Pre-School (3-5 Year Olds)


3-5 Year Olds: Teaching TipsEach of the 170 Bible Lessons on this website provide a selection of activities for children of various ages.

When choosing activities for Pre-Schoolers keep the following in mind:

Three to five year olds are absorbing a great deal of new knowledge and understanding.  Children in this age group have a love of life and are curious and open to learning.  They are able to have a simple trust in God.

More About Understanding Age Groups  

What Are Pre-Schoolers Like?

  • They enjoy pictures and being read to.
  • They are acquiring new skills:
    • Learning to count and letters of the alphabet.
    • Learning to use pitch and rhythm.
    • Able to work puzzles of increasing complexity.
    • Becoming coordinated and skilled in motor activities.
  • Four and five year olds are curious and eager to learn.  They are able to convey their thoughts and ideas.
  • They have a healthy self concept and enjoy talking about their accomplishments and abilities.
  • Physical Characteristics:
    • Energetic and not able to sit still for long periods of time.
    • Children of this age are experiencing rapid growth.  They are often rambunctious and constantly on the go but still need times of rest during the day.
  • Even though four and five year olds are still fairly self-centred they desire the attention and approval of others.  They are beginning to develop friendships but they tend to form small groups and exclude others.  They are possesive and sharing is still difficult.
  • They are beginning to recognise right from wrong.  They understand punishment and consequence but the concept of a conscience is still difficult to understand.

Learning Activities Pre-Schoolers Enjoy

  • Imaginary play, especially role-playing everyday tasks adults do (cleaning, cooking, washing the car, driving, etc.)  Think of ways children can mimic what is happening in the Bible story you are teaching.  For example, the Wise Men Followed a Star so hold up a picture of a star and let the children follow you.  The lions roared in the story of Daniel and the Lions so let the children roar!
  • Artistic expression through paint, crayons, playdoh, cutting and glueing.  Instead of colouring sheets used repeatedly provide a blank paper and ask the children to draw something from the Bible story.  You may be amazed at what they have heard you teach.
  • Singing Songs
  • Praying.  Younger pre-schoolers can repeat phrases after the teacher.  Some pre-schoolers will like to pray out loud by themselves.
  • Sensory activities that relate to the Bible story you are teaching.  For example, when learning about The Parable of the Lost Sheep bring some lamb’s wool to feel.  When teaching about Elisha and the Widow’s Oil bring some real olive oil to class so they can touch and even taste it.
  • Constructing and demolishing things that relate to the story.  A simple set of building blocks can be used over and over to construct houses, fences, palaces and altars.  And while learning about the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders it is lots of fun to make the house on the sand crash!

Teaching Tips

  • Pre-schoolers are not able to sit still for long periods of time so teachers should allow time and space for movement between activities.  For example, “Let’s hop like bunnies to the mat to read our Bible story.”  Or make up a quick energy expender you can use whenever children get antsy  Something like “Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle-God loves you!  Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle-God loves me!  Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle-let’s sit down!”
  • Since their concept of space is limited providing clear physical boundaries helps them focus.  A physical boundary might be everyone sitting at a table or on a mat.  In a big room you might put tape or a rope in a circle on the floor and ask everyone to sit inside the circle.
  • Children of this age think in a literal and not figurative way.  Teachers should use simple phrases instead of metaphors.  For example, instead of saying “Jesus is the Lamb of God” say “Jesus is God’s son and he helps us”.
  • When sharing from the Bible try to cover the main points in a simple way.  Consider only covering part of lengthy or complex stories.  But be careful not to “dumb down”.  Give them ample, accurate knowledge about God.  Three to five year olds are ready to accept all they are told about God and are able to have a simple trust in Him.

Relating to the Bible at This Age

  • Pre-Schoolers can look at pictures in a children’s Bible.  If you do not have picture Bibles then tuck pictures between the pages of a Bible before class.
  • Guide the children in pretending to read along with you as you tell a story or read a verse.
  • Children of this age can learn to spell and write a few basic Bible words.  I use magnetic letters or puzzles to do this.  And of course they are learning to write letters at this age.  We just practice one word each week until the children have it down.  They are so proud of themselves!
    • G-O-D
    • J-E-S-U-S
    • B-I-B-L-E (song)

Mission Bible Class Resources to Help You Teach

References and Other Helpful Online Resources

Help for Teaching Children of Various Ages

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7 thoughts on “Pre-School (3-5 Year Olds)

  1. Yay! I am so glad to have found your website and this article!
    I have been teaching a class of 15 3-4yros for the past few months and wish I had found these tips sooner.

    1. Fifteen 3-4 year olds is a blessing and a handful all at the same time. All the best as you find ways to share God’s Word with them 🙂 Mary

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