Monday, April 27, 2015

The Gospel is Good News: Home Ideas

The gospel is the good news about Jesus!  As you talk about sharing the gospel with others this week, you can also introduce your preschooler to simple map and geography concepts.
  • Read stories in your child's Bible about the Apostles Paul and Peter as they spread the good news gospel of Jesus.   Pray together for your pastors and missionaries that you know who preach the gospel.
  • Look at a map or globe together.  Find the city where you live, as well as the places where family, friends and missionaries you know may live.  Visit thedoorcfc.com to find missionaries all over the world.
  • Watch this animated story of Paul's travels as he preaches the gospel.
  • Watch, sing and dance along to "Go!" by Yancy and friends.
  • Find opportunities to share the love and good news of Jesus with people you and your little one encounter in your neighborhood, at the park, at the grocery store, etc.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Gospel is Good News

Over the last several months we taught our kiddos about the life of Jesus from the cradle to the cross. In this lesson, we review the good news about Jesus, and introduce the word gospel into our preschoolers' vocabulary.  We even sneak in some beginning geography skills!

Bible Truth: Jesus teaches me to share the gospel.
Bible Story: Before Jesus went back to heaven, He told His friends to preach the gospel.
Bible Study: Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:1-8; Romans 1:16-17

teach


show and TELL


An inflatable globe is a great, preschool-friendly visual.  Both the visual and tactical elements help develop some of a child's first geographical concepts.  Since the children can safely handle the globe, it can also be used in games like the one I describe below.  I picked mine up from Hobby Lobby for under $10.


Holding my Bible open, I explain that before Jesus went back to heaven, He commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  Then, I hold up the globe as we talk about the world.  I point out where we live, and point out a few other continents or countries, especially those where we have missionaries that we support. I point out that the blue parts are water, and the other colored parts are land where people live. I explain that Jesus wants everyone in the whole world to hear the gospel and know that He loves them.

An echo microphone brings a fun audio element to this lesson.  

I speak into it as I teach the meaning of the word gospel. The gospel is the good news about Jesus!  I hold up a picture or object to illustrate each point of the good news.
  • Jesus came to save us.
  • Jesus died on the cross for our sin.
  • Jesus is alive.
  • Jesus is making a home for us in heaven.
  • Jesus loves you.
Then, I give each child a turn to stand up and use the microphone to say, "Jesus loves you!"  Older children may have more to say about Jesus.  

read


"I've Got a Job To Do" by Dandi Daley Mackall -  Through the daily life of a little girl, the author demonstrates practical ways to share the gospel at school, dance class, the beach, and everywhere we go. The title of the book is a refrain that is repeated in each scenario, as the little girl shares the love of Jesus with everyone around her.

"Every Child Everywhere" by Debby Anderson - I'm a huge fan of Debby Anderson's books. Endearing photography and illustrations of children from many countries, along with the message of God's love for them, help little ones understand that there are children all over the world who need to know the good news about Jesus.


sing


  • Go! from Little Praise Party: Happy Day Everyday is a fun upbeat song about going into all the world to tell the good news.  You could teach the song to the children with simple actions, use it as a puppet song, or use it in the game as I describe below.

  • Jesus Loves the Little Children from Veggie Tales is another great song for this lesson.  I like this version because it includes the lyrics, "Jesus came to save the children..."


play


around the world


This is another scripture pass game, similar to ones I have described before.  Gather the children to sit in a circle.  Play the song, "Go!" from above as they pass around the inflatable globe.  Randomly pause the music. The child holding the globe when the music stops, stands up.  Hold the echo microphone for each of you to speak into as they repeat Mark 16:15 after you, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel." Play the music, and continue passing the globe.


craft


the good news gospel


Children will share the gospel as they talk about each picture on this activity page. You will need:
  • this activity page (globe graphics included)
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • crayons
  • optional stickers and craft items
To prepare, print out the activity page and cut out enough globe graphics for each child.

In class, help children glue their globe to the circle on the activity page.  Provide crayons for children to color, You may consider adding various craft items stickers, or cutouts that you have on hand to the graphics.  For example: heart stickers to the heart, foamie crosses to the cross, and/or sequins to the heaven graphic, etc.



gospel megaphone


Here is a simple craft, with a fun way to practice the memory verse.  You will need:
  • colorful paper cups
  • pipe cleaners
  • a razor blade
  • this scripture print out
  • scissors
  • glue
  • stickers

To prepare, use the razor blade to cut out the bottoms of the cups.  Print, and cut out the scripture tags. Use the razor blade or other sharp object to poke holes in the cup, and cut the pipe cleaners in half.

