Parable of the Lost Sheep
A few weeks ago, we were talking about Jesus as the Good Shepherd and also discussed the Parable of the Lost Sheep. You might think those are two very different stories, but they do go hand-in-hand.
First off, I started by bringing a sheep to class. Before you start calling me Mary, no. It was only a stuffed animal I found in a closet in the church building. But it worked to help me make my points. Then, I discussed various aspects of sheep.
Basically, since I started teaching Bible class, I have stayed pretty close to the second grade class. It's what I call my "heart" age. I love that they're still young enough to have imagination and have fun, but old enough to be able to write words and cut a mostly straight line. And in all the places I've lived, second graders learn the Old Testament. In some places, I've covered everything from Genesis to Esther/Ezra/Nehemiah. In others, I only make it through part. But either way, I haven't had a whole lot of experience with teaching Jesus.
So, when the congregation where we are now decided to change curriculums this year, I expected it would simply be a slightly different layout of the Old Testament. Well ...
I was wrong.
And this quarter, I'm teaching Jesus.
Needless to say, I had to come up with some visual aides and some craft ideas quickly. Not to mention some other ideas.
Wise Men lesson ideas
While we were visiting my family for Christmas holidays, my daughter and niece were blessed to have my mom as their Bible class teacher that Sunday. She happened to be covering the lesson of the wise men visiting young Jesus, and when I saw the different things she was using for her lesson, I asked if I could share her ideas with you, in case you need some for the future.
Something I've discovered, and she has, too, is that children love to be able to "act out" the story in some way. I made her a set of the Bible peg dolls I did for myself and my sister (and an aunt) last year, and she's put them to good use. If you don't know what I'm talking about, that post is here.
The week before, she had used these three for Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. The house behind them is one my uncle made for her. (If I can sweet talk him into it, I'll post those details later.) For the wise men, she used the king figure I had painted as well as two of the other men figures with a small piece of fabric over their heads to make it look a headdress.
She found this neat set of animals in the Christmas products at Michaels and knew immediately that they'd work for her Bible class. Aren't they cute? I wish I'd had time to head to that store, too, but maybe next year ... It seems I always need a camel at least once a quarter. Just a great reminder that you never know where you might find a great prop for a Bible lesson.
For her craft, she printed out a coloring sheet like the one below and just labeled the different containers to say the gifts that the wise men brought. She let the kids color them as they wanted. Then, they added the gifts.
For the gold, she had found some chocolate candies with gold wrappers. They were super excited to get to eat the candy so they could glue the "gold" on their sheets.
For the frankincense and myrrh, she had bottles of those two essential oils in her stash. She cut a slit in the paper and had another paper behind it so they wouldn't fall through. Then, she let the students put a drop or two of the oils on a small piece of felt and stick it in the little pocket she had made. That way, they could smell it and get an idea of what it might have been like. I love that idea. Especially with all the different companies that have now made essential oils more affordable. I keep frankincense in my stash, too. It's great for headaches and mood lifters and wrinkles! Think Mary used it for any of that?
I'd love to hear from you. Have you ever used essential oils in a Bible lesson? Got any other neat ideas that are similar to this? Ever taken a coloring sheet and made it more?
Today, you get the pleasure of hearing from my amazing sister about a neat idea she had. It's not exactly for Bible Class, but it would work there, too. Check it out:
I'm a mom of a 4 year old and a 1 year old. And they're amazing. I mean, they play together so well. They're constantly helping each other. They always say please, thank you, yes ma'am, no sir, excuse me, etc. They eat all of their vegetables and regularly tell people they really don't need that candy because they've had a lot of sugar this week. They prefer reading books to watching tv. And they always go to bed when we tell them to. Always.
Seriously, in my daughter's head, I'm pretty sure that's all true. I'm pretty sure if you asked her, she would say, "yep, that sounds very accurate." In real life, if she knows the word "accurate," it's because Peppa Pig said it, and she might use it without even knowing what it means.
So, in the real world...well, let's just say there's a lot of "behavior correcting" happening in our house. And Mama gets sick of having to say things like "stop that," "you cannot do that," and "did you really think that was a good idea???" As a former teacher (and a person who does a lot of late night internet reading when babies won't sleep), I know that positive reinforcement is POWERFUL. And I've seen it work with my daughter with charts for things like pottying before worship services so we don't have to get up three times during the sermon, and, the most dreaded of all behaviors to break, thumb sucking.
So what behaviors do you chart to make your children well-rounded and perfect? We went straight to Galatians 5. Part of our reason for this choice is that our daughter LOVES the song about the Fruit of the Spirit. And we've used it against her in the past. There have been times on long road trips where we were dealing with her own unique take on "are we there yet?" and we've talked about what it means to be patient and how patience is one of the fruits of the spirit...and then we sing the song with every fruit we can think of until she's in a happier mood. So far, it's worked really well.
