Although I originally developed these expository Bible studies for school-age children that can read, you can adapt these lessons for any age — child, youth, or adult. By using these materials for your own understanding of the Scriptures and personal growth, you'll feel much more confident and capable sharing God's Word with any age level. To help you adapt the lessons on this website, I describe how we do things at our church in the following sections.
Teaching Pre-School Children
Teaching Grade School Children
Teaching Ages 1-2
Pre-School Theme Songs
Pre-School Finger Plays
Pre-School Transition Songs
Teaching Ages 3-5
Sample Pre-School Lesson
Sample Pre-School Teaching Schedule
In our church, the "Little Blessings" class is 6 months to potty trained. We feature a well-known Bible character each month. During the month, we tell the children different stories about that character each week. We also have a theme poster, a simple theme song, and a simple Bible verse for the month. We keep our "stories" very simple and conversational. For example, in January we feature God, the Creator and our Bible verse is simply, "God made the world". Each week, during the month of January we tell the children different stories about what an awesome Creator we have. One week might be all about how God created the sun and the moon and the stars. The next week might be about how God created animals and talk about the many different kinds of animals God created. To reinforce our lessons, we play simple games, do finger plays, and sing songs that are appropriate for one- and two-year-olds.
Here is a list of 12 suggested Bible characters. If you teach chronologically through the Bible, you can arrange your schedule so that you teach about Jesus during December:
|1. God, the Creator||7. Joshua|
|2. Noah||8. David|
|3. Abraham||9. Elijah|
|4. Jacob||10. Daniel|
|5. Joseph||11. Jonah|
|6. Moses||12. Jesus|
You can pick any Bible characters you want, but stick to the same ones year after year so you can build up your files for each character. I keep a file for each Bible character and each time a lesson is taught, our teachers add to the ideas in that folder. You can get tons of great ideas from the internet for crafts, games, songs, and so on. Make posters and other bulletin board scenes to enhance your teaching. Kids this age need lots of visual aids.
Don't worry about repeating the stories each year. Repetition is a must for this age. A child who consistently attends Sunday school at our church goes through this sequence of characters two or three times. By the time a child moves into the Pre-school class s/he will at least be familiar with these people's names.
It's not about making sure they remember every fact that you teach them. It is much more important that they have a positive experience at Sunday school, where they learn that God loves them and that church is a good, safe, fun, loving place to be. That will ensure that they want to keep coming back.
Having a simple theme song for the month about each Bible character helps reinforce that month's teachings, even if you are rotating teachers. Make up simple lyrics and put them to tunes that are already familiar to everyone, especially the teachers! Here are some examples:
God Created the World
(Tune: Happy Birthday)
God created the world.
God created the world.
He made all the animals,
And He made you and me.
God Parted the Red Sea
(Tune: Farmer in the Del)
The water fled away,
The water fled away.
The people walked across dry ground.
The water fled away.
For other theme songs, click on the following links:
God Keeps Noah Safe
God's Good Care of Baby Moses
Joshua Leads the People
Sampson, the Strong Man
God Helps David
Daniel Trusts God
The Best Gift
The Big Lunch
Jesus Loves Children
Christ Is Risen
You can search the internet for various finger play games. Here is one example:
David and Goliath
One great idea I picked up at a children's ministry conference a number of years ago was the idea of Transition Songs. For both the 1's and 2's and the Pre-School age classes, it is very effective to have Transition songs that help the kids know when it's time to move from one activity to the next.
It's an amazing thing, but once everyone gets familiar with these songs, whenever you start to sing one, the kids automatically go into that next activity. For example, if you start to sing "It's Time to Pray" the kids instantly fold their hands and bow their heads! Or if you sing the Snack Time song, they immediately go to their little tables and fold their hands because they know that's the signal I'm waiting for before I give them their snack! It's like magic!
Prayer Time Song
Story Time Song
Snack Time Song
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We call our pre-school class, the "Movers and Shakers". We follow the same idea of teaching chronologically, but we go a little deeper. The character studies are more complex. We have formal teaching schedules which take the children through the whole Bible in a year. The schedule lists each Bible lesson reference, the teaching goal, and both a "Unit" memory verse and an individual memory verse for each lesson. For this class I have modules starting with Creation and moving chronologically through the Bible to The Patriarchs, Moses, Joshua, Judges, Kings, Prophets, and, of course, Jesus!
