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Bible passage: Genesis 2:5-25
Background: This session will help to lay the foundations for the idea that we are made in God’s image and created to be in relationship. While most younger children will only understand this in its most basic form, we are preparing the way for deeper discovery later on in life. At this point, it’s enough to hear how God loved Adam enough to find him the perfect friend. God loves us so much, and he wants us to be friends with him and with each other.
As the children arrive, welcome them by name and invite them to sit together in a circle. Encourage them to share stories from their week and celebrate any birthdays or special events. Ask the children if they have a garden. What’s it like? If they don’t have a garden, is there a park near their house that they like? Or maybe they live in the countryside and there are beautiful rivers, fields or hills within walking distance. Chat about these things together.
You will need: a ball or soft toy
Help each child think of an animal that starts with the same letter as their name. For example, a child called Maisie could choose mouse, moose or magpie. Put the animal name together with the child’s, for example Maisie Mouse. You might want to do a little research beforehand if you have any unusual starting letters in your group.
Use a ball or soft toy to throw to one another, calling the animal name of the person you are throwing to as you do so.
You will need: a screen and a light source (see below); cut-outs of two people stuck onto garden canes; cut-outs of animals stuck onto canes; black paper; scissors; a marker pen; sticky tape
To make the screen, stretch a white sheet across your space. Use any available furniture and clothes pegs or masking tape to hold the sheet in place. Place a desk lamp (or similar) behind the sheet. (If you did Session 1 and / or 2, use the same screen in this session.)
Cut some ‘Garden of Eden’ scenery out of black paper and stick it to the screen (or draw it directly onto the screen with a marker). For example, have some birds and clouds in the sky, grass and flowers underfoot, and trees on either side. Don’t forget to leave a clear space in the middle of the scenery for the action.
Gather the children around the screen, turn the light on and tell this story:
God wanted someone to look after his creation, so he made man from dust and breathed life into him. He named the man Adam and put him in a garden called Eden. Put one of your people puppets in the garden.
The garden was very beautiful, and it was full of trees and fruit. A river ran through it, helping everything to grow. God told Adam to care for the garden but never to eat the fruit from one particular tree or he would die. Move the Adam puppet around the garden.
God looked at Adam and thought it wasn’t good for him to be all alone. He brought Adam animals so he could give them names and maybe find a friend. Put the animals one by one into the garden and encourage the children to name each animal: “Adam named this one a…”
The animals were wonderful, but none of them was right to be Adam’s special friend. So God made a woman. Stand the other person puppet next to Adam. Her name was Eve and she was just right for him, so she became his wife.
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take part in the discussion:
- What was your favourite part of the story?
- What are your favourite animals?
- Who are your favourite people?
- Why do you think God made a friend for Adam?
You will need: playdough; wipe-clean mats or a tablecloth
Give each child a lump of playdough and a mat (or put a tablecloth on the table) and help them to shape the dough into people. As you work, talk about the way God moulded Adam from dirt; that he made him in his own image. What does that mean?
Go on to make a friend for your playdough person. Why do we need friends? What things do you enjoy doing with your friends? Once everyone has finished, display the people and encourage the group to take their playdough friends home at the end of the session. Comment that the children can think about God’s amazing creativity whenever they look at these people. They can also think about how much joy their friends bring them.
You will need: a large map of the world; playdough people from ‘Creative response’
Spread your map of the world out in front of the children. Ask them to put one of their playdough people onto different parts of the world. Remind the group that God created the whole world and everyone in it.
Ask the group to hold their other playdough person in their hands as you pray this prayer to finish:
Thank you, God, for your wonderful creation:
for the world we live in, the food we eat, the animals we love and the people who care about us.
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