Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Helping Young Children Feel Welcome at Church

Young children often cry when brought to church and left in the classroom because irregular attendance makes each week a new and strange experience. Others simply want to express their displeasure at being separated from their parents. To help alleviate the child's anxiety, be sure an adult devotes some personalized attention to each child as he arrives.

Stoop down to the child's level and welcome him by name. Help him say goodbye to mommy or daddy. Do not let his parent slip out unnoticed. Rather, say, "Mommy will be back later to pick you up. Say goodbye to Mommy. See you later, Mommy." Then help the child wave goodbye. Next, guide the child to place a sticker on an attendance chart.  Then gently lead the child into the selected learning center or to a free play area. Many children can become diverted by toys or a good book once their parents have left the room.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Memory Verse Craft: Let Your Light Shine

Here's a fun craft to help your students learn Matthew 5:16. Click on the NIV or the KJV craft below depending on which memory verse version you use.

Print a set of candles in the version you prefer and cut them out. Before the lesson, cut two empty bathroom tissue tubes into four sections so you have eight sections. (Or cut one paper towel tube into eight sections.) Glue one word strip around each tube section so the candles stand up. Glue the verse reference on the same tube as the words "in heaven." Copy the candle page for each child and bring two empty bathroom tissue tubes or one paper towel tube for each child..

During your lesson, read Matthew 5:15-16 aloud from your Bible (or have an older student read it). Choose non-reading students to hold the candle visuals in front of the group. Let the children help them stand in the correct verse order. Then, together with the children, read verse 16 from the visuals.

Ask, What does it mean to let your light shine? (To do good deeds so people see the love of Jesus through you.) Why should we let our light shine? (So people will see the good things we do and will want to know Jesus, too.) Can people see good things in us if we are doing bad things? (No.) When people see us do good things, then they will want to know Jesus and our heavenly Father.

Give each child a copy of the visuals. Hand out scissors, glue, and 2 empty bathroom tissue tubes for each child. If you have young students in your group, cut the empty tubes into four sections before the lesson, so each child has eight sections. (You may need to tape some of the sections to reinforce them.) Let the child glue one word strip around each tube section so the candle stands. Have him glue the verse reference around the same tube as "in heaven."

Say the verse together twice. Change your “candle holders” around, and have a volunteer  put them in the proper order. Read the verse again; then mix up the holders and repeat.

Matthew 5:16 — “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (KJV)

“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (NIV)

Click on the image above to download the craft page.
NIV is on the left and KJV is on the right.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bible Lesson: Love One Another

Help your students learn the memory verse I John 4:7 — “Let us love one another.” Before your lesson, cut a big heart from red poster board and a small heart from red paper. Mark your Bible at the Bible Words with the small heart. Post the large heart on a wall or bulletin board at the children’s eye level. Bring blueberry muffins for each child. Make them from a mix or use the recipe below. (Make sure to have extra muffins for visitors and helpers.)

During class, point to the large heart. Ask, What word do you think of when you see a heart? Say, Here in the Bible it says, “Let us love.” Do you know whom the Bible tells us to love? Read the whole verse. Say, We can begin by loving everyone in the room.

Give each child a piece of paper and crayons or markers. Let the children draw self-portraits. Let each child tape her picture near the heart. As each child does this, say the Bible Words. Substitute the child’s name for “one another.” When all the pictures have been posted around the heart, have the children say the Bible Words together. During the lesson, compliment those children who use kind words and thoughtful actions toward the others.
Have the children wash their hands. Now bring out the muffins along with napkins and small paper plates. Serve water or juice to drink. Say a prayer of thanks for the snack. Also thank God for His love for each person. Let each child choose a muffin and hand it to the person on his right. Talk about how when we show respect and kindness to others, we are showing love to each other. Say the memory verse once more as the children finish eating.

For more lesson ideas, take a look at Bible Foundations Sunday School Curriculum, available for Preschool, Early Elementary, and Upper Elementary.

Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix 8 ounces vanilla yogurt or sour cream with one egg (if you omit the egg, add 1/4 cup water), 1/4 cup orange juice, two tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, and one teaspoon vanilla flavoring. Mix well.

In another bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Make a well in the center. Add wet ingredients and stir just until moist. Gently fold in one cup fresh or frozen blueberries.

Spoon batter evenly into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle sugar on top of each muffin. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let sit five minutes. Use a knife to loosen muffins from sides of pan. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack. Yield: one dozen muffins.