Saturday, January 31, 2015

Jesus Teaches Me to Be Wise

Jesus tells the story contrasting the wise builder and the foolish at the conclusion of His Sermon on the Mount.  He tells His hearers that if they hear His words, and do them they are like the wise man, but if they hear His words and do not do them they are like the foolish man.  The lesson here is about obedience - so meaningful and relevant to preschoolers.  Building your life on Jesus (which is often the lesson taught with this story) is an abstract concept for little ones, but obedience, and choosing whether to be wise or foolish is right up their alley for both understanding and application!


Bible Truth: Jesus teaches me to be wise.
Bible Story: The wise and foolish builders.
Bible Study: Matthew 7:24-27



teach


sensory storytelling


For a great visual and sensory experience of this parable round up these items:

  • Legos
  • a clear shallow container
  • sand
  • a brick
  • Velcro
  • a hair dryer
  • a spray bottle filled with water
To prepare, build two Lego houses.  Add a couple strips of Velcro to the bottom of the wise man's house, and the brick.


It works best to build the foolish man's house a bit top and front heavy.  I also left the back of the house exposed so that it will be easier to blow down when I tell the story.  Fill the clear shallow container with sand.


Hold your Bible open, and tell the children that this is an exciting story because it's a story that Jesus told his friends and people that wanted to follow Him.  We want to follow Jesus so let's listen to this story!

Jesus said that anyone who listens to His words, and obeys, is like a wise man who built his house on a rock.

A storm with lots of rain and strong winds came, but the house built on the rock was strong.  It stood firm.
Invite the children to pat their legs to make the sound of rain.  Spray the house with water, and then spray a mist over the children.  Turn the blow dryer on to a cool setting, direct the air towards the house, and direct it to the children.  (They will LOVE this!!)

Then Jesus said that anyone who listens to His words, but does not obey, is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

A storm with lots of rain and strong winds came, and the house on the sand came crashing down.
Once again, invite the children to pat their legs to make the sound of rain.  Spray the house, and a mist over the children.  Turn the blow dryer on to a cool setting, direct the air towards the children., and then towards the house to blow it over.

Ask the children, "Do you want to be like the wise man who built his house on the rock, or the foolish man who built his house on the sand?  When we listen to our parents and teachers, and obey them by doing what they say, Jesus said we are like the wise man."

sing


Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock is the traditional children's song illustrating this parable.  Before we sing the song I briefly explain that building your life on the Lord means to obey Jesus.


play



wise and foolish charades

Play this game to teach and reinforce the practical application of this lesson.

To prepare, use pictures (if they are available to you) of children being wise (i.e. sharing, helping, etc.) and pictures of children being foolish (i.e. fighting, stealing, etc.).  If these pictures are not available to you, simply write the words on slips of paper.  Put the pictures or words in a container from which the children will draw from.  Also print out these happy and sad faces.  Cut them out and glue a happy and sad face to either side of a craft stick for each child.



Choose pairs of children to come to the front of the classroom and draw out a picture or word from the container.  Help the children figure out what the picture is conveying, or what the word says, and help them act it out.

Engage the rest of the class to help them guess what the children are doing.  (If you are using pictures, you can also show them the picture.)  After they determine the action of the children, ask them if the children are being wise or foolish.  If they are being wise they should show you the happy side of their craft stick.  If the children are being foolish, they should show you the sad side of their craft stick.   

 

craft 

 

coloring page

Here is a coloring page for this lesson to which you may add sand, and rock as suggested in the craft below.


rock painting

Collect enough smooth rocks for each child in your class.  Allow them to paint their rocks however they like.  When they dry, write on the rocks with a Sharpie marker, "I am wise when I obey." 

 

wise & foolish builders

For this craft you will need:
  • this heading
  • construction paper
  • 6 craft sticks per child
  • glue
  • rock pattern contact paper (or gray / brown construction paper)
  • craft sand (or sand / dirt) 


To prepare, print and cut the heading into strips, and cut the contact paper into approximately 1.5" by 5" rectangles.  (I'm using the contact paper because I already have it on hand.  If you opt to use construction paper, cut it to the same size, then crumple and flatten it out to give it a more "rock like" texture.)  Since there is a lot to glue for this project, you may want to glue the headings to the construction paper ahead of time.

