We are thinking about counting in toddler group. So we have some Bible Stories with numbers. First up is ‘Jonah and the One Great Big fish‘. The Bible truth for toddlers in this story is ‘God always knows where we are’. The story is from the book of Jonah.
To tell the Story you need – Jonah (we used a figure from happyland), a big fish (the one pictured is VERY big – made over a tent) and a toy boat.
God told Jonah to go to the big city called Ninevah (can you say that? repeat the name together) and tell everyone there about me.
But Jonah didn’t like the people in the big city of Ninevah.
‘I don’t want to! I’m not going to go!’ He said (have you ever said that?)
Jonah thought to himself ‘I will go far away – so far away that God won’t know where I am.’ He went and got on a boat.
But then the rain came and the wind blew – and out of the boat came Jonah – and splash into the sea!
Down, down, down he went. ‘Please God, help me!’ he prayed.
God knew exactly where Jonah was, God always knows where we are; and he sent something to help. It wasn’t a boat – it was one great big fish. The one great big fish opened up it’s mouth and swallowed Jonah. He was safe!
The one great big fish took Jonah back to land. God said, ‘Jonah, go to Ninevah’. And this time Jonah did.
A couple of years ago we did some stories that tell us what God is like. I’ve put them here – all in one place. Much easier to find!
We took a story from the Bible to teach one truth about God each week. An alternative title would be ‘What does the Bible tell us about God?’
We answered the question by teaching that –
God is everywhere, God knows everything, God is holy, God is powerful and God is faithful. Of course the Bible tells us more about God than we have included here. We finished with the Christmas story – God has made a way for us to know him.
Although it was Christmas when we told the last story I would think it would be fine to tell the Christmas story at a different time of year.
Each week we used a story bag and a character or two. These varied from Pringle people, a mini Moses (toilet roll!) and knitted characters. I think the children liked the variety.
You could easily tell these stories to young children at home too.
1. Genesis 16. Story of Hagar
Bible truth for toddlers – God is Everywhere
Say hello to Hagar!
Hagar was very sad. (Can you look sad) She ran away from her home. She sat down and looked around. There was no one there. No one.
But God knew where Hagar was. He spoke to her, ‘It will be alright Hagar. Go back home.’
Hagar listened. She knew that God could see where she was. She knew that God is everywhere. Hagar said, ‘You are the God who sees me. You are the God who looks after me.’
Hagar was happier. (Can you look happy) She got up and went back home.
God sees you. God cares for you. Wherever you go, God is there.
2. Genesis 41. Pharoah’s dreams
Bible truth for toddlers – God knows everything
Say hello to Pharaoh! Pharaoh was a very important man. But he was upset. he had had a dream. It was a strange dream and it worried Pharaoh. He wanted to know what his dream meant. What could he do? He sent for all the magicians and wise men. ‘They will tell me what the dream means’ he thought to himself.
But they had no idea!
Oh no! What could Pharaoh do? One of his servants was thinking. He was remembering someone he knew. He had an idea.
‘Pharaoh I know someone who can help. He is in your prison. He is able to tell people what their dreams mean.’ Who was this man? His name was Joseph.
Pharaoh sent for him right way. Can you tell me what my dream means? he asked Joseph.
‘No! I can’t. But God can tell us what the dream means’. How can God do that? He can because God knows everything. God told Joseph what the dream meant. He told Pharaoh.
God knows everything about you and me too. He knows our names and he cares about us.
(Pharaoh and Joseph are made from pringles cartons)
3. Exodus 3. Moses and the burning bush
Bible truth for toddlers – God is holy
Say hello to Moses!
Moses was looking after his sheep. What noise to sheep make? Baa!
He saw something. It looked different.
What was it?
Was it a funny looking sheep? No!
Was it a funny looking snake? No!
It was a plant that was on fire but it was still green and not burning up at all!
He went a little closer! (note – explain that the children must never go near to fire)
Then Moses heard God’s voice. ‘Moses, Moses’.
‘Here I am’, Moses said.
‘Don’t come any nearer. Where you are standing is holy.’
God was there and so an ordinary place had become extraordinary. God is holy
What does that mean? Holy means different to us. God is always great and he is always good.
