Featured Folder: “God Made Animals”

What a wonderful variety of animals God made for us to enjoy! Huge elephants, tiny catepillars. Animals that snort or growl, chirp or bark, buzz or mew. Animals that fly or crawl, tunnel or swim, leap or creep. They are the other living creatures that inhabit the earth that God made for us.

Theme Scripture: “God made the . . . animals.” Genesis 1:25 (ICB) Help the children remember this verse by asking them to act like lions when they say it. Then say it again, acting like monkeys. Ask them to say it again, acting like frogs. Continue as long as they are interested.

Unit Goals: By the end of this unit, the child should:
• Know that God made animals.
• Feel thankful and joyful.
• Thank God for making animals.

Bible Stories
• Creation (Genesis 1:20-25) Focus: God Made Animals.
• Adam Names the Animals (Genesis 2:18-20) Focus: God made animals and let God name them.
• God Talks to Job (Job 38:1-3; 39; 42:1-3) Focus: God made animals.
• Solomon Knows About Animals (I Kings 4:26-34; 10:22-29) Focus: We can learn about the animals God made.

Art Activities:
-Paper Plate Fish
-Lollipop Giraffe
-Thumbprint birds
-Animal Prints

Science Activities:
-Animal Discovery
-Whose Ears?
-Animal Tracks
-Fast and Slow

Cooking:
-Animal Crackers
-Animal Cookies
-Cracker Duck
-Bananapillars

Music & Movement:
-Zoo Walk
-Monkeys at the Zoo
-The Keeper at the Zoo

Games:
-The Memory Game
-Duck, Duck, Goose
-Two by Two

This folder is designed to give you the ideas you need to teach a unit about the animals Glod made. Mix and match the activities you want with the stories suggested, and enjoy!

BUY PDF DOWNLOAD of “God Made the Animals” $2.99
(sold as downloads only, print not available) Your purchase includes permission to reproduce the pages for ministry purposes at a single location, not for distribution to non-purchasers.

LEARN MORE about the Bible Learning Series

DOWNLOAD the Scope and Sequence for the whole series

Ten Tips for Ages 8 through 11

Here are 10 things to keep in mind when teaching ages eight through eleven:

1. They want to be busy doing productive things. They enjoy projects. They learn best by touching and doing and seeing visual aids. Plan your lessons to include lots of activities.

2. They like to show their skills and abilities and want to feel like a valued member of the group. Delegate tasks to them when possible. Trust them to get the job done.

3. They are becoming spiritually sensitive and are beginning to see their need for God. Plan your content to address this need.

4. They want to see how God is real and how he relates to everyday life. They want to hear adults’ testimonies about how God is working in their lives, and they want to tell about what God is doing in their own lives. Invite adults to come in and share. Provide times for the children to share, too.

5. They continue to understand the flow of time. Even if your curriculum is topically oriented, explain the historical context of the Biblical passages used.

6. They easily feel inferior if they are put down or if they feel incapable. Use encouraging words as you coach them. Choose classroom activities that are age-appropriate.

7. They have a growing understanding of symbolism. They are increasingly able to understand deeper dimensions of faith, like lordship, stewardship and peacemaking.

8. They are able to sit still longer, but are still inclined to wiggle. Trust that they are listening even if they are not sitting still.

9. They are concerned about what’s fair and just and are more consistent about discerning right from wrong. Listen to them when they want to express their observations about justice in current events or in their personal lives. Be careful not to “correct” them, but accept their observations at face value. Honor their assessments.

10. They memorize more easily. Age nine is often called the “Golden Age of Memory”. These are the perfect years to ramp up the memory work. For scripture memory ideas see my Sword Fighting book.

May God bless your relationships with the 8 through 11 year olds in your life!

Happy teaching!

