Facing an audience can be nerve wracking. To avoid going blank be really sure of your opening sentence. Learn it. Write it down and have a last minute look at it just before you begin. Some ideas – ‘There was once a…’ ‘A long time ago…’ Say hello to..(name of puppet/doll taken from a storybag)’ or ‘One day there was…’
It’s better to get straight on with story rather than spend time on an ice breaker style question. Toddlers need a short, to the point story. So, just jump right in with the narrative.
In 2 Kings 4:1-7 We read about Elisha helping a widow who needed to pay her debts. He told her to borrow as many empty jars of oil as she could from neighbours and then go inside her home and close the door. What happened next shows us God’s care for his people.
Telling the Bible Story
Bible Truth for Toddlers – God cares about us
To tell the story to young children – you need a bottle of oil.
‘There was once a woman who had two sons. Sadly, her husband had died and she was in trouble. She owed some bad people money and she had no way of paying them back.
She went to see Elisha. He was God’s prophet. ‘I am in trouble. Can you help me?!’ she asked
What do you have at home? Elisha asked
I have one jar of oil. (Show the oil)
Elisha told her what she must do. ‘Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your neighbours. Then go home. Shut the door and start to pour the oil into the empty jars and then sell the oil and pay your debts’
What would the woman do? She started to borrow empty jars. She went to one home and then another and then another. Soon she had lots of empty jars.
Then she went home and closed the door.
Her sons helped her start to pour the oil into an empty jar. And something amazing happened. As they filled the empty jar the oil that they had started with didn’t run out. They filled another jar and still it didn’t run out. Soon all the jars were full of oil. And once they were all full the oil that they had started with stopped flowing.
Now oil is expensive and the woman was able to sell all this extra oil. She had enough money to pay her debts and money left over for her and her sons to live on.
Elisha was able to help because he was God’s prophet. God cared about this woman and her sons. God cares about you and me too.’
Craft ideas – free downloads
One idea is to colour/decorate jars of oil. The other is to add more jars of oil to the picture and then colour or decorate.
Yesterday I posted a Christmas Card Star idea. Today another idea using the same star wreath. This time you can paint the star or decorate with stickers and then use tissue paper for a stained glass effect.
I used paint markers to create the dots. As with all paint check that what you use is washable and have aprons or warn parents/carers that there will be paint! I bought Washable Dab and Dot Markers. They are for 3plus years but if you put the lids out of reach and keep a watchful eye they are ok. If you don’t feel 100% comfortable with using something in your group then don’t use it.
This week the Bible story was all about Abraham and God’s promise to give him a huge family and to bless all the people on earth through that family. During the story I use the names Abraham and Sarah for simplicity. (Gen
Bible Storyfrom Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:5
Bible truth for toddlers – Jesus was born into Abraham’s family
‘Say hello to Abraham! (take a puppet or doll from the story bag). Abraham lived a long, long, long time ago.
One day God spoke to Abraham, ‘Pack up your things and leave the place where you are living. Go to a place that I will show you.I will make you a great nation and all the families on the earth will be blessed through you’
Abraham listened to God and he did what God said. He and his wife Sarah (take another doll or puppet from the story bag) packed their things and off they went.
God showed them where to go.
Now after Abraham and Sarah had been living in their new home for quite a while God spoke to Abraham again.
Abraham was outside at night time. It was dark. God said to him, ‘Look up at the sky and all the stars. So many stars that you can’t count them. This is how large your family will be.’
Abraham listened to God and he believed God.
And Abraham did have a large family .. and from that large family came Jesus. He is the one that blesses the whole world.’
On Saturday we drove to Wembley nice and early to go to a Toddler Group leaders conference. I was leading a couple of workshops about Crafts. It was a really good day. The Keynote speaker, Mary Hawes drew our attention to how toddler groups should be places of generosity, relationships, accessibility, community and encouragement. She encouraged us to be confident about being church based and to share Bible Stories. In the afternoon there was a music workshop that everyone was able to attend.
Very importantly tea and coffee and great pastries kept me so well fed during the breaks that I didn’t really need my packed lunch!
The day was really well organised and I came away enthused about running a Toddler Group and encouraged.
Here’s a picture of the Christmas craft we made
Sunrise – best time of day to drive on the north circular!
This past week I needed a large -ish visual aid to use at Toddler Group that was a change from a story bag. So I made a big book. Well, it’s nearer to an envelope really. Very simple to make. All you need is A3 cartridge paper (it does need to be strong paper) x2, some double sided tape, string and cellotape. The basic idea is that you gradually take pictures out of the book/envelope by pulling on the string that has pictures attached.
To make – print out pictures of the things you are thankful for. On one of the A3 sheets of paper secure the string. Then attach your printed pictures onto the length of string – make sure you space them well. Better to have loads of string rather than very small gaps between pictures. Leave a length of string to hang outside the book/envelope. Decorate your front cover. Then using double sided tape stick the A3 sheets of paper together on three sides only. I also used cellotape around three sides.
The person is meant to be me! I used large people shapes from Baker Ross. These are OK but a bit tricky to colour with crayons as they are shiny. The pictures were from the internet – food, a home and a family.
If I was doing this with over three’s I would get enough supplies for each child to make their own and then use the ‘book’ as a prayer help. Older children could select their own pictures or write. If doing the latter an A4 or A5 sized book would be fine.
This story is from John 6 ( and the other gospels too). In the story basket we had Jesus, Andrew, the young boy, a paper chain of people to represent the crowd and the lunch of two fish and five loaves. In John 6 Philip is also mentioned by name but we kept to just Andrew as he bought the young boy with the lunch to Jesus. Sometimes too much detail can make a toddler group story too long. The paper plate lunch was also our crafty make – we did the craft before the story. The loaves and fish were cut from sugar paper. We weren’t strict about how much ‘lunch’ everyone had on their plate.
Sometimes I manage to find something when I need it! Today I managed to locate a bag of petals and flower pots that were left over from a summer themed craft last year. They are now going to be used to make mother’s day cards. One of the helpers at toddler group is a committed car boot enthusiast and found some great card making shapes just last week and some green tinsel. The latter is going to be cut up (it’ll be messy!!). These will also be used in the card making 🙂 Before toddler group I’ll spray the flower shapes with perfume. This makes for a lovely scratch n sniff card.
This year I have bought blank cards with envelopes from hobbycraft – they are pre-folded and colourful and I just fancied having an envelope too. A chance meeting with a friend, who was also in hobbycraft, and she agreed that paying extra for the envelopes was worth it!
Our bible story will be about Jochebed – Moses mum.
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.
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 🙂
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.