Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Following Jesus

Would you be able to leave your family and job immediately if Jesus asked you to be his disciple?  When explaining the story, Four Fishermen Follow Jesus in Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20 to my oldest disciple, she said, "mom and dad will come with me."  I agreed with her, that would be very difficult for me to leave my family.  When Jesus asks us to serve him, we must be like the disciples and do it at once. 

Following Jesus can be very challenging (giving your money to those in need, doing the right thing even though you don't want to, death of a loved one...), but the outcome is greater than anything...spending eternal life in Heaven.

I have made several kinds of mazes to help my little disciples understand the challenges of following Jesus.  Psalm 32:8  The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you."

Marble Maze Game (I found this idea on Serving Pink Lemonade)
1. Take 2 rectangle scraps of felt and sew them together leaving a hole for the marble
2. Turn it inside out
3. Sew your own maze design
Object of the game is to start the marble at the end of the maze and find its way out of the hole.  Keep reminding your little disciple that God's path may be difficult, but it's a great reward when finished.

The hole where the marble comes out when you finish the maze

Box Lid Maze
1. Find a lid from a box in your house (I used a shoebox)
2. Cut a hole on each side
3. Hot glue straws to create a maze
Keep reminding your little disciple that God's path may be difficult, but it's a great reward when finished.

Maze Worksheet
I created 2 different mazes for my 1 and 3 year old.  You can print them here and here.  A harder maze is found on Print Activities Website.
To keep reusing the mazes, I put the them in plastic sheets and wrote with Vis-a-Vis markers.  Keep reminding your little disciple that God's path may be difficult, but it's a great reward when finished.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jesus Heals the Blind Man

Before we read aloud the Bible story, I wanted to teach my kids what "blind" meant.  We started off with a mini game.
Sense of Touch game:  fill a bag with a variety of items
Using only the sense of touch, guess what each item is in the bag.  Questions to ask: How did you know what it was?  What does if feel like?  Would it be easier if you could see it?  If we could use our eyes, how would this game be easier? 

Next, I tied a bandana around their eyes so my little disciples could see what it would be like to be blind.  They both didn't like it.  I pretended to be blind and they guided me around the house.  They learned quickly that they would rather be the one helping than the one who was blind.

 Eating blind

Jesus Heals the Man Who Was Born Blind - John 9

I got this idea from the blog, When You Rise.  After reading the story aloud in my bible, we retold the story using stick people and mud.

I created my own documents for everyone to print and use.  Just add the mouth and a popsicle stick.
Yes, I forgot to add the mouth before I took the picture:)
I waited to do this on a nice day because I didn't want to bring the mud inside my house.  You will need a bowl for the dirt and a bowl for the water.
Mix the water and dirt to create mud.
Jesus spread the mud over the blind man's eyes.
He told him, "go wash yourself in the water."

So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
Keep the stick people to retell for future use!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Easter Countdown with Offering

Tithe - giving 10% of your earnings to the church

 Malachi 3:10 "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple.  If you do", says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, "I will open the windows of heaven for you.  I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in!  Try it!  Put me to the test!"

What an amazing scripture.  Thank you God for your amazing blessing.  

Now, how to teach my little disciples....first, I created an Easter Garland.

I bought 50 eggs at the store with tiny holes on each side (most of them have the holes so it was easy to find).  Threaded all of the eggs through the hole then numbered the eggs from 50 to 1 with a permanent marker.

I then placed money inside each egg.  Every day my little disciples will open up one egg, then put the money in our Tithe container.

On Easter Sunday, we will give the money to our church offering.  I am thinking this is going to be our Easter tradition.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-15 Short summary: Jesus and his disciples had five loaves of bread and two fish.  They needed more food to feed the five thousand people that were hungry.  Jesus took the loaves of bread and fish, gave thanks to God, and distributed it to all of the people.  Everyone ate as much as they wanted and they still had leftovers.

We started the lesson on baking rolls of bread.  Oh, what a mess!  The dough was super sticky and it took me 40 minutes to clean up afterwards.  My youngest disciple has a gluten intolerance so we had to bake it from scratch.  I think purchasing frozen rolls would be easier...just sayin:)
While the rolls were rising and baking, we gathered our "5,000 people".  My oldest disciple asked each stuffed animal and baby "Are you hungry?  Don't worry, we'll feed you."  I loved hearing those sweet words.  My youngest disciple, however, threw all of the animals off the couch just to make his sister scream...not every lesson is perfect...right?
Fresh out of the oven!  I hid all of the rolls and canned tuna fish (another idea is goldfish crackers) under a towel in a large bowl. 
I placed 5 rolls and 2 pieces of tuna fish on another towel on the very top of the bowl.

