Category Archives: Bible

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.’

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Craft Idea

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

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Animal Bible Story Ideas

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.

Ravens

1 Kings 17

And the word of the Lord came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”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. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 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.

King Ahab and Queen Jezebel

Elijah was also in the story bag.

Elijah

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.

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Bees

paper plate bee

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.

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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 

paper plate

pink tissue paper and crepe paper cut into square (roughly)

glue

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)

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paper plate pigs made by the children

We allow plenty of self expression!

Fox

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.

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Craft Idea – fox collage – crayons and crepe paper. Free fox PDF to print – fox

 

Lion

Daniel in the Lion’s Den from Daniel 6.

In the story basket there were Daniel, the King, an angel and some lions.

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Craft idea

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Big Fish/Whale

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.

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Sheep

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.

Craft Ideas

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.

Sheep    – Pdf file – free to use

Sheep_(peg_legs)  – Pdf file – free to use

 

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Journey to Bethlehem – week 2 – Adam and Eve disobey

We are travelling to Bethlehem for Christmas starting at the very beginning…

 Week one was creation – God made everything good and Adam and Eve were friends with God and each other.

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The idea for the creation paper plates came from here – https://ithappensinablink.com/paper-plate-the-days-of-creation/

This week the story is all about how things went from being ‘very good’ (thumbs up) to very bad (thumbs down). The creation plates will be part of the large picture board and the next story will be added.

The story from Genesis 3

Bible truth for toddlers – Adam and Eve broke God’s one rule

‘God gave Adam and Eve one rule. ‘Don’t eat the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden’. They could eat from every other tree but not that one.

Then one day a serpent began to talk to Eve! ‘ Just look at the fruit on that lovely tree in the middle of the garden! It looks so deliciousssss. I’m sure God won’t mind if you take a bite. Nothing bad will happen!’

Eve looked at the tree. It did look lovely. Eve looked at the fruit. It did look yummy. She reached out her hand…. and she took the fruit. She could smell how delicious it was and then…… she took a bite. Then Adam took a bite too!

They had broken God’s one rule and everything changed. They weren’t friends with God anymore and they tried to hide.

But God found them. He still loved them and he promised to send a Saviour so that people could be friends with God again.’

In the storybag

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Books of the Bible -an easy way 2

Learning the Books of the Bible is really useful – just having an idea of whereabouts a book is and what kind of book it is can be helpful when we are finding our way around God’s Book. For a brief description of the Old Testament books take a look here.

For the New Testament the pegs work really well as a reference and by playing games with the pegs – mixing them up and putting them back in the right order – children can begin to get a feel for the order.

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The pegs are wooden attached to a wire coat hanger – the names of the books are written on with biro and then a colour to represent the NT is added at one end and then different colours for categories at the other end.

Categories

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – the gospels or life story of Jesus.

Acts – history of the early church

Romans through to Jude – letters. Explain that some of the names of the letters refer to where they were sent (e.g Philippians). Others refer to the name of the person who received the letter, (e.g I and 2 Timothy) while others refer to the person who wrote the letter (e.g 1,2.and 3 John).

Revelation – prophecy relating to end time events.

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Books of the Bible – an easy way

Learning the books of the Bible can be fun! The peg idea is out there on pinterest and various sites so I thought I would have a go and make my own. I have added some colours to make it easier to work out where the books belong and what type of books they all are. I’ve given a very brief snapshot of each book. It helps children to know a few things about the names – are they names of people or places or descriptions. We often assume that they will automatically know but why should someone realise that Obadiah was a person rather than a place!

Genesis – all about beginnings

Exodus – all about leaving – who, when and where

Leviticus – laws

Numbers – God’s people in the wilderness

Deuteronomy – The law for a second time

These five books are grouped together under the heading – law

Then the history books are grouped together – Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Esther, Nehemiah and Ezra.

Joshua – taking possession of the Promised Land

Judges – Israel’s faithlessness; God’s faithfulness in sending judges to rescue them

Ruth – a story about ordinary people during the time of the Judges (people who are in the family tree of David and Jesus)

1 and 2 Samuel – Israel gets a monarchy

1 and 2 kings – the good kings and bad kings of Israel

1 and 2 Chronicles – a history book written for those who had experienced the exile. the future of God’s people is secure in the dynasty of David.

Ezra – God works to fulfil his purposes. Ezra was a scribe. The exiles return from captivity and rebuild the temple. Ezra teaches the people about God.

Nehemiah – the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

Esther – God’s people are rescued. God is at work even when his presence isn’t obvious of acknowledged. The Purim festival celebrates this true story.

Then we have the poetry books –

Job – the righteous do suffer even when they are living in a way to please God. Part of Wisdom literature.

Psalms – songs written by various authors and different times.

Proverbs – wise sayings. Part of wisdom literature. A general principle of how to live in a God-ordered world is followed throughout the book. If you live like this – then this will happen and things will go well. (Job is a contrast to this as he suffered even when doing good)

Ecclesiastes – wisdom literature. Compares life without God and life knowing God.

Song of Solomon – a song/poem about love

After the poetry which includes the Wisdom literature we arrive at the Major Prophets

Isaiah – a prophet for more that 40 years (kings at the time were – Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah)

Jeremiah – a prophet and a priest. He prophesied the exile of the Southern Kingdom of Judah and lived to see it. A very sad prophet living at a very sad time for God’s people. (Kings at the time – Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiakin and Zedekiah.

Lamentations – a coming to terms with the loss of Judah. Loss and also hope.

