Have you ever had a song stick in your head and refuse to go away? This week a friend of mine shared a song with me that has done exactly that.
The song is not fancy. It only has six words. It is a teacher training video and not a performance for the Grammy Awards. Even so, it is stuck in my mind like glue. Listen a few times and I dare you to forget it.
“Teacher, when you tell stories, do you think sometimes you could tell me the one about the cross. I keep wondering what that cross is about.” I will never forget that question from a little boy who attended church and my Bible class for the first time.
This little boy had loved the Bible story and learning activities that day. He told his parents and me that he wanted to come back every Sunday (and he did). What he experienced that day with us was extremely important in his faith journey but it was clear that we were not the beginning of his journey. God had been planting seeds in his heart all along the way. Seeds were planted every time this young man passed a church building with a cross on it. Seeds were planted when he would see jewelry and billboards and bibles with crosses on the front.
Seeds are planted at Easter time. Children see the crosses people are putting up on signs and in decorations. The words “Christ”, “Christian”, “Jesus”,”resurrection” and phrases like “He is risen” are uttered by many people whether they understand deeper truths or not. Many children (and adults) wonder, “What does it mean?”
Any day is a good day to share the story of Jesus but Easter time creates a perfect opportunity to answer the questions children are wondering about.
And yes, I shared the story of the cross with that little boy that first day. It was a condensed version but I wanted to make sure he knew that this was one of the most important questions anyone could ever ask.
I told him that God created the whole world and he wanted everyone to be happy and love him. Sadly, people made bad choices and that has made lots of bad things happen in this world. Sometimes people even die. God was very sad that people had caused the earth to be so bad. Even though many people did not follow him he still loved them. So God sent his son, Jesus, from heaven to earth to show everyone how to obey God and make good choices.
But many people did not believe Jesus and got so angry that they made him die on a cross.
But guess what!? He was dead but after 3 days Jesus came alive again! Jesus showed that he is stronger than death and stronger than any bad thing that can ever happen.
Soon after he came back to life, the time came for Jesus to go to heaven to live with his Father again in heaven. Before Jesus left he told his followers to be sure and tell other people the good news. The good news is that “Jesus died but he came alive again!” God says that Jesus dying on the cross means that people can change from being bad to being good. People who follow Jesus do not have to be afraid of dying. If you follow Jesus then you will also come alive again to live in heaven someday!”
Many teachers are making plans to tell the resurrection story on Easter Sunday. Whether at Easter or any other time here are some ideas that will help you share what is the most important event in the Bible.
“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”
Romans 6:9, NIV
Sing songs together from the church hymnal about the resurrection. Search for songs on YouTube:
Low in the Grave He Lay
Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Lord I Lift Your Name on High
Visit a mature older Christian and ask them to share why the Resurrection is important to them.
Black out the windows of your classroom to make it dark like the tomb. Quietly tell the story of the resurrection by the light of a candle or by torch/flashlight
Place a dark cloth over a small table to form a “tomb”. Ask someone to be the body inside. Place a cardboard rock at the entrance. Let the children see the body inside and then put the stone in place. “The body” crawls out the back and the children remove the stone to see an empty tomb. Young ones love this obvious re-enactment.
Choose words related to the resurrection story and tape them onto stones. Before class begins hide the stones so that children can hunt for them. As the children collect the stone discuss the meaning of the words. Here are some words you might use:
Make a tomb craft from a paper plate. Cut a paper plate in half, paint if desired, and then staple the top rims together. To make the body of Christ cut a simple body shape from cardboard, wrap with one layer of toilet paper and dampen with water from a spray bottle, repeat layers and let dry. The stone is just crumpled brown paper. In one class we had the children each make a tomb and then put the body inside. During the week I moved the stones and removed the bodies. The next week we were going to be studying about the resurrection. When the children arrived that day they immediately went to the tombs they had made and were shocked to find the body missing. I let them search and conjecture for awhile before leading into the story of how the women came to the tomb to find Jesus’ body missing. The children could totally relate to how the women must have felt. At the end of class I returned the “bodies” so that the children could take the craft home and recreate the event for their families.
Write the individual words of Romans 6:9 on a whiteboard or chalkboard. Say the verse together. Erase one word or phrase and say the verse again. Say it over and over, eliminating one word or phrase each time. Soon, the children will have it memorised.
Write the individual words of Romans 6:9 on pieces of paper and then mix them up. Children can unscramble the verse and practice repeating it to memorise it.
Print and use a colouring page or puzzle from one of these online resources.
This post is an update of one published 22 March 2015.
The header image is the copyright of the http://www.LumoProject.com (Big Book Media) and distributed for free download, under license exclusively by FreeBibleimages for teaching purposes only. All rights reserved.
After a long delay between lessons the “My Friend Jesus” series for Babies and Toddlers is now complete. Hopefully, it will help parents and teachers share the story of Jesus with little ones.
In this series infants and toddlers are introduced to Jesus and relate to him through various common experiences of childhood (celebration, helping, community, worship and growth). Role-play and sensory activities are used to express a growing relationship and friendship with him.
The first breath Jesus took on this earth was as a fragile newborn infant. The One who would save the world had to have his nappies/diapers changed. He learned to feed himself, crawl and walk. He experienced the human senses of taste, touch, hearing, sight and smell.
Infants and Toddlers can know that Jesus is special, experience affinity with Jesus through role-play and sensory activities. They can learn practices that express friendship, affection, obedience, respect and worship.
Lessons in this Series:
1. Cherished Baby
Expressing love through protection and tender care.
2. Time to Celebrate
The joy of giving, receiving and celebrating.
3. Helper at Home
Being part of a family by sharing responsibilities at home.
4. Worship and Praise
Being part of a community of worshipers.
5. Growing and Learning
The satisfaction of maturing and moving forward.
6. My Friend, Jesus
Comfort, love and affection in a relationship with Jesus.
We often speak of emptiness as bad, but sometimes “empty” is good. That is the case of the empty tomb!
Many of us re-tell the resurrection story around Easter time. I thought I would share my favourite teaching tool for telling the Easter story. And, yes, it involves plastic eggs.
I did not come up with this teaching idea, but I have to say I’ve used it over and over through the years. Kids love it, and teachers find it very easy to use. I published a blog post about it in 2012, but I think it is worth posting again.
Collect 12 plastic eggs and a used egg carton to store them in. Note that you don’t have to use plastic eggs if they are not available. You can use 12 sacks or boxes or just cover the items with 12 cloths or paper.
Use a permanent marker to number the eggs from one to twelve.
Collect representative items (listed below) and put them inside the eggs. Place the eggs inside the egg carton.
Introduce the story by asking the children how they would feel if they went on an Easter egg hunt and every egg they found was empty. Lead into the lesson by saying sometimes it is GOOD if an egg is empty. Sometimes an empty egg is the best egg of all.
Open the egg carton and begin the lesson by opening egg number one.
As you open the eggs one at a time you re-tell the story to the children. You might let them guess what each of the items might represent.
After you tell the story, distribute the eggs to the children and let them take turns re-telling the story.
If you are able and have fewer children, then you might help the children make one of these sets each to take home.