4. Exodus 14. Crossing the Red Sea
Bible truth for toddlers – God is powerful
Moses and God’s people were in a hurry. They were escaping from being slaves in a place called Egypt. They were leaving as fast as they could taking all their things with them. There were mums and dads and grandmas and grandads and babies and children just like you hurrying away from Egypt. Moses was their leader.
But Pharaoh, the king of Egypt was coming after them! He wanted his slaves back.
Moses and the people hurried. Pharaoh and his armies hurried after them!
Then something awful happened.
Moses and God’s people came to a huge sea of water. They couldn’t go round it. They couldn’t go under it. They couldn’t go through it! They were scared. They said to Moses, ‘ Why did you bring us here to die!
Moses said.’ Don’t be afraid. Stand still and see how God will work to save you today.’
What was God going to do?
God is powerful. He is more powerful than anyone. He moved the sea. The water separated and it stood up like towers. The land became completely dry. God is so powerful. He was able to rescue the people. They walked on the dry land, with the water either side of them – all of them got safely to the other side.
5. Luke 1:5-24. Zechariah and Elisabeth
Bible truth for toddlers – God is faithful
One day a man called Zechariah was in the temple. It was a very special place where people went to worship God. Zechariah had a special job to do there – just once in his life! He was a priest and he had been chosen to go and burn some incense that would make the temple smell beautiful. He was all by himself. All the other people had to wait outside.
Suddenly an angel was there with him. Angels are big, strong messengers from God. Zechariah was frightened!
‘Don’t be afraid’, the angel said, ‘God has heard your prayers and you and your wife Elisabeth are going to have a baby son. You will give him the name John.’
Now Zechariah should have believed the angel but he didn’t! ‘How can that happen?’ he said, ‘Elisabeth and I are far too old to have children!’
The angel said, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in God’s presence everyday! I was sent to give you this good news. Now since you haven’t believed me you won’t be able to talk until the baby is born.’ Then Gabriel went away.
Zechariah finished what he was doing. He went outside but he couldn’t tell anyone what had happened!
He went back home. Time went by. Would God keep his promise?
God always keeps his promises. God is faithful. Zechariah and Elisabeth had a baby boy and they called him John.
6. Luke 2. Jesus is born
Bible truth for toddlers – God has made a way for us to know him
We have heard about how God is everywhere. God knows everything. God is powerful. God is holy. God is faithful. Today we find out that God has made a way for us to know him.
‘Mary and Joseph were in the stable. That night something amazing had happened. Jesus had been born as a baby. Jesus was not just an ordinary baby – he was God’s Son sent from heaven.
Out in the fields there were some shepherds looking after their sheep. It was dark. There were stars up in the sky. Suddenly an angel was there! This angel had a message from God.
The shepherds were scared!
‘Don’t be afraid,’ the angel said, ‘I bring you good news of great joy that is for everyone. Today in the Town of David a Saviour has been born to you!’
Who is this Saviour? It is Jesus
The angel told the shepherds ‘ You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and in a manger’.
Then there were lots and lots of angels in the sky singing. It was such a special night – the Saviour had been born.
Then the angels were gone. The shepherds looked at each other. ‘let’s go and find this special baby’, they said to each other.
They dashed into the town and they looked. And they found him – the Saviour sent from God was there. God had sent Jesus to be our Saviour so that we can know God. The shepherds found Jesus. You can find Jesus too.
(The characters are from Early Learning Centre. The ‘straw’ is shredded tissue paper.)
Jesus had almost arrived at Jerusalem! He had travelled a long way. How lovely that he was able to go to his friends house. Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha were good friends of Jesus. They wanted to do something special for him so they had a dinner for him. Martha served the food and everyone enjoyed what she had made and they ate everything! Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus. But where was Mary?
Mary wanted to show everyone how special Jesus was. In those days when you went to someone’s house they always gave you some water to wash your feet. The roads were very dusty and people got their feet dirty.
But Mary wanted to do more than just give Jesus water to wash his feet. She had some very expensive ointment that she poured onto the feet of Jesus. The Bible tells us that the perfume from the anointment filled the whole house.
Mary was right to do this special thing for Jesus because he is God’s Son who would soon die to save us.
Craft Idea – a perfume bottle made from a paper plate. Spray the bottle shape with perfume and allow to saok in and dry. Then decorate!
Jesus is now in Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. Last time he met Bartimaeus. Now he meets Zacchaeus. Two very different people!
