‘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.
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!
“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…
These paper plates can be used to tell the Christmas story and/or as craft ideas. They need some prep so I’m posting them now!
The Angel Gabriel visits Mary – Luke 1:26-38
Jesus is born – Luke 2:1-7
The shepherds are told about the birth of the Saviour – Luke 2:8-21
You can tell the story a little at a time over three weeks or use the plates altogether
They are made from sturdy paper plates that have a rim (not the cheapest but they need to stand up to being taken out of a story bag). The picture backgrounds are made from tissue paper and the scenes and people use paper, sugar paper, crepe paper, cardboard rolls (stable) wool, cotton wool and shiny paper. The angel wings are hearts cut out using a paper punch. The bodies of the people are triangles and the head scarfs (I can’t think of a better word!) are material. Lots of different textures and colours! Use what you have 🙂
We used a wooden spoon based craft for the bible story about Jesus healing a man who had leprosy. You can read the story in Matthew 8.
The children drew a sad face one side of the spoon and a happy face the other. We used kitchen roll for the clothes – a fairly good quality brand that the children could decorate with felt pens. The arms and belt are pipe cleaners. Use a slighty longer pipe cleaner for the arms.
To make –
Draw the faces on the spoon and write name on the spoon handle
Colour/decorate the square of kitchen roll – I cut the kitchen roll squares into quarters which made them just the right size for our small wooden spoons. Once coloured fold the quarter in half and then in half again and make a small cut on the fold. Slide the spoon through this and then add the arms. Finally add the belt.
This basic idea can be used for retelling lots of Bible stories. Large wooden spoons make great puppets too. Have a look at this idea here.
This term we’ll be using Scripture Union’s Tiddlywinks ‘The Big Green Book’ each week at toddlers.
We will adapt the different ideas each week to suit our group. We are starting with ‘God’s Wonderful World’. It’s all about water. So here’s my craft idea – with a PDF for you and my collection of wet weather gear that I’m planning on dressing up in.
For the Bible story we used Luke 7:36-46. This is a difficult story to tell as it probably seems strange to us that someone would anoint a persons feet. You need to explain that in those days people would wash their feet when they went into a home as they would be dusty and hot. But when Jesus went for a meal at this man’s house he wasn’t given any water to wash his feet. Explaining this helps to make sense of what happens when the woman pours the expensive ointment or perfume on Jesus’ feet. The man didn’t really like Jesus all that much but the woman knew that he could forgive her and she showed how grateful she was.
I used a story bag to tell the story- the perfume bottle is a miniature dove moisturiser!
The craft was perfume pictures – collect lots of collage material – tissue paper shapes, wool etc and beforehand spray with perfume. Put in a sealed container until needed. The collage material is then used to make pictures that are scented. I had some flower pot and flower shapes left over from a previous craft but you could use any shapes. It’s the scent that you want!
Alternative craft with playdough idea can be found here and an alternative story idea and craft here
We don’t usually do stories in strict chronological order at Toddler Group. We generally tell Bible stories that are linked by a theme and may or may not follow on from the previous week. However, we followed the story of Rahab and the spies with the story of Jericho and it worked well. The duplo Jericho was very visual – a bit tricky to make sure that Rahab’s home stayed intact when the walls came down but the lego duplo was carefully put together to make sure her home was safe!
TheStory (Joshua 6)
To tell the story we had actions for everyone to do – marching, blowing pretend trumpets and a loud shout. We did lots of counting too – the seven days and the final seven times round the city walls. With the shout the duplo walls fell down.
Main Teaching Point – the people believed that God would do what he said. God always does what he says he will do.
Rabab and the spies
The spies hiding
Rahab had great faith – she put the red cord in the window and went and got her family together. And she waited. The Israelites had to cross the Jordan before getting to Jericho but she didn’t doubt that God would give them the city. We read about Rahab’s family in Matthew’s Gospel. She was Boaz’s grandmother. Boaz married Ruth and was King David’s great grandfather. She is one of the few women named in the genealogy of Jesus.
‘by faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient’
A simple Easter garden is a great way to introduce young children to Easter. You can use natural materials such as soil/compost and leaves or you can make a garden like the one here. The playdough will last a couple of weeks before it dries out – so this won’t keep for ever – but then next Easter the children can make another garden.
At the end of this post there is an idea for telling the Easter story using different faces – there is a PDF for you to use too.
To make an Easter Garden like this one each child needs
Sticker/label with the words ‘Jesus is alive!’ printed on to them -here’s PDF of a sheet to print onto labels Jesus is alive! (label)
Make a garden to give children and adults an idea of what they are aiming for.
If you click on the links above you will be taken to where I bught the plates, ice cream tubs and flowers. You could use different plates – just make sure they are the shiny coated type so the dough won’t soak through.
To prepare the craft cut a ‘stone’ out of ice cream tub and make the dough. You will need a lot of dough!
2 Cups plain flour (cheap flour is fine)
2 Cups water
Food colouring (add this to the water)
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 Teaspoon cream of tartar (don’t be tempted to leave this out)
1 Cup salt
Put everything in a large saucepan and mix over a medium heat till it comes together as a dough.
Take out of the pan and kneed on a lightly floured surface for a of minutes till smooth. It will be hot!
Store in an airtight container/bag in the fridge till you need it. Let it come to room temperature before the children use it.
This amount will make 5 square plate Easter Gardens if you cover the entire plate. You could cover less of the plate as in the picture above.
To give you an idea of how everything gets put together..
Have a look at an Easter garden I made to show the children at Toddler Group during story time.
Telling the Easter Story
This idea uses faces to explain the story – angry, sad, surprised and happy. As you tell how some people were angry with Jesus show the any face and ask everyone, ‘can you look angry?’. When Jesus died his friends were very sad – show the sad face and ask everyone, ‘can you look sad?’. Then something amazing happened; Jesus came alive again. His friends were surprised! Ask everyone, ‘can you look surprised?’
Jesus is still alive today! Show the happy face and ask, ‘can you look happy?’ We can be happy because Jesus is alive!
Here are the faces as printable PDF’s if you would like to use them
Bible story from Exodus 8. This is part of our series of stories about animals in the Bible.
Meet the main characters – Moses, Pharoah and frogs!
Moses was the leader of God’s people. God’s people lived in Egypt. They were very sad (can you look sad). Everyday they had to make bricks. they made bricks 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, days a week. It was hot and dusty and horrible.
God told Moses to go and rescue the people. It’s always good to do what God says. ‘Moses, go and tell the King of Egypt to let all of my people go’
So Moses went to see the King of Egypt.
God says you are to let his people go
‘No’ said the king of Egypt ‘i won’t’. It’s always a bad idea to ignore God.
Moses told the king, ‘God will send something to make you change your mind!’
God sent … frogs!
Not just 1 frog, or 2 frogs or even 10 frogs but lots of frogs.
When the people wanted to cook food there were frogs in the oven, when they went to get a wash there were frogs in the water, when they went to bed there were frogs under the covers! frogs everywhere! When the king went to sit on his throne there were frogs already sitting there!
‘Take the frogs away’, said the King.
So Moses asked God to take the frogs away and God did. Now the frogs were back in the river.
After the story we sang our ‘new’ song. This went down really well.