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Ezekiel 17.22-24; Psalm 92.1-4,12-15; 2 Corinthians 5.6-10(11-13)14-17; Mark 4.26-34

Very young children's session

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus shares two parables about growth, patience and hope. As Jesus continues to draw crowds who gather to listen to his teaching, these parables speak about how this teaching is heard and received. The adventure of discipleship is how faith can grow from a small seed to a colossal plant with far-reaching branches if the right environment is provided.

This week we explore the environment in which God's kingdom values flourish.

Prepare
Very young children's Session

Provide the following play materials for very young children throughout the session: a tray of pulses and seeds, with containers and spoons to scoop and pour.

Gather
Very young childrens Session

 Gathering song

Sing to the tune: Baby shark

Parables: do, do, do, do, do, do.
Jesus tells…
To teach us…
How to live.

Seeds and vines…
Masters, slaves…
Missing sheep…
Helping all.

Do your best…
Serve the Lord…
Be a friend…
Grow with God.

Very young children's Session

Sow, grow, harvest!                          5 minsE

  • Ask the group to spread out in your space. Then call out words and show them actions:
    • ‘Plough’ – mime digging;
    • ‘Sow’ – mime scattering seeds;
    • ‘Water’ – mime rain falling;
    • ‘Grow’ – crouch down and then jump up;
    • ‘Harvest’ – mime pulling up plants from the ground.
  • Invite everyone to move around the room and then respond with the correct action when you call out the words. You may wish to catch people ‘out’. Gradually increase the speed!
Share the Word
Very young childrens Session

Give each child a seed to hold in their hand as you tell the story.

Jesus liked to tell stories to help people understand about God’s kingdom.

Once he told a story about some seeds.

He said that if someone plants some wheat seeds,
they grow all by themselves,
whether the person is awake or asleep.

The plant grows bigger and bigger and the wheat gets ripe
and can be cut down in the harvest.

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a tiny mustard seed,
which grows into one of the biggest garden plants,
and birds can sit in its branches.

Explore and respond
Very young childrens Session

Plant and water

Play and wonder at growth in nature 

Provide seeds, compost and pots and encourage the children to plant and then water their seeds. Talk about what they might grow into. When they see their plant growing, children can remember how God’s kingdom grows.

 

Kingdom seeds

Create a reminder of growth with God 

Prepare a large outline of the word ‘Kingdom’. Invite the children to stick seeds or pulses inside the outline as a reminder of how God’s kingdom grows like a tiny seed.

Very young childrens Session
Very young childrens Session

0-5s song(s)

‘A wise child knows’ (new words to the tune of: The wise man built his house upon the rock)

A wise child knows a seed needs lots of care,
you don’t just plant your seedlings anywhere!
They need good grounding, food and love to share,
so plant your seeds with care.

Growing prayer

If possible, go outside and look at some flowers or plants (or look at pictures) and spend some time wondering at how seeds grow into the beauty of nature. 

Very young childrens Session
Childrens Session

Activity sheet 

Very young children's Session

Handprint plants                          10 minsE

A reminder of our own growth

You will need: brightly coloured paint, paper, washing-up bowl and towel, pens.

  • Invite everyone to make handprints using the paint to represent flowers, then paint a stem underneath.
  • Invite each person to write things they are interested in and gifted at around their paintings, to represent their own fruitfulness.
  • Leave the paintings to dry, reminding the group of their developing skills, talents and faith.
Go with God
Very young childrens Session

Sing

To the tune: Jesus’ hands were kind hands, doing good to all

Jesus tells us stories, guiding us to live.
Parables are stories, teaching us to give.
Help me be like Jesus, till I’m loving too.
Jesus tell us stories, till I’m kind like you.

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