Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ministry Update

Summer is a very busy time of ministry here in Tucson!  We are preparing to host our International Bible Conference in just a couple of weeks.  Then a few weeks, later in July, I coordinate our week of Vacation Bible School, which is always a highlight of the year for the children and families in our congregation.   I have come to the difficult realization that it is unrealistic for me to keep up with weekly blog posts, as well as dedicate the time needed to plan and prepare for these summer ministries.

I have decided to take a break from this blog for the next two months.  I know many of you are following my lesson plans on a weekly basis in your churches, and so I apologize for leaving you hanging.  Of course you are welcome still follow the lesson schedule that I have posted.  When I return to the blog in August, we will begin a series of lessons on Creation, which includes a lot of fun, hands-on, science activities.  

I also have an exciting new ministry announcement to make!  At the beginning of this year, my husband and I were asked to pioneer and oversee a new ministry for children in our congregation.  We now have a Wednesday night Bible Hour called Quest 119.  You can read more about it here.  Children are divided into grade level classes, for engaging Bible Study lessons.  After four weeks, we are already seeing the children grow in their desire to learn and know God's Word, which is incredibly exciting!

Currently, our team of teachers and I are developing the curriculum that we are teaching.  It is a unit of study called, "What's So Great About Your Bible?"  We plan to publish the curriculum, and make it available for you to purchase.  I will be sure to let you know here on the blog when it is available!

I hope you all have a blessed summer.  Thank you in advance for your prayers and support.  I will still be active on social media, so if you follow me there, you can catch some ideas and stay connected. Otherwise, Lord-willing, I look forward to connecting you all again here on the blog in August! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

OT Hero: Noah

The story of Noah's ark is probably the most iconic children's Bible story. With all the animals, and rainbow, it's especially appealing to illustrate.  I caution you though: don't reduce this catastrophic, historical event to a cute story about a floating zoo. Noah's story is one of radical faith, obedience, judgment, salvation and promise. Be sure to bring out these themes in your lesson. Otherwise Noah's Ark becomes a "fairy tale from Sunday School land," sowing seeds of doubt in the minds of children about the truth and authority of God's Word.

Bible Truth: Noah believes God's promises.
Bible Story: Noah obeyed God, and God kept His promise to Noah.
Bible Study: Genesis 6-9


There are so many ways to tell the story of Noah's Ark.  Here are a few ideas:
  • Read the story from a children's Bible, or tell the story with flannel graph visuals.  Have the kids interact by "sawing" and "hammering" to build the ark; identifying animals that they see in the pictures; making rain; rocking in the ark; and waving their hand above their head to make a rainbow.
  • Use a box, like a shoe box, as an ark, with a door way cut out that can open and close  Act out the story with people and animal figurines.  Let each child put an animal into the ark.
  • Use a larger box that the kids can get inside.  Let them take turns being Noah, and bring stuffed animals to fill the ark.

Regardless of the visuals you use tell the story, be sure to include these important details, which are often left out, or glossed over in children's version of the story.
  • Noah loved God and obeyed God, but the rest of the people in the world did not love God. They disobeyed God.  They were fighting, hurting each other, stealing, and killing each other. God told Noah that He was going to destroy all of their wickedness.
  • Noah built the ark exactly the way that God told him to build it.
  • Noah warned people that God was going to destroy everything, and invited them to come onto the ark with him, but people just laughed at him and thought that he was crazy.
  • Everyone and everything that did not get on the ark with Noah was drowned and destroyed.
  • Noah and his family were saved because they obeyed God.  Raise your hand if you want to obey God like Noah!
  • Remember that the Bible always refers to it as a ark, not as a boat. :)

Also, in any visuals that you use, try your best to convey an accurate representation of the ark.  Compare the two pictures below.  See how the cutesy floating zoo evokes outlandish fantasy, while the other helps children believe that this is an event that really did happen.

Does this look like anything that could hold hundreds of animals and survive a global flood? 
If we want our children to believe that God's Word is true we have to present it as accurate and true.
A picture like this is much more believable and more historically accurate.

sing & play

mr. noah & animal pairs

For this game you will need an animal matching type card game.  I've picked up a couple sets from Target's dollar section, but whatever you have on hand will do. Separate the cards into two sets of animals. Have the children sit down in a circle.  Distribute cards from one set to the children, and hold the other set yourself with the cards face down.  Sing "Mr. Noah Built an Ark" (see the lyrics below),  When you get to the animal naming part of the song, hold up a card from your set of cards to determine the animal.  Tell the children to hold up their card if they have the matching animal.  Give them your card to hold and make an animal pair, and continue singing the song.  You can also have the children stand up and do actions to imitate the animal.  Follow the link below to download the words and actions for the song.


noah's ark collage

I like doing art and craft projects that encourage the children to be creative, which also gives me the opportunity to peek into their little brains, and makes the craft more personal.  This is a very simple craft, with literally no prep, that the kids in my class always love!  You will need:
  • construction paper
  • craft sticks
  • animal stickers or stamps
  • tissue paper squares in a variety of colors
  • glue
I tell the children that I am going to give them wood to build an ark on their paper.  I distribute craft sticks, and have them layout their sticks to design their ark.  When they are finished designing, I put the glue on the sticks.  Then they turn over their sticks to glue them into place.  It is so interesting to see all the different designs that they are able to come up with.