To tell the story… from Luke 19:1-10
Have a tree – you can make one from a pringle container or draw one – and a person to represent Zacchaeus. Place Zacchaeus in a story bag.
Jesus was now getting nearer to Jerusalem. Lots of people wanted to see Jesus as he walked through their town. They had heard a lot about all the amazing things that he had done.
One man really wanted to see Jesus. His name was Zacchaeus (can you say that name?) Let’s say hello to Zacchaeus as he comes out of the story bag.
Now Zacchaeus was very, very rich. He had loads of money. Some of his money he had by taking what wasn’t his! So people didn’t like Zacchaeus.
But that wasn’t all. Zacchaeus was a short man. So when Jesus was coming to his town he had a problem! He couldn’t see past the crowds! The crowds of people didn’t like Zacchaeus so they weren’t going to let him get to the front. Standing on tip toe didn’t help either. So Zacchaeus began to run. He ran to a tree. Then he did something that he hadn’t done for a long, long time. He climbed the tree. Now he could see Jesus.
And there Jesus was, walking along the road. And then Jesus stopped! Right under the tree. ‘Zacchaeus, come down. I’m coming to your house today!’ said Jesus.
Zacchaeus came down the tree. ‘I will give back all the money that isn’t mine and I will give extra money too’ he said.
Zacchaeus was a different person now that he had met Jesus.
Jesus said ‘I came to look for and to save the lost’. All of us are lost without Jesus. He is looking for us and is able to save us.
We are beginning to get ready for Easter at toddler group. This year we are going on the last journey that Jesus made into Jerusalem, meeting some of the people that Jesus met. Last week we met the Rich Young Man. This week we meet Bartimaeus. The Story is from Mark 10:46-52.
To tell the story…
Jesus and his friends were in a big crowd of people going to the city of Jerusalem. By now lots of people had heard about Jesus and the amazing things he said and did. (Do you remember the rich man from last time? – if you are using the paper plate visuals have this already displayed so you can refer to it briefly)
This time we are going to find out about another person that Jesus met as he travelled to Jerusalem for the last time. Say hello to Bartimaeus! (Take Bartimaeus doll or puppet from the Story Bag)
Bartimaeus wasn’t able to see and couldn’t work so each day he sat with his bowl and begged for money. He had heard about Jesus. He started to call out as loud as he could, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’
There were other people there too who wanted to see Jesus and they didn’t want to hear Bartimaeus. They said ‘Shush.’ Can we all say ‘Shush’?
But Jesus listened. He stopped. He asked to meet Bartimaeus.
‘Get up quick!’ the people said
Bartimaeus threw off his coat and jumped up and came to Jesus.
‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked.
What would Bartimaeus say? Did he want money? No! Did he want a chat? No!
‘I want to be able to see!’ he said.
Could Jesus do that? Yes! Jesus was able to make Bartimaeus see. Bartimaeus believed in Jesus. He believed that Jesus had the power to make him see. We also need to believe in Jesus.
We are beginning to get ready for Easter at toddler group. This year we are going on the last journey that Jesus made into Jerusalem, meeting some of the people that Jesus met. Our first story is from Luke 18:18-23 and Mark 10:17-22. A rich young man comes to find Jesus as he is travelling to Jerusalem and asks him a question…
One day a young man came to speak to Jesus. He didn’t walk up to Jesus. He ran to Jesus. (Run on the spot) He wanted to ask a question. He thought that Jesus was important so he knelt down in front of him and asked ‘Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?’ (kneel down)
It was a good question and the young man really wanted to know the answer.
Jesus said to him, ‘ You know what the Commandments are that God gave us, to tell us how to live to please him.’
‘I’ve kept them all since I was a young boy.’
Jesus looked at the young man. Jesus cared about him. Jesus wanted to help him. ‘Go, and sell all you have and give your money to the poor and then you will have treasure in heaven and come and follow me.’
But, oh dear, the young man had a lot of money.(Show money bag) He loved all his money very much. (Hug money bag to yourself) What a choice! Sell everything and give all his money away and follow Jesus or keep all his things and his money and go back home. What would he do?
The young man walked away from Jesus. (Walk on the spot, looking sad and dejected) He felt sad. He chose to keep his money.
Sometimes it’s nice to make a craft that you can also use for telling and retelling the Bible story.