59

 

Originally posted 5/8/14

© Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

photo courtesy of pexels.com

Six Tips for Teaching Five Year-Olds

crayons-coloring400x400-159579If you have been following my series of posts about the characteristics of different ages, you may have noticed many similarities in the various preschool ages, and yet, each has unique differences that must be taken into account when teaching them. In today’s post I am going to talk about teaching five year-olds.

•  Fives don’t understand that time is a continuous flow.
While five year olds understand that events happen in succession, they still don’t understand the duration of time.  They do understand that incidents happened before they were born, but when you say, “A long time ago, there was a man named Abraham,” five year olds know only that this happened before they were alive.  And although they know that events happen one after the other, they still don’t yet mentally sequence the Bible stories told from week to week.  Therefore, as with the younger ages, it is still best, in my opinion, to teach Bible stories according to themes, rather than in Biblical order.

•  Fives want to learn.
Five year olds are explorers in God’s world, excited about learning and discovering.  They are realizing that there is a purpose for their curiosity and questions.  As they find out more about God and His world, they come to see that there is a purpose for all that God created.  Ultimately, these children should come to understand that God has a purpose for them.  Fives are perfectly suited for themes that focus on discovering God’s purpose for all He created, from the sun, sea, and land to friends and family to children themselves.

•  Fives usually try to cooperate, but are still drawn toward getting their way.
Some people call this a “golden age” of childhood, because fives are usually fairly calm, friendly, and eager to please.  However, fives are also still very self-focused.  They can be very adamant about getting their own way.

•  Fives learn by action and repetition.
Fives are less outwardly enthusiastic than fours, but fives still like to be active.  They still learn by hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and doing.  As with younger preschoolers, if fives hear words, rhymes, and songs repeated over and over again, they will repeat these words, rhymes, and songs themselves.

•  Fives are sensitive to music:  melody and rhythm.
A preschooler’s short attention span can often be held and strengthened by songs when the child seems oblivious to spoken words.  The simple melodies and rhythms repeated in childhood stay in the heart and mind for a lifetime.

•  Fives still need supervision and (sometimes) help.
Fives enjoy doing as much as possible for themselves.  However, they still need help and/or supervision as they learn.  A teacher-child ratio of one teacher for every seven to ten five-year-olds  is very important for quality care-giving.  When recruiting helpers and teachers, remember that grandparents and teenagers are often overlooked, but can be valuable members of a teaching team.

Happy Teaching!

59

 

BT13 Spread Drop_150PS- See my curriculum for teaching five year-olds :

Six Tips for Teaching Four Year-Olds

four-asian-glasses-400x400Four year-olds are my favorite age to teach. Here are six things I have learned about 4 year-olds that will help you better communicate with them:

1. Fours don’t understand the flow of time.
As with all preschool ages, they don’t string together, in time order, the Bible stories told from week to week. To them, yesterday was a long time ago. Therefore I prefer to tell simple Bible stories which support age-appropriate themes. The four year old, for the first time, realizes that he is growing and will not always be little. Fours will often come to class every week and announce their age. So themes focusing on growing: growing up knowing God is with me, growing up praying, growing up helping, and so on, are excellent choices.

2. Fours interact more cooperatively with classmates.
Unlike three year olds (who play side by side with others, yet not really together), four year olds are usually ready to play with a friend or classmate. They are learning how to cooperate. They are better able to control themselves than they were at three. However, fours are still quite focused on their own wishes, and they are usually very active and assertive in pursuing their interests. You can take advantage of these changes, encouraging children to include God in their everyday exploits, helping them learn that God is in control of life and that even growing children can choose to honor Him.

3. Fours learn by action and repetition.
Fours are active and learn by hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and doing. As with younger preschoolers, if fours hear words, rhymes, and songs repeated over and over again, they will repeat these words, rhymes, and songs themselves. So it’s a good idea to utilize a variety of sensory activities and repetition in your lessons. You can model and repeat the important themes of the lessons and guide the children into experiences that enrich their understanding of how to grow up knowing God.

