Young children love repetition. Using the same prayer to start your session each time you meet will create a sense of familiarity and expectation.
Suggestion 1: God loves me
From the top of my head
to the tips of my toes;
from the lobes of my ears
(Touch ear lobes)
to the end of my nose;
from my back, to my front
to my wiggly fingers,
(stretch out arms and wiggle fingers)
God loves me!
(jump up and down)
Suggestion 2: God loves...
Leader: God loves
Child 1: (say name)
Leader: and God loves
Child 2: (say name)
Go round the circle until all the children have been named (the leader or accompanying adult can say the name of pre-verbal or shy children)
All: Thanks be to God!
Lay down a green felt circle, and place and move card/felt pieces as you tell the story: green stem, green branches, purple grapes.
Jesus said, ‘I am the vine, (stem)
and you are the branches. (branches)
Those who stay in me will grow a lot of fruit. (grapes)
God the Father is the gardener.
He cuts off every branch that doesn’t grow fruit, (remove some branches)
and he prunes every branch that bears fruit,
so it will grow even more.’ (add more fruit)
Invite the group to ‘grow’ a vine by piecing together green card strips and leaves, and purple card grapes, on a brown cloth. Have lots of pieces so the children can spread the vine wherever they want it to go. Invite them to care for the vine using toy gardening tools.
Invite the children to pot up multipacks of seasonal plants, e.g. pansies, tomatoes, strawberries, using plant pots, spoons or trowels and multipurpose compost. Water with a spray or small watering cans, take home and grow.
Play some ‘growing’ music (see suggestions below) and invite the children to curl up in a ball, gradually stretch out and grow, sway in the breeze, then open and close hands to show fruit growing.
Suggestions for ‘growing’ music:
Air on the G string, Bach
Spring Waltz, Chopin
Invite each child to take a piece of fruit from a bowl that includes grapes. Before eating it, repeat together:
Thank you, God,
for food that helps us to grow
and gives us energy to play.
These activities are from this week's Explore & respond page can be adapted for Under 5s:
Rope walk 10 mins W E
Play a game to symbolise staying connected to each other
You will need: a length of rope.
- Show the children the rope and explain that it represents the vine that Jesus was talking about. Invite them to hold onto the rope. Lead them on a journey, adding some obstacles, if appropriate.
- Afterwards, reflect that being connected to Jesus is like being attached to an invisible rope. We can’t see it while we are at home, at school or out playing, but it we know it’s there and that it links us all together.
Fruitful trees 10 mins W E S
Explore the meaning of bearing good fruit
You will need: tree shapes (template), one per child, pencils, coloured crayons, a potted herb.
- Give each child a tree shape. Talk together about what kind of things Jesus meant by ‘bearing fruit’, e.g. being kind, generous (see Galatians 5.22-23).
- Invite the children to draw some fruit on their tree and write down some practical examples in the leaves.
- Show them the herb and its roots. What kind of roots do we need to bear good fruit? Invite the children to write down some ideas among the roots of their tree, e.g. praying, reading Bible stories, going to church.
- The children can finish by lightly shading their trees, so the words remain visible.
Black and white colouring sheet
Black and white colouring sheet in Welsh
God Loves Me, Doug Horley on Lovely Jubbly
Five little fruit jumping on the bed (Adapt rhyme ‘Five little monkeys jumping on the bed’).
A sending out prayer
Young children love repetition. Using the same prayer to end your session each time you meet will create a sense of familiarity and expectation.
God bless you,
(Point to others)
and God bless me.
(Point to self)
Amen. (Wave arms)
Leader: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Children and parents: In the name of Christ, Amen.