Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year & Update

I savor the promise of renewal and expectation of that comes with each new year!  One year ago today, I launched this blog, and I am so blessed and overwhelmed by the way God is using the lessons I post here to help teachers and reach children all over the globe.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you all in this way.

In my class, my team of teachers and I follow the same basic scope and sequence each year, with a few adjustments.  Since the preschool class at my church is for children ages three and four, most children are in our class for two years.  The first year the lessons are mostly brand new to them.  The second year they are able to grasp a little more, and gain a greater command of the truths that we are teaching them.

Here on the blog, I've nearly documented a whole year of lessons for preschoolers, and we're ready to start back at the beginning of our lesson cycle!  This year I will fill in the lessons that I missed last year, and will also post more teaching helps and videos, so there will be lots of fresh content for you to access and use in your classrooms.

I've made a few updates to the blog that I'd like to point out to you.
  1. At the top of the page there is a scope & sequence tab.  There you will be always be able to quickly access the lesson schedule for the current theme.
  2. In the sidebar, just to the right, you'll notice a new section called Featured Post. ---->  ----> ---->
    Here I will feature the post that corresponds to the lesson for the week, according to the scope and sequence, so that you will be able to easily find it.  Many of these will be repeat posts from 2015 with some updates.
  3. There is also a new lesson index tab at the top of the page.  Under this tab is an index of all the lessons that can be found on the blog, organized by theme.  This is the easiest way to find a particular lesson that you may be looking for other than the featured post.
Please let me know if you come across any technical difficulties or glitches so that I can do my part to fix them.  I look forward with expectancy to 2016, and pray that you all will be blessed and strengthened as you teach and minister to your little ones.  Have a joyous New Year!

                                                          ~Miss Susanna




Saturday, December 26, 2015

Wise Men Worship

We are here, at the last lesson of our Christmas unit, and the last lesson of the year, in a posture of worship to Jesus our King!

Bible Truth: Worship Jesus our King.
Bible Story: Wise men traveled from far away to worship Jesus.
Bible Study: Matthew 2:1-12


teach


story-in-a-gift


The final characters that I will pull out of my gift box are the wise men, along with a toddler Jesus.  In order to present the Biblical account of the story accurately, I am sure to not show the children any pictures of the wise men at the stable the night that He was born, since Jesus was probably about two years old when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem to worship Jesus, and present Him with their exquisite gifts.





dramatized reading


If you are simply reading the story of the wise men from a children's Bible, make the story more memorable by wearing a crown from Burger King as you read, or bring a few crowns for the children to wear and act out the story as you read.




show and smell


Three small gift boxes filled with plastic gold coins (or other golden objects), and nice smelling perfumes and/or oils, can help you tell the story as you describe the gifts that the wise men brought for Jesus. Explain that these were expensive gifts that were given to kings.  The wise men brought them to Jesus because He is the King of all kings!


sing


  • We Fall Down is a simple and beautiful worship song to teach the kids to sing to Jesus.
  • Run, Jesus Run is a great, fun action song by the Donut Man that corresponds with this story. I explain that the wise man were good kings who came to worship Jesus, but there was a wicked king who wanted to kill Jesus.  God was watching over Joseph, Mary and Jesus.  He sent an angel to tell Joseph to get up in the middle of the night, and go quickly to Egypt where they would be safe from the wicked king.  That's about all the detail that I go into for this portion of the story.  There is no MP3 download of this song that is available anywhere that I can find.  The only way that I know to get this song is to purchase the Shout Hosanna CD from donutman.com.  The CD is definitely worth purchasing in my opinion!

play


follow the star


For this game you will need a star to hold, or use a flashlight as suggested here to shine the star around the room.  Tell the children that the wise men traveled for many, many days, and had to sleep out in the desert while they were traveling.  Invite them to pretend to be the wise man and go to sleep.  Move to a different part of the room, or shine the star to a different part of the room.  Then say, "Wake up wise men, it's time to find the star!"  The children get up and run to wherever you holding or shining the star.  Sing "Follow, Follow the Bright Star", then tell the children that it's time for the wise men to go back to sleep.  Continue playing the game as long as time allows,or as long as the children are interested!


craft


star decoration


Cut out stars, or purchase foam stars from the Dollar Store.  Provide star stickers, glitter, and/or sequins for the children to decorate their stars.  Print out these tags with "Follow, Follow the Bright Star" for the children to sing with their parents and home as they discuss today's lesson.  Punch a hole in the top of the stars the tags and tie a piece ribbon to complete the decoration.



shining star


Michael's craft store has these  glittery foam star stickers for 60% off right now in the children's Christmas craft section.  I like to stock up on them to use throughout the year.  For this lesson, the children could simply add them to a coloring sheet like this one.