After gluing down the craft sticks they can add animals to their picture, and then tissue paper squares as a rainbow.  This craft really is meant to be their own design, with a collage representation.  When doing this craft a couple years ago, one little boy commented, "I can't believe my teacher is letting me do this!"  He clearly enjoyed the freedom of creating his own piece of artwork.  Here are some samples of the finished product, from children who were all-smiles-proud of their work!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Theme 3 Scope & Sequence

Here are the next set of lessons that we will be teaching for the summer!  We are moving into lessons about the Old Testament heroes to discover how they were strong and courageous in their obedience to God. View the lessons below, and follow the link to download your own copy.  Happy Teaching :)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Cheerful Giver

Preschoolers have yet to learn the actual value of money, but they have already developed a pretty good sense of money's intrinsic value.  Many years ago when I was a teenage helper in Faith Roots (our church's preschool class),  Miss Cheryon was teaching the children about giving in the offering. Holding one of the offering containers, she explained that all the money put in this container goes to little boys and girls that don't know about Jesus yet.  With dollar signs in his eyes, one little boy raised his hand and said, "I don't know about Jesus yet."  Very clever little fella!  It was a priceless moment that gave us all a good laugh.

Young children can relate to the widow in this week's lesson because they usually do not have a very significant amount of money, but they can learn that Jesus is pleased when they give of whatever they do have.

Bible Truth: Jesus teaches me to be a cheerful giver.
Bible Story: The woman who gave two coins was a cheerful giver.
Bible Study: Mark 12:41-44: II Corinthians 9:7


the sound of giving

I like to dramatize this story with two coin purses or wallets of some sort. To show the rich people who were giving their offering, I deposit a small handful of coins into an offering bowl or plate.  A metal one is nice, because the louder the noise the better.  I show the children that these people still had lots more money in their wallet.  From the other small coin purse, I pull two little coins, to show the widow's offering.  She had nothing else left.  She gave all that she had.

offering preschool style

In my class, we have two offering cans: one for church offering, and the other for world outreach. They are made out of plastic coffee containers with openings cut in the lid.  A picture of our church building is on one, and the other has a globe graphic.  The children give their offerings when they sign in, since it usually doesn't work well for them to hold on to them for too long.  When a child does bring an offering I encourage them to say, "Thank You Jesus," and then I'll pray, "Lord bless __________'s offering."  It's just a simple way of correlating offering to worship.  We use the money deposited in the church container to purchase things for the classroom.  I save the world outreach offering all year and add it to Children's Church's annual world evangelism conference offering.  The children choose in which container to put their offering, and it truly does go for the purpose that they choose.  We're not making big bucks here, but the children are learning to give with a cheerful heart, and honor God with their money.

As I explain how God uses our offering, I choose pictures from our church's evangelism publication "Gospel Pioneer" to show the children how God uses our world outreach money to start new church's and teach more children the good news about Jesus. You can view the online edition of the publication here.  I then point out that we come to church to learn the good news about Jesus, and explain that the money they put in the church offering is used to buy things like crayons, glue and books that help us teach them about Jesus.

big money

Years ago, as a little girl, an uncle gave me these huge, poster-sized money visuals.  At the time it was a bit of an odd gift, but I held onto them, and now they make a great object lesson.  The kids think they are just the coolest thing, and I talk about how God can take the little bit that we give, and use it to do bigger things.  I've seen packages of jumbo paper money at the dollar store that you could even send home with your students as a fun reminder of this week's lesson.


the offering song

I wrote this song to help teach the kiddos about tithing.  I will show the children ten coins or dollar bills, and say, "If I have $10, then Jesus says that the first one belongs to Him."  I don't really go into the math of one-tenth.  The concept is there, but I emphasize that when God blesses you with money, the right thing to do is to obey and honor Him by first giving some of your money in the offering. Click here to download the lyrics as shown below.


coloring sheet

Here is a coloring page of the widow giving her offering.  Provide plastic gold coins, or circle paper cut outs for the children to glue onto the page.

coin rubbing

This is a unique take on a coloring activity for this lesson.  When kids do it, it's more about the experience and process of discovery for them, rather than a beautiful finished masterpiece.  You will need:
  • this activity page
  • smiley stickers
  • crayons
  • coins
Give each child a coin.  Show them how to place the coin under their paper, and rub the crayon on their paper over the coin.  Continue moving the coin to different positions under the paper to fill the paper with coin rubbings.  Suggest turning the coin over to rub the other side, and trading coins with other children to add interest and variation.

my little money pouch

Children can use this little money pouch to keep their offering in to bring to church.  You will need:

  • Foamie sheets 
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • Velcro
  • Foamie stickers

I purchased an assorted pack of 50 5.5" x 8.5" Foamie sheets from Walmart for $4.97, and a package of 80 sticky back Velcro rounds $6.77.  I won't use all of either of these items for this craft, so I will be able to add them to our craft collection to use in the future.

To prepare, cut 5.5" x 8.5" Foamie sheets in half.  Staple the sides together.  Be sure to leave a flap at the top to attach the Velcro.  In class, provide Foamie stickers for children to decorate and personalize their money pouches.

*Many of the suggested activities involve the use of coins.  Never leave the children unsupervised with coins, and do not allow children to put coins into their mouths, as coins may become a choking hazard.  These activities are not suggested for children under three years of age.