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Related Bible reading(s): Matthew 11.2-11

For very young children

  Play and explore sharing good news and good things.

Play materials: large envelopes to open with the words ‘good news’ inside.

 

Gathering prayers

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
(Touch head)

to the tips of my toes;
(Touch toes)

from the lobes of my ears
(Touch ear lobes)

to the end of my nose;
(Touch nose)

from my back, to my front
(Turn round)

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!

 

Storytelling

Invite the children to choose a puppet to help you tell the story – Jesus, John, disciples, people.

Jesus travelled around teaching the people.

John the Baptist sent his friends with a message for Jesus: ‘Are you the Messiah we have been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’

Jesus said, ‘Go back to John and tell him everything you have seen and heard – sick people are being healed and good news is being preached to the poor.’

Then Jesus turned to the people around him and said, ‘John the Baptist is the one the Scriptures talk about: “Look, I am sending a messenger ahead of you. He will prepare the way for you.”’

 

Play

Give the children baskets of jewels and sparkles, and small organza bags. Invite them to share out the ‘good things’ so they can all have some in their bag.

 

Create

Invite the children to make a ‘good news’ scroll. Decorate it by adding pieces of bandage, sticking plaster, Bible quotes and stickers, then roll it up and tie it with a ribbon.

 

Praise

Play ‘Pass the parcel’. Add a party blower in each layer and some tiny Bible storybooks to share out in the middle.

 

Pray

Give each child a candle with a paper circle drip-guard. Light a large candle, then invite them to share the light as you light their individual candles. Say together:

Christ is our light.
We are waiting in the darkness.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Amen.

 

Sing

Deep and wide (CJP 35)*
If you’re happy and you know It!

 

Colouring sheets

English version; Welsh version

 

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.

 

Additional activities

These activities are from this week's Explore & respond and can be adapted for Under 5s:

 

Question and answer   10mins E

Ask questions to God and know he is always ready to answer

You will need: question marks and speech bubbles cut from card.

  • Divide the children into two teams and split each team in half, one on either side of the room.
  • Remind them that John was worried and asked Jesus a question. Jesus sent an answer back straight away to reassure him.
  • Explain that you are going to have a relay race. The first runner leaves one side of the room carrying a question mark. They leave it at the opposite side of the room with the other half of their team. A new runner from that side takes the speech bubble to the opposite end. The next runner from that side of the room returns the speech bubble. The question mark returns to the original side with the next runner.
  • Continue until every team member has run and the two halves have swapped sides of the room. Keep passing the speech bubble and the question mark between the two sides of the room.

 

Questioning?                15 mins+ W E S A

Make biscuits reminding us that even John had questions and doubts

You will need: biscuit dough (recipe on ), rolling pins, several card question mark shapes for the children to use as a template to cut round, or a question mark cutter, icing and other edible decorations.

  • Give each child a small amount of dough and ask them to roll it out.
  • Remind the children that even a special person like John had questions about Jesus. Invite them to think of some questions they might have as they cut their dough into two question mark shapes.
  • Bake the dough, leave to cool and then decorate the biscuits as desired. Allow the children to each take one biscuit home and encourage them to give the other as a gift for someone.

Spiritual styles abbreviations
W Word E Emotion S Symbol A Action
Read our Spiritual Styles articles 

The materials above are specially written to enable the youngest members of our church community to hear Bible stories and respond to them through a range of creative play activities, prayers and songs. They can be printed off and used as they are, or you can make your own selection to suit your situation e.g. a crêche during a service; separate pre-school group; or a toddler group that meets during the week.

If you prefer to make your own selection, please see Very young children support for advice and guidance on setting up and running groups or a crèche for very young children. You will also need to include a copyright acknowledgement as follows:
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd. Reproduced with permission. www.rootsontheweb.com

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This resource is taken from www.rootsontheweb.com and is copyright © 2002-2019 ROOTS for Churches.