Saturday, December 19, 2015

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Birthdays are a major highlight in the life of a preschooler, so what better way to convey the glory of Christmas to them than to have a birthday party for Jesus?!  This birthday party has become a cherished Christmas tradition in my classroom, and I'd like to share that tradition with you and your little ones.

Bible Truth: Christmas is Jesus' Birthday.
Bible Story: Jesus our Savior is born.
Bible Study: Luke 2:17-20; John 3:16


I've learned over years to keep this very simple by following our same service schedule/routine, with some extra special touches.



decorate


The first step is to decorate the classroom with lights, a Happy Birthday Jesus Banner, balloons, garland, and whatever else you may have on hand.  I also like to have Christmas music praising Jesus as the kids are signing in and engaging in free play, which will include a child-friendly nativity set for them to play with. When they walk into the classroom, I want them to know that this is an extra special day to set the tone for our birthday party.  They typically have lots of questions about what the banner says, why I put up Christmas lights, etc.  All perfect opportunities to explain that it is a special day to celebrate Jesus' birthday!




sing


Through the Christmas unit we've taught the children several songs and rhymes that correspond to different parts of the Christmas story.  For our worship time, I like to repeat these  sing these songs as we also review the lessons.


teach & play


Fun parties include fun games, and this party is no exception!  This is a game that also teaches the kiddos John 3:16a, which is the very heart of Christmas.  So instead of our typical lesson time, we will be playing a game.  (Shh, don't tell the kids, but the game is actually a lesson in itself!)

john 3:16 scripture pass


For this game you will need:
  • a bible
  • a heart pillow (or other heart shaped object)
  • an inflatable globe (or another type of globe)
  • a nice gift box
  • a baby Jesus figurine
  • Christmas music


Gather the children into a circle.  Explain that the Bible has a very special verse about Jesus that they are going to learn.  As you hold your Bible open, invite the children to repeat after you, "John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son."  Then, show them each of the objects as you briefly talk about the verse and what it means to them.  Keep the baby Jesus figurine in the gift box to bring out at the right time.
  • heart - For God so loved
  • globe - the world
  • gift - that he gave
  • Jesus - His only Son
Now to play the game, give the heart, globe and gift (with Jesus inside) each to a different child to hold. Play the music that you have selected.  When the music starts, the children begin passing the objects around the circle.  Randomly stop the music.  When the music stops, whoever is holding one of the objects stands up.  Repeat the verse with all the children, pointing to the corresponding objects.  "John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave," pause to ask, "What did God give?"  The child holding the gift can open the gift and take out baby Jesus as everyone says, "His only Son!"  Ask the children to sit back down, put Jesus back inside the gift box, and get ready to pass.  Start the music, and continue to play the game as time allows.  I guarantee that your little ones will want to keep playing this again and again!

cake


The hallmark event at a birthday party is singing Happy Birthday and eating cake!  I've found cupcakes to be the easiest way to serve cake to preschoolers.  I top our cupcakes with Happy Birthday Jesus toppers from Hobby Lobby.  We sing the traditional Happy Birthday song to Jesus, and then enjoy our cupcake treats!  Since there are little candles on the cupcake picks, they can even pretend to blow out the candle on their cupcake when we finish singing.



craft


birthday card


To top it all off, here is a sweet little birthday card for the kids to decorate for Jesus, and display in their home as a reminder of the greatest gift that we celebrate at Christmas.  You will need:
  • this printable (print double-sided and fold into a card)
  • card stock
  • crayons
  • various crafting items
  • glue



Decorating the card is very open ended, depending on the materials that you have available to you.  Be creative with whatever you have on hand.  Here is what I used:
  • heart - red glitter Foamie
  • circle - blue paper with green sequins
  • square - wrapping paper and ribbon
  • baby Jesus - white cloth, and paper shreds




Saturday, December 12, 2015

Going to Bethlehem Rhyme (Video!)

This is a first for me here on the blog.  I am sharing a video with you of the Going to Bethlehem rhyme that was part of last week's lesson!  This is a favorite for the kiddos, so we will continue to sing it throughout the Christmas season.  It helps them remember the people and circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus, and reminds them of God's loving, watchful care.

