First Look 3- through 5-year-olds, February, Week 2
February 8, 2015 Theme: I <3 You!
Basic Truth: Jesus wants to be my friend forever.
Key Question: Who loves you?
Bottom Line: Jesus loves me.
Memory Verse:“How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:18, NIV
Bible Story: Jesus tells me God loves me no matter what.
Prodigal Son • Luke 15:11-24
Make It Fun (Introductory Activities, 10 minutes) Prepare to offer one or more of the following activities as Your 3-, 4-, or 5-year-olds arrive
1. How Far?
“How Far?” is an activity that uses large motor movements to introduce the Bible story idea that no matter how far we go, Jesus’ love goes with us.
What You Need: Beanbag, masking tape, and fine tip permanent marker
What You Do:
During the activity: Make a starting line with a strip of tape. Instruct the children to line up at the starting line and take turns tossing the beanbag underhanded. Each time a child tosses the beanbag, mark where it lands on the floor with a two-inch piece of tape, and write the child’s name on the tape. Play again and reuse the tape to mark the children’s new spots.
What You Say:
Before the activity: “Come over here and line up at this tape. I want us to see how far we can toss this beanbag. How far do you think you can toss it? (Pause.) Well, there’s only one way to find out! Let’s do some tossing!”
During the activity: “Okey dokey! Give that beanbag a toss and let’s see how far it goes! (Wait for child to toss it.) Wow! Look how far you tossed it! Let me put a piece of tape where your beanbag landed and write your name on it. Now go get back in line so you can do it again.” (Say something similar with each child.)
At the end of the activity: “You guys threw those bean bags pretty far. (Stand at the starting line and slowly get further and further away as you talk until you are as far as you can go.) Do you think Jesus would still love me if I went this far away from Him? (Pause.) What about this far? (Pause.) What about THIS far? (Pause.) How far away do you think I would I have to go for Jesus to stop loving me? (Pause.) Our Bible story today is about a son who went far, far, FAR away, but his daddy never stopped loving him, just like Jesus will never stop loving you and me, no matter how far we go! I can’t wait to hear it.”
Make It Stick (Application Activities, 35 minutes) These activities are designed to help preschoolers understand and remember today’s Bible story and Bottom Line.
1. Longer Verse
“Longer Verse” is an activity that teaches the memory verse through repetition and teamwork.
What You Need: No supplies needed
What You Do:
Before the activity: Have the children stand in a circle with you in the middle. Say the verse together as a class.
During the activity: Choose two children to come into the circle with you and hold each of your hands. Stand in a straight line. Say the verse again. Have the two children choose two more children to come and hold their hands. Start to form a long chain. Say the verse again. Continue until every child is included. Each time a child is added, say the memory verse.
At the end of the activity: Say the memory verse one more time as a class.
What You Say:
Before the activity: “Everyone stand in a circle. Great job! I am going to stand in the middle. Do you remember what our memory verse is for this month? (Pause.) Okay, let’s say it together, ‘How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,’ Ephesians 3:18. Awesome! Let’s make a LONG chain while saying our verse today!”
During the activity: “I will choose [child’s name] and [child’s name] to come and make a line with me. (Choose two children and hold their hands to from a line.) Let’s say our verse again. ‘How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,’ Ephesians 3:18. Every time we make our line longer we can say our verse. Now [child’s name] and [child’s name], you may choose someone to hold your hand and make our line longer. (Allow the first two children to choose two people and add them to the line). Great! Now let’s say our verse! ‘How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,’ Ephesians 3:18. (Continue until all of the children are included.) WOW! Look at how LONG our line is! It is really long!”
At the end of the activity: “Our line is super long, but no matter how many people we add it will never be longer than how much Jesus loves us! Who loves you? (Pause.) [Bottom Line] Jesus loves you! You got that right! He loves us so LONG! Let’s say our verse together one more time! ‘How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,’ Ephesians 3:18.”
2. Hug Me
“Hug Me” is a craft-based activity that helps the child visualize the concept of the Bible story.
Before the activity: Cut out the square and the circle. Fold the sentence strip into three equal parts and crease. It should be able to stand on its own when unfolded.
