Praise and Play!

Worshipping with under-fives

Alison Harris

Currently out of print £9.99


Praise and Play! is based on the understanding that young children have a place in the faith community that values them for who they are and what they bring, as well as recognising their specific needs. As such, their significance lies in who they are now, not just what they will become.

The aim of Praise and Play! is to help young children and their parents or carers to feel comfortable and accepted in the church community, not by entertaining the children but by enabling them to experience what it means to worship God. The material includes suggestions for good practice and techniques for telling the Christian story (through visual storytelling, praying and wondering together) while at the same time imparting theological concepts such as life, death and miracles in clear and simple terms.

Praise and Play! includes twelve tried and tested service outlines designed to give a picture of Jesus, covering His life from birth to the post-resurrection stories. Each outline is based on the recognised worship structure of gathering, ministry of the word, response and conclusion and includes:

  • Suggestions for storytelling materials
  • Bible references
  • Ideas for setting up the story
  • Easy-to-follow, biblically based story scripts
  • Questions to explore the story
  • Simple prayers
  • Easy-to-do individual and group craft ideas
  • Easy-to-prepare snack time recipes

Photocopy permission for all scripts and craft templates is included.

The wooden cone figures mentioned in the book are available from Orchard Crafts


Endorsements for Praise and Play! have not yet been added.

Author info

Alison Harris was the Adviser for Children's Ministry in Chester Diocese for nearly nine years and then worked with BRF for two years as the Barnabas representative for the north of England. She recently trained for ordination at the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham and is about to commence her first curacy at the parish church of Neston, South Wirral.


From The Good Bookstall - August 2010

Whether you're young or old, being able to praise, play, and worship together as a church family is great, but if you're concerned about how to involve your under-fives, then this is the book for you. As well as providing a great background about worship and the 'how to's', it also has 12, tried and tested, worship outlines, which include bible stories, prayers, and craft activities, all giving a picture of Jesus. It even has snack time recipes. A gem of a book which could be used on Sundays, mid week or even for slightly older children, as a holiday club resource. Have fun.

Reviewed by Wendy Downey

From Fresh - July 2009

These 12 tried and tested service outlines offer an experience of worship and a sense of inclusion in the church community for under 5s and their families. Services are based on the 'understanding that young children have a place in the faith community that values them for what they are and bring, while recognising their specific needs'. A clear, easy to use layout with all the information you'll need. Stories span Jesus birth to his resurrection, via parables and miracles. Another really useful book from BRF.

From The Church Times - June 2009

Alison Harris's book Praise and Play! gives 12 themed services aimed at pre-school children and their carers. Although the word liturgy does not appear in the book, a solid liturgical framework is provided. Tried and tested in a number of parish churches, the services include Gathering resources, stories relating to the Word of God, Responses through individual and group craft activities, and a Sending Out.

The stories are mainly taken from Jesus's life, but include the Good Shepherd, and the parable of the lost sheep. They build on the work of Sophia Cavalletti, and are reminiscent of Godly PIay, though the stories require less attention to carefully worked scripts. Good theological notes accompany the stories, enabling the teller to engage on a journey of discovery with the listeners.

Pre-school children have a strong sense of playful curiosity, enjoy participation and appreciate symbolism. Rather than expecting children simply to grow into worship, Harris recognises the capacity that children under 5 already have to engage in worship through play. The services lay down first memories of Jesus in clear and imaginative ways that patronise neither children nor their carers. Any church with the potential to attract a group of toddlers and a small team of three to four leaders can make this model of pre-school worship work well.

Reviewed by Dana Delap

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841015637
  • Published: 20 March 2009
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 80
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