This is by no means fancy cinematography, or presentation, but I know its often helpful to see something like this in action so that you can use it just as effectively in your own classroom.  Although I'm not crazy about the idea of seeing myself on film, I plan to do more video like this in the coming year, so stay tuned!

video

Angels Appear to Shepherds

As we continue to discover the Good News of Christmas, we'll spend some time with shepherds, and the glorious sight that they saw in the fields on the night that Jesus was born.

Bible Truth: Praise God for the Good News of Christmas.
Bible Story: Angels appeared to shepherds to tell them a Savior was born!
Bible Study: Luke 2:8-16

teach


story-in-a-gift


Shepherds and angels are the special characters that will be found in my Christmas gift box this week.






dramatic play


To make this story visual and interactive, have the children help you act it out with some simple, home-made props and costumes.  Assign each child to either be a shepherd, sheep or angel.

For the shepherds, make head-dresses using hand towels or pillow cases, tied with bandannas.

Make simple sheep masks by cutting out eye holes on a paper plate, Draw a simple nose and mouth.  Add some cotton balls around the plate, and attach yarn to each side of the mask for tying around the child's head.

If your church has child-size angel costumes used for children's Christmas plays, perhaps you can borrow those for this lesson.  If not, make golden garland halos, and drape a longer piece of garland around the shoulders of your little angels.

Read Luke 2:8-16 directly from your Bible, and direct the children to act out each of the verses that you read.  To set the scene a little more, dimly light the classroom, and shine a bright light on the angels when they appear to the shepherds.

sing


Go Tell It On The Mountain  is a traditional upbeat Christmas song, with a chorus that is easy for little ones to learn and sing!  It also perfectly reinforces this week's Bible story.  Download a great kid's version of the song here.

Here are the actions that I teach my kiddos for this song.  There are a lot of words in the verses, and I don't expect the kids to learn all of them, so I keep the actions very minimal and simple.  You could also show Bible story pictures that depict the verses as you are singing the song.




craft


heavenly host


I like to use this craft to also illustrate our story and decorate our classroom for Christmas!  Each child decorates their own angel to fill the sky with a multitude of heavenly host praising God.  For this craft you will need:
  • card stock
  • scissors
  • paint
  • glitter
  • coffee filters
  • tape
To prepare cut large triangle shapes, and circles out of card stock. 

In class, provide paint for the children to each decorate a triangle.  When they are finished painting, sprinkle glitter over the paint for extra shine.

After the paint has dried, assemble the angels by taping the circle heads to the triangle bodies. Fold coffee filters in half and tape them to the back of the bodies as wings.  Staple a large sheet of a dark blue designed wrapping paper to the wall of your classroom, and attach the angels to create a beautiful Christmas display!



angels & shepherds


Print the activity sheet below.  Follow the angel pattern directions to create angel prints in the sky.  For a little more interest, you could also add pieces of fabric to the shepherds cloaks, and cotton balls to the sheep.  You will need:
  • this activity sheet
  • sponges
  • scissors
  • gold paint
  • small paper plates (to hold paint)
  • fabric pieces
  • cotton balls 
  • glue 


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Going to Bethlehem

God's care for Mary and Joseph shows us how God cares for us as His children.

Bible Truth: God takes care of Mary and Joseph.
Bible Story: Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted.
Bible Study: Luke 2:1-7

Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem is simply stated in scripture, but a little research into history, culture and geography lends a little more insight into what the journey was like.  It was approximately 70 miles from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem.  The most common mode of transportation in those days for such a trip was walking and riding a donkey.  Parts of the terrain were rocky and mountainous, and rainy weather was likely.  Robbers often took advantage of vulnerable travelers who were making such a journey.  It would not have been a comfortable journey for a pregnant woman to make.

Though we don't know all the details of this journey, one thing is certain, God was watching over, and protecting Mary and Joseph.  Throughout the unfolding of events surrounding the birth of our Savior, we witness God's provision for the fulfillment of His promises.  In telling this story, I want the children to know that there were dangers and fears, but God took care of Mary and Joseph.  Preschoolers relate to feelings of fear and uncertainty, and through this story we can assure them that God is also watching over them and caring for them.


teach


good news review


Review the good news that the angel Gabriel brought to Mary and Joseph in the story last week.


story-in-a-gift


This week Mary, Joseph and the donkey that Mary likely rode are the special characters that I keep tucked in my little gift box and bring out for story time.





