“Love God and others. That’s what Jesus said we should all do, Mommy.” Your toddler and preschooler quickly learned these simple four words that sum up Matthew 22:37-39. Simple activities help your little one remember the first and second greatest commandments and give her ways to apply them. Watch out; she will probably check your behavior to see how well you apply the commandments and call you on it if she thinks you can do better.
Ask your preschooler, “How do you show someone you love them?” He might throw his arms around you and give you a big smacker kiss. “You can’t hug or kiss God. So, how do you show love to someone you can’t touch?” Suggest that your child talk to God through prayer if he loves Him. Pray with him at bedtime and before meals. Explain that doing what God commands is another way to express your love for God. That includes attending church, speaking respectfully to and about God, only worshiping God and not making a fake representation of God.
Loving God and others is demonstrated in loving behavior. Your little one has no trouble telling others she loves them or giving them kisses and hugs. Remind her to obey you as a way to show love. Suggest ways she can show love to others in your neighborhood. For example, she can bring the neighbor’s paper up on the porch or help you fix sandwiches to drop off to a neighbor who doesn’t have enough food. Suggest she express love and care for a friend who feels lonely or unloved.
Your tot or preschooler probably equates love with hearts. He can make heart pictures for people he loves or to show his love for God. Help your child cut out a large heart and glue it in the middle of a sheet of paper with his picture above the heart and pictures of family and friends underneath the heart. Alternatively, help him glue a big heart on a picture of the earth with various colored paper dolls to represent loving all of the people on the planet. He can also send a picture love letter to family or friends.
Crafts that remind your child to love others and God can be simple and inexpensive. She could string heart-shaped plastic beads on yarn or plastic lacing to give to those she loves or she could slip heart-shaped beads on a pipe cleaner to make heart-shaped bracelets. Another option includes gluing pictures of family and friends on paper or foam craft hearts. She can punch a hole in each heart and add a string to hang the hearts from a wire hanger or from the rim of a paper or polystyrene plate and hang a picture of a cross in the center of the plate to remind her to love God and other people.
- Bible Gateway: Matthew 22:37-39
- Little Hands Art Book; Judy Press
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images