Bible Lessons for Preschoolers

Investing God's Word Into Our Children

Summer Bible Lessons May 29, 2010

Filed under: Bible Lesson,Bible Study,Book Review,Kindergarten,Preschool — preschooljoy @ 10:55 am

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and I’m hanging out with family in Texas. It feels good to be on vacation. No laundry, no cooking, minimum responsibility. And no more Proverbs Project. I decided to take a break from the in depth, weekly preparation I was doing for our daily Bible lessons so I could prepare for a new study. And it’s one I’m really excited about!

From August through May 2011, my children and I are going to begin memorizing and studying the First Catechism and its Biblical foundations. I’m really looking forward to this new study! I think too often Christian kids learn lots of Bible lesson and moral truths, but don’t receive much of a theological underpinning to their faith. That robs of them of so many riches of the Christian faith, as well as leaving them with a puny understanding of who God is.

One of the resource books I’m using for my preparation is Training Hearts, Training Minds by Starr Meade. I found this quote from the book to be right on:
In an attempt to attract non-believers, the church has occupied herself with providing the things the world finds attractive. In doing so, she has lost sight of her true purpose of being the pillar and support of the truth…even where teaching the Bible to the children is a priority, teaching Bible doctrine rarely is. Children hear the same Bible stories repeatedly, almost always as moral lessons on how to behave. So the teacher comes to the end and concludes, “And you  must be like David and God will bless you,” or “You must not act like Ahab or you will find trouble.”

When Bible stories are used in this way, God sits on the periphery of the narrative, like the genie in a fairy tale, blessing human actors for good behavior or cursing them for failures. Children seldom learn to see that God Himself is the main character of every Bible story. They do not learn to ask about each account they read, “What does this story tell me about God?” They never learn to read all the biblical narratives in the light of God’s overall purpose to redeem a people for Himself.”

It’s my goal to help my children see the big picture of God’s plan and work in our world. This summer, I’m going to be working on planning the lessons, hopefully quite thoroughly! I’ll then begin posting probably a week after we begin working through the lessons ourselves.

So are we taking a break from Bible lessons altogether? No, no. We just began reading through The Jesus Story Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It’s definitely an unusual children’s Bible, in that the author focuses on pointing to Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of each Bible story shared. I like it…and I don’t. I think Lloyd-Jones takes great liberties with how she portrays God’s emotions and reactions to various happenings. Frankly, that makes me a bit uncomfortable. She definitely goes outside the Biblical narrative to embelish and add drama to the stories. While I wouldn’t say her add-ons are wrong, they definitely aren’t clear from the Scripture either. As I read the stories to my children, I just skip over those parts. I DO love how she makes Jesus the center of each story and constantly emphasizes Him as the redeemer and saviour. So, all that to say, if you buy it, be forewarned of some potential inaccuracies and embellishments, in line with most Christian novels about Bible characters.

Hope you have a great summer! I’ll probably keep posting sporadically when I run across a resource or blog post to share. Other than that, all will be quiet on the home front.

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A Heart for the Poor, #4 May 19, 2010

Filed under: Bible Lesson,Preschool,Proverbs — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am

Theme: When we give, we’re merely moving our treasures from an earthly house to a heavenly house!
“He who gives to the poor will lack nothing…” (Proverbs 28:27)

  • Memory Verse: Review Proverbs 22:2
  • Bible Reading: Read Matthew 6:19-21. According to this passage, what can happen to our treasures here on earth?
  • Where’s Your Treasure?: Bring a bag of jellybean “treasures”.  Give each child two plates. Label one plate “earth” and one plate “heaven”. Give your child a designated number of jellybeans, and tell them to put them on the plates.  The jellybeans on the “earth” plate can be eaten while the timer is running. The jellybeans on the “heaven” plate can be eaten later in the day. Have them divy up their ‘beans according to their own desires. Then set the timer for :30 seconds, but don’t let your children know how much time they have to eat. Let them snack on jellybeans until the timer goes off. When it does, take all the jellybeans from the “earth” plate away.  Later in the day, let them eat their “heavenly” jellybeans!The object lesson here is pretty obvious, but very true. Explain it to your children, then read the story of the rich farmer from Luke 12:13-21. Where were all his treasures? Did he get to keep them or did he lose them? Let’s try to keep our treasures by laying them up in heaven!
  • Further Study: Read Four Feet, Two Sandals, the story of two little girls in a refugee camp who each end up with one of the sandals from a pair after relief workers bring much needed clothing. Great illustration of the beauty of sharing.
 

