanted the new land for himself.

Other explorers came. The land they found was Canada. They met Canada’s first people, the Indigenous people who were already here and who showed the new explorers how to hunt for fresh meat, how to travel by canoe, and traded furs for tools.

They trapped animals like beaver, muskrat, ermine, and mink. People in Europe wanted hats and coats made of these furs and Canada had plenty of them. The trappers travelled along rivers and streams and carried the furs with them. They unloaded them onto bigger ships in the Hudson Bay that sailed across the Atlantic and brought the furs to Europe.

The English and the French each built settlements to keep control over the land they wanted. They competed with each other and they fought each other. Each one wanted Canada and its riches for their king. Finally the British won and for a long time Canada belonged to England.

In 1812 the Americans invaded Canada. They had 4,000 men. They believed it would be easy to defeat the Canadians. The Canadians had only 400 men, but with the support of Native troops, together they defeated the Americans.

Now Canada needed a strong border, a line to mark Canada’s land. And so they built the railroad along the border. The railroad kept the border more secure. It sent a strong signal to the Americans not to attack again. The railroad connected the vast distances of Canada.

Towns and cities grew along the railroad. Now people and goods could travel from the east to the west, from Montreal to Vancouver. Today one half of Canada’s population lives in the big cities along the U.S.-Canada border. New people arrive every day who want to make Canada their home.

It was the Fathers of Confederation who built the country’s laws believing that God ruled over them and that he had “dominion from sea to sea.”

Read Psalm 72:8. This is what the Fathers of Confederation believed. It is the official motto of Canada.

Activity:

12 Canadian Words: which ones do you know? Write another word beside each one that tells what it is.

Toque        ____________________

Parka        _____________________

Toboggan  ______________________

Canoe        _______________________

Loonie       ________________________

Toonie       ________________________

Timbits     _________________________

Butter tart   __________________________

Nanaimo bars    _______________________

Canuck      ___________________________

Beaver tail    ___________________________

Poutine      ___________________________

Loreena Thiessen: What Can You Do?

Has someone said to you, “You have to wait until you’re older or bigger or taller”?

You may not be old enough to ride as far on your bike as you want, or strong enough to swim across the lake. You may have to wait to play on your dream team. You may have to wait to wear those dream shoes because they look so grown up.

So what can you do?

For now you can ride or swim a safe distance. You can wear the shoes that are right for today. You can finish out with the team you are on and then consider what comes next. You will grow into what your dream is.

Many young animals do the same. Fox and wolf cubs learn to hunt from their parents and how to hide in long grasses to be safe. Bird parents dutifully feed their chicks until one day they flap their wings vigorously on the edge of a nearby branch eager to fly. They grow into their skills.

Insects are different. They develop in stages. At each stage they must

do the right thing to survive on their own. They hatch, find food, grow, and eat some more. Their parents leave them to survive alone.

The ladybug hatches on a leaf. At first it looks like a tiny black alligator. As it eats and develops it grows to become the red spotted bug we know and like. It turns out to be a helpful bug too, eating up to fifty aphids, another bug that destroys garden plants, each day. Gardeners like them too.

The Monarch butterfly hatches on a leaf as a colourful striped worm. It immediately eats this leaf and many more. At the right time it spins a cocoon and within it changes miraculously to be the butterfly we know, ready to fly. Insects are born knowing what to do. This knowledge is called instinct.

You must learn skills and knowledge from your parents and teachers. And you must be wise. To be wise is to know when and how to use your skills and knowledge. You have the skills to swim but knowing how far and where to swim safely is to be wise.

How do you get wisdom?

Wisdom comes from thinking carefully about outcomes, about what might happen when you act. Wisdom comes through experience. Both your parents and teachers have more experience. They will teach you rules to guide you, how to judge what is safe and right for you as you grow.

loreena-thiessen
Loreena Thiessen

God says a lot about wisdom too. God says you must follow laws and judge a situation carefully to be safe and do well. Read Deuteronomy 4:6.

You can’t buy wisdom He says in Job 28:12. Wisdom is better than gold (Proverbs 16:16). He says listen to the instruction or teaching of your mother and father in Proverbs 1:8. And He says getting wisdom will make you happy (Proverbs 3:13).

Activity: Bible Quiz: A Very Wise King

Do: Read 1 Chronicles 29: 23-24 and 2 Chronicles 1:7–12.

As you read find the answers for the quiz below.

  1. Who was a very wise King?
  2. Who was the king’s father?
  3. What was the promise God made to this king’s father?
  4. What made this King wise?
  5. Why did this King need wisdom?
  6. What did God do?