Ezekiel – warnings to God’s people, exile and hope for the future

Daniel – a book of two parts. Stories about Daniel in Babylon followed by visions of the future.

Then the twelve Minor Prophets.

Hosea – prophecy and warnings to the northern kingdom (Israel)

Joel – prophecy often written as poetry

Amos – prophet during reign of Jeroboam 2 (Israel) and Uzziah (Judah). Prophecy mainly against the northern kingdom (Israel). Poetic style.

Obadiah – a prophecy against Edom. (Descendants of Esau)

Jonah – short story about Jonah and God’s sovereignty and mercy

Micah – prophet during reign of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezikiah. Mainly aimed at Judah where the gap between the rich and poor was growing.

Nahum – about the fall of Ninevah (a follow up to Jonah’s story)

Habakkuk – the prophet’s struggles and prayers

Zephaniah – prophet during Josiah’s reign in the southern kingdom of Judah

Haggai – call to repent and rebuild the temple given to the people who had returned from exile.

Zechariah – very similar message to Haggai. They were prophets at the same time.

Malachi – telling God’s people that the story isn’t over yet; there is more to come…someone is coming ‘I will send you Elijah the prophet..’ Malachi 4:5

Then we wait for the New Testament. (That’s another post!)

To make the pegs you need wooden pegs! ball point pen (felt tip will just soak in and not look clear), some stickers or permanent markers to colour code (doesn’t matter that a blob of colour soaks in) Attach the pegs to a wire coat hanger. (You’ll need more than one). I had two types of colour coding – a colour for OT and one for NT at one end of the peg and then different colours for the types of books at the other end of each peg. I make a key too.

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To use – play a few games with re ordering the pegs. the idea is for children to get an idea of where things are in the bible. It’s meant to be fun. You could mix up a few of the pegs and get the children to put them back in the right order. play find me a book beginning with (choose a letter). Find me a book about (poems, history or law) The colours will make it easy. If you want to make it more challenging then don’t colour code.

 

 

 

 

 

Journey to Bethlehem – week one – God made everything good

This half term at toddler group we are going to take a Journey to Bethlehem. Each week the Bible story will be a simple retelling of a key event on that journey for the children. The plan is to put the stories in the context of The Big Story for the adults.

So we start with creation and everything being made good. Next week the fall and things no longer being good and then onwards to Jesus being born. God’s saviour sent for us.

The order will be

Creation, Fall, Noah, God’s promise to Abraham (through you all the families of the world will be blessed), angel visiting Mary, birth of Jesus, visit of the Shepherds.

So this week the story is going to be told using an idea that I found here – It Happens in a Blink.

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Here’s some of the paper plates in close up. I had a lot of fun making them. You need sturdy paper plates! I decided not to have a blank plate for day seven. I did see an idea that included lots of zzzz for resting but God didn’t go to sleep he just stopped making because everything was complete and perfect. He doesn’t need to rest in the way that we do. He never slumbers or sleeps 🙂

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As I tell the story we will count the days together and name what we can see on the plates. After each day we will say ‘it was all very good’ and do a thumbs up. This will be our action for this weeks story. Next week it will be thumbs down to represent the way that everything was no longer good and perfect.

I’m looking forward to going on this journey to Bethlehem. You can find all the stories in this series here on the blog with a different paper plate for each story. (You will see that the snake is not a paper plate – but if you don’t have a pre cut spiral a paper plate would be fine. Just decorate and then cut into a spiral shape) The links are with each picture.

Week One – Creation https://lettheirlightshine.com/2015/11/04/journey-to-bethlehem/
Week Two – The Fall https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/11/14/journey-to-bethlehem-week-2/
Week Three – Abraham https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/11/23/journey-to-bethlehem-week-3/
Week Four – The Angel visits Mary https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/11/28/journey-to-bethlehem-week-4/
Week Five – Jesus is born https://lettheirlightshine.com/2018/12/05/journey-to-bethlehem-week-5/
Week Six – The Shepherds find Jesus

Jairus’s daughter – Luke 8 Bible story – homes Jesus visited

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Meet Jairus!

To tell the story from Luke 8 I used some simple pictures. I introduced ‘Jairus’ first and asked the children to repeat his name and say hello.

The pictures I used were a selection of symbols and a photo of a house that I made from a shoe box, and one phrase. I realise that the children weren’t necessarily going to be able to read this but the adult listeners are there too! Plus is a useful prompt for the storyteller 🙂 They are all held together with string and so make one large visual aid by the end of the story.

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The Story from Mark 5

Jesus was very famous and lots and lots of people crowded round him to see him. But one man in the crowd really needed Jesus’ help. He needed Jesus to come to his house straightaway.

This man’s name was Jairus (can you say that?). He was very sad.

He knelt down in front of Jesus and pleaded with him, ‘please come to my house and help! Mt daughter is dying and I need you to come and see her, lay your hands on her and make her better.’

What would Jesus do? He went with Jairus to go the house.

But on the way there Jesus stopped to help someone else and things were taking too long. Jairus knew they needed to hurry but Jesus had stopped walking!

Some one came from Jairus’ house, ‘Don’t bring Jesus back with you. It’s too late. Your daughter has died.’ It was such sad news.

Jesus heard what they had said. He looked at Jairus and told him, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just believe.’

They carried on to Jairus’ home and they went inside.

Jesus held the hand of the little girl and he said to her, ‘ Little girl, arise’

What do you think happened? The little girl got up! She began to walk around.

‘Get her something to eat’, Jesus said to her family. Can you imagine how happy they felt! They were amazed at what Jesus had done.