going to bethlehem


This is a fun, playful story chant that I created a few years ago.  It's inspired by the classic children's story chant "Going on a Bear Hunt."  You can watch me do the rhyme with my class here!  This is something different that always captures the kids' attention.  It helps them understand that that Mary and Joseph faced some difficulties, but God was watching over them, and helping them every step of the way.




sing


Watching Over You is a great upbeat song produced by Group Music about how God is always watching over us.  It's a favorite throughout the year in my classroom, and goes very well with our lesson this week. You can download the song here, and watch a video to see the actions here.

play


Pin Mary on the Donkey is just like the traditional game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  Print out a large picture of a donkey, and a picture of Mary.  Post the picture of the donkey on the wall.  Blindfold a child, and hand them a cut-out of Mary with tape rolled to the back.  Spin them around a couple times, face them towards the donkey to try to place Mary on the donkey's back.  You could also do this with felt figures if you have them available to you. With young children, I don't make games like this a competition. The fun for them is having a turn to try, and watching others try.

craft


journey to bethlehem


For this craft you will need:

  • this printable activity sheet
  • Mary & Joseph graphic (not provided, I purchased mine here)
  • card stock 
  • a hole punch
  • yarn
  • scissors
  • crayons
  • tape
To prepare, print the activity sheet onto card stock.  Search the web for a graphic of Mary and Joseph that will work for this craft.  Cut pieces of yarn approximately 20" long.  Punch a hole in the middle of each activity page, at the top and the bottom.  Thread a piece of yarn through each hole.  Tie it in the back, and move the knot to the bottom of the activity page. 



In class, provide crayons for children to color the activity page.  Help them tape the graphic of Mary and Joseph to the yarn at the top of the page.  Children will be able to move Mary and Joseph through the different terrains and weather conditions from Nazareth to Bethlehem, as they tell the story of God's care for Mary and Joseph.







Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gabriel's Good News

Bible Truth: The angel brings good news.
Bible Story: The angel Gabriel told Mary and Joseph they would have a special baby named JESUS.
Bible Study: Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-28

teach


I like using felt characters to tell and illustrate the Christmas story.  Especially for the annunciation of Jesus' birth. I can have the angel Gabriel appear and disappear, just as he did when he announced the birth of Jesus to both Mary and Joseph.  I keep the felt characters in a gift box and pull them out of the box as I tell the story each week.  This accomplishes two things.  Number one: it helps to pique the curiosity and interest of the children.  Number two: it emphasizes that Jesus is the greatest gift of Christmas.




Our children's ministry purchased this felt set over twenty years ago, and it has been an absolutely worthwhile investment!  If that is not quite in your budget at this time, I have a suggestion for you. You can create your own felt characters by purchasing a children's Bible story book with nice simple pictures.  Cut out the characters, and attach felt to the back of them.  Wah-la!  You have your own beautiful felt characters at a tiny fraction of the cost!

I would also like to recommend the Little People Nativity Set to you.  I like using the set as a visual, but it's also a great set for the children to play with as the reenact the story, and tell it in their own words.  A child's play is a child's work.  It is how they process and internalize what they have learned.  Most nativity scenes are expensive and fancy, and children are told, "Don't touch!"  But we want them to touch this story.  We want them to know that this is their story, because Jesus was born to be their Savior.


Gabriel brings a very similar message three times, announcing Jesus the birth of Jesus to Mary, Joseph, and later to the shepherds.  I use this message as a refrain that we repeat throughout the telling of the Christmas story.  It is the good news of Christmas!


Putting it on an anchor chart is a good visual for emerging literacy skills, and also helps all the teachers repeat the same refrain throughout each week.  Repetition is the mother of learning!  Soon I am able to leave out those key pictorialized words, and let the kids fill them in.  (I'm pretty sure I just made up a word there, ha!)  Adding actions for each of those keywords helps too!

sing


The Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah for thousands of years.  When Gabriel brought the message to Mary, the Messiah finally had a name. JESUS!  The Name that is above every other name, and the only name that has the power to save us.  Sing that sweet name of Jesus with your kiddos with this fun and simple song.

Download "J-E-S-U-S" tune and lyrics here.

This song works best for little ones if you have a visual like the one below to help them follow along. Download the printable visual here.  Use Velcro to remove the hands, and then add them on as you sing the song.




craft


the angel appears


For this craft you will need:
  • this printable
  • scissors
  • an Exacto knife
  • gold glitter glue
  • paint brushes
  • brad fasteners
  • crayons
To prepare, use an Exacto knife, to cut along the dotted lines of the printable, to create a space for the angel to "appear".  Cut out the circle printable.

