The Paper Cross

(By request, I am providing this creative storytelling device. It is found in my book 100 Ways to Teach Your Child about GodEnjoy! -Karyn)

TELL this story using a piece of plain white paper.

THERE was once wealthy man who had everything he could want. But he also had something he didn’t want. He had an empty feeling inside. So he thought about what could make him happy. He decided that if he bought a sailboat, he’d be happy.

Fold one of the top corners down, making a diagonal fold that looks like a sail. (The top of the page should line up with one side of the page.) So he bought a boat and went sailing. And he was really happy. For a little while. The empty feeling came back. He thought and thought and finally decided that if he had a new house, he’d be happy.

Fold the other top corner down to make a pointed roof. So he bought a new house. It was on a hillside. He could watch the sun set from his window. And he was really happy. For a little while. The empty feeling came back. He thought, ‘Staying at home is not good for me. I need to travel.’ So he bought an airplane.

Fold the figure in half vertically, turn it so that the fold is at the bottom, and fold down the top sections to make wings. He flew all around the world and saw so many wonderful things! He was really happy! For a little while. The empty feeling came back. He thought, “Flying around is for the birds. I need to do something unique. Something most people never get to do. I’ll take a rocket ship into space!”

Tear the wings off the airplane and open the center fold so that it looks like a rocket ship. So he took a rocket ship into outer space and saw the world very small below. He was very happy. For a while. The empty feeling came back. He looked and looked, and he finally found that there was only one thing that would make him happy.

Unfold the figure to see a cross. And how long did it last? Forever!
(Adapted from an unknown source)

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
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LEARN MORE about the Bible Learning Series

DOWNLOAD the Scope and Sequence for the whole series

Seven Tips for Teaching Seven-Year-Olds

In my last post I talked about teaching six year olds. By the time those children turn seven they have changed a lot. Equipped with insights about this new stage you can continue to teach them with confidence and effectiveness. So let’s look at some basics about sevens:

1. Seven-year-olds understand the flow of time more accurately.
The second grader’s concept of historical events continues to develop into a more accurate understanding. A chronological overview of the New Testament, continuing from a first grade overview of the Old Testament, helps second graders see that the Bible is not simply a collection of stories told like Aesop’s fables, but is one whole meaningful story in itself.

2. Seven-year-olds are curious and want to discover.  They like codes.
Because of their inner desire to discover, try to include an element of discovery in each storytelling session, some sort of code, or puzzle. The children will listen to the story to discover the meaning of the codes.

3. Seven-year-olds need structure and rely on teachers.
Take time to plan and structure your sessions. Teachers play a key role in drawing children into activities as well as in guiding conversation toward an understanding of the theme of the session.

4. Seven-year-olds like to review.
Include brief reviews of previous lessons at the beginning and end of each session.  Create these yourself, or choose a curriculum that includes a review element.

5. Seven-year-olds like to be read to.
Sevens tend to be good listeners. It is a great age to read to them from the Bible, and other materials relevant to the lessons.

6.  Seven-year-olds often like to work by themselves or with a partner, but not often with a large group.
Sevens are more self-conscious so large-group activities may not be as interesting as working solo. Although they are hard workers, they can be moody and intense.

7. Most sevens write more clearly than they did when they were six.  
However, seven year olds still find it difficult to copy material from a white board.  And some, especially boys, don’t enjoy writing at all.  So it is a good idea to keep writing activities to a minimum.

Let me add more more general point about sixes and sevens: their emerging ability to comprehend the flow of time can be a huge advantage in teaching them the Bible chronologically. By giving children a broad look at biblical events in the order in which they happened, it sets the stage for future study of the Bible in its traditional out-of-sequence order. It is important for children to see the Bible as a whole story so that when they learn the books of the Bible and study the traditionally ordered Bible, they can know, for example, how the events of Jesus’ life fit together and how Paul sent letters to different churches and people as he traveled. They will begin to see how Jesus was and is at the center of God’s plan for bringing the world back to Himself.

Happy teaching,

59

Featured Folder: “Jesus Is Alive!”

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For young children, Easter is a time of joy and wonder as they see the people around them celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. It’s hard for a child to understand death, and there may be some fear associated with the concept of death. So for a young child, the story of Jesus’ death is best told gently and sensitively, quickly followed by the story of his resurrection. See page 3 for a suggestion on telling about the meaning of Jesus’ death.

Theme Scripture: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son.” John 3:16 (ICB) Help the children remember this verse by singing it to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Unit Goals: By the end of this unit, the child should:
• Know that Jesus died for our sins and came back to life again.
• Feel happy that Jesus is alive and will live forever.
• Praise and worship God as part of celebrating his Son’s resurrection.

Bible Stories
• Jesus Rides into Jerusalem on a Donkey (Matthew 21:1-11) Focus: The people praised Jesus.
• Jesus Eats the Last Supper with the Disciples (Matthew 26:17-30, I Corinthians 11:23-26) Focus: The juice and the flat bread help us remember Jesus.
• Jesus Dies and Comes Back to Life (Matthew 27:32-28:10) Focus: Jesus was killed on a cross but came back to life.
• Jesus Meets Friends on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) Focus: The sad men were happy when they saw Jesus alive.

Art Activities:
-Palm Leaves
-Communion Cup Print
-Sponge-Painted Cross
-Foil Footprints

Science Activities:
-Looking at Leaves
-Memory Bag
-Sprouting
-Who Is It?

Cooking:
-Happy Face Biscuits
-Unleavened Bread
-Bread Stick Crosses
-Cinnamon Hearts

Music & Movement:
-See the Little Donkey
-Going to Town
-Everyone is Glad!
-Early in the Morning

Games:
-Tiptoe Praise
-What’s New? What’s Missing?
-Down the Road

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 of “Jesus Is Alive” $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

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

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