4. Fours are sensitive to music: melody and rhythm.
A preschooler’s short attention span can often be held and strengthened by songs when the child seems oblivious to spoken words. The simple melodies and rhythms repeated in childhood stay in the heart and mind for a lifetime. So when possible present key truths, themes, and verses not only in spoken words, but also in song.

5. Fours are attracted to sensory experiences and action.
The attention span of a four year old may be noticeably longer than it was at three. But fours are exuberant and often have trouble sitting still and focusing on an activity. They are more likely to stick with an activity or story if it’s interesting, active, musical, colorful, tasty, and fun. Occasionally children need someone to draw their attention to these activities. Teachers may find that when they themselves engage in the desired activity and have fun doing it, the children will be drawn in naturally.

6. Fours need supervision and (sometimes) help.
Fours enjoy doing as much as possible for themselves. However, they still need help and/or supervision as they learn. A teacher-child ratio of one teacher for every six to eight four-year-olds is very important for quality care-giving. When recruiting helpers and teachers, remember that grandparents and teenagers are often overlooked, but can be valuable members of a teaching team.

Happy teaching!

59

 

PS- See my Bible Time curriculum for FOURS

Featured Bible Learning Folder: “I Help”

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Young children want to try doing grown-up things. They are eager to help. It makes them feel significant and useful. It helps them feel like an important part of the family or class. Teach young children that they can help do many things, and God is happy when we help each other.

Theme Scripture: “Help those who are weak.” I Thessalonians 5:14 (ICB) Help the children remember this verse by asking them to repeat it after you with simple hand motions. (shown on first page)

Unit Goals: By the end of this unit, the child should:
• Know that God is happy when children help.
• Want to help.
• Help in class and at home.

Bible Stories
• The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35) Focus: The Samaritan man helped the hurt man.
• Building the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:30-36:2) Focus: People used their different God-given skills to help build the worship house.
• Peter and John Heal a Lame Man (Acts 3:1-11) Focus: Peter and John stopped to help a lame man.
• Filing the Oil Jars (2 Kings 4:1-7) Focus: Two boys helped their mother.

Art Activities:
-Penny Banks
-Money Prints
-Bow Necklace
-Wrapping Paper

Science Activities:
-Mixing Colors
-Matching Patterns
-Sorting Coins
-Big and Little, Heavy and Light

Cooking:
-Bean Soup Mix
-Crunchy Oat Cookies
-Cinnamon Crescents
-Coin Cookies

Music & Movement:
-Give a Little
-Jonathan Gave
-One Penny, Two
-We Are Cheerful Givers

Games:
-Pass the Gift
-Who’s Got the Penny?
-What’s in My Gift Basket?
-What Do They Need?

This folder is designed to give you the ideas you need to teach a unit about helping. Mix and match the activities you want with the stories suggested, and enjoy!

BUY PDF DOWNLOAD FOR “I Help”  $2.99
(sold as downloads only, print not available) Your purchase includes permission to reproduce the pages for ministry purposes at a single location, not for distribution to non-purchasers.

LEARN MORE about the Bible Learning Series

DOWNLOAD the Scope and Sequence for the whole series

Tips for Teaching Toddlers and Twos

toddler-lightfoot-300Let’s look at some basics about toddlers and two year-olds (18 months to 2 1/2):

•  Toddler-Twos don’t understand the flow of time.
For a toddler-two, the time from one Sunday to the next seems like an eternity. This age child doesn’t string together, in time order, the Bible stories told from week to week. When you say, “A long time ago, there was a man named Abraham,” the preschool mind interprets it as yesterday. To them, that was a long time ago. So it is not a priority to tell the Bible stories  in biblical order. In my curriculum I like to incorporate very simple Bible stories which support age-appropriate themes, like God’s love, God’s care, and the toddler-two’s response of thankfulness.