In class, provide crayons for the children to color the picture of Mary and Joseph.  Help the children use gold glitter to paint the angel.  Attach the angel wheel to the back coloring page with a brad fastener.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Ten Lepers

We begin this unit with a story of a man who had a thankful heart so that our preschoolers can see thankfulness played out in action.

Bible Truth: Jesus loves a thankful heart.
Bible Story: Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one said, "Thank You."
Bible Study: Luke 17:11-19

sing


As you are singing for worship, tell the children that when we sing to Jesus we are saying, "Thank You" to Him.  Tell that today we are going to hear a story about a man who said, "Thank you" to Jesus.


teach


In addition to reading this story from a children's Bible storybook, here's a captivating visual to help you illustrate it.  I used a pair of bath gloves, but this will work with any gloves.  Cut out twenty little circles, draw happy faces on ten, and sad faces on the other ten.  Hot-glue the sad faces to the back side of the gloves, and the happy faces to the palm side.   Attach a Band-aid to each finger on the sad side of the glove. You will also need a little red heart.  I attached a "hook" piece of Velcro to the heart.  Since the Velcro hooks to the bath glove, the heart can easily be placed on and removed from the glove.  Wear the gloves as you tell the story! 


The Bible tells us a story about ten men who were very, very sick.  Let's count the men.  Wiggle each finger as you count.  They had a disease called leprosy.  Can you say leprosy?  That means they had owies all over their bodies.  They wore Band-Aids everywhere to cover their owies.  They were so sick, they couldn't go home to their families, and they had to stay away from people.  If they touched anyone, the other person would get sick too!  They went to lots of doctors, but the doctors couldn't make them better.  One day they saw Jesus walking down the road, and they cried out to Him.  Move the gloves to either side of your mouth as you raise your voice to "call out".  "Jesus, have mercy on us!  Heal us Jesus!"  Do you know what Jesus did for them?  He healed them!  Close your hands into fists.  Turn your hands and open them to show the happy side.


Wow!  Jesus did a miracle!  He answered their prayer and he healed them!  They had no more owies. Now they could go home and give their families big hugs and kisses!  Move your hands as though they are running away.  But one man stopped.  Stop your hands.  Close your fingers except one pointer finger. He went back to Jesus, bowed down, and said, "Thank You Jesus!  Thank You for healing me and taking away my leprosy!"  Bend your finger as if to bow.  Jesus said, "I healed ten men.  Why did only one come back?  Where are the other nine?"  Then Jesus blessed the man who remembered to say, "Thank You," because he had a thankful heart, and Jesus loves a thankful heart.  Add the heart to your pointer finger.



Open your hands to show the ten healed men, and only one with a thankful heart.  Do you want to be like the nine men who forgot to say, "Thank You," or do you want to have a thankful heart?  Yes, I want to have a thankful heart too.  We can say, "Thank You" to Jesus for all the beautiful things that He created. We can thank Him for dying on the cross for us, giving us a clean heart, and giving us a home in Heaven with Him forever.  Lead the children in a prayer of thanksgiving.

practice


For the rest of the service, as you are doing a craft, and/or eating a snack, help the children practice saying, "Please and thank you."  When they remember to say, "Thank you," praise them for having a thankful heart like the man in today's story.  Remind them that Jesus loves a thankful heart.

read


If you have a book about manners, and saying, "Please and thank you," it would be good supplement to this lesson if you have extra time at the end.


craft


one thankful heart


For this craftivity you will need:

  • this activity page
  • Band-aids
  • red paper
  • scissors
  • crayons
  • glue
To prepare, make double-sided copies of the activity page, and cut out a red heart for each child.  

In class, provide crayons for coloring.  Give each child two Band-aids to stick on to the sick leper side of the activity page, and one red heart to add to one finger on the healed leper side of the activity page.




thank You Jesus


Print this activity page for your kids to color, and follow the coloring directions on the page.  I found the original coloring page of Jesus here.  It would also be fun to add a sticker to the man who is colored yellow, to help distinguish the one from other nine, especially for younger children who may not yet be ready to follow the coloring directions.  As the children are coloring, count the men symbol figures with them.  Count how many were healed, how many said, "Thank You," and how many forgot.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Theme 6 Scope & Sequence

This is our final teaching unit of the year.  Thank you for joining me on this journey of teaching in the first year of this blog! This unit follows the spirit of the sesason, and is all about a thankful heart and the birth of our Savior.  There are so many stories and messages surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas that young children have already absorbed.  May our classrooms be a sacred space where we focus on Jesus, and elevate Him to the rightful place in the hearts and minds of our little ones.