In class, help the children glue the contact paper to the bottom left side of their paper, and sand to the bottom right side.  Glue four craft sticks, in the shape of a house, on the rock.  Then help them break two craft sticks, and glue them randomly over the sand.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Jesus Teaches Me to Pray: Home Ideas

Can you pray at home without your mommy or daddy?  When I posed this question to the kiddos in my class yesterday, the overwhelming response was no.  Now of course children are still learning how to pray and need guidance and modelling from their parents, but begin to encourage your child to pray on their own.  At times ask them to pray for meal time prayers, bedtime prayers, prayers of repentance, etc.  Encourage them that they do not have to "say it just like you".  They can use their own words to talk to God, because God loves to hear them pray.  This is a way to help your child cultivate their own relationship with God.  Here are some more ideas to do with your child at home this week, reinforcing the concept of prayer and the letter 'P".
  • Read Bible stories this week with your child about people such as Daniel and Hannah, who faithfully prayed, and saw their prayers answered. 

  • Use a small photo album to make a prayer book for your child, with photos  and/or their drawings of people and things they are praying for. 

  • Sing these songs with your child throughout the week.  Click on the song titles for words and actions.
    • Read Your Bible and Pray Everyday - I also suggested this song a couple weeks ago with the lesson Jesus Teaches Me to Love God's Word.  Refer to this post if you would like to see a video of the song.
    • This is the Way I Talk to God -the "Prayer Cup" craft we made in my class last night is a fun interactive visual for this song.  See my previous post for pictures, print outs and instructions for making the craft.
    • When I'm Sad - This is an all-time favorite song to sing in my class!

  • The Bible says our prayers are as sweet incense before the Lord. Bake cookies together.  While they are in the oven talk about the sweet aroma, and what our prayers are like to God. 

  • The letter 'P' is for prayer. Write upper case and lower case 'P' in large font. Show your child how to roll out play dough and form the letter 'P'. 

  • Give your child a pail and help them fill it with things around the house that begin with the letter 'P': pencil, paper, paperclip, puppy (stuffed animal), pony, etc.

  • Eat snacks that begin with the letter 'P': pretzels, popcorn, peanut butter, pudding, pears, peaches...


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Jesus Teaches Me to Pray

Scripture describes our prayers are as incense before the Lord.  How astonishing, and comforting, to know that the God of the entire universe puts such value on our requests and supplications!  We do not merely spew off hopeful words that drift up to heaven unnoticed.  We arrest the heart and attention of God, with a sweet aroma when we pray.  Our prayers are so precious to Him that He keeps them in golden bowls! Imagine the scent, capturing every note of the human heart, permeating the throne of God.  Let this thought lift your heart, dear teacher, as you prepare to teach this week.

Bible Truth: Jesus teaches me to pray
Bible Story: God always hears me when I pray.  He wants me to talk to Him everyday.
Bible Study: Psalms 4:3, 141:2; Matthew 6:6-13; Philippians 4:6; Revelation 5:8


teach


In Matthew 6 Jesus gives us a model prayer, to teach us how to pray.  Older children can study this prayer and be challenged to memorize it, but since we are teaching younger children, let's break it down to teach them how to pray in different situations.  Preschoolers can learn that there are different reasons that we pray, and that no matter where, or how we pray, God always hears us, Here are some simple object lesson illustrations to choose from to teach your preschoolers about prayer.