Now we're taking this idea and applying it to more than just car rides. We made a magnetic chart out of a cheap cookie sheet. It's painted to look like a tree with symbols to represent each of the fruits of the spirit. Then we purchased some fruit magnets from Amazon (where else?). Whenever we catch her "doing" one of the fruits of the spirit, she gets to put a fruit on the tree. She loves putting the magnets on, and we always make a huge deal about what a good behavior that was! Bonus, when she gets all fifteen magnets on the tree, she gets to make a fruity treat (banana pudding, blueberry pancakes, pineapple-upside down cake, apple pie, etc.). She loves to help me cook, and who doesn't love to eat a fruity treat?
A couple weeks ago, she earned her first treat and chose apple pie. I have special knives she can use, so she got to cut the apples, measure the ingredients for the crust and roll it out, sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar on the apples, and crimp the crust with a fork. And then, of course, we all made a big deal about how delicious the pie was and how special it was that we got to eat it as a family and how wonderful that she had earned it and made it for us. She's already planning her next treat!
So what does she earn magnets for? When she offered to come pray with me when I had the flu, she earned one for faithfulness. When she didn't pitch a fit in the grocery store when she was told she couldn't get a donut, she earned one for self-control. When she didn't whine on the long car ride to Tennessee, she earned one for patience. When she helps her brother put on his super-hero cape and includes him in her games, she earns one for kindness. Sometimes they're a little bit of a stretch, but whenever we see her behaving in a way we want her to behave, we find a way to tie it back to the fruit of the spirit! And, although we never take magnets away, we do make a point of explaining how she's not showing the fruit of the spirit when she's behaving in ways we want her to change.
Better behavior, cute charts, and delicious treats? So far, our whole family is winning with this activity!
Ellen Anderson is a wife and mommy of two. When she's not rooting for Alabama football, she can be found planning adventures with her family, busy with church activities, or snuggling her babies.
Bible Peg People
My sister gave me a request for her birthday this year. I had made some princess peg people for my niece's birthday several years ago. And I plan to make some community worker peg people for my nephew for Christmas. She wondered if I could do Bible peg people. She and her husband always do a little Bible story with the kids before bed each evening and she thought these might be a fun addition. I ended up doing four sets because I know a couple other people who will want some for upcoming birthdays, and, of course, I wanted one for myself, too.
If you look on pinterest and etsy, you will find mostly nativity sets. And I am definitely not paying $95 for some. Obviously, I chose the wrong job! Ha! I wanted something more generic that we could use for multiple Bible stories. Here's what I came up with.
I did two babies. They're pretty generic.
I did three women, one older, one younger, and one more queenly that I thought would work for stories like Esther or Rahab. I also did a child/teenage girl.
In addition, I came up with four men. One fisherman, one shepherd, one plain guy, and a king. Then, I did a child/teenage boy.
What do you think? Would you add any? Could you use something like this to teach your family and/or Bible class kids?
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
We've heard the story dozens of time. Jesus gets mad and turns over tables, weaves a whip and drive out the moneychangers, and basically shows the people that they're not supposed to be using the temple that way. But have you taught it recently?
I try to find different ways to teach the stories each week. If I use blacklight pictures one week, I'll use the white board the next, or we'll act something out the next, or I'll have visuals aides they can hold.
t's hard to create a whole temple in a little classroom already crammed with tables and chairs and bookshelves and posters and other things. Especially for only one week. So, instead, I wanted to focus on what Jesus was trying to teach and how he did it. I gave my co-teacher a tray and filled it with things you might have use of during Bible class: Bibles, crayons, scissors, glue sticks, pencils, etc. Then, as I was showing the kids pictures of what the temple looked like and explaining where all this was taking place, my co-teacher started going around to the kids and asking if any of them needed anything. Would they like to buy a pencil? How about a glue stick? Did they bring their Bible? She could make them a good deal.
The kids looked from me, as I tried to talk over all this, to her as she went about selling her wares, wondering what was going on. Finally, I threw down my pictures of the temple, stormed over to her, grabbed the tray, and slung it across the room. "This is not the time or place for this!"
Think it made an impact on the kids? You bet it did! That, of course, led right into the story and how Jesus got mad and did basically the same thing. We talked about how it was okay to get mad sometimes, and why this was one of them. Then, we talked about where the temple is today (our hearts), and how we can keep them clean from things like what was going on back then. I ended by focusing on worship and how we can make sure we act correctly in worship and focus on what we need to focus on instead of on corrupt things.
I hope this helps you as you try to teach this lesson in the future!
I am one of those Bible class teachers who can't stand to just present the lesson and then hand out a worksheet. I want whatever I do in class to stick with the kids, reinforce the lesson, and really make them understand that this isn't just a story ... it's something that really happened. I want to include some of the ideas I've come up with here so that I can hopefully help some of you who want the same thing. I'd love to hear your ideas, too!
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