Gold Heart

When I taught this lesson, I loved the "go follow Jesus" theme that I used for the green heart even more. The concepts flowed seamlessly.  We are following Jesus all the way to Heaven!  This is the last lesson in the Color Me Christian unit, and it sums up the glorious Gospel for our little ones.

Bible Truth: Gold - Some day I'll walk streets of gold.
Bible Story: I can life forever in Heaven because Jesus washed away my sin.
Bible Study: Romans 6:22-23; 1 Peter 1:3-5

sing



teach


gold & shiny


Gather up a shiny gold gift bag or box for this lesson, as well as a picture of Heaven and a picture of Jesus, perhaps from a children's Bible.  You will also need a crown (see the craft below).  Keep the lesson visuals in a box or bag, out of sight from the kids, until you are ready to to reveal them in the lesson.


SAY: This last heart is gold because in Heaven there is going to be streets of gold!  I brought some shiny gold things with me today.  Would you like to see them?  Slowly pull out the golden items to show the kids. Look at how beautiful and shiny these are!  When you are riding in the car, what color are the streets? That's right, they are black.  The Bible says that in Heaven the streets are beautiful, shiny gold.  It's a golden city.  Wow!  Can you imagine that?  Heaven is going to be a beautiful place.  Hold up a picture of Heaven.  The best part about Heaven is that we are going to see Jesus there!  Hold up a picture of Jesus.  I can't wait to see Jesus!


Turn your attention to the colored heart visual, and point to the dark heart.  Can you go to heaven if your heart is dark with sin like this?  No, you cannot, but Jesus wants us to be in Heaven with Him forever, so what did He do?  Point to the red heart.  Jesus died on the cross for us so that His blood can wash away our sin.  Jesus gives us a clean heart!  Point to the white heart.  Can you go to Heaven if you heart looks like this?  Yes!  Thank You Jesus for giving us clean hearts!  Point to the green heart.  Now we are going to go follow Jesus all the way to Heaven.  Point to the gold heart.

When we get to Heaven, Jesus is going to give each of us a beautiful crown, and say, "Well done," because we loved Him and followed Him.  Take out the crown and put it on your head.  We're going to take our crowns off, lay them at the feet of Jesus, and say, "Thank You Jesus.  I'm only here in Heaven because You died on the cross for me and gave me a clean heart."  Take off the crown and set it on the floor.

Let's pray and say thank You to Jesus right now.  Bow your heads, close your eyes and repeat after me. Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me.  Please wash away all my sin, and give me a clean heart so that I can go to Heaven to live with You forever.  In Jesus name, amen!

lamb's book of life


I created a label for a nice little notebook to introduce the children to the Lamb's Book of Life.  I first hold up the class list, and explain that this is a lit of all the kids that are here in our classroom right now.  Then I explain that Jesus has a special book called the Lamb's Book of Life.  It has a list with the names of all the people who belong in Heaven.  When you ask Jesus to forgive your sin, and you decide to follow Him, He writes your name in His book so that you can go to Heaven.  For added effect, ask the children if Jesus has washed away their sin so that they can go to Heaven.  Write each child's name in the little notebook, and let them each see their name.



read


"Jesus Is Coming Back!" is another book in the series by Debby Anderson that would be great to add to your library, and can be used for this lesson. 

Jesus Is Coming Back!


craft


streets of gold


Print out this coloring sheet for the children to color.  Add gold glitter glue to the road!

victory crown


For this craft you will need:
  • paper crowns (I got my beautiful crowns for free at Burger King!)
  • white card stock
  • heart paper punch or scissors
  • gold Sharpie or pen
  • glue 
  • sequins


A couple years ago I purchased this heart paper punch from Michael's, and I can honestly say that it was a very worthy investment!  It is such a time saver, and makes perfect hearts.  With a 50% off coupon, it's very reasonable.  Of course, folding and cutting with scissors gets the job done as well!


To prepare, punch or cut out enough white hearts for each of your students.


In class, write each child's name in gold ink on a heart.  Give them their clean heart from Jesus to glue onto the front of their crown.  Provide glue and sequins for decorating.  To keep the glue under control, my helpers and I apply a line of glue to the front of the crown, and then allow the children to add the sequins on their own.


