Material in this section copyright (c) 2016-2022 Dan Harper

Handwork is an excellent way to reinforce the material you are teaching in Sunday school. “Handwork is the planned modification of construction materials with the hands or hand tools to clarify learning experiences in all subjects adapted to a handwork approach” (Louis V. Newkirk, Integrated Handwork for Elementary Schools” Teachers Guide is Use and Techniques [New York: Silver Burdett Co., 1940], p. 8). Handwork can help you reinforce the topic of the lesson, especially with those kinesthetic learners. But handwork should also be just plain fun, a way to make Sunday school seem less like school and more like summer camp.

Handwork can be used with just about every religious education topic. The projects in this section can be used in Sunday schools, or in day camps.

2 Dimensional Arts

3 Dimensional Arts

Handwork for the Lively Arts

Other Arts and Crafts

If you’re trying to decide whether to use handwork, or one of the lively arts (drama, videos, audio recordings, etc.), here are pros and cons of each:


  • often good for children who are kinesthetic learners
  • children express their ideas in an objective medium
  • children develop handiness with common tools
  • children may discover a new leisure-time activity
  • may result in a physical object which can be taken home or shared with the congregation
  • requires materials which must be located or purchased
  • requires advance preparation time by the teacher
  • may require expertise that the teacher does not have
  • projects may take more than one session to complete.

Lively arts

  • may be good for children who are kinesthetic learners
  • children learn public speaking and public presence
  • generally requires less advance preparation
  • may result in a performance which can be presented to the congregation
  • may require props which must be located or purchased
  • certain lively arts (e.g., movement, dancing, drama) may be less attractive to some children (e.g., some school aged boys may resist dance)
  • some children may receive lessons in certain lively arts (e.g., music) while others do not