‘Tis the Season to Teach Infants and Toddlers

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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.

“My Friend Jesus” is a series of lessons created especially for children under the age of three.  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.

 

Purpose of Class:

In these lessons teachers, parents and helpers will guide infants and toddlers to:

  • Know that Jesus is special.
  • Experience affinity with Jesus in a variety of situations through role-play and sensory activities.
  • Learn practices that express friendship, affection, obedience, respect and worship.

 And Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you”.  John 15:15, CEV

“My Friend Jesus” Download Page

Downloads include:

My Friend Jesus_Theme Overview

Lesson 1: Cherished Baby (Click here to view or print lesson)
Expressing love through protection and tender care.

Lesson 2: Time to Celebrate
The joy of giving, receiving and celebrating.

Lesson 3: Helper at Home
Being part of a family by sharing responsibilities at home.

Lesson 4: Worship and Praise
Being part of a community of worshipers.

Lesson 5. Growing and Learning
The satisfaction of maturing and moving forward.

Lesson 6. My Friend, Jesus
Comfort, love and affection of a relationship with Jesus.

Infant and Toddler Teaching Instructions

 

 

Photo above by YouaremyWonderwall via Flickr.  Creative Commons  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

 

Bon Voyage

 

Ada Waving Goodbye

Those last few words can remain long in our memory.  They draw everything together and mark the people and event as unique and special to this particular place and time.  Imagine spending an evening with our friends in their home only to realise that they had gone to bed and left us on our own without saying goodbye.  This would probably make us feel awkward and abandoned.

 

One of Paul’s Goodbyes

As Paul traveled and shared the Gospel he had to say goodbye many times.  These were often emotional occasions with tears, encouragement and even words of warning or advice.  Here is one example:

We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.  Acts 21:2-6  NIV

 

How do children feel when they leave our Bible Classes?

When a child leaves Bible Class is he or she a ship full of fresh provisions being warmly fare-welled from a safe and friendly port?  Or are the children drifting off toward open sea while the busy people back on shore seem to barely notice they have gone?

Take the time to draw everything together at the end of your teaching time.  Solidify what you have taught, let the children know you are glad they came and give them courage to go out and put into practice the things God has moved them to do.

 

Concluding Activities

 

Encouraging Last Words:

  • I’m glad you were here today.
  • You have blessed me today.
  • Today is a good day because we were together.
  • I’m going to remember today’s class for a long time.
  • I am so excited to see how you are going to be like Jesus this week.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing you next time.
  • I thank God for each of you.  He is good to me to allow me to teach you.
  • I have written your name down because I will be praying for you this week.

 

Individually, as They Walk Out the Door:

  • Shake each child’s hand
  • Give a hug to each child
  • Say “May God bless you” to each child by name.
  • Say each child’s name and a Spirit challenge.  For example:  “Suzy, may you be loving this week”  or “Jacob, may you show Christian joy to people you meet.”
  • Give a card or note to each child.  (This will require you to plan ahead, of course.) or
  • Give a paper with a Scripture written on it.

 

Photo “Ada Waving Goodbye” by Chad Orlikowski    Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Hey, Let’s Look in the Bible!

A2015 Verse scramble (2) simple and effective Bible class activity that has been around for quite some time is one in which individual words from a Bible verse are spread out on a table and children unscramble them.  Click here for full instructions for Unscramble the Verse.

Usually I would have the class read the verse in the Bible before unscrambling the verse.  But awhile back I decided to try something different.  I divided the ten children in the class into 2 mixed-age groups and gave each group a duplicate set of scrambled words.  All I told them was that it was a Bible verse.  The children quickly set to work trying to figure out how to put the words in order.

I observed both teams using logical methods to figure out this puzzle.  They tried to work out sentence structure.  They placed question marks and full-stops (periods) at the ends of lines since those would end sentences.  Words that started with capitals were the first words in sentences.  But, it was a complicated verse and they were truly stumped for the answer.

I could tell both groups were getting a little frustrated.  It would have been easy for me to bail them out right away but I actually wanted to let them feel that frustration for a little while.  I wanted them to feel what it is like to work really hard but not be able to figure it out on their own before pointing them to God’s Word..

Of course, I wouldn’t have let that frustration go on so long that the children would give up or become discouraged.  So, just when I was about to “break” and give them a hint, one of the youngest children popped up with this suggestion, “Hey, let’s look in a Bible for the answer!”  Both groups scrambled to find a Bible and look up the passage.  The answer was there all along!

How often do we try to figure out life on our own without seeking answers from God’s word?  How many times do we feel that frustration but look to other sources for answers?  Let’s help guide children towards God and what he has to say so that it will become a natural part of their life.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.    Proverbs 2:6, NIV

Note: In case you are wondering, the memory verse scrambled in the photo above is Hebrews 13:6.  How about looking in your Bible for the answer?  The memory verse was used with the Bible story Gideon and the Midianites

About Mission Bible Class

To Equip

…individuals and churches globally through:

  • Practical biblical teaching resources free on the web and
  • Training in simple teaching methods through the web and periodic seminars in strategic locations.

To Mentor

…and provide consultation for those interested in the spiritual formation of children

  • Missionaries and others who minister
  • Churches and leaders
  • Training schools
  • Apprentices

To Promote

…God’s plan for passing the faith on from one generation to the next through

  • Intentional conversation
  • Speaking engagements and
  • Social media.

Mission Bible Class Vision_Mission_Values

Preparing Children for the Cost of Discipleship

Application Using Situation Cards

Some people treat the bible like a book of fairy tales where each story always ends with the villain being punished and the good person being declared a hero.  But the bible is not a fairy tale.  There will eventually be a great day of eternal reckoning but, meanwhile, choosing to follow God comes at a cost and good people suffer along the way.

As much as I would like to protect children from this harsh reality of life I know it is my responsibility as a teacher to begin preparing them for the weapons Satan will relentlessly use against them.

Situation Cards are a simple way teachers can help prepare children in a way they can easily relate to.  It extends a bible lesson beyond facts and memorization to application to everyday life.

Situation Card exampleBefore class the teacher writes situations on cards.  In class, after learning what God has to say in his word, students take turns choosing cards and reading the situations.  The teacher guides conversation as the students describe what they might choose to do in the various scenarios.  The teacher encourages the children to discuss and pray about their concerns.  Refer to this short training video for instructions and an example using the story of the Stoning of Stephen.

Non-threatening, age appropriate conversations in the safe environment of a children’s bible class is a great way to help form the faith of a child.  This formation of faith begins in childhood as the Apostle Paul instructed the young man, Timothy:

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:12-17, NIV