During the activity: Using the tan paper and a pencil, trace both of a child’s hands. (Option: if time is a factor, consider tracing a child’s hands prior to class and cutting them out before the children arrive. Be sure to have enough for each child to have two hands.) Cut out each hand. Give the child a sentence strip and help him glue one hand on each end of the sentence strip. Help the child glue the square in the middle section of the sentence strip. This should look like arms. Allow the child to glue the googly eyes onto the circle to resemble a face. Use the marker to draw a nose and a mouth. Glue the circle to the middle of the sentence strip above the square.
After the end of the activity: Encourage the children to pretend to give their projects a hug.
What You Say:
Before the activity: “Our story today told us that Jesus loves us VERY much! When you love someone you like to hug them. We are going to make a project today that can hug us and remind us that Jesus loves us!”
During the activity: “First we are going to trace our hands. (Trace child’s hands and cut out.) This will give our projects hands to hug us with. (Hand out the sentence strips.) Now we will glue the hands onto the ends of the long paper. (Demonstrate.) Perfect! Look, it looks like arms! Now we are going to glue this square (hold up) right into the middle of the arms (Demonstrate.). This square has words written on it that will tell your family all about our Bible story we heard today. Now we need a face. (Hand out the circles and googly eyes.) You may glue on your eyes and use the marker to draw a nose and a mouth. Awesome! We are now ready to glue on the heads. (Help the children glue on the head). WOW! What a cool craft!”
At the end of the activity: “Can you practice giving your craft a hug? (Pause.) Good job! When you hug your craft it will remind you that Jesus loves you! Who loves you? (Pause.)[Bottom Line] Jesus loves you!” Make It Real (Small Groups, 5 minutes) Make It Real is designed to help preschoolers understand how the Bottom Line applies to them. They’ll discuss real-life experiences and share prayer requests.
Divide kids into small groups of about five to eight children with each leader. Ideally, assign the same small group leader to the same group of preschoolers for the entire year.
What you Need: Paperclip “Memory Verse Card” from the week one Activity Pages on the Website in your Bible at Ephesians 3:18.
SMALL GROUP LEADER (SGL): “Jesus told us a story in the Bible today about a father and his son. Do you remember what happened to the son? (Pause.) Yes! He asked his father for a lot of money and then went far, far away. He spent all of his money on clothes and food and parties until it was all gone. When the son got hungry and tired of taking care of pigs he went home. What did the father do when his son came home? (Pause.) He sure did! He was so happy he hugged his son and threw a party to welcome him home!
“Jesus told us that story because He loves us and wants us to know that God loves us no mater what. Our friend, Jesus, loves you and me so very much. Who loves you? (Pause.) CHILDREN and SGL: [Bottom Line] “Jesus loves me.”
SGL: “You got it! And Jesus’ love for us is SO big! Just like our Bible verse says (open Bible), ‘How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,’ Ephesians 3:18. That means Jesus’ love for you is wider and longer and higher and deeper than anything else! Let’s say that together with the motions.”
CHILDREN and SGL: “‘How wide (hold your arms out wide)and long (hold your arms out vertically) and high (jump as high as you can) and deep (pretend to dig with a shovel) is the love (hug yourself) of Christ’ (point up), Ephesians 3:18. (Open your hands like a book.) SGL: “One more time!”
CHILDREN and SGL: “‘How wide (hold your arms out wide) and long (hold your arms out vertically) and high (jump as high as you can) and deep (pretend to dig with a shovel) is the love (hug yourself) of Christ’ (point up), Ephesians 3:18. (Open your hands like a book.) SGL: “Good job! Now I want us to talk about the things we’ve done that we’re really sorry for. It may be a time when we didn’t do the right thing. When we pray, I want us to tell God how sorry we are and thank Him for loving us no matter what. How does that sound? (Pause.) Good! Who wants to share first?”
SGL: “This is a great list. Let’s pray and talk to God. Would anyone like to say your own prayer before I pray?”
(Give each child that wants to pray the opportunity to do so and then close with a prayer that includes the things the children mentioned.) Prayer
SGL: “Dear God, thank You for sending Jesus to teach us about Your great love. Jesus really is the best friend ever. Thank You for loving us no matter what. We are really sorry for a few things and we wanted to tell you about them. God, we know you forgive us because of Jesus. Thank You. Help us to stay close to You and never go far, far away. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Get Ready to Dismiss
Clip any take-home creations and the Parent CUE on the wire outside the classroom where parents can get them easily. Greet parents at the door and tell them that this month preschoolers are learning that [Bottom Line] Jesus loves me! Encourage parents to repeat the Bottom Line at home and help their child understand that [Bottom Line] Jesus loves me!