"Godly Play" is a term coined by Jerome Berryman to describe an approach to children's spiritual formation that is based on creating a sacred space in which to present the stories of our faith, wonder about them together, and then allow the children open-ended opportunities, usually with art supplies, to engage the story on their own terms. We meet at 9am and the children join us for worship at 10am.
The stories are told very simply, with simple props, and without interpretation or moral instruction. After a story is presented, the children and the storyteller wonder together about aspects of the story that draw their interest. For instance, with the parable of the Good Shepherd, they might wonder together how the sheep felt as they followed the shepherd. Or whether the sheep have names. Or how it might feel to be inside the sheepfold.
After a time of exploring the story with wondering, the story is put away, the children choose the art supplies they would like to work with, and they spend some time creating whatever they choose, in response to what they feel is most important in the story, or most interesting.
This is play. It is Godly. It is meeting God along with children rather than teaching them what we adults think they ought to know. Our faith stories are very powerful and offer plenty to think about even without our elaboration on what they "mean." Godly play is often deeply satisfying for the adults who engage the stories along with the children. What a gift for parents to bring to our families!