Loreena Thiessen: In May

by Loreena Thiessen

The month of May is a turning point. A turning point is a moment that begins change. In May the chill winds of April are past. The last snow has fallen and melted. Everywhere grass is turning green and flowering trees are covered in pink and white blossoms. Bright yellow dandelions cheer neighborhoods wherever they are allowed.

It is the end of spring. Next comes summer. There are blue skies above, and warm breezes tickle your face and arms. You feel the wind in your hair as you bike into the sun; soon you’ll feel sand squishing between your toes.

May is important for another reason. It’s the month you celebrate your mother. Mothers have been honored and celebrated for a long time, long before Jesus was born. Early Christians celebrated Moth­er’s Day to honor Jesus’ mother, Mary. After World War 2 the sec­ond Sunday of May became the offi­cial day for every­one to celebrate their mothers. This year that Sunday is May 14.

Another important day in May is Victo­ria Day, the May long weekend. Victoria Day is the official birthday of Queen Victoria, the Queen of England at the time Canada first became a country in 1867. She was the ruling Queen of Canada until that date.

She had to agree to Canada becoming an official country with its own government. Before this, Canada was ruled by a governor appointed by England. Now Canada’s government is patterned after England’s. It is a government based on laws that gives the people we vote for the power to make new laws and make changes for our country as they are needed. It is a government that respects the rights and freedoms of its people. This holiday honours Queen Victoria.

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Loreena Thiessen

The May long weekend marks the beginning of more good things to come: summer and warm days ahead; the end of school and holidays; camping and trips to the beach.

God knew that to honour your father and mother was so important that he made it one of the Ten Commandments. Read Exodus 20:12.

What will you do to honour and celebrate your mother this year?

Activity: make a picnic

Need: Unbreakable cups, plates, forks, knives and a basket to carry them in a thick blanket picnic food: buns, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce; fruit, like grapes, orange slices; crackers, cookies; lemonade, napkins. Don’t forget sunscreen.

Do:

1. Count how many people will eat. Pack one cup, plate, fork, knife for each.

2. Pack buns, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, grapes, orange slices, crackers, cookies, crackers, lemon­ade, enough for each.

3. Choose where the picnic will be: indoors if there’s rain, backyard or park if sunny.

4. Bring flowers and a card you have drawn or painted for your mother.

5. Take a selfie to remember the picnic.

6. Play a game, like croquet, or read a book together.

Jesus Shows a New Way

Easter is the most important and oldest festival for Christians. At Easter we celebrate that after he died on the cross Jesus rose and lives again.

Jesus told his disciples many times he would rise again. And yet when the tomb was empty and the stone rolled away on that first Easter morning they were shocked. Only when he showed the nail prints in his hands did they remember his words. Now they knew he was truly the Son of God.

Before this Jesus was known in many different ways. First, he was the son of the carpenter Joseph (Matthew 13:55). The disciples saw him as their teacher and called him Rabbi. The rulers said he broke the rules. According to them he didn’t wash his hands as much as he should. Instead he said what comes out of your mouth is more important than what goes into your mouth (Matthew 15:11,12,20). This was something new. It didn’t follow the rules.

Jesus did things differently. When he called his disciples to follow him he expected them to leave their fishing boats and their families. To the rich young ruler he said, “Sell all that you have; then come and follow me” (Matthew 19: 21,22).

On the Sabbath he healed the sick and went into the wheat field to pick the ripe grains. He went to eat with Zacchaeus, rather than condemn him.

He raised up people who had already died, like the daughter of Jarius (Mark 5:42) and Lazarus. People were healed just being near him (Luke 8:43,44).

He told stories to teach truth. The story of the Good Samaritan teaches that anyone in need is your neighbour (Luke 10: 30-36).

He did amazing miracles. With five loaves of bread and two fish he fed five thousand people, and filled twelve baskets of leftovers (John 6:9-14).

 The rulers said Jesus was an outlaw breaking all the rules. They were afraid that because of his many followers they would lose control. So they arrested him.

The disciples wanted Jesus to be their king in a new kingdom. They wanted him to replace the Roman rulers who were harsh and treated them unfairly. Jesus was building a kingdom, but not only for now on earth.

loreena-thiessen
Loreena Thiessen

While on earth Jesus taught how people should love and respect each other. His miracles showed his love for the people. They showed God’s power. He died and rose again to show life does not end on earth, his kingdom goes on forever. He came to earth to show a new way. Just like his disciples you find the way by following him. Read John 14:6.

Activity: find the missing words.

  1. Jesus died on a __ __ __ __ __.
  2. On the third day he __ __ __ __.
  3. The __ __ __ __ __ was rolled away.
  4. He showed his __ __ __ __ __ to his disciples.
  5. Jesus said __ __ __ __ __ __ me.
  6. I am the __ __ __ the __ __ __ __ __ and the __ __ __ __.