 

show & smell


Revelation 5:8 gives us a peek into Heaven where God keeps our prayers as sweet incense in golden bowls.  Bring in a nice bowl and a nicely scented candle to illustrate this beautiful picture.  Hold the candle for each child to smell.  Explain that the Bible says our prayers smell sweet and beautiful to God.  Light the candle and place it safely out of reach to let the scent permeate the room. (Keep the candle and the lighter safely out of reach from the children.  Do not leave the candle or the children unattended.)  I happened to have a scented battery operated candle that works perfectly for this illustration.



let it ring


Tell the children that you are going to use your cell phone to try to call God and talk to Him.  Select a ringer on your phone, put the phone to your ear and say, "Hello?  God are You there?  Can You hear me?  I have a class full of children here that have things they want to tell you."  After carrying on for a bit, ask the children, "Do you need a phone to call God when you want to talk to Him?  No you don't!  The Bible says in Psalms 4:3 that God hears us whenever we call to Him.  He's never too far away, never too busy, never asleep, gone at work, or on vacation.  He promises us in the Bible that He hears us every time that we pray!"


mirror feelings


The various reactions of children to their reflection in a mirror are quite amusing.  Using a hand mirror in this lesson makes prayer personal to each child, keeps them engaged in the lesson.  Begin a discussion about feelings with your class.  Ask them to show you a happy face, and then hold the mirror up to each child so that they can see their own happy faces.  Ask what makes them happy and give each child an opportunity to respond.  Explain that we can pray to give praise and thanks to God for all these things that make us happy!  Invite the children to lift their hands and repeat after you as you lead them in a simple prayer of praise and thanksgiving.  Continue the same discussion about prayer for feelings of sadness, anger and fear.  Lead your children in simple prayers for forgiveness, help and peace.

read


I have couple helpful books on by bookshelf for this lesson.

Product Details
First is, Dear God, It's Me! by Lynn Hodges & Sue Buchanan, a sweet story about calling on God in different situations throughout a child's day, as depicted by a young elephant and its parents.  This book comes with a bonus music CD with the words set to music, adding a bit of interest with something different for my young audience.  I've only been able to find used copies available here on Amazon.  I think this is a book worth adding to your library!



I LOVE First Steps in Prayer by Stephen Elkins for the pictures of children in everyday situations.  You would probably lose young ones if you read each prayer written in rhyme, but I like to use this book for more interactive discussion purposes with the children.  The book also comes with a CD of 12 song-along songs!  I believe I originally found my copy at Ross.  You can purchase one here from Amazon.
 




sing


Click on the song titles for words and actions.

  • Read Your Bible and Pray Everyday - I also suggested this song a couple weeks ago with the lesson Jesus Teaches Me to Love God's Word.  Refer to this post if you would like to see a video of the song.
  • This is the Way I Talk to God - This is a song I wrote specifically for this lesson.  The mechanics, body postures and hand positions, as we pray, are not as important as the posture of the heart.  My intent in this song is to teach children that there are different reasons, and ways that we come to God in prayer, as Jesus illustrated in The Lord's Prayer.
  • When I'm Sad - This is an all-time favorite song to sing in my class!

craft

 

sweet scented prayers


I found the inspiration for making my own scented paint recipe here. This is a modified version of the recipe that we use in my class.  For each paint color mix:
  • 1.5 oz. of Kool-aid or flavored gelatin.
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. of corn starch
  • 1/8 c. of water  




Going with the idea that our prayers are as "incense before the Lord," use the scented paint to paint this coloring sheet.



prayer cup


This craft helps children remember how to pray and talk to God in different cirumstances.
  • these templates (choose landscape setting when printing)
  • song lyrics 
  • Styrofoam cups
  • pipe cleaners
  • scissors
  • pen / pencil
  • crayons
  • glue
  • tape
To prepare, print, and cut out the templates and song lyrics.  (Tip: photocopy the hands template in double-side mode so that the hand print will be seen on both sides.) Use a pen or pencil to poke two holes opposite each other near the rim of the cups.

In class, give each child a happy and sad face to color.  Help them glue the faces to opposite sides of the cup.  Put a pipe cleaner through the holes of the cup, and tape a hand print to each end. Give each child a copy of the song lyrics to take home with their prayer cup.  


Praise & Thanksgiving
Repentance & Help



Monday, January 19, 2015

Following Jesus: Home Ideas

Good morning!  Remember that you can always refer to the previous post of classroom ideas for this lesson that can also be repeated or done at home.  This week is all about following Jesus.  Your child will learn to follow Jesus as they follow and obey you.

