Monday, May 24, 2010

Teaching Twos and Threes

Welcome to the world of terrific twos and threes! “Terrific?” I can hear you saying. “Isn’t it supposed to be the ‘terrible twos and threes?’”

No! Little two- and three-year-olds really are terrific, but they do have very strong needs for love and caring during this crucial stage of their lives. As their leader or teacher, you have the challenge of guiding these precious tots to learn of their heavenly Father and Jesus, their Savior.

True, twos have often been given a bad rap and labeled as the “terrible twos”—negative, stubborn, rebellious, and selfish. Nonetheless, you can be a successful teacher of twos and threes if you understand the children’s characteristics and know how to effectively minister to them “where they are.”

When a child is two years old, his intellectual ability, imagination, and curiosity are growing very quickly. He is trying to establish his own identity and independence, so he is apt to want to “strike out on his own” frequently. However, he often finds this is scary, and he cries or screams for the protection and comfort he received as a baby or young toddler.

Honeybees for Jesus is a Bible club program written especially for twos and threes. Honeybees Bible Club provides many opportunities for children to have their own experiences in learning centers, crafts, games, snacks, and other activities, for precisely this reason. But the activities always take place with the loving care of adult leaders and helpers nearby to provide comfort and love when the child needs it.

Two-year-olds especially are challenged by just about everything they experience; their self-confidence grows as they master simple tasks. For this reason, Honeybees for Jesus provides a wide range of learning activities, using many different methods, to challenge and teach the children about their heavenly Father and, in the process, build their self-confidence as they master important skills.
The chart below shows some important developmental characteristics of two- and three-year-olds. Because each child matures individually, and should be allowed to do so without pressure, children may show various characteristics earlier or later than the chart shows. The chart is provided simply as a basic guide to help you understand the child’s development in his third and fourth years of life.
As a teacher of twos and threes, God has given you the very important responsibility of shaping young lives so they will grow up to love and serve Him. While twos and threes present important challenges for every teacher, they also provide unlimited delight and fulfillment as you watch these little lives grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Welcome to the world of terrific twos and threes!

Click on the chart to see the larger version.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Recruiting Bible Teachers and Helpers

The adult leaders and helpers for your Sunday school, VBS, and Bible club programs have some of the most important roles in starting and running your programs. They are the ones who will provide the very early church experiences for your preschoolers and church visitors. They will act as guides to help the children explore Bible truths.

“You may feel that because you are teaching twos and threes, you don’t need much wisdom or spiritual discernment,” says Mary A. Barbour in her book, You Can Teach 2s & 3s. “But you soon discover you need a great deal, for you are working with children while they are at their most impressionable level of development.

“Your responsibilities are great to keep yourself growing in Christian virtues and to know the Saviour better day by day. This you may do with an open Bible, an open heart, and an open line of communication with the Lord through frequent, earnest prayer. And the more you grow as a Christian, the better teacher you will be.”

To ensure your students have the very best experiences in your Bible-teaching programs, look for leaders and teachers with the following qualifications:

• Are dedicated Christians who seek to live for Christ daily, who study God’s Word, and who know the plan of salvation

• Are tuned in to kids, and able to build upon their natural interests

• Enjoy sharing in the children’s joy of discovery

• Are warm, outgoing, and have a genuine love and sensitivity for children

• Appreciate and seek to follow God’s command to teach children

• Have a basic understanding of children in terms of their physical, mental, and emotional development, and their spiritual needs

• Are reliable and disciplined to prepare for each meeting

• Are suitable role models for children

The leaders are the most important part of your program—not because they do everything themselves but because they are the only means though which children can be truly involved and discipled. The most successful group is usually the one where the adult leaders do less so the children can do more. This is the toughest kind of leadership, but it's the kind that produces disciples and leaders in your students.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FREE Canvas Tote Bag with Your Order

This week only, place your order of $50 or more at and receive a FREE heavy-duty canvas tote bag. You can use it to carry your ministry supplies or give it to one of your helpers as an appreciation gift. Get a free bag for yourself and order more for your volunteers and helpers.

The tote bags are 13.5" wide by 16" tall with a 2.5" gusset and are imprinted with the Bible verse from I Corinthians 1:4, “I planted the seed…but God made it grow.” Type the words FREE TOTE in the memo box when you order online, or mention FREE TOTE when you call. The free tote bag offer is limited to the first 300 customers to respond. Hurry and get yours today.

These canvas tote bags are on sale for just $4.99 each through the end of May. Buy several and give them to your Sunday school teachers as thank-you gifts. Include a bottle of water and a bar of chocolate in each bag for an extra treat!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Think Positive!

Keep your expectations high and hold students accountable for their behavior with this letter-writing campaign. When a student’s behavior needs improvement, write her parents a letter predicting what her behavior will be like after a complete turnaround. Write the letter as if the turnaround has already happened.

Next, meet with the student and read the letter to her. Discuss what needs to happen to improve her behavior and agree on a target date for when the behavior will be completely changed and the letter will be sent home. Pray with the student, asking God to guide her behavior and the necessary changes.