Loreena Thiessen: A Lion or a Lamb

by Loreena Thiessen

March is a fickle month. The weather changes suddenly and without warning.

In one day it can feel like summer in the sunlight and winter in the shade. When the month begins it’s still Winter; at the end it’s more like Spring. This is the reason we say, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

On the 20th day of March it’s official, spring has arrived. So what changes? Every day after Christmas Day is longer than the one before.

Each day the sun appears earlier, more to the north.  During the day the sun is directly overhead. And each day the sun sets later.

With more sunlight temperatures rise and snow piles shrink. Birds return from their winter home. The first to arrive are Canada Geese and Mallard ducks. They sit on frozen ponds and wait for the ice to thaw.

Soon robins are back. There are no bugs for them to eat so they peck at last year’s apples still hanging on tree branches. Chickadees sing louder. Crows return to the trees where they hatched last year. They caw loudly and begin to collect twigs to rebuild the old nests.

The sun warms the earth. New green shoots poke through the snow. Buds form. Yellow and red tulips and blue crocuses burst into bloom. Velvety buds on tree branches begin to swell. Under the snow the grass begins to stir and turns green. Rabbits wake up and bound after each other. All are signs of gladness that winter is over.

People change too. They exchange their winter jackets for lighter ones. Ball caps replace toques and mitts are left at home. They walk straighter and their steps bounce. They turn their faces up to the sun to feel more of its warmth. They are smiling. Something new is happening.

Why is Spring important? Spring is the queen of seasons. Green, red, and yellow colors replace the drab white of winter. New plants grow picture-perfect. Birds sing cheery songs. There are new baby animals.

Spring brings hope. You feel its warmth. You run outside, your arms and legs free. You hop on your bike. You dig in the sand and play in the park. You feel happy.

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Loreena Thiessen

With Spring comes a promise, a promise God gave Noah in Genesis 8:22:
While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer
And day and night,
Shall not cease.
All of the earth and its seasons belong to God. Read Psalm 24: 1, 2.

Activity: Journal into Spring

Need: Note paper, pencil, pencil crayons, binoculars.

Do:
Look in your back yard, on your way to school, in the park.
Write down, or draw, what you see each time you notice some new clue that spring is starting.
Write down the date and what you observe.
Use words that tell how it looks, sounds, or smells.
Make drawings to show what is new or what has changed.
Take note of which birds appear, when and where, how their songs sound.
Check where buds first appear, which flowers bloom, what people are doing differently.
Write something every day even if you think nothing new has happened.
Share your findings.

Loreena Thiessen: Celebrate February!

What do you like about February? Groundhog Day? Valentine’s Day?

A rare day in February is Leap Day. It’s so rare it comes only once every four years, a collection of the extra minutes in each of those years.

February has important birthdays. One is the birthday of a famous man, Abraham Lincoln, a president who allowed slaves to go free. Another is the birthday of Paul Bunyan the giant lumber jack, a hero in folktales of early Canada.

In February you have been in your class for 100 days. How can you celebrate 100?

Using a hundreds chart count from 1 to 100; then do it again, but count backwards starting from 100 all the way back to 1. Count by ones, going back and forth across a row; the tens stay the same and the ones move. Count by tens going up and down a column; the ones stay the same and the tens move. See the pattern?

Take a walk, down your school hallway, on the playground, or as you walk to and from school. Count your steps. Can you count your steps all the way home? How many steps did it take?

How many happy words can you think of? Can you write them? How many friends can you name? What about friends, family, teachers, and neighbours? Don’t forget your pets. Make a list of each.

Do you like to help people who may need it? Collect 100 items, food cans, boxes of breakfast cereal or macaroni. You can donate them to a foodbank, or a kids’ lunch program. Do this with your classmates and the help of your teacher.

Collect your favourite recipes and put them in a recipe book. You will need an adult to help you organize them and put them together. Get your friends’ favourites too. How many have you got?

Read the book 100 Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes, or another book you like. How many pages in the book?

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Loreena Thiessen

What are you thankful for? Can you make a list? Write them on strips of paper and stuff them in a jar. Take them out later to read again.

Celebrate by reading Psalm 100. It is a psalm of celebration.

Activity: Do an act of kindness

Need: note paper, sticky notes, pencil, colored pencils and pens, candy kisses or wrapped chocolates

Do: Choose one act of kindness for each day in February.

For example:

  • write an encouraging note, or a note of appreciation
  • give a small gift like a candy kiss, or a single wrapped chocolate
  • clear the table, load the dishwasher
  • vacuum; dust; straighten up a room
  • shovel the walk
  • visit someone in need of company

Keep a record:

  • Make a list in a notebook with the date
  • Write your act on sticky notes and stick them on a banner

Read Ephesians 4:32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loreena Thiessen: Try Something New

Do you like to try something new?

