We’re in week three of the “What’s Up” Curriculum, and I have to say, adapting it for the younger set is proving to be a lot more difficult than I originally thought! It’s just such a dense curriculum — and there is so much material that requires unpacking and serious thinking, that it’s hard to ease it down for a preschoolers understanding. (In hindsight, I probably should not have picked a curriculum designed for 5th – 8th graders, but it fit our goals so well!)
But we’re going to keep moving along for now! I am looking forward to our next team meeting to see what the small group leaders think.
Last week, we introduced four characters to the kids and to make it more appealing to the younger set, I turned the characters into animals:
I wanted to do some kind of fun electronic puppet, but after (I’m embarrassed to say) hours of searching and experimenting with different programs and apps, I couldn’t really come up with anything that I was happy with, so I went back to the old school method — regular old puppets!
We already had a toucan and elephant, so I grabbed a turtle and zebra on Amazon and away we went. I was amazed at how much the older kids loved the puppets (even the 5th and 6th graders). After all the characters gave their little talk, they were still asking for more. I did use a voice morphing app to pre-record a little speech from each the characters — you can hear it by clicking on the names above (the picture was just for my own reference).
Now onto this week!
The Gospel Story
In this lesson, kids will hear about the “big God story” of creation, fall, and redemption. We’ll be breaking it up into two parts and week one (March 16th for us) will be creation and man’s rebellion. Week two (March 23rd for us) will be the gospel (salvation) and your life today.
Small Group Activities
Draw a Storybook
The most obvious choice for this lesson is to have the kids draw their own “story books” to illustrate the big God story. For this week, they will draw God creating the world (chapter one) and mankind’s disobedience (chapter two) and next week, kids will finish it up with chapters three and four. If you want to get really fancy, you could grab these hardcover blank books or these simple paper versions for the kids to use in their book writing adventures.
A New Viewpoint
Recently, in children’s church, I asked the kids to help me design a perfect world. Each kid gave a suggestion and I described our perfect world with all the details they had given me (chocolate milk river, talking animals, continually replenishing bookcase, endless video games, etc). Then, I said there was one rule — no one could touch the light switch. I continued to tell the story, explaining one of the kids did indeed touch the light switch and everything was lost. I could actually feel a sadness fall over the room.. and I asked them if it reminded them of anything in the Bible. They remembered the fall of man and it became a lot more meaningful when they realized how sad Adam, Eve, and God must have been to see the perfect world gone. Sometimes telling a familiar Bible story with an allegory will bring a whole new light to the account.
Younger kids tend to love the story of creation — you could have them color their favorite animal, flower, tree or place to visit. If it’s nice outside, you could take the lesson outside and spend some time praying and thanking God for all the things He has made. You might even want to try a nature scavenger hunt. Here’s all the creation related posts from Growing Kids Ministry if you want to take a browse!
The lesson book encourages leaders to share a common temptation they face and what you do instead of giving into that temptation. After sharing, ask the kids what kind of temptations they face. You may be surprised by the answers!
For the older kids, you might want to check out LeCrae’s video about temptation (preview first and cut it off 1:00). If you have younger kids, you might want to use the gummy worm/hook illustration, but with more relevant examples for kids. Here’s a few more object lessons to use (candy, eggs, armor) from Kidmin Tools.
Here’s an interesting object lesson using a smoke detector and reminding kids to be aware of temptation before it strikes. And here’s an object lesson using socks which teaches that we can use the word of God to ward of temptation.
Tug of War Temptation
Continuing with the rebellion theme, you could play a game of tug of war, explaining that is often how we feel — pulled in opposite directions when it comes to temptation (read at Ministry to Children for more on this idea).
Remind kids that everyone is tempted (even Jesus), and only through the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to overcome temptation.
Bring Back the Characters!
Last week, I made a match-up sheet for the younger kids to match our animal character with their “blurry vision” concept of the gospel.
This week, you could use the same pictures of the characters and discuss how you think each of them might handle temptation. For example, Nervous Nelly probably would try to do the right thing, but she might fail and then she would feel all upset and try to do some good stuff to make up for it. Get the kids talking!
For God’s Glory
In this lesson, we also touch briefly on the fact that people were created for God’s glory. It reminded me of our days with the catechism — you can find more ideas about God’s glory here.
I’m a Sinner and So Are You
Another one of the main points of this lesson to recognize that we are all sinners. In your small groups, you could spend a little time in confession (James 5:16) and praying for one another. Too serious? Here’s a fun lesson from Frozen and Romans 3:23 about how we are all in need of a Savior. Here are some games and interactive ways to show how we fall short of God’s glory and here is a whole lesson about “Am I a Sinner” including a “sin is gross” activity that the boys will probably delight in.
I Told You It Was a Lot!
See what I mean about a lot being packed into one lesson? For small groups, just pick one small aspect to focus on because you won’t be able to do it all. Sometimes it’s better to go deep than go wide.
That’s all for this week!
Songs To Sing:
- Big God Story
- For Your Glory
- Glory to God (Amber Sky)
- Glory To God, Forever