In class, help the children assemble their megaphones.  Insert the ends of the pipe cleaners into the holes you made, and bend the ends inside the cup.  Glue the scripture tags to the megaphones, and provide stickers to decorate.  Practice saying the memory verse using their megaphones.

globe mosaic


This low-prep mosaic craft is a great visual reminder of this lesson, and promotes beginning geography skills as preschoolers create land masses separated by water.   This is an open-ended craft (my favorite!), however I suggest making an example first to demonstrate to the children how to create land masses separated by water like you see on the globe.  You will need:
  • blue paper plates
  • green construction paper
  • this scripture print out
  • glue (see this suggestion for using glue!)
  • smiley stickers
  • hole punch
  • ribbon

To prepare, print and cut out the scripture tags.  You may choose to tear pieces of construction paper ahead of time, or if time allows, give the children strips of green paper to tear in class.

In class, provide glue sticks for the children to glue down their mosaic pieces and their scripture tags.  Add smiley stickers, representing different people all over the world that need to hear the gospel.  Punch a hole at the top of the plate, and add a ribbon to hang.  (Or in my case, the other half of the pipe cleaner that just happened to be sitting on my desk. Ha!)


See this post for more ideas to teach your child at home about sharing the gospel of Jesus!




Monday, April 20, 2015

Jesus Sends the Holy Spirit: Home Ideas

Teaching your little one about the Holy Spirit can be as fun as making a windsock, doing sidewalk art, and eating yummy snacks.  Here are some great springtime activities to do with your child this week that also help introduce them to the concept of the Trinity, and the Holy Spirit as our helper.

  • Read the story of the Day of Pentecost in your child's Bible.  Talk about how Jesus kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit, and gave us a special language to help us talk to God when we pray.  Pray together, and thank Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help them obey, tell the truth, and tell others about Jesus.
  • Look for times when your child is having difficulty doing the right thing, completing a task or overcoming fear.  Pray with your child to ask the Holy Spirit to help them in this situation.
  • Make a windsock.  Let you child decorate an empty toilet paper roll.  Staple long strips of ribbon or streamers to one end of the tube and hang it up outside.  Watch the wind blow the sock.  Discuss the wind: “We can’t see the wind, but we can feel the wind and we can see the wind blowing things.  That’s just like the Holy Spirit. We can’t see Him with our eyes, but we know He is with us.  He will help us obey and follow Jesus.”  (You could also fly a kite and discuss the same concept.)           
  • God has three parts just like a triangle.  Help your child draw triangles with sidewalk chalk.  Then think of other things you can draw with triangles (i.e. house with a triangle roof, ice cream cone, hat, etc.)
  • Hard boil an egg.  Crack it open to discover the three parts of an egg: the shell, the white and the yoke.  It is one egg but it has three parts.  There is one God but he has three parts.  Sprinkle on salt and eat a yummy egg snack!  An apple is another great snack that also has three parts: the peel, flesh and core.




Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jesus Sends the Holy Spirit

What do balloons, pinwheels and triangles all have in common?  They all help us introduce preschoolers to the Holy Spirit!  Simply put, my goal is to teach them that, the Holy Spirit is God, and His job is to help us.

Bible Truth: Jesus sent the Holy Spirit.
Bible Story: Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper.  God is three in one.
Bible Study: John 14:15-18, 25-28; Acts 1:4-8; I John 5:7


teach


up and away, here to stay


A couple helium balloons provide a great way to visually connect Jesus' ascension, which we taught last week, and Jesus' promise to send the Holy Spirit.  Bring two balloons, and the children outside for this illustration.  Tie one balloon to your wrist, and keep it out of sight behind your back.  Release the other balloon and remind the children how the disciples watched Jesus go up, up, up into the clouds as you watch the balloon's ascent.