When teaching the younger children, it is never a good idea to just read a Bible story to them. You'll have better control over the class if you maintain eye contact with the children by telling the story. Colorful visual aids are essential and it's really important to get the kids involved in telling the story. For example, you can have the children make sound effects or facial expressions. If your story is about Jesus calming the storm you can have the children make the sound of a big wind. Or, if your story is about the feeding of the 5,000 you can have the children show you what they would look like if they were really hungry.
Visual aids are essential. I love Betty Lukins' Bible in Felt pieces since they are so colorful. (See www.BettyLukens.com) I use those in the grade-school classes, too. The manual that goes along with the set writes out the stories in a way that is age-appropriate for younger kids and that is very helpful to the teachers.
Puppets are really great, too. I had one teacher who sat in a circle with the kids and put the puppets on her feet to tell the story. And, of course, the kids wanted to tell the story using the puppets, too. So, the lesson just got reinforced as they each took a turn telling it over and over.
You can get suggestions for using visual aids and puppets, as well as loads of other ideas in Tips and Tricks - Making Children's Bible Lessons Come to Life.
David Cares for a Friend - Agenda
David Cares for a Friend - Lesson
The following teaching schedule illustrates how to take the children through the whole Bible in a year. The schedule lists each Bible lesson reference, the teaching goal, and both a "Unit" memory verse and an individual memory verse for each lesson. (Note: I personally think if you have one verse for the whole module or unit, the kids are more likely to tuck it into their hearts.)
Sample Teaching Schedule
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We call our 1st - 4th grade class, "Kid's World" and our 5th and 6th grade class, "Soldiers of Christ". For these classes, I use the same systematic approach to teaching chronologically through the Bible, but we go even deeper. Instead of going through the whole Bible in a year, as with the pre-school class, I take several years to teach a survey of the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments.
While we teach the pre-school children all the main Bible stories, I feel that it is important to make those Bible stories into Bible lessons for the grade-school children. I want the Word of God to penetrate their hearts and be relevant to their lives.
When I'm studying a passage, I use the Inductive Bible Study method. I analyze the text and ask myself, what does the passage say and what was the author trying to explain to his readers. Then I ask myself, how can I apply this to my life? What life lesson can I learn? I study the passage for myself first so the Holy Spirit can work the Bible lesson into my own heart. Then, I go one step further and ask myself, how I can make this lesson applicable to the children. I want my Bible lessons to be life changing for the unsaved child and challenging for the saved child, so I look for opportunities in the passage to teach about: Sin, Salvation, and God's character.
Tips and Tricks -- Making Children's Bible Lessons Come to Life
Lesson Preparation Techniques
Sample Grade School Lessons
Tips and Tricks - Making Children's Bible Lessons Come to Life contains ideas that can really help your lessons come to life. Tips and Tricks makes an excellent teacher's resource book and can aid you in training new teachers on topics such as how to prepare and present a lesson, how to deal with discipline problems in the classroom, how to use your bulletin boards effectively, and so on.
This handbook is a collection of great ideas that I've learned over the years from various teaching tapes, books, workshops, and magazines. Child Evangelism Fellowship was an invaluable resource to me; I highly recommend their Children's Ministry Resource Bible published by Thomas Nelson.
I pray this handbook helps to make your calling to the Children's Ministry a truly rewarding experience. As a new Sunday school teacher, I would have given anything to have the kind of information contained in this guide.
Tips and Tricks - Making Children's Bible Lessons Come to Life
Games That Teach
Easter Floor Game
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My lessons are designed to model expository teachings for teachers that might not already be familiar with this teaching technique. The idea is to have the kids read the passages in their Bibles and the teacher explain the scriptures and give good practical applications that are age-appropriate. The following material can help you develop your own expository lessons using the Inductive Bible Study method of Observation, Interpretation and Application.
Preparing a Bible Study for Mark 6:45-52 for Grade School Children
Preparing a Bible Study for 1 Kings 21:1-29 for Grade School Children
The King's Kindness (2 Sam 4:4, 9)
Elijah and Naboth's Vineyard (1 Kings 21)
Jesus Walks on Water (Mark 6:45-52)
The following are some additional teacher training guides.
Set Goals for Teaching Sunday School
Teaching Doctrine to Kids
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