A Heart for the Poor, #2 May 17, 2010

Filed under: Bible Lesson,Intentional Parenting,Preschool,Proverbs — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am
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Theme: God Cares for the Poor
“He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.” (Prov. 19:17)

  • Memory: Review Proverbs 22:2
  • Scripture Time: Ask your children to count how many hairs are on their head. When everyone has given up counting, go do some bird watching! Look for birds, talk about the types you spot (easier if you have a field guide on hand) and ask whether your kids would recognize that specific bird if they saw it again.Pull out your Bible and read Matthew 10:29-31 and Luke 12:6-7. Talk about the care God has for each person, including those who are very poor. God loves them and He wants us to love them as well. Read Psalm 82:3-4. What actions does God want us to take on behalf of those living in poverty?
  • Prayer: Choose another child from the Compassion International website. Read his or her story together and pray for them.
  • Further Learning: Go out to your car and tell your children to sleep in the car’s seats. Would that be fun? Read A Shelter In Our Car as you sit together in your vehicle, and talk about the children whose only home is in their car.
 

The Importance of Consistent Discipline May 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — preschooljoy @ 2:40 pm

On this lazy Sunday, I’ve been taking some time to read some of my favorite encouraging mommy blogs. Maybe I’ll post a list of them sometime…But until then, here’s a post from Joy at the Stay At Home Missionary blog about the need for Consistent Discipline as we raise our children. I found the comments after the post to be encouraging too.

Here’s just an excerpt:
It isn’t easy to be consistent, but I truly believe that it is the one thing that is missing in so many scenarios where the child is unmanageable. Notice I didn’t say every, but I did say many. Many of our headaches and trials as moms could be avoided if we would say what we mean and mean what we say, and then follow through on what we said. This takes discipline on the mother’s part, and it’s hard, I know. When you are exhausted it is easy to let one little disobedience or negative attitude slide. I understand. But, pray for the strength to get up one more time, to reinforce one more time, to be consistent one more time.

That is so true, and I’ve seen the fruits in my children of both consistency and well, inconsistency. There’s a big difference! There’s lots of other wisdom, so go read the consistent discipline post for yourself.

 

A Heart for the Poor, #3 May 10, 2010

Filed under: Bible Lesson,Preschool,Proverbs — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am
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Theme: God wants us to love those who are poor

“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4)

  • Memory Verse: Review Proverbs 22:2
  • Bible Time: Read Isaiah 58:6-8. Have your children listen for the actions God wants us to take on behalf of the oppressed.
  • Action Pack: Hands on charity is so important at this age. It’s hard for preschoolers to understand the concept of giving money they don’t see (in the form of a check or online donation) to a person they don’t know and can’t see. For our family, we’re going to put together an Action Pack for a Christian family facing persecution in Pakistan. We’ll spend the rest of this devotional time at the store picking out the needed items, such as blankets, toiletries and pencils. Even though they probably don’t totally understand the concept of mailing this packet to a family they’ve never met or heard of, I think just being able to get items together to give will be a good first start in developing children with a heart for the needy.
  • Further Study: Read Beatrice’s Goat. It’s a book based on the true story of how a young girl’s dream of attending school in her small Ugandan village is fulfilled after her family is given an income-producing goat.