© Syaochka | Dreamstime.com - Red Balloon Photo

When the balloon is out of sight, explain that Jesus promised his friends that he would not leave them alone. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to always be with them.  Release the other balloon, tied to your wrist, from your grasp, illustrating that wherever you go, the Holy Spirit is always with you.  Just as the balloon is filled with air, Jesus said that you will know that you are filled with the Holy Spirit because He will give you a special heavenly language to speak.

trinity triangle


I use a triangle to teach the children that there is one God, who has three parts, and three jobs.  To create my visual I used:
  • foamie sheets
  • jumbo craft sticks
  • glue
  • scissors
  • Velcro
Glue three jumbo craft sticks in the shape of a triangle onto a foamie sheet.  Cut out a heart, cross and hand from foamie sheets as shown below.  Attach Velcro to the back of each shape and to the corresponding places on the foamie sheet. 




I start out  counting the three sides, and three corners of the triangle with the children. Then I cover up a side or a corner of the triangle with my hand, and ask, "If I take away this part of the triangle, do I have a whole triangle?  No!  There's a part missing."

I go on to explain that God is like a triangle. He has three parts.  I attach the heart and explain that He is God the Father who loves us and takes care of us.

Then, I attach the cross and explain that He is God the Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for us.

Finally, I attach the hand and explain that He is God the Holy Spirit who is our helper.  I then cover up the hand shape with my hand and ask, "If I take away the Holy Spirit do I have all of God? No! You need all three parts to have all of God."

I go on to ask the same question and make the same statement about God the Father, and God the Son.


sing


  • Three In One - this song accompanies the trinity triangle visual.  Remove the three shapes from the visual used in the lesson, and then add them to the visual at the appropriate times in the song.  Follow the link for the song's tune, lyrics and actions.  Tip: Print and glue the lyrics to the back of the visual for ease of use.

  • Three In One - this is a different song with the same title and same message that would work well for older children.  Follow the link for a music video.

play


trust the guide


The Bible says that the Holy Spirit guides us in all truth (John 16:13).  This game illustrates that point.  Set up furniture or cones in the room as a simple obstacle course.  Choose two children to be a team.  Blindfold one child.  The other child leads their teammate through the course, without bumping into anything.  Just as we can trust our friend to lead us through the course, we can trust the Holy Spirit to guide us in doing what is right.

craft


always with me balloons


Kids are always excited about balloons!  Taking one home will help them remember your lesson, and remind them that the Holy Spirit is always with them.  For this craft you will need:


To prepare, print, cut out and punch a hole in the scripture cards.

In class, trace each child's hand on the back of their scripture card.  Provide crayons or markers for them color and decorate their hands. Attach each card to the string of a helium balloon.  Tie a balloon, with their decorated card, to the wrist of each child.  They will love taking home a balloon!

© Mrspants | Dreamstime.com - Cute Girl With Balloons Photo

three in one


This craft is based on the visual used in the lesson.  In addition to coloring and adding craft sticks to the page, you could also add stickers, or cut outs in the shape of a heart, cross and hand.  Coloring in the numbers and letters on this sheet helps to develop pre-writing skills. The lyrics to the song are also included so children can sing it at home with their parents. You will need:



paper pinwheels


We cannot see the Holy Spirit, but we can feel Him.  We can see that He is helping us, as He gives us the power to overcome sin, and do what is right.  Pinwheels remind us of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot see the air that makes the pinwheel move, but we know the air is there, because we can feel it, and we can see it make the pinwheel spin.  Click here for a pinwheel tutorial.  Prepare and cut the paper before class.  In class, provide markers and stickers for the children to decorate their pinwheels before you assemble them.



See this post for more great ideas for teaching your child about the Holy Spirit at home this week!


Monday, April 13, 2015

A Home in Heaven: Home Ideas

This week's activities are designed to introduce your child to the hope and promise of heaven.  The reality of our heavenly hope was renewed in my own heart as I planned and prepared these lessons.  My prayer is that in the teachable moments you have with your children and students this week, that your heart is also encouraged and uplifted by the promise of our eternal home.

  • Read the story of Jesus ascending into heaven. Pray together and thank Jesus for preparing a home for us where we can live with Him forever. 

  • Jesus said that in His Father's house there are many mansions. Help your child construct their own mansion with recycled boxes and containers. Then let them paint and decorate it. 

  • Sing, clap and dance along to "Soon and Very Soon" (This is a great kids version of a classic song!)