Bible Truth: Jesus teaches me to follow Him.
Bible Story:  Jesus calls four fishermen to follow Him.
Bible Study: Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11 

  • Read the story of Jesus calling His disciples in your child's Bible.
  • Watch this animation/narration of the story with your child.
  • Act out the story of Jesus calling the four fisherman using props you have around the house.  Here are some ideas from a mom who did this with her two young children.
  • Show your child what it means to be a fisher of men.  Pick up flyers for an upcoming service or concert at your church.  Along with your child, invite a neighbor, grocery clerk or friend and share the love of Jesus with them.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jesus Teaches Me to Repent and Obey: Home Ideas

Here are some simple ideas, on this blessed Monday morning, to do at home with your child for the week of January 11, 2015.  Our lesson this weeks is from Matthew 3:1-17, Luke 3:1-22, and John 1:19-34.

  • Read the story of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus in your child's Bible Story book.

  • Use waterproof dolls or figurines in the bathtub to act out the story of the baptism of Jesus with your child.


  • When correcting or disciplining your child, remind them that the Bible says disobedience is sin.  Pray with them to repent and follow Jesus.  Discuss how they should behave if they are following Jesus.

  • We used a stop sign and a green light in class to illustrate the concept of what it means to repent.  Draw a large octagon (the shape of a stop sign) on a piece of paper.  Give your child popsicle sticks to lay on top of the shape you drew, and help them count the number of sides.  Continue drawing, creating shapes with popsicle sticks, and counting the number of sides.
Have a blessed week!

Friday, January 9, 2015

John the Baptist: Repentance and Baptism

John the Baptist is a fascinating Bible character.  We find a very interesting description of him living in the wilderness, wearing camel's hair and a leather belt, consuming a diet of locusts and wild honey.  This story calls for some great visual, tactile and tasty experiences; otherwise known as hands-on, interactive learning!

This is also the first time that Jesus is introduced in scripture as an adult.  In this first encounter with Him, we witness His submission and obedience to His Heavenly Father, inciting the Father to display and declare His Son's identity, as well as His approval of Him.  As you teach this lesson, hold Jesus up as the standard for obedience, and encourage the children to be obedient, just like Jesus.

Bible Truth: Jesus teaches me to repent and obey.
Bible Story: John the baptist preached, "Repent and get ready for Jesus to come."  Jesus obeyed His                           Father and asked John the Baptist to baptize Him.
Bible Study: Matthew 3:1-17, Luke 3:1-22, John 1:19-34


teach


In addition to reading this story from a children's Bible, or using flannel graphs to tell the story, here are some hands-on activities for the children to experience this story.


show & taste


When describing John the Baptist's clothing and diet, I give each child a few drops of honey on a spoon to taste.  (Be sure none of your students are allergic to honey, and do not give honey to infants under one year of age.)  We pass on taste-testing locusts, but I do have a plastic toy grasshopper that I bring in to show.  If you, or someone you know is ambitious enough, you could catch a live one in a jar for your class to see.



dramatic play


Baptism is another key part of this story.  I explain baptism  as people leaving their sin, and showing Jesus that they want to follow Him.  I like to do a mini baptism that usually turns out really neat.  I gave each child a plastic doll house figure from one of our play sets, and fill a small clear tote about half way with water.  I call each child forward, they repeat after me, "I want to follow Jesus", and then submerse their figurine into the water.  In my experience the mood usually turns a little bit somber, like the kids start to understand that this is a very important decision for someone to make.  It also makes this lesson much more personal to them!

sing


John the Baptist was a different kind of person, but he preached a very important message.  He told people that they needed to repent and get ready for Jesus to come.  Repent is an important Bible word that needs to be defined for children.  I tell my students that to repent means to stop sinning, turn around, and follow Jesus.  Sing "The Repent Song" with simple actions to teach and reinforce this concept.

play


A fun game to play to accompany this lesson is a modified version of  "Red Light, Green Light".  For this game you will need a black heart (either cut out or drawn on piece of paper), and a picture of Jesus.  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 picture of Jesus, and stop when you hold up the black heart, representing sin.  To add another twist (no pun intended), the children could stop, and turn their backs to you when you hold up the black heart, and then turn around and run towards you when you say, "Jesus!" and hold up His picture.  With younger children, I eliminate the competitive aspect of this game, and just celebrate when they make it to Jesus by singing the "The Repent Song."  They will want to play this game over and over again!