The story is from Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26.
For the craft we made the man’s mat by decorating sugar paper with large pieces of tissue paper and then we made a man – on one side he was happy and on the other side he was sad. We used fabric for clothes and wool for hair.
When telling the story I pretended to carry the man up the steps to the roof of a house and then lower him down to the feet of Jesus. The paper mat was rolled up as part of the story too.
This was another of our weather themed stories at toddler group. It’s from Luke 8. It’s a great story to tell – lots of drama and Jesus sleeping!
This craft is the lake on a paper plate – square paper plates with two shades of blue tissue paper. Round plates would be just as good but they need to be a bit sturdy. The boat is cut from card (done beforehand) and has a tab so it can be glued in place but still stand up. The label says ‘Jesus stopped the storm’.
It’s a very effective craft that’s quite easy to make.
There are a couple of ideas for telling this story here and here for toddlers and older children.
I thought I’d put all the animal stories that we’ve done in one place! Here we have ravens, bees, big fish, lions, fox and sheep. Craft ideas and some story plans and ideas too. Of course you could add creation and Noah too.
1 Kings 17
2 And the word of the Lord came to him:3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan.6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.
To put the story in context we had King Ahab and Queen Jezebel in the story bag and explained that they were a bad king and a bad queen who were horrible to people.
Elijah was also in the story bag.
At the beginning of the story these three people are introduced to the children.
Telling the Story
Elijah went to see King Ahab. He had a message for him from God. ‘King Ahab, God has said that there isn’t going to be any more rain for the next few years’.
There was going to be no more water for King Ahab or Queen Jezebel. There was going to be no more water for Elijah.
But God told Elijah what to do. Go and hide in the valley. I will send ravens to give you food. You can dink water from the stream.
Elijah did what God said. He went to the valley where the stream was.
When he woke up in the mornings the ravens came and bought him bread and meat for breakfast. (take ravens from story bag)
When it was getting near to going to bed at night the ravens came with bread and meat for tea.
God took care of Elijah. God is able to look after you too.
The ravens were made from paper plates.
paper plate bee
Telling the Story
The story can be very simple – this was the basic outline (Judges 14:1-20)
1.God’s people were in trouble because they had ignored God
2. God still loved them so he sent someone to help them
3. God sent Samson. (At this point Samson is taken out of the story bag and we all say ‘hello Samson!’)
4. Samson wasn’t very tall, or very small, or very young or very old – he was very strong. (and we all flex our muscles)
5. One day Samson was walking along (make walking noises by patting hands on knees) when he heard a buzz, buzz, buzz. (everyone make a buzz sound)
6. He had found some bees (take paper plate bee from story bag) inside a dead lion – and they were making honey. ( I did mention that we should leave bees alone and then they won’t bother us)
7. God was going to help Samson use what he saw to rescue his people from trouble.
At the end of the story I told the children that they could find this story in Tesco, Asda etc and showed them the Lyles Golden Syrup tin.
The craft was a simple paper plate cut in half. I painted them yellow at home and the children added the stripes, head and wings. I found the idea on Pinterest – it’s from Happy Home Fairy. My bee is slightly different – I tend to steer clear of googly eyes as they are quite easy for an under three to choke on. I didn’t bother with feet either as i like to keep crafts as simple as possible.
To tell the story – use some props including money, party streamers/hats, pretend pigs, new robe/coat/ring/shoes.
Telling the story
Jesus told the people a story
‘There was a man who had two sons (count to two). The younger son wanted his father’s money. So the father decided to share all his things between his two sons. Now they had a lot of money. (jingle the money).
A few days later the younger son got his money and packed his bag and went far away. He loved spending is money! he had lots and lots of parties (show party streamers/hats). One day he looked in his pocket for more money but it had all gone! He had spent every last penny! He was in trouble.
He needed a job. He went to work looking after pigs. What noise do pigs make? oink,oink! He was so hungry that he could have eaten the food that the pigs ate. No one helped him. He was sad.
‘I will go back to my father’ he said. ‘He will give me a better job than sitting here with these pigs.’
So he walked and walked and walked till he could see his old home far away in the distance.
Someone saw him coming. Someone had been looking and hoping that he would come back home. It was his father. His father was so pleased to see his son that he ran down the road to meet him and hugged him.
