What is God like? Story Series.

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!

img_0749

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.

img_0420

‘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!

img_0428

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!

img_0425

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.

img_0404
img_0405-1

5. Luke 1:5-24. Zechariah and Elisabeth

Bible truth for toddlers – God is faithful

img_0747

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.

SAM_1409

(The characters are from Early Learning Centre. The ‘straw’ is shredded tissue paper.)

On the Way to Easter…Mary

The story is from John 12:1-8

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.

Paper plate picture to add to the others

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!

All the plates!

On the Way to Easter…Bartimaeus

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.

Our paper plate visual aid is Bartimaeus by the road that Jesus was travelling on. We will add this to the paper plate of the Rich Young Man.
This is all the stories put together – next week It’s all about a short man and a tree. Any guesses?!

On the Way to Easter.. the Rich Young Man

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.

Our first paper plate to make up our journey……

This is what we are working towards…

On the way to Easter…paper plate pictures

Next half term at Thursday toddler group we will be travelling along the road to Easter. In the Gospels Jesus meets several people when he is on this last journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for the final time. So four of our stories will be about these people that met Jesus as he was going to Jerusalem. Then we will have the story of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and in the final week the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

I’ll be using different props for each story but as we go there will be a paper plate picture for each week that will build a bigger picture..

Our stories will be

  • The Rich Young Ruler (Luke 18:18-23 and Mark 10:17-22)
  • Bartimaeus (Luke 18:35-43 and Mark 10:32,33,46-52)
  • Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
  • Mary anoints Jesus (John 12:1-8)
  • The Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:28-40)
  • Death and Resurrection of Jesus (Luke 23:44-24:12)

This is how our big picture will look when we have told all the stories..

These are paper plates covered in tissue paper with people and buildings and trees etc added.

The people are available to download – if you would like to make a contribution to the blog you are very welcome to do so but of course you don’t have to!

The pictures of trees and buildings are available in this post https://lettheirlightshine.com/2015/03/20/jesus-enters-jerusalem-palm-sunday/

Jesus stills the storm – a weather themed story

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.

 

Let’s Share Bible Stories with Toddlers

“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…

Jesus goes back to heaven

We ended our last Toddler Group story at Easter – Jesus was alive! Our first session back will be about something that happened next. There are several stories that you could tell; The Road to Emmaus, Thomas and/or Breakfast on the Beach but this week we are going straight on to the Ascension. I’m using pictures from ‘Tiddlywinks Stories and Pictures New Testament’ and ‘Tiddlywinks More Stories and Pictures New Testament’ published by Scripture Union and Written by Maggie Barfield and Illustrated by Sonia Canals. These books are really good to have. Great pictures and simple story ideas that you can use as they are or adapt and expand.

Story from Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:6-11

Jesus had died but was alive again! His friend saw him and spoke to him. Lots of people saw him. He wasn’t a ghost. He could eat food! He was really alive again.

He had a job for his friends to do, ‘I want you to tell other people all about me. Tell them about the things that I said and the things that I did. Tell them how I died for them and came alive again.’

Jesus told his friends to tell everyone the Good News that he was the Saviour. They were to tell everyone in all the world.

When Jesus had spent time with his friends they went for a walk together. Then something very special happened. Jesus was taken back to heaven. He went up, up, up and into the sky and was gone. They couldn’t see him anymore.

While they were looking up into the sky two angels came and spoke to them, ‘Why are you looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has gone up to heaven will come back again. ‘

One day Jesus will come back to earth again. He won’t come as a baby. He will come as the King.

Craft idea – colouring and collage from a photocopiable picture from Tiddlywinks

IMG_0003

 

The Last Supper – Luke 22

As part of the bigger Easter Story we’ve told the story of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples from Luke 22:7-20

The story

Jerusalem was full of people! They had come to the big city to celebrate Passover. Passover is a special meal – it reminds God’s people of how God saved them from being slaves in Egypt.

Jesus wanted to eat the special Passover meal with his friends. But there were so many people and there were people who wanted to hurt Jesus that the meal needed to be kept a secret! (Everyone say ‘shush’)

Jesus sent Peter and John into the city. ‘When you see a man carrying a water jar on his head follow him! He will go to the house where you can get the meal ready.’

IMG_3914

Peter and John did what Jesus said and soon the meal was ready.

The Passover Meal is very special. Part of the meal would have been bread and wine (Show these).

IMG_3913

Jesus said to his friends, ‘This is the last time I will be able to eat this special Passover meal with you. When you eat it in the future I want you to remember me.’

Jesus was going to rescue many people. he wanted his friends to remember that he was the rescuer.

Today Christians remember Jesus with a special meal – with bread and wine. (If possible have the items that your church uses for Communion to show the children)

Craft Idea – with a printable Lord’s Supper – Cup and Bread (1)

IMG_3915

Mary and Martha

In Luke 10:38-42 we meet Mary and Martha. They are two grown up sisters living in Bethany. They are mentioned three times in the Life of Jesus. You can also read about them in John 11 – when their brother Lazarus is bought back to life – and in John 12 – when Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume.

You could tell all three of these stories over three sessions or pick a couple. It’s good to include stories about women in our groups as so many of the listeners are women and a lot of Bible stories are about men! I always try to be mindful of this when I’m planning which stories to include.

To tell the story – 

In the story bag I had the three main characters – Martha, Mary and Jesus and some pots and pans, a wooden spoon and a cloth. You could have an apron or a duster. As you introduce the characters take them from the story bag and say ‘hello’

‘Mary and Martha were two grown-up sisters. One day Martha invited Jesus to come to their home for a meal.

Jesus was very happy to go to Mary and Martha’s house.

When he got there Jesus began to talk about God. Mary so wanted to listen to everything that he had to say. She sat down and listened.

But Martha had a lot to do! There was tidying to be done. There was the cooking to be done. Pans needed stirring!(Use the props from the story bag – encourage the children to mime the actions too) Food needed chopping! Plates needed wiping! Water needed pouring! She was busy, busy, busy! (Can you say that with me? She was busy, busy, busy!)

Mary sat still and listened to Jesus.

Martha was not happy!

She said to Jesus, ‘ Lord, don’t you care that I’ve been left to do all the work by myself?! Tell my sister to help me!’

But Jesus didn’t do what Martha said. Instead he said to Martha, ‘You don’t need to worry so much about all the things that need to be done. You need to listen to my words too.’

Today we can listen to the words of Jesus by listening to stories about him and reading the Bible.’

IMG_3882IMG_3884

Craft Idea

Make people collages – you could add the words, ‘We use our ears to listen’

IMG_2933 (1)