craft


baptism of Jesus coloring page


Here is one nice and simple coloring page of the baptism of Jesus.  Perhaps your children could use watercolors to paint the picture, to reinforce the idea of water baptism. 

john the baptist preaching activity page


This craft gives children a bit of a tactile experience with John the Baptist's clothing.  Children also engage pre-literacy skills as they recognize and interpret symbols for STOP, GO and TURN AROUND, to define the Bible word, REPENT.  You will need:
  • this coloring sheet (print two copies)
  • scissors
  • brown felt
  • a Sharpie pen
  • fabric scissors
  • leather type lacing
  • glue 
  • crayons
To prepare, print two copies of the coloring sheet.  One to use as your original, and the other to use as a pattern.  Cut out John the Baptist's tunic as a pattern.  Trace it onto brown felt with a Sharpie pen, and cut out the tunic with fabric scissors. Tip: trace the pattern face-down onto the felt.  The tracing marks will be on the back of the tunic and will not show when you glue it onto the page. :)



In class, help the children glue the felt tunic and lacing onto their coloring sheet.  Instruct them to color the "STOP" sign red, and the "GO" light green, and encourage them to color the rest of the coloring page.

 



repent: red light, green light activity page


I designed this craft to specifically go with the "The Repent Song" I mentioned earlier in this post.  For this craft you will need:



To prepare, print and cut out enough arrows for each child. (I printed mine on card stock that I had on hand to make them more sturdy.  I also punched a hole with a hole punch, but if you are not using card stock, that will not be necessary.)  

In class, help your preschoolers affix the red and green stickers in the appropriate places.  Instruct them to color the heart black, and to color Jesus.  Now turn and point the arrow as you sing the song!




Monday, January 5, 2015

Jesus Teaches Me to Love God's Word: Home Ideas

Here we are at first Monday of 2015!  Let's make it a good start in Jesus for both us and our kids! This is the kind of post you can expect to find here every Monday.  I will post ideas specifically for you as parents to do with your children throughout the week, corresponding to the lesson we are teaching at church.  Many of the activities I suggest will help your child develop appropriate preschool skills, such as letter recognition, number sense, color and shape recognition, and pre-literacy experiences.   The main goal is to support you in teaching your child, and to make Bible learning a natural and fun part of your family!


Week of January 4: Jesus teaches me to love God's Word. Luke 2:41-52

  • Read the story of Jesus in the temple as a little boy, from Luke 2:41-52 in your child's Bible. Pray together and thank God for giving us the Bible.
  • Cut a piece of card stock or cardboard from a cereal box as a bookmark. Let your child decorate it with stickers and markers. Punch a hole in the top and tie a ribbon. Keep the bookmark in your child's Bible to mark the story you are reading.
  • 'B' is for Bible. Write both an upper and lower case letter 'B' in large font. Invite your child to form the letters with play-doh by rolling long pieces and laying them over the written letters. If they enjoy this activity, write the word Bible for them to form.
  • Give your child a basket or a box and help them fill it with things around your house that begin with the letter 'B', such as a ball, brush, block, etc., and don't forget their Bible!
  • Joseph and Mary were looking for Jesus for three days. Add Lego people and make a Lego maze like this for Mary and Joseph to "find" Jesus.
  • Watch the "Go Fish" guys sing 'The B-I-B-L-E'. Sing and dance along!
Comment below to let me know how these activities worked out for you and your family. Have a blessed week!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

I hope everyone had a wonderful start to 2015!  Here in Tucson, we were welcomed into the new year with a delicate layer of snow, which is a rare occasion for us.  Now the kiddos in my class understand a bit better what I mean when I tell them that Jesus washes away our sin and makes our hearts "white as snow!"

Well now, let's get into some ideas for the first lesson on the plan for this year based on Luke 2:41-52.  These are the only verses in the Bible that give us a glimpse into Jesus' childhood.  One aspect of this account that is crystal clear is Jesus' love for the Word of God at a young age.  We also see that Jesus had to learn and grow just like every other human being.  Children can identify with the humanity of Jesus, who was a child, like them.  Jesus embraced, and loved God's Word as a child, and we want to cultivate the same love in the hearts of the children we teach.