 

A Heart for the Poor: Lessons Intro May 6, 2010

Filed under: Bible Lesson,Intentional Parenting,Parenting Thoughts — preschooljoy @ 1:57 pm

“The rich and poor have this in common: The Lord made them both.” (Prov. 22:2)

Did you know that almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day? Or that one out of three urban dwellers (approximately 1 billion people) was living in slum conditions as of 2005? But as sad as these numbers are, the affluence and ease of our lives in North America can quietly erode our concern for the  poor.  We don’t mean to forget, of course. But life is so busy that we are often carried away by the tyranny of the urgent. Since we ourselves are not hungry, we forget to care for those lacking food. Since we have adequate shelter, we don’t consider it an urgent priority to provide housing for those without.

As I’ve been studying Proverbs this go-round, I was again struck  by God’s love and heart for the poor, and His admonitions for us to be generous, to care, to reach out. The book of Wisdom even has a word to us women specifically, saying of the virtuous woman: “She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.” I want to be that virtuous woman. I want to model charity from the heart, and I want to teach my children to be generous as well.

This next set of lessons is designed to be a starting point, to introduce them to the world of homelessness, to the lack of clothing and shelter, to refugee camps. But I would also encourage you to dig deeper. Make generosity a lifestyle, not just an action. Be urgent about the need.

Here are some articles, books and websites that have challenged me and are shaping my responses to the poor:

  • The Chalmers Center: An excellent organization that trains Christians in effective poverty alleviation and outreach. Just giving a handout is almost never a good idea. Check out their material, especially the book When Helping Hurts.
  • prisoneralert.com: Don’t just pray for persecuted believers – write them! This website provides situation bios, mailing addresses and translated messages so that you can encourage imprisoned Christians around the world.
  • Where Would Jesus Live?: A challenging article about Americans who are voluntarily living in the ‘hood in order to show the love of Christ.
  • The Second Chance: A film by Steve Taylor, starring Michael W. Smith, about a pastor from the suburbs who’s thrown into ghetto ministry. Now it’s not the greatest piece of filmmaking ever, but the film’s main message is challenging, and can be summed up by a line from the end of the film: “I never realized that being comfortable could be a sin.”

My husband and I often produce videos for non-profit ministries. During the production of one, we met a pastor of a large, affluent church who was living in some rundown apartments so that he could minister to the refugees that were resettled there. We had dinner with him, and sat with a political dissident from Burma, a young boy from Somalia, another child from Bosnia – I was so challenged by the love this pastor was showing them. He had refugees over for dinner almost every other night, which was only possible because he had chosen to live among them. Definitely not the comfortable suburban ministry that most of us embrace – but probably more Christlike.

Any resources, ministries, thoughts you have about outreach to the poor, about making generosity a way of life and not just the writing of a check? I’d love to hear it.

 

A Heart for the Poor, #1 May 5, 2010

Filed under: Bible Lesson,Preschool,Proverbs — preschooljoy @ 9:54 am
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Theme: There are many, many people in the world that have only a fraction of what we have.
“The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor.” (Prov. 10:15)

  • A Different Life: This lesson begins the moment your children roll out of bed in the morning! Before they rise and shine, find some old, ratty clothes for them to wear. Put some water in a bucket, adding cocoa to make it look dirty. Put together a breakfast of a slice of bread each. Have one toy set aside for them to play with. Then as your children prepare for the day, only allow them to use the bucket of water to wash their hands or get a drink. Have them put on the ratty clothes. Give them just bread for breakfast (with more food to follow once the lesson is finished). How do your children react? Explain to them how millions of children live in poverty, and each day have dirty water, inadequate clothing and meager food. How would they like to live this way? Each day we’re going to look at a picture of a child from Compassion International’s Sponsorship program and then pray for that child.
  • Memory: We’re going to memorize Proverbs 22:2 by singing it to the tune of “The Three Blind Mice”:
    “The Rich and the poor/the rich and the poor/have this in common/have this in common/the Lord God made both of them/the Lord God made both of them/Proverbs 22:2/Proverbs 22:2.”
  • Read-aloud: Fly Away Home is the story of a homeless boy and his dad who live in the airport, and highlights some of the insecurities and fears they face. Though the book is marketed to a younger audience, I think the subject matter is a bit more than my girls can grasp. Still, it will help them have a face and picture in their mind when we talk about homelessness.