  • 'H' is for Heaven. Print the letters 'H' and 'h' in a large font. Show your child how to roll out long thin pieces of play dough and form an upper and a lower case 'H'. Then use the play dough to form things that begin with the letter 'H' such as a horse, hippo, hat, house, heart etc.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Home in Heaven

Heaven is a very abstract concept for children to understand.  We don't even fully comprehend it as adults!  However, Jesus does give us some very clear and beautiful descriptions about our hope of eternity with Him.  In this lesson, I try to make heaven as tangible and real as possible.  I also emphasize to my little preschoolers that the best part about heaven is that we will finally be able to really see Jesus and be with Him forever!
 
Bible Truth: I have a forever home in Heaven.
Bible Story: Jesus went back to Heaven to prepare a home for us.
Bible Study: John 14:1-6; Acts 1:9-11; I Thessalonians 4:15-17; Revelation 21:22-27

 

teach


I like using our flannel graph set to visually show Jesus ascending up into heaven as I tell this story.  Then I use a gold gift bag that I call my "Heaven Bag" to describe the kind of home that the Bible says Jesus is preparing for us.  Below is a list of items that I have in the bag.  I pull each item out one by one, and talk about whether or not we will have and/or need it in heaven.  If it will be in heaven I keep it in the gold bag.  If not, I throw it into a trash bag, which I usually ask one of the children to hold for me.


 Items to represent what will be in heaven include:
  • gold (coins or jewelry)
  • crown
  • jewels
  • small musical instrument (worship)
  • piece of fruit (we will have a feast in heaven)
  • picture of Jesus (the best part about heaven is we will see Jesus!)
Items that will not be in heaven include:
  • band-aids 
  • medicine
  • flashlight
  • tissues (to wipe tears) 
  • black heart (sin) 

   

sing

 

Heaven is a Happy Place - I have colored various pictures from coloring books to illustrate each verse of this song.  You could also hold up objects from the lesson above that correspond with each verse of this song.  Follow the link for the tune and lyrics. 
  

craft 

 

up in a cloud


This craft helps the children remember, and retell the story of Jesus' ascension.  You will need:
  • these print outs (I suggest printing the first page on card stock for stability and ease of operation.)
  • scissors
  • tape
  • yarn
  • hole-punch
  • cotton balls
  • glue
  • crayons
To prepare, cut out the large clouds, and pictures of Jesus for each child.  Punch a hole in the center top and bottom of the activity page, and thread a piece of yarn (approximately 20 inches long) through each hole.  Tie off the ends of the yarn in the back near to the top hole.  Tape Jesus to the piece of yarn.

In class, children can color their page and glue cotton balls the clouds.  Help them put glue on the opposite ends of the large cloud, and attach it to their pages in a way that allows for Jesus to easily be pulled up behind it.  Children pull the string in the back to move Jesus from standing on the ground with His disciples, to ascend up to heaven in a cloud.




'h' is for heaven


This is simple, low prep craft.  Print this activity sheet onto cloud stationery paper.  I purchased mine from Wal-Mart.  Give the children small cotton balls, or pull larger cotton balls apart, to glue onto the letter 'H'.



a beautiful home


Another simple craft is to provide children with craft jewels and sequins to decorate a picture like this. 

See this post for more activities to teach your child about Heaven at home this week!
 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Jesus is Alive: Home Ideas

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebrating our risen Savior! Telling the story of Jesus' death and resurrection to young children is always a highlight of my Easter Sunday.  The genuine sadness I see on their faces as I describe Jesus' death, followed by the pure joy expressed at His resurrection, is a precious display of their child-like faith, and love for Jesus.  Keep the spirit of Easter alive in your child's heart throughout the week with these activities.
  • Read the story of Jesus' death and resurrection in your child's Bible.  Pray together to thank Jesus for giving His life to save us.
  • Make your own set of Resurrection Eggs.  Gather six plastic eggs.  Fill each egg with one of the following objects to represent a different part of the Easter story.  
    • Strands of string or yarn tied together to make a whip
    • A small branch twisted into a circle as the crown of thorns
    • Three nails for Jesus' hands and feet
    • A piece of white cloth or napkin as linen to wrap Jesus' body
    • A stone for the tomb
    • Leave the last egg empty for the empty tomb
             Hide the eggs around your house for your child to find, open and recount the Easter story.
  • Affix masking tape in the shape of a cross to a piece of paper.  Provide paint for your child to fill the paper with their own design and color.  Remove the tape to reveal the shape of the cross.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Jesus is Alive!

