Subscribers only: Download as a PDF here.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Matthew 6:1-4
BACKGROUND: When people gave money in the temple, they used to put it into a box that made a loud noise, so it literally announced their giving. Some children will have the opportunity to give their own money, but some under-5s won’t have experienced that yet. Some may also find it hard to do anything in secret, so this session provides an opportunity to think overall about sharing, helping others in need and not boasting about it.
Subscribers only: Download as a PDF here.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 10
BACKGROUND: This is an important story in the spreading of the gospel as the early Christians realised Jesus had not come just for the Jews but for the Gentiles, too. It is also a story about the importance of recognising and respecting our differences.
Invite the children to sit together in a circle and encourage them to share stories from their week. Celebrate any birthdays or special events. It may be helpful to have an object or cuddly toy to pass around for the children to hold as they speak. Ask the children: “How can we be kind to others?”
You will need: toy money; shopping play equipment
Show the children the shopping play equipment and let them play freely. Join in with the children’s play and let yourself be directed by them.
Use the money to practise counting together. Chat together about the different things you can use money for.
You will need: a picnic blanket; a picture of the temple; money; a piggy bank or jar
Lay out your picnic blanket and invite the children to sit down. Tell this story:
Jesus loved speaking to people. One day he was teaching a huge crowd of people about how they could be more like God. They all sat down on a mountainside to listen.
Jesus told the people how important it was not to show off and to do things just for God, not other people. He said: “If you give to people who need it you don’t need
to tell everyone. God sees what you do and knows why you do it.”
You see, in those days people would go to the temple to give money to God. Show your picture of a temple. The people would go to the temple to worship and hear about God, just like at our church.
Look at this money. Show the children some money. Do you any of you have pocket money? Or have you ever used coins to buy something…maybe an ice cream or something in a shop? Hand out the money so each child has some to hold.
In the temple there was a place for people to put money in as a gift for God. Hold up your piggy bank.
Jesus told another story in the Bible about giving. We’re going to use our coins as we hear that story. Jesus sat down opposite the place where people were giving their money and watched the crowd as they gave their offerings. Point to the piggy bank and invite the children to come and put their coins in.
Jesus saw lots of rich people throwing lots of money in. But then he saw a lady who didn’t have much money, and she put in just two very small coins. Jesus told his friends: “That lady has given more than anyone else. They all had lots to give but she didn’t. She gave everything she had.”
She gave her best. She loved God so much that she gave all she had. Sometimes it can be hard to share and give to others.
It would have been hard for the lady to give her money as she didn’t have much. She trusted that God would care for her, and she loved God so much that she wanted to give her money.
Jesus told the people that it isn’t how much you give that is important. It’s your heart that matters. Even if we have very little we can share it and love other people by giving. God loves it when we do that.
Ask the children these questions, encourag- ing everyone to take turns to contribute:
- What was your favourite bit in the story?
- What do you love to share?
- How do you think God feels when you give?
- What can you do when you see someone who needs help?
You will need: biscuits; icing; other decorations; paper plates; food wrap Give each child two biscuits to decorate and show them all the decorations you have brought. (Be aware of food hygiene and allergy issues during this activity.)
Make sure you provide alternatives for any children who might need them.) Explain that they have two biscuits so they can share one with someone else after the session. Don’t let them eat either biscuit during the session.
Encourage the children to decorate their biscuits. As you work, chat about the Bible story and discuss any times the children have shared or given something away. If appropriate, share a story from your own life, perhaps of a time when someone unexpectedly shared something with you.
Explain to the children that as they leave they might like to ask God who they could share the extra biscuit with and see if he pops anyone into their heads. Or perhaps they might meet someone after church or on their way home that they think would feel loved by them sharing the biscuit. Put the biscuits on paper plates and wrap them up to keep them safe.
You will need: biscuits from ‘Creative response’
Encourage the children to hold their plates of biscuits and say this prayer:
“Thank you, God, that you help us share and give to people who need help. We pray that you would help us share this week and show us people who need our kindness.”
Ask the children what they think they might like to share this week and pray that God would help them do so.
ANNIE WILLMOT is a children’s worker and mum to two boys. She loves nothing more than an honest conversation and a good cup of tea.