As most Sunday school teachers know, teaching 2- through 5-year-olds about the Bible is no easy task. In fact, half the battle is getting this young age group to sit down long enough to be taught. As preschoolers are still in the process of forming their foundational values and beliefs, forgiveness is one of those core values that preschoolers need to learn and appreciate while they are still very young. By using fun activities and crafts to communicate forgiveness to children, you have a better chance of helping them understand and value the concept.
Joesph and the Coat of Many Colors Puppet Show/Drama
The story of Joesph and the coat of many colors is one that children often enjoy because they like to think about the beautiful coat. However, it's a complicated story that children have trouble listening to and following on their own. To make it more accessible, perform a drama or puppet show in which the story is acted out. When it is concluded, relate the story to the children's own experience by asking them to think of a time when their siblings or friends have been mean to them. Finally, ask them to think about forgiving their siblings or friends. To remember the lesson, children can color a picture of Joesph's coat and write, "Remember to Forgive" on the front. After stringing it onto yarn, they can hang it in their rooms to remember the importance of forgiveness.
The Prodigal Son Story and Craft Activity
One of the easiest ways for children to grasp forgiveness is to think about their parents. After all, most children realize that they often do things that their parents have told them not to do. Still, parents forgive (almost) every time. To help children learn that they too should forgive, read a picture book or color a picture of the prodigal son as you tell the story. Next, ask children to think of times in their lives when they did something wrong and their parents forgave them. Ask children to consider one person who has done something wrong to them and to make a card for that person that tells the person that he or she has been forgiven.
Because preschoolers can't read, they often feel left out of the games and even schoolwork that older children do. However, you can make a fun, competitive game that also tests whether your charges have understood forgiveness through pictures. Prepare several pictures that illustrate forgiveness and several that do not. Print these pictures from the Internet, get them from magazines or draw them yourself. Next, split the class into teams. Show the class each picture one at a time. The first team to answer whether it depicts forgiveness or not gets a point. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins.
God's Forgiveness Craft
Children need to understand that we should forgive others, but it's equally important for them to understand that God first forgave us. To explain this second point, give children black crayons and have them scribble all over white paper. Then, ask them what sin is and explain that the black represents sin. Next, paint over the black crayon with white paint. Tell students that Jesus can cover our sins and make them as if they were never there. Show the children a completely white paper. Explain the message of salvation to children and have them draw or make out of cotton balls a snowman to remind them that Jesus makes their sins as white as snow.
Miranda Morley is an educator, business consultant and owner of a copywriting/social-media management company. Her work has been featured in the "Boston Literary Magazine," "Subversify Magazine" and "American Builder's Quarterly." Morley has a B.A. in English, political science and international relations. She is completing her M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University Calumet.
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