Sometimes trying something new is scary. You don’t know if you’ll like it. You don’t know how it will turn out.

Trying something new takes courage. You have to be brave. This means that even if you’re afraid you try it anyway.

A new thing to try can be a small thing. Like crumbling an Oreo cookie into your ice-cream. Or melting a cheese slice on a piece of apple pie. Or eating spinach.

Some new things are big. They are so big they change everything.

For example, in 1876 Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. This was a new thing after he discovered that sound travels along wire. He created the telephone because he wanted to send the sound of the human voice from here to another place. Today almost everyone carries their own phone and you can talk to anyone wherever they are.

The Wright Brothers wanted to fly. So in 1903 they invented the first airplane. Today you can fly to Disneyland, or the Swiss Alps, or anywhere at all.

Many years ago in the United States there was a law that allowed black people to sit only at the back of a bus. Rosa Parks believed this was not right or fair. She believed all people should be allowed to choose where to sit. She dared to do what was right and stayed at the front of the bus. In 1955 the old law was changed.

In 1969, after years of study and inventions, the first astronauts walked on the moon. Neil Armstrong said it was “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” And it was. Today we know many new things about space and the world because of the work scientists do at the ISS, the International Space Station.

These new things make life more convenient, more interesting, and fair for everyone.

An example from the Bible who was asked to do something new was Moses. Moses was a shepherd in a far desert. One day God had a new job for him. It was big and it required courage.

Moses argued with God. “I am not brave,” he said. “I cannot do it.”

loreena-thiessen
Loreena Thiessen

But God had a plan. He sent his brother Aaron to help him. Aaron would speak for Moses. God promised that He would be with him too. And Moses managed to do the job. He faced Pharaoh and asked him to let his people go. He was able because of what God did for him. Read Exodus 4:10 to 12; 13:8.

What new thing would you like to try?

Activity

Need: notebook, pencil, crayons, or coloured pencils

Do: Choose one new thing you want to try.

– a new food, like turnips, beets or okra.

– a new activity, like learning to play the violin, or a new swimming stroke

– make a new friend.

– start a reading group, or read a new book with a friend.

Keep a record: In a notebook divide your pages into four parts like this:

My choice. Do I like it? Any difficulties? Will I continue? Write up or draw pictures of your experience. Share with family or friends.

Loreena Thiessen: Ten Things for Which to be Thankful

By Loreena Thiessen

It’s October and time for Thanksgiving. You regularly give thanks before each meal. It has become a habit. But you have much more to be thankful for.

Like shelter, a house that keeps you dry and warm when it rains or when temperatures drop. It’s a safe place to eat, sleep, hang up your clothes, and store your collections. It’s peaceful. You’re in charge. You can lock the door, or open it.

Millions of people around the world do not have a home, they are homeless because of floods, or war, or because they lost their jobs. Be thankful for your house.

What about clean drinking water? You’re thirsty. You go to the fridge, open a bottle and take a sip. You expect it to be clean and safe. Millions of people do not have clean water to drink. They collect water from puddles or streams. Dirty water makes them sick.

When you’re hungry you get a snack or a sandwich. At supper you have a good dinner. You eat as much as you want. Food is fuel for the energy you need each day. Millions of people all over the world do not have enough food to eat. Constant hunger causes pain. They become weak and fall ill.

Are you healthy? To keep healthy you must eat healthy, get enough sleep and exercise. Being healthy you are able to listen and think better, you enjoy playing and working. Be thankful for your health.

Do you have good friends who share your fun, feel your sadness or excitement, spend time with you, are fair and kind? And don’t forget your family. They love and support you no matter what. You can depend on them. Be thankful for them.

At times you meet someone new who becomes a friend. Now you have another person to share and have fun with. You learn new things. Be thankful for that new person.

Are you thankful for technology? Do you have a PlayStation, Nintendo, Game Boy, or a phone? These are luxuries you may think of as necessities. You learn skills and have fun. Your phone keeps you connected. Remember to be thankful for these.

There are many ordinary things you enjoy. Sunrise and sunset give colour and light to your day. The sun warms you and makes things grow. Trees give you clean air. The ocean cools and provides you with salmon, tuna and lobster. Rivers and streams give you opportunity to go fishing with your Dad or Grandpa. Flowers make parks beautiful. Don’t forget to give thanks for these.

loreena-thiessen
Loreena Thiessen

What happens when you face a difficulty? Overcoming a difficulty you may learn something new or grow stronger. Be thankful. Every morning when you wake up, be thankful for another new day to enjoy all that you have.

Read Psalm 104:1, 10–25. See how God provides for the earth and all its inhabitants.