•  Toddler-Twos are self-focused and independent.
At the beginning of the toddler-two stage, children are still very self-focused. They are becoming aware that they are individuals in their own right, separate and apart from parents and caregivers. So they assert their independence.  However, at about age 2 1/2, preschoolers begin “perspective taking.” That means they begin to realize that others have rights, feelings, opinions, and possessions. The self-focus is still there, but a sensitivity to others begins.

•  Toddler-Twos learn by imitation and repetition.
Toddler-twos often imitate the significant adults in their lives. If they see parents and caregivers pray and read their Bibles, they will usually imitate them.  If they hear words, rhymes, and songs over and over again, toddler-twos will begin repeating these words, rhymes, and songs themselves. Toddler-twos also learn by touching and doing. So I like curriculum that relies heavily on teacher interaction with the children. Teachers model and repeat the important themes of the lessons and guide the children into experiences that enrich their understanding of God’s creativity, love, and care.

•  Toddler-Twos are sensitive to music:  melody and rhythm.
A preschooler’s short attention span can often be held and strengthened by songs when the child seems oblivious to spoken words. The simple melodies and rhythms repeated in childhood stay in the heart and mind for a lifetime. So key truths, themes, and verses in your classroom can be presented not only in spoken words, but also in song.

•  Toddler-Twos are attracted to sensory experiences and action.
Toddler-twos will gravitate toward any place where there is something going on that’s interesting, active, musical, colorful, tasty, or fun to touch or hold. But occasionally they need someone to draw their attention to these activities. Teachers must sometimes bring activities to toddler-twos. At other times, teachers will have to help toddler-twos go to where the activities are.

•  Toddler-Twos need supervision and help.
Toddler-twos need help and/or close supervision as they learn. A teacher-child ratio of one teacher for every six toddler-twos is very important for quality care-giving. When recruiting helpers and teachers, remember that grandparents and teenagers are often overlooked, but can be valuable members of a teaching team.

•  Toddler-Twos have a very short attention span.
While some children are more distractable than others, most toddler-twos move quickly from one interest to another. They live in the immediate present and will pursue whatever catches their attention. In order to present and guide activities and stories to young children, teachers must catch and hold their attention. Teachers must also be ready to move to a new activity when the children are ready to move on. So choose a curriculum with many activity choices which can expand and contract to fit children’s needs.

God does equip you for everything good!

Happy teaching,

59

 

BT01_Spread Drop_150PS- Here is my Bible Time curriculum for TODDLERS and TWOS:

 

 

Text © Karyn Henley.  Photo: lightfoot at morguefile.com. Used by permission.
All rights reserved.

Why Study Childhood?

why-study-childhood-picPart of being child-sensitive is trying to see what the world feels like from the child’s perspective. That information is valuable to us, because it helps us see the child’s needs more clearly. It helps us respect the child. It helps us communicate more effectively.

As we’ve seen, one way to know the child’s viewpoint is to remember what it was like to be a child. Another way is to watch children and listen to them. A third way is to learn from people who have studied children.

One of these experts is Robert Coles, a professor of psychiatry and medical humanities at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Coles received a Pulitzer prize for his five-volume Children of Crisis series. He has spent over thirty years listening to children. In an interview about children, he said, “They offer us a chance to see a good part of what we are: human beings struggling to figure out what this world means.” Coles urges us to “regard children as fellow human beings yet to be constricted and constrained the way that some of us have been as we have made the various compromises that are called growing up.” He says, “The point is not to romanticize children but to understand the… perspective they have… They are new on the block, so to speak. As a consequence they have a certain kind of openness of mind and heart.”*

There’s another reason for trying to see the world from a child’s viewpoint. Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). If for no other reason than this, childhood is worth a good, long look.

In God’s Kingdom, we are all children of the Father. So, as it happens, we are children teaching children. We can all rejoice to hear him say, “Let the little children come to me… for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14)

*Robert Coles, “The Man Who Listens to Children,” Storytelling, Fall 1992

-from Child Sensitive Teaching. ©Karyn Henley. All rights reserved

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-Photo by psymily at morguefile.com