Godly Play

“In most religious education children are told who God is. In Godly Play children discover who God is.”

Godly Play is a story telling technique based on Montessori principles. A typical session will include a time to get ready, then tell a story using objects and artefacts, explore the story more with open questions and discussion and respond with a free choice using a variety of materials.


At Diocesan House we hold a number of resources to equip those using Godly Play in their schools and parishes. See below for the list of books and the (growing) list of Godly Play Boxes. Please email Kira Hedley-Smith if there's something you'd like to borrow, or to let us know if there's something you'd like to use that isn't on the list below: 


  • Jerome W. Berryman, The Complete Guide to Godly Play, Volumes 1-8

Godly Play Boxes

  • The Circle of the Church Year (Vol2)
  • The Holy Family (Vol2)
  • Creation (Vol2)
  • The Flood and Ark (Vol2)
  • The Ten Best Ways (Vol2)
  • Parable of the Good Samaritan (Vol3)
  • Parable of the Great Pearl (Vol3)
  • Parable of the Sower (Vol3)
  • Parable of the Mustard Seed (Vol3)
  • The Holy Family (Vol4)
  • The Mystery of Pentecost (Vol4)
  • The Good Shepherd and World Communion (Vol4)
  • Bethlehem (Vol 2)
  • Advent (Vol 3)
  • Desert Bag (Vol 6)
  • The lost sheep (Vol 3)
  • Jesus' last Passover (Young children and Worship book)
  • The circle of the Eucharist (Young children and Worship book)

Where to start

Our recommendations for starting a Godly Play resource library


The Godly Play texts are quite repetitive vis a vis ‘how to do it’, so don’t buy ‘Teaching Godly Play’. We have a copy at Diocesan House - the last two chapters about accompanying children are worth reading, but the rest is in the other books. If you are going to ask a local craftsperson to make your wooden resources, patterns for most are in ‘Young People and Worship’ by Stewart and Berryman, but the story texts in this book are not as good as those from the Godly Play set.

The stories begin in Vol 2. Vols 6-8 are enrichment stories, for when you want to take your group deeper into the other stories, with stories telling some characters’ lives, Saints and other material. Most groups won’t need these extra materials for a while.

Story resources for starting up:

  • Creation
  • A desert bag, and materials you need for the desert stories
  • The people of God
  • All six parables
  • The Holy Family (buy the Finnish one, it’s much more tactile and rounded)
  • Advent
  • Lent
  • Easter
  • Pentecost
  • Liturgical Clock (Circle of Church Year). The diocese has a wooden one, but they can be made from felt and Velcro and hung upon the wall.
  • Chalice, Patten and table set
  • Old Testament Figures
  • Various felt underlays

You can view sets needed for each story online and gather for each one rather than buying it all from Bowthorpe. We also have a complete Bowthorpe catalogue at Diocesan House, so you can see what you are buying.

Don’t forget to include your congregations or school community in this task - felt underlays and sometimes woodworking can be done ‘in house’ and then more people have an investment in Godly Play in the community. One church suggested folks might like to contribute to their Godly Play in memory or thanksgiving for someone. As the costs are very variable, this is a very practical way to collect and include at the same time.

You’ll find suppliers on mainland Europe don’t incur customs charges - the ones from the US do, so do be careful where you source. St Michael’s Workshop are reliable and usually deliver more quickly than they imply on the website.

You can source boxes online, but be wary of those with hinged lids for the parable stories - you really want a box with a sliding lid, (like a shoe box) One local practitioner has made his own - contact Kira Hedley-Smith for details.

Useful online resources


Godly Play runs three-day training courses, please do get in contact if you are interested in attending one of these and we can offer to help with financing. We also regularly run training and network events at deanery and diocesan levels.