Bible Truth: Jesus teaches me to love God's Word.
Bible Story:  Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple talking with the teachers about God's Word.
Bible Study: Luke 2:41-52; Psalm 119:9-16

teach

I begin teaching a Bible story, holding my Bible open, and telling the children that what we are learning today is in the Bible.  I say, "God put this story in the Bible because He wanted us to know about it, and He wants to teach us something."  I also have a set of pocket New Testament Bibles that I found at the dollar store years ago, and when I teach the lesson in small groups, I give each child a Bible to hold as I'm teaching.  This reinforces the concept that I am teaching God's words and not my words.  I am telling them a true story that really happened, not a fantasy or fairy tale.  As they hold their Bibles, I also teach them to care for their Bible by not ripping pages, putting it in their mouth, etc.  The Bible is a special book.  It is God's Word.  We love our Bibles.

Then I will open whichever Children's Bible I am using for the lesson, and say, "This Bible has pictures in it for you to see.  Let's read the story that God wants us to learn today."  You will find a list of the Children's Bibles that I currently use and recommend on my resources page if you are looking for one.

show

As a visual aid for this lesson, roll a long sheet of paper up like a scroll.  If you have time, add dowels to the ends to make it look more authentic.  Explain that the Bible Jesus read looked different than our Bible, but it had the same words from God in it.

sing

Here are some songs to sing that go well with this lesson.  Below there are links to both the lyrics and a video in case these are new songs to you.

craft

I have three different craft ideas for this lesson to share with you.  Two are very simple, requiring minimal materials, and the third involves more materials and preparation, but I think it's really cute!

scroll coloring


The first idea is to turn a coloring sheet of young Jesus in the temple into a scroll.   All you need for this craft is:
  • this coloring page, which I modified (I found the coloring sheet on Pinterest but I was unable to trace it back to it's original source.)
  • two jumbo craft sticks for each child
  • glue
  • crayons
  • yarn or string  
Trim off the wide margin of the coloring page.  Glue one craft stick on the top, the other on the bottom, color, roll, and tie with string or yarn.  Very simple, but I promise you the children will love their "scrolls."




find jesus in the temple


The second idea was inspired by this blog.  It requires some pre-cutting prep.  You will need:
Cut the doorway of the temple as shown below.  For each child, cut the heading into a strip, and cut out the picture of Jesus.  In class, help the children glue their temple to a sheet of construction paper, leaving the cut doorway clear of glue.



Fold the doors back and glue Jesus inside the temple.  Add the heading to the paper, color and wa-la!  Children can actively retell the story as they open and close the temple doors.



i spy jesus bottle


*This craft involves small objects that may be a choking hazard, and a hot glue gun.  Be sure that children are monitored at all times.

For this craft you will need:
  • an empty, dry, clean water bottle for each child 
  • a funnel (A paper made one will work just as well.)
  • enough rice to fill each water bottle about 3/4 full
  • these miniature pictures of Jesus that I cropped and minimized
  • tape
  • a variety of small objects such as foamie shapes, beads, buttons, pom-poms, sequins, jewels, etc.  (Use whatever you have on hand and whatever you can find at the dollar store.)
  • a hot glue
  • this label



Cut out the picture of Jesus in pairs as demonstrated by the red box.  Fold each picture in half and tape it to make it a double-sided picture.

Use a funnel to pour the rice into the water bottles.



Allow the children to choose objects, and put them into their bottle.  Just be sure every child has a picture of Jesus.



Use a hot glue gun to glue the cap to the bottle.  Tape the label to the bottle.  Shake and mix up the contents of the bottle.  Can you find Jesus?



Comment below to let me know if you use any of these ideas, and how they work out for you!

P.S.  I believe that at this time in Jesus' life He began to understand who He was, and His purpose.  He had to make the conscious decision to submit himself to Joseph and Mary's authority (verse 51).  Isn't that an incredible thought?!