‘I’m sorry’ said the son
‘I forgive you’ said the father. ‘Now let’s celebrate that you have come back home!’
The father gave his son new clothes to wear, new shoes and a ring.(show these items) He was so happy that he had a party.
‘My son was lost,’ he said,’but now he is found.’
When we come back to God it is like we were lost but are now found.
Craft Idea – paper plate pink pigs.
All you need
pink tissue paper and crepe paper cut into square (roughly)
circles from pink sugar paper for snout (I use a paper punch from hobbycraft.)
ear shapes cut from sugar paper
stickers for nostrils and eyes
pink crayons (optional)
We allow plenty of self expression!
Nehemiah was given the job of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. His enemies made fun of him, ‘if a fox climbs on your wall it will fall down!’ (Nehemiah 4:3) they said. But Nehemiah kept building and with God’s help the wall was finished!
In the story bag – wooden bricks for the wall (not in the photo – I used our toddler group bricks), two men – Nehemiah and Sanballat and a fox.
Craft Idea – fox collage – crayons and crepe paper. Free fox PDF to print – fox
Daniel in the Lion’s Den from Daniel 6.
In the story basket there were Daniel, the King, an angel and some lions.
For the telling of the Story of Jonah I’ve used a large prop. I saw a tent made into the big fish on Handsonbibleteacher.blogspot.co.uk so thought I would have a go at making one – my attempt doesn’t look as neat – I think my pop up tent was a little too square – but you have to use what you have! Jonah is made from a Pringles carton – I saw that idea on Pinterest. It’s originally from this blog Preachmanswife.blogspot.co.uk
Telling the Story
Say hello to Jonah! Jonah was given a job to do. God told him to go and tell the people living in Ninevah that God loved them.
‘No, I won’t’ said Jonah. ‘I don’t like the people who live in Ninevah’
So Jonah packed his bag and went the other way. He walked to the boat (make walking sounds by tapping hands on knees) and he bought a ticket and off he went.
Jonah was tired (yawn) so he went inside the boat and settled down for a sleep. (put hands on side of head as if sleeping)
Do you think God knew where Jonah was? God knows everything. He knew that Jonah was on the boat.
God sent a storm. The waves got bigger, the wind blew, the rain came down. The sailors were worried. ‘Someone has done something wrong’, they said, ‘and God is angry.’
They went to wake Jonah up. ‘Wake up Jonah!’ (ask children to repeat this)
Jonah opened his eyes. ‘Oh dear’, he said, ‘this is my fault. You must throw me into the sea.’
‘No!’ the sailors said.
But the storm got worse and in the end they had to throw Jonah into the sea. Splash!
The storm stopped.
Jonah sank down,down, down into the water. But God loved Jonah and he had somthing there to save him. A great big fish swam up and swallowed Jonah. He was safe. (Place Jonah inside the big fish)
Jonah knew he had done the wrong thing and he talked to God. ‘I am sorry’ he said.
Could God hear Jonah? Yes, God hears when we say sorry to him.
God sent the great big fish to the beach and it gave a big hiccup and out came Jonah. (take Jonah out of the big fish)
God said, ’Jonah go and tell the people of Ninevah that I love them.’ This time Jonah did what God said.
Luke 15:1-7. Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep.
To tell the story to young children
Very young children will probably benefit from using smaller numbers – maybe just up to ten with the number ten sheep missing. Before you begin hide a sheep but unless you have a small group give the task of looking for it to a helper (who knows where to look!).
You could dress as a shepherd or take have a picture of a shepherd to show (we had a shepherd’s crook to show too). Ask the children what sort of animal a shepherd looks after and if they don’t know after one or two tries tell them – a shepherd looks after sheep. Ask them to make the sound a sheep makes. Explain that Jesus told a story about a shepherd who had 10 (100) sheep. He looked after them. At the end of the day he counted them. Have some sheep to count and count them altogether 1,2,,3,4,5,6,7,8,9…..Oh no one is missing! Where can he be? At this point pretend to look for the sheep and find him.
Explain that Jesus told the story to tell everyone that he has come to look for people – to help them to know and love God.
Pegs for legs sheep – print on to card and cut out for young children. They can decorate their sheep. make sure an adult adds the legs.
Sheep collage – print on to paper and decorate with cotton wool and wax crayons.