For Easter, I've created my own Resurrection Eggs to tell the story of Jesus' death and resurrection!  I use six jumbo sized plastic eggs, each filled with a different object, to teach my preschoolers why we celebrate Easter.  Six is a manageable number of eggs to open and reveal, when considering the attention span of young children, and the large objects work well in a larger group setting.  Besides the jumbo size of the eggs are fun and spark their curiosity!

I've seen jumbo eggs at both Michael's and Hobby Lobby.  A set of three is $19.99.  However, all Easter items are 50% off at Hobby Lobby, and with a coupon, you can get them nearly half off at Michael's as well.  You can still teach the same lesson with normal sized plastic eggs. Just fill them with smaller objects like the ones I suggest for the craft.  However you tell the story, have a blessed Easter celebrating the glory of our risen Savior!

Bible Truth: Jesus is Alive
Bible Story: Jesus died on the cross, and in three days, rose again!
Bible Study: Matthew 26-28; Mark 14-16; Luke 22-24; John 17-20


teach

 

resurrection eggs for preschoolers


Here is a pictorial outline of my lesson.  I open one egg at a time, revealing the object, and describing what happened to Jesus.  I also show pictures, such as from a children's Bible, to enhance the visual aspect as I tell the story.


 Soldiers whipped and beat Jesus.


They put a crown of thorns on His head and laughed at Him.


They nailed His hands and feet to a cross, where He hung and died.
All of His blood came out of His body.  He did this so that His blood can wash away our sin.


His friends wrapped His body in a clean cloth.


His body was placed in a tomb.  A big rock covered the tomb, and soldiers guarded it.

After three day, His friends found that the stone was rolled away, and the tomb was empty!
They were filled with joy!  Jesus is not dead.  He is alive!


Description of objects:
  1. Whip - leather lacing wrapped with black Duck tape.
  2. Crown of Thorns - small craft branch held together with hot glue and floral wire.
  3. Nail & Cross - a railroad spike we've had for years (just find the biggest nail that you can!) and a stained wooden cross painted red.
  4. Linen Cloth - small piece of white material
  5. Tomb & Stone - a paper plate, cut in half, stapled together, painted brown, with a crumpled brown paper bag stuffed in the opening.  (This could also be a craft for the kids to make!)
  6. Smiley Face Stickers - individually cut.  In traditional Resurrection Eggs, the last egg is empty, because the tomb was empty.  For young children I've found this to be anti-climatic.  I want the resurrection to be the most exciting part of this story to them.  When I dramatically open this egg, the smiley face stickers fall out like confetti!  The kids clamor to pick them up and we take them to the table to use in our Resurrection Egg craft.

 

sing


Sing, praise and celebrate.  Jesus is alive!

play


resurrection egg hunt


Children are accustomed to finding Easter eggs filled with candy, which is fine, but in this game they can hunt for eggs that will help them remember what Easter is truly about!


Fill plastic eggs each with an object like the ones in the craft below.  Invite children to close and cover their eyes while you play one of the Easter praise songs above.  Hide the eggs around the room.  When you are ready, stop the music to cue the children that they may uncover their eyes and hunt for eggs.  

When they find an egg, they can grab it and rejoin you in the teaching area.  Let each child open their egg and tell you what part of the story is represented by their object.  If you have pictures to accompany the story, display them, and let the children also point to the picture that corresponds to their object.  Collect the eggs from the children, and hide them again, as long as time allows or as long as the kids are interested.

craft

 

my own resurrection eggs


Kids will be able to recount the story of Jesus' death and resurrection as they talk about each of the objects in this craft.


You will need:
  • this page printed on card stock
  • leather-like strapping
  • thin black Duck tape
  • grapevine wire (found in the floral section of a craft store)
  • cross stickers
  • gauze
  • small stones
  • smiley face stickers
  • foamie egg stickers (optional)
  • Tacky glue
  • scissors
  • wire cutters
Prepare the whips, crowns of thorns and gauze ahead of time.  In class, help the students attach each object into the correct egg.   I've found that it is easiest to attach the whip to the page by leaving a bit of the tape unwrapped around the leather strapping, so that you can simply tape it down.


Read these ideas to continue celebrating Easter and the resurrection of Jesus at home this week!