FIRST STEPS TOGETHER: FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN - Jesus teaches
Session 2 of 4
To discover that living God’s way includes loving everyone.
This session plan is intended for use either in person or online, depending on how you’re meeting. Adapt the activities to fit your particular situation.
Many of the circumstances Jesus describes in this passage will be outside the experience of the children in our group, so this session is going to focus mainly on verse 31. We will explore different ways of loving each other and being kind. It may be that you have children who have already had difficult lives, with a disruptive home life. Be sensitive to children who may be unwilling to love those who have been unkind to them.
STARTING OUT – 5 mins
Welcome all the children and share out any refreshments you have. Chat about what the children have done this week. What good times do they want to share? Discuss times when someone has done something kind for the children. Perhaps someone bought them a gift or took them on a day out. Maybe someone looked after them when they were sick. How did it make them feel, to be loved like that?
PLAY – 10 mins
You will need: any play equipment which the children enjoy
Gather any play equipment that promotes cooperative play and let the children play together. Play with the children and commend any examples of love and kindness that you see as the children play. This could be sharing toys, showing love and compassion, or putting others first. As you play, continue your chat from ‘Starting out’ about what it feels like when people do kind things for you. As the children show kindness to each other through their games, ask them how it feels to love each other.
BIBLE STORY – 10 mins
You will need: snacks; chair or bean bag
Sit the children on the floor and sit on the chair or bean bag in front of the group. Explain that Jesus loved to tell his friends and followers all about how to live God’s way. He would gather people together, sit down and start to teach everyone, like you are doing now.
Sit on the floor with the children and invite them to sit on the chair or bean bag and pretend to be Jesus. Can they think of anything that Jesus might say to his friends? Encourage them to ‘teach’ everyone else!
After everyone who wants to has had a go, sit on the chair yourself and share out the snacks you have brought (be aware of allergy and food hygiene issues). As you’re enjoying your food, tell this story:
One day, people had come from far and wide to listen to Jesus. He was in a big field and people were crowding all around him. He was making people better! After a while, Jesus started teaching his disciples and all the other people were listening.
“God will be kind to you if you don’t have enough money, but trust in him!”
“God will be kind to you if you don’t have enough to eat!”
“God will be kind to you if you’re unhappy!”
He also told his friends about how they should love each other. He told them that they had to love people, even if they didn’t like them. They had to love people who weren’t kind to them. They had to love people who didn’t love them back.
This was tough! It’s not easy to love people if they’re not nice to you. But Jesus said: “Treat others just as you want to be treated.”
Jesus’ friends thought about this. It would be difficult, but they would try to be like Jesus. They knew that he would help them.
CHATTING TOGETHER – 5 mins
Ask the children these questions, making sure everyone has the chance to contribute:
• What is your favourite part of this story?
• When has someone treated you well?
• When have you treated someone else well?
- • What do you want to say to Jesus?
CREATIVE TIME – 10 mins
You will need: gingerbread dough; cookie cutters; flour; rolling pins; baking sheets; access to an oven; small food bags; gift tags; pens; clean-up and cover-up facilities
Explain that you’re going to make some gingerbread people to give out to people in order to be kind to everyone! Either use pre-made dough (which you can buy or make yourself before the session) or, if you have lots of time, you can make the dough with the children (there are several easy recipes available online, such as this one).
Have fun rolling out the dough and cutting out the gingerbread people. As you work, chat together about who you might give the biscuits to and why. Encourage the children to think more widely about who might be on the receiving end of the gift – perhaps it could be someone at church or their next-door neighbour. Continue the chat from the start of the session about being kind and how it feels when someone is kind to them. What do the children think about Jesus’ statement: “Treat others just as you want to be treated”?
As the biscuits are baking and cooling, make gift tags. Then put a few biscuits into food bags and attach the gift tags. Encourage the children to take the biscuits and give them to their intended recipients!
PRAYER – 5 mins
You will need: spare biscuits from ‘Creative time’; tubes of writing icing
Give each child a gingerbread person and ask them to think about a person who isn’t very nice to them. Ask them to think about how they can be kind to that person. How might they treat that person just as they themselves want to be treated?
Give out the writing icing and ask the children to write the name of that person or draw something to represent that person on the biscuit. Help any of the children who might find this difficult.
Finally, ask the children to eat their biscuit and say a prayer asking Jesus for help in following his teaching and loving this person.
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