After we were married I decided I would have a go-to side dish. You know for dinner parties and church dinners. My grandpa always raved about his mom’s (my “granny-with-the-one-eye” as I called her; yes she had one eye, and yes she still loved me despite my nickname for her) baked macaroni and cheese. Of course there was no family recipe recorded, just memory of the wonderful, cheesy concoction. Well, that would make a good go-to recipe I thought. I won’t even try to count the times I have attempted homemade macaroni and cheese. We are 7.5 years in to this marriage, and I have yet to be satisfied with the results. Mac and cheese is apparently not my thing. I can however throw together a Sunday School lesson in a pinch like no one’s business.
I highly encourage preparation when it comes to teaching children. Children are TOTALLY worth it. I really believe in spending more time on preparing for teaching children than adults. So don’t read this like I throw together a lot of children’s lessons. I don’t. The way to make sure that you aren’t throwing things together last minute is to prepare ahead of time! Life happens and it’s good to be prepared. Having a lesson in your mind that you feel comfortable with is just handy and prevents the throwing-together-at-the-last-minute thing.
If you volunteer in children’s ministry there will always come a day when you need to sub last minute. It may be for children’s church, Sunday School, or VBS. Whenever I get the opportunity, I do certain lessons that are cemented in my brain. If I know a rough schedule I always stick to that. Consistency and kids go hand in hand, right?
Things I like to do with kids 0-10ish:
- Have them help act out a bible story.
- Scripture memorization. Chant a verse like a cheerleader! This can be mixed in sporadically over the time we are together.
- Sing and dance (okay I ALWAYS like to do this, but still it’s relevant).
- Play a game!
So if I’m unsure of the structure of the class:
- Sing (do the kids have a favorite?) If not then it’s The Lord’s Army:
I may never march in the infantry
Ride in the calvary
Shoot the artillery
I may never fly o’er the enemy
But I’m in the Lord’s army. YES SIR!
2. Scripture memorization: I LOVE chanting scripture. SUPER simple. My go-to is Matthew 22:37 I do it like this:
- You! You Shall! You Shall love the Lord your God! x3
- With all your heart (cross arms on chest), soul (arms out wide), and mind (point to head).
- I have them repeat the first line after me three times; then when they nail that down we move on to the second line.
**For VBS this year we are doing a memory verse a day. For the 2-4 year olds that includes Matthew 4:19. For that my class will do hopscotch while saying: And Jesus said -pause- Follow me -pause- and I will make you FISHERS of men.
The printable that I made to go with it.
3. PRAY! All too often I forget to pray as a central part of bible study. It’s definitely not something to forget or skip through. It’s important and deserves time. Ask the kids if they have any joys and concerns. ASK EVERYONE if they have something they would like to thank God for or ask for God’s help with. Then pray for them!
4. Bible Story. I really like having the kids participate in the story. The can listen to it first and then act it out. The defeat of Jericho is a super easy one to do this with as blocks are easy to come by and there’s no limit on how many Israelites you may have in your class. Another one is the Exodus. One that I have done several times is Moses in the water. I like this one because baby dolls and basket-type things are usually easy to find in the nursery/Sunday school rooms. As a mother of two little kids we usually have at least one of these in the car. This is just fun to have the kids take turns floating Moses on the river and someone finding him and caring for him. Why did I choose any of these? Simply because I know them well! If you are in a pinch its best if you aren’t wasting time searching through curriculum or a bible to find something to read that you haven’t read in awhile. When you know it you can spend more focus on interacting with the kids.
5. Game. IF you have time left over at the end then play a game! I think a lot of time we try and put a craft in here but guess what? They aren’t necessary. Yes, crafts are fun and can be a great way to help remember the bible story. They also take time and resources to prepare. So don’t worry about a craft. Play a game! Set up little containers and take turns throwing three balls. After they take three shots have them attempt the memory verse or ask a question about the story. You can also do this with duck, duck goose. Change it to use key words in the story or just have the “it” person answer a question about the story before they start ducking!