We held the bowl above our heads pointing to Heaven, gave thanks to God, then I had the little disciples close their eyes and magically more rolls and fish appeared!  (I thought this was the most fun of the whole lesson.) 

Time to feed the people.
My son didn't care much about the lesson until he realized he could eat the rolls, too:)

This was a really fun morning, well, minus cleaning the kitchen and my youngest making the oldest scream.

To conclude our lesson, we went to a grocery store to buy non-perishable canned food.  We donated it to the Mission Committee at our church to help feed the hungry. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jesus Calms the Storm

Luke 8:25 "When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!"
Yes, Jesus was that powerful.  The scripture reading of "Jesus Calms the Storm" is in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25.  A brief summary: Jesus and his disciples were on a boat.  When Jesus was taking a nap, a fierce storm came down on the boat.  The disciples woke up Jesus because they were scared that they were going to drown.  Jesus stopped the storm and all was calm, then asked the disciples, "where is your faith?"  The disciples were amazed that Jesus could calm a storm.
Lesson 1: 
Create an ocean bottle
Supplies: clean 2 liter bottle, vegetable oil, glitter, food coloring, and funnel (optional)

To recreate the boat, I hot glued toothpicks together to fit inside the bottle.  This worked perfectly because it floats on top of the water.
1.  Put 1 tsp of glitter (I used blue) inside the 2 liter bottle
2.  Fill half of the bottle with water
3.  Use 3 to 4 drops of blue food coloring, mix with the water
4.  Fill the rest of the bottle with vegetable oil using the funnel 
5.  Place toothpick boat inside the bottle
6.  Glue the lid on top
(I didn't fill the whole liter so we could see the boat floating in the water.)

Retell the story using the ocean bottle.

Lesson 2:
Acting out the story
We created this boat several weeks ago.  I have a feeling we will be using it a lot for our Bible stories.  It worked perfectly for this week's lesson.
After I taped the corners and sides of the cardboard box, we painted and glued on blue paper for the water.

I pretended to be Jesus first, then each little disciple took a turn.  
This is a picture of Jesus taking a nap in the boat.

Please leave a comment when you try either of these lessons or if you have other ideas for "Jesus Calms the Storm."  I would love to compare ideas!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Modeling Prayer

How do I teach my little disciples to pray?  Model, model, model!
  • Keep it simple and short
  • Pray as a whole family- we say a memorized prayer every night
  • Pray anytime, anywhere- I pray out loud so the little disciples can hear me, I pray while washing dishes, driving in the car, watching the news, putting my son in the car seat (yes, I easily lose my patience with that)...  
Once I saw the Prayer Pail on pinterest, I have been anxious to make one.  The plan is to have everyone pick one stick and pray for that person.

Luke 11: 1-13 Discusses how Jesus teaches his disciples about prayer.  Verse 9 and 10 say, "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jonah and the Whale...3...2...1...Action!

My oldest disciple called herself a movie star when we acted out the story of Jonah and the Whale.  We have been learning this story all month so she easily had it memorized.  Because I am a craft junky, we don't throw away any cardboard.  I always say that someday I will need it.  Well, today was the day. 
I taped 2 big boxes together.  These happened to be from car seats that we purchased.  If you do not have cardboard boxes, a table works great too.
Cutting the teeth on the whale.

 I threw several blue blankets over the box and called it a whale.  My daughter disagreed and said it needed a tail.  So, I found blue paper, cut it into a tail shape and held it up with a pipe cleaner.

Folded a white piece of paper to add a blow hole.  Like I said before, I am a simple person.  They couldn't wait to get inside.
Roll playing - pretending to be Jonah and asking God to forgive us. 
God protected us and the whale spit us out!

Don't stress about making a perfect whale.  The main idea of this lesson is to roll play Jonah and understand his feelings of being inside the whale.  I could have painted the box blue, but blankets were easier.  Using your kitchen or coffee table is a fast idea as well.