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!
Pass round a story bag and invite the children to dip their hands in and choose an object (in italics) to help you tell the story.
Jesus arrived in Bethany and went to visit Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha.
Lazarus sat down for dinner with Jesus and their guests, and Martha served the food she had prepared specially for Jesus.
Then Mary brought in an expensive jar of perfumed oil. She poured it on Jesus’ feet, and wiped his feet with her hair.
Judas said, ‘What a waste of money!
That perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.’
(purse containing coins)
Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She was helping me to get ready. The poor will always be here, but you will not always have me.’
Give the children cushions, cloths, Bible storybooks and symbolic objects, and invite them to set up a special place to pray and be with Jesus.
Give each child an organza bag and invite them to fill it with different scented items, e.g. lavender, rose petals, pot-pourri, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, as a reminder of the story.
Provide a selection of resources, e.g. musical instruments, flags, streamers, a parachute, a bubble machine, and ask the children how they would like to worship Jesus today.
Invite the children to anoint each other by rubbing scented hand cream (or talcum powder) onto each other’s hands.
Lord, you care for us.
You let Mary care for you.
Help us to care for each other.
Jesus, Jesus, here I am (JU, KS)
When I needed a neighbour
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.
These activities are from this week's Explore & respond and can be adapted for Under 5s:
Treasure pot 10 mins S
A container for valuable things
You will need: air-drying clay/play dough, paint and paintbrushes, beads, sequins, etc.
- Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with very valuable oil. Invite each child to shape a special pot to store their precious things in, e.g. notes from friends, toys, money.
- They can personalise their pots with paint and decorations. Leave them to dry.
Sensory prayer 5 mins S
Think about Jesus using all five senses
You will need: an incense stick or oil burner containing an essential oil, a clay pot/holding cross, some bread, a picture of Jesus, gentle music, e.g. ‘Alabaster Box’ by Julie Meyer (see Listen on the Young People page). (Note: be aware of anyone who is coeliac or suffers from asthma.)
- Lay out all the items on a rug or table as a focal point and play the music quietly.
- Encourage the children to spend some time smelling, touching, tasting, looking, listening and thinking about Jesus.
Spiritual styles abbreviations
W Word E Emotion S Symbol A Action
Read our Spiritual Styles articles