  

Friday, November 6, 2015

Green Heart

Traditionally, the green heart in Color Me Christian has symbolized growing in Jesus, and teaches children to read their Bible, pray, attend church, keep their heart clean, and tell others about Jesus in order to grow spiritually. To be completely honest, until this year I've really struggled teaching this lesson to preschoolers. I felt like they were never quite grasping the concept of spiritual growth. I was asking God to show me a better way to teach this lesson, and I believe He gave me something!  I felt much better about the way I taught this lesson and I'm excited to share it with you all!

Bible Truth: Green - Christ will help me learn and grow.
Bible Story: Go follow Jesus.
Bible Study: 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Peter 3:17-18



Seeing the colored hearts visual posted in my classroom this way was key to the moment of inspiration. Green can be associated with "growing", but it can also be associated with "going." Preschoolers are familiar with the meaning of red and green lights as stop and go. Now stay with me, Jesus forgives us of our sin when we repent. To repent is to stop sinning, turn around and follow Jesus. See how the visual setup is great for illustrating this?!  The approach to my lesson became "go follow Jesus!"

I think preschoolers have an easier time associating green with "go follow Jesus" rather than "growing in Jesus."  Also, by defining  repentance this way, the green heart is more connected to the other hearts. Next year I will probably change the words to the song, but since we've already been singing it this way for several weeks I won't change that now.


teach & sing

I often like to weave songs through my lesson.  Here is a great example of how I do that.

SAY: The Bible says we have all sinned and disobeyed God. Point to the dark heart.  What is the only thing that can wash away our sin?  Yes, only the blood of Jesus can wash away our sin. Point to the red heart. When we pray, and say, "Jesus I am sorry for my sin, please forgive me," Jesus washes away our sin with His blood and makes us white as snow!  Point to the white heart.  What is the next colored heart that we are going to learn about?  Yes, today we are going to learn about the green heart!  Let's sing the song.

Sing See My Dark Heart (see this post for an explanation of the visual)

When your mommy or daddy is driving in the car and they see a red light what do they have to do?  Yes, they have to stop.  When they see a green light what do they do?  Yes, they go!  Hold the white heart. Jesus washed away all our sin and gave us a clean heart.  Do we want to go back to sin and foolishness? Move the white heart towards the dark heart.  No, we don't.  Jesus says to stop sinning.  Point to the red heart.  We turn away from sin.  Now we GO this way and follow Jesus!  Move the white heart towards the green heart.

The Bible calls that repent.  Can you say repent?  Good! Repent means to stop sinning, turn around and GO follow Jesus.  Stand up and sing this song with me.


Sing The Repent Song

Before class, color the coloring sheet below, and use it as a visual for this portion of the lesson.  See these children?  They are reading their Bible, praying and going to church.  When we do these things, we learn how to follow Jesus.  They help us grow strong Jesus muscles to keep sin out of our heart!

Sing Read Your Bible and Pray Everyday


read

Here are a couple books that compliment this lesson, and would be a great addition to your teaching library.  I love all the titles in both of these series.


I Love My Bible! by Debby Anderson is no longer in print, but used copies can be purchased from book sellers on Amazon.  When I read this book to my class for this lesson, I skip some of the pages about Bible translation to focus on the parts about how the Bible is different from any other book, and it gives us instructions about the best way to live, or in other words, how to "go follow Jesus!"


Jesus in Me by Dandi Daley Mackall is a book about the Fruits of the Spirit.  This book is great because it shows a little girl living out the Fruits of the Spirit in her everyday life with her family, at the park, at school, etc. I explain that these are the things that we do when we "go follow Jesus!"


play


Jesus says

This is just like Simon Says.  Call out actions for the kids to do (blink their eyes, hop on one foot, spin around, etc.)  However, they should only do the action if you first say, "Jesus says."  Otherwise they should not do the action that you call out.

stop heart, go heart

A fun game to play to accompany this lesson is a modified version of  "Red Light, Green Light".  For this game you will need the dark heart and the green heart.  Have the children line up along a wall, or behind a line, a determined distance opposite from you.  Instruct the children to begin running towards you when you hold up the green heart.  When you hold up the dark heart, they should stop, and kneel down to "pray."  With younger children, I eliminate the competitive aspect of this game, and just celebrate when they make it to me by singing the "The Repent Song."  They will want to play this game over and over again!


craft


bible bookmarks

Print this bookmark template onto colored card stock.  Cut out each bookmark.  Provide markers and stickers for the children to color and decorate their bookmarks.  Add a ribbon to the top if you like.  Explain to the children how to use their bookmarks to mark their place in their Bible so that they remember to ask their parents to read them a Bible story everyday!



trace & color

Print this activity sheet.  Provide crayons for children to color, and help them trace the path.  Talk about how we learn to follow Jesus when we read our Bible, pray and go to church.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Red Heart

Hearts filled with the darkness of sin, and the shedding of blood may hardly seem like prime preschool teaching material, but I assure you that it is.  This is the Gospel, which we are privileged to teach.  Not our Gospel, but the Gospel of our Lord and Savior.  I firmly believe, that just as an adult, children must come face to face with their sin to realize their need for Jesus as their Savior.

