FIRST STEPS TOGETHER: FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN - Jesus performs miracles
Session 3 of 4
To be surprised and amazed at Jesus’ power.
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.
Our children may never have been on a boat, but they are likely to have experienced a storm. Many children are frightened by thunder and lightning, and will know something of the disciples’ distress in the boat. Jesus here demonstrates his command over nature, and leaves his disciples wondering just who he is. We can help the children begin to glimpse that, although some situations may be scary, Jesus has power over those situations and we can rely on him.
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 you have experienced a storm. What was it like? Were the children scared or did they enjoy the rain, thunder and lightning? If you’re scared by storms, share that with your group, but reassure any worried children.
PLAY – 10 mins
You will need: water play equipment (including a spray bottle); toy boats; clean-up and cover-up equipment
Set out your water play equipment (make sure you can do this outside, or in a room with an easily mopped floor). Provide overalls or aprons for the children and make sure you have towels so that they can dry themselves afterwards. Enjoy playing with the water together. In large tubs, create a ‘storm’, by stirring the water and using a spray bottle. Float a toy boat on the water and see what happens when a ‘storm’ comes!
BIBLE STORY – 10 mins
You will need: parachute; sponge football
Stand the children around the parachute and encourage them to hold the edge. Position leaders at regular intervals so that they can keep the parachute going, even in the children lose hold. Gently lift the parachute up and down, then show the children how to ripple the chute so that it looks like waves on the sea.
Throw the ball onto the chute and see how the ball jumps around as you ripple it. Take the ball off again and tell this story:
One day, Jesus and his friends were next to a big lake, called Lake Galilee. They decided to get in a boat and cross the lake, to get to the other side. (Put the ball onto the chute.)
The sea was calm and the boat sailed easily across the water. (Roll the ball around the chute, by gently lifting and lowering the chute as if performing a Mexican wave.) Jesus even went to sleep!
But suddenly a storm came and the waters of the lake got rougher and rougher. (Ripple the chute so that the ball bobs around in a lively fashion.) Jesus’ friends wondered if it was going to get any worse. Jesus was still asleep!
The storm did get worse! (Shake the chute, but be careful not to ping the ball completely over the edge.) Jesus’ friends were really scared. They looked at Jesus, but he was still asleep! They shook him awake and shouted: “Jesus! Jesus! Help us! We’re going to be thrown into the sea!”
Jesus stood up and told the wind and the waves to stop. (Hold the chute completely still.) Then he asked his friends: “Didn’t you think we’d be OK? I’m here!”
Jesus’ friends were amazed and a bit scared. They asked each other: “Who is this? Even storms obey him!”
Retell the story as many times as the children wish (or you have time for).
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?
• What was a surprise about the story?
• Have you ever been scared like Jesus’ friends? What happened?
- • What do you want to say to Jesus?
CREATIVE TIME – 10 mins
You will need: watered-down poster paint (particularly blue, purple and green); brushes; A3 paper; clean-up and cover-up equipment
Give each child a sheet of paper and show them the different-coloured paints. Encourage them to produce a ‘watery’ piece of art. They can paint the boat on Lake Galilee, or just use lot of watery colours to create some nice patterns. As you work, chat with the children about the story and what they think about Jesus. What does this story tell us about him? If appropriate, share a time when you were scared and you asked Jesus to help you. What happened? How did you feel after you’d talked to Jesus?
Once everyone has finished, give space for any children to tell you about their picture, if they would like to. Affirm the children in their responses and put the pictures somewhere safe to dry.
PRAYER – 5 mins
You will need: large tub or tray of water; simple flower shapes cut out of paper; felt-tip pens
Give each child a paper flower shape and ask them to draw (or help them to write) something that they are worried about. Once everyone has drawn or written on their flower, show the group how to fold the petals over into the centre.
Gather around the tray or tub of water and float the folded flowers on the surface. The petals should open up again as the flower floats. As you watch the flowers open up, say a prayer thanking Jesus for being powerful and being in charge of everything. Invite the children to say what they have drawn or written on their flower, if they would like to. Then finish the session by asking Jesus to be with us during these situations and to help us.
is resources editor for Premier Youth and Children’s Work.
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