Place a sticky note (with the target date on it) on the letter and give one to the student as a reminder of the date you’ve agreed on. When you and the student agree that the behavior has changed and the letter is now worthy of mailing, celebrate by having her address the envelope to her parents and decorate it. Pray together, thanking God for helping the student make the change. Then add the date to the letter and mail it. What a great way to encourage your students!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Preschoolers Are Creative (Part 2)

A walk in the rain, a seed planted in a flower pot, a magnifying glass, colorful leaves, a thank-you note to Grandma, a castle made with blocks—the ideas for creative growth are all around us. They extend to your own interest areas, too. Young children like nothing better than to be included in your activities and hobbies, even if it’s cooking, auto repair, or carpentry. To help children keep and expand the creativity of their early years requires understanding:

  Recognize that everything is new for your students. “Everything” includes the sky, clouds, rain, stars, and wind, and extends to tiny insects, pebbles, snowflakes, and leaves that most adults seldom notice. After all, small children are often a couple of feet closer to them than we are!

  Accept the idea that the exciting world comes to them through their eyes, but also through sounds, tastes, and smells, and by way of their fingertips, too.

  Realize that we have to show interest to help them retain theirs, but it’s foolish to fake it. Most children, even young ones, are alert to adults acting as thought they enjoy childhood games, when those games are really a bore to them.

  Emphasize that the pictures they draw, the sounds and words they create, and the body movements they make are their very own. They are as much theirs, and theirs alone, as are their fingerprints.

Allow each child to be the creative being God has made him or her! 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Day of Prayer: Lord's Prayer Coloring Pages

Prayers have a long history in America. The earliest national prayers date back to the First Continental Congress in 1775. In 1952, both houses of Congress called on President Harry S. Truman to set aside a National Day of Prayer each year. In 1988, Congress and President Ronald Reagan signed an act declaring the National Day of Prayer to fall on the first Thursday of May.

Here are some coloring pages we’ve created for the Lord's Prayer. Each coloring page has a portion of the Lord's Prayer—a total of five pages. There is a set of coloring pages for the New International Version and a separate set for the King James Version.  If you use a different Bible version than the ones given, feel free to cut off or white out the verse and replace it with the version you prefer. Each coloring page shows a picture of a Bible story or children learning about God's Word. Best of all, each set of five coloring pages is just $1.99 for the set!

You may want to make a coloring booklet for each child with all five coloring pages stapled together. At the end of your lesson time, your students will have a booklet with the entire Lord's Prayer—a fun keepsake reminder of their Bible lesson.

If you’d like to take a look at classroom decorations, "God Bless the USA" wristbands, bookmarks, or the Kingdom of Son Vacation Bible School program, visit Shop VBS for more information and to order your Starter Kits. Kingdom of the Son  is a complete VBS that teaches your students the Lord's Prayer as the children travel on a prayer safari.

You have our permission to copy these coloring pages for your ministry program. May God bless you as you prepare to teach children (and their families) about how to talk to God in prayer!

(Click on the images above to view the pages—
KJV is on the left and NIV is on the right)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Preschoolers Are Creative (Part 1)

Keep in mind that creativity means doing the “extra” ordinary. There’s no wrong way to mold clay, paint a picture, build with blocks, etc. Offer suggestions or assistance only when a child requests help or gets frustrated. The process and the creation need only be pleasing to the child, not to you or other adults. Find something to compliment in each child’s work, but don’t overdo it to the point it becomes insincere. If you can’t tell what the drawing is supposed to be, compliment the use of color or texture and ask the child to tell you about it. Display your preschoolers’ pictures and works of art around your Cubby Bears room and in your church nursery, make a scrapbook of art they can flip through, give card-size creations to shut-ins, and send creations home with parents. Show off your own creativity (arranging flowers, cooking up a new snack, painting a piece of furniture, hanging a new picture, making up a story or song to share, etc.) in front of your preschoolers. Let those creative juices flow!

Encouraging creativity in preschoolers isn’t really difficult. Here are a few examples:

•  Young children like to use their bodies to jump, rock, sway, creep, skip, and walk in funny ways, using their heads, hands, arms, ad legs. So let music come into your classroom through CDs, radio, singing, and instruments. Don’t worry if you can’t carry a tune. Most of your preschoolers won’t even notice!

•  Preschoolers like to make things, sometimes using tools and brushes. They like to feel different materials, and squeeze them through their fingers. So once in a while provide clay, scraps of soft wood, colored paper, paint, sand, and even mud. It will all wash off! Some items aren’t safe, and some stain, so use your good judgment to keep your preschoolers safe and clean.

•  Children like to make believe. So give them puppets, grown-up clothes, scarves, hats, large pieces of fabric, and other props out of which they’ll create a whole new world of fantasy. You might be an audience for them occasionally—and you’ll be sure to enjoy the show.

•  Young children like to rhyme sounds and words, tell stories, and compose songs and poems. So encourage them and listen to them. Don’t be too upset by silly behavior, unless it’s disrupting your activity. Give them times to let go and have fun. If they can’t “let themselves go” when they’re two, three, or four (or eight), when can they?