Children blessed to be raised in a Christian home are used to conforming their behavior, and generally being "good" kids.  Often this earns them admiration and praise.  At a very young age, they can easily develop the erroneous mindset that their "goodness" is what saves them.  The point that we want to sink into their hearts through this lesson is that only the blood of Jesus has the power to wash away our sin and save us.

Teaching the Gospel isn't always cute, but it is the truth, and it is the power of God unto salvation to those that believe.  May you be richly blessed for having the courage to teach the truth! Now let's get to the lesson, shall we?

Bible Truth: Red - Jesus died, shed blood for me.
Bible Story: The blood of Jesus is the only thing that wash away my sin.
Bible Study: Romans 3:25-26; 5:8-9; Ephesians 1:7

sing



teach


the mirror lesson


For this lesson you will need:
  • a hand mirror
  • a black wet erase marker (I found mine at Wal-Mart)
  • a picture of Jesus on the cross
  • a clear spray bottle
  • water
  • red food coloring
  • a rag or paper towel
A wet erase marker is similar to a dry erase marker, however it can only be erased when moisture is applied.  To prepare, fill the spray bottle with water and enough drops of food coloring to color the water red.


Begin by holding the mirror for each child to see their own reflection.
SAY: See how special God made you?  God made each and every one of you, and He loves you so much. He wants to be your friend, but we have a problem.  The Bible says that we are all sinners.  We have all sinned and disobeyed God.  As you describe sins that are familiar to a preschooler, color in sections of the mirror with the wet erase marker. You may describe sins such as disobedience (to parents and teachers), lying, stealing, fighting and hurting others.



Hold the mirror for the children to each see their distorted reflections.
SAY: God still loves you and wants to be your friend, but look, He sees all your sin, and He cannot be your friend when there is sin in your heart.  This makes God sad.  I know! I want to be God's friend too, so I'll just try really, really hard to be really, really good and that will make my sin go away!  As you describe how you will try to obey, be kind and always tell the truth, use the dry rag or paper towel to try to wipe the mirror clean.  Let the children try to wipe the mirror, and see that they are unable to remove the sin on their own.


SAY: No matter how hard we try, we cannot get rid of our sin by ourselves.  But God loves us so much, that He made a way to wash away our sin, so that we can be friends with Him.  Show the children a picture of Jesus on the cross.  He sent Jesus, His only Son to die on the cross, so that His blood can wash away our sin. Only the blood of Jesus has the power to wash away our sin.  Jesus died on the cross, and shed His blood for us.  His body was full of owies and blood, but He didn't stay dead.  He came back alive, to show us that He has the power over sin.  When we pray and ask Jesus to forgive us, His blood washes away our sin. Spray the mirror with a couple squirts from the water bottle, and then begin wiping the mirror with the rag or paper towel.



As you wipe the mirror clean, lead the children in a simple sinner's prayer.



Hold up the clean mirror and SAY: God is so happy that you asked Jesus to wash away your sin!  Now you can be God's friend just like He created you to be.  Let me see how happy you are that Jesus took your sin away!  Thank you Jesus for Your blood that washes away our sin!  Hold the mirror for the children to clearly see their smiling reflections.



craft


at the cross mosaic


For this craft you will need:
  • white card stock
  • this print out
  • 8 1/2" x 11" piece of cardboard
  • an Exacto knife
  • a small spray bottle
  • water
  • red washable tempra paint
  • black construction paper
  • glue sticks
To prepare, print the print out onto white card stock.  Use the knife to cut out a cross shape from the cardboard.  Position the cross to leave room at the top of the page for the heading.  Fill the water bottle approximately 1/4 with red paint, and then fill it the rest of the way with water.  Shake the bottle to thoroughly mix the water and paint.  Cut the black construction paper into 1" strips.


In class, help the children lay the cardboard over their print out and spray the red paint over the cross. Remove the cardboard.  Show the children how to tear pieces of the construction paper to fill in the space around the cross.