resource covers - younger children (21)

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Bible passage: 1 John 4:7–21

Background: This famous passage describing how God is love can be confusing for younger children, but that doesn’t mean they can’t discover more about God and themselves through exploring it. Try to draw out the idea that God is love and loves us. That means we should love as well. This desire to love others comes not out of obligation but from an overflow of God’s love. This generosity of spirit comes easily to younger children, much more so than to adults. How can we foster this innate spirit of love and not squash it?

 

CIRCLE TIME

5 minutes

Welcome the children to your circle, by name if you can. Share out any refreshments you have brought and chat together about what you have experienced this week. Share any stories from your own life, as appropriate. Ask the children where they have experienced love this week. This could be at home, from friends or at church. Have an example ready from your own life to get the ball rolling if needs be.

 

INTRO ACTIVITY

10 minutes

You will need: sand-play equipment; water-play equipment; cover-up and cleanup equipment

Show the children the sand and water-play equipment and let them choose which they want to play with. (If you have limited space or resources, just provide one play option.) As the children play, encourage them to write or draw in the sand. Alternatively, they should try to pour water over their hands. Join in with the children’s play and let them direct you in how you play.

After a few minutes, chat about how the sand or water feels on their fingers. Then ask them how it feels to be able to play with all their friends.

 

BIBLE STORY

10 minutes

Teach the children this action rhyme, which explores the session’s Bible passage:

God is love. Clap three times.
God is love. Clap three times.
We love others. Point at the others in the group.

Because God loves us. Hug yourself.
God is love. Clap three times.
God is love. Clap three times
 God loves us so much. Move your arms in a wide circle.

That he sent his son Jesus. Shout: “Hooray!”
God is love. Clap three times.
God is love. Clap three times.
We haven’t seen God. Cup your hand above your eyes and look around.
But if we love others, God lives in us!
Because God is love! Clap and cheer!

Say the rhyme together and do the actions as many times as the children want. They might not be able to remember all the words, but that’s OK. You’re introducing the idea that God is love, and that this is a happy, amazing thing. It will be enough for you to share the words and for the children to enjoy clapping and cheering. As you show love to the children they will experience God’s love for them.

 

CHATTING TOGETHER

5 minutes

Ask the children these questions, giving everyone a chance to answer if they would like to. Try not to guide their answers too much or to say that one answer is right and another is wrong. Let the children draw their own conclusions about how much God loves them.

  • Who do you love?
  • What does it feel like to love someone?
  • What does it feel like when someone loves you?
  • What do you know about Jesus?

 

CREATIVE RESPONSE

10 minutes

You will need: simple colouring sheets; crayons and felt-tip pens

Before the session, find some simple colouring sheets that focus on God’s love (there are many available online). Alternatively, create your own. Draw the outline of the letters of ‘God is love’ at the centre of an A3 sheet of paper, then decorate the surrounding space with simple patterns and hearts. Make sure the shapes and patterns are large enough for small hands to colour in.

Give out copies of the colouring sheet to the children and enjoy spending time colouring together. The idea is not to complete the colouring sheet, but to provide space for the children to process their ideas and chat together.

Carry on your discussions from ‘Chatting together’ or simply let the children talk about whatever they would like to. By listening to them, hearing about their concerns and what they love, you’re showing God’s love to them. Likewise, by demonstrating sharing and helping you’re showing how to love others.

 

PRAYER

You will need: people shapes cut from card (pre-cut shapes are available from craft shops or online); felt-tip pens

Share out your card people and ask the children to think about someone they love. Help them to draw that person on one side of the card.

Ask the children if they have fallen out with someone. It could be a sibling or someone at school or playgroup. Invite them to draw that person on the other side of the card person.

Once everyone has finished, ask them to look at the card person. Say a simple prayer thanking God for the person it represents, leaving space for the children to name the person (either out loud or in their heads).

Ask the children to turn the card person over and look at the picture of the one they have fallen out with. Initiate another simple prayer to say sorry for falling out with this person. Ask God to help you make it right.

Finally, wave the paper people in the air and shout: “Thank you, God, for loving us!”