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 and his friends were almost at the big city of Jerusalem. Lots of people wanted to see Jesus. But how was Jesus going to arrive in the city? Not in a car or a helicopter (they didn’t have those!) Not on a big, strong horse.
Jesus sent two of his friends to borrow a donkey. They bought it to Jesus and put their cloaks on it and he rode into the big city.
Crowds and crowds of people were there. There were mums and dads, grandmas and grandads and children just like you! They called out ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ as Jesus passed by. They shouted, ‘hosanna!’ (which means ‘God saves’) They waved palm branches and threw their cloaks into the road.
They welcomed Jesus – the King sent from God.’
Some pictures to use to tell the story – you could use the printouts as a craft if telling the story at home or with older children.
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.
On Monday these guys came along to toddler group –
We were doing the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10.
This is a basic outline of the story…
‘One day a man asked Jesus a question – ‘how can I get to heaven?’ Jesus said to the man, ‘what do you think you need to do?’
‘I need to love God and love my neighbour. But who is my neighbour?’ The man was hoping that he had been good enough and that he really only needed to love the people that he liked. So Jesus told this made up story…
Once upon a time a man went on a journey and was hurt. He needed help but there was no one to help him. Oh no! (get the children and adults to join in with ‘Oh no’ each time you say it)
Then he heard footsteps. Someone was coming! A man was coming along the road. He looked, he saw that someone needed help but he kept on walking! Oh No!
Then he heard more footsteps. Someone was coming! Another man was walking along the road. He looked, he saw that someone needed help but he kept on walking! Oh No!
But then he heard something a bit different – it was clippity clop. A donkey was coming along the road and a man. The man looked, he saw that someone needed help and he stopped. Now this man was from far away and from a different place. But he was happy to help the man and he put him on the donkey and took him to a place to stay and gave him medicine until he was better.
Jesus has finished telling the story. ‘Who was a good neighbour?’ Jesus asked. ‘The man who helped’, said the man. And he knew he hadn’t loved other people like that.
We all find it hard to be a good neighbour to everyone. We can never be good enough to earn a place in heaven. We need Jesus.
(At the end of the story I briefly added that the adults were welcome to ask more about how Jesus can help us)
The craft – lots of pictures of people from magazines (or in this case Uni prospetuses – no idea if that is the correct spelling :))
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.
“Hello friends, hello friends. How are you, how are you? It’s time for a story, time for a story. Come and listen, come and listen.”
We sing this song to the tune of ‘Frere Jacques’ every week at toddler group. We gather round the story chair in a semi – circle; some sit on the rugs and others on chairs and then we share a story together.
By saying ‘share a story together’ I mean that I don’t just read a story from a book or recite a story script. It is story telling – a much more interactive group activity. We are ‘in it together’, taking part, joining in.
There are different ways of creating a joining in experience when telling a story. Here are a few ideas
Sounds to make – the sound of the storm on the lake
Actions to do – climbing the tree with Zacchaeus
Saying hello to the characters in the story as they come out of the story bag
Singing a song – include ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ part way through the story of the shepherds and angels.
So how do you choose which stories to tell?
As a church-based group (although we meet in a community hall) we tell stories from the Bible. It can help if each story is connected to a theme for half a term. Animal Bible stories, Homes Jesus Visited, Stories Jesus Told, Creation. Choose stories that you feel comfortable with and will enjoy telling.
When to have Story Time?
Pick a time in your session when there are less distractions. If you want the children to join in, then serve snacks before or after. Try to time things so that hands are free to take part in the story actions. If possible, have a space where there are no toys or do Story Time at the beginning or towards the end of the session.
Create a space
The storyteller needs to be seen and to be on the children’s level. Choose a low seat and create a semi – circle. Clean rugs encourage parents/carers and children to sit on the floor, but chairs are good for adults who need a higher seat.
The idea is to know the story well and encourage interaction with the group. The Bible is full of the most wonderful stories. Enjoy sharing them!
(This is an article I wrote for CEF Britain’s Newsletter)
Here are some of the items I use when telling stories…