Ideas for teaching God's love to children

Shannon - posted on 04/25/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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I am teaching a week long session at a bible camp this summer. I do the kids program for the morning and evening services. I decided to do it on God's love. It will be for children ages 2-12. I have the program planned but would love any further ideas or suggestions to make it better. Crafts, games, or any suggestions would be appreciated. I would like to make this a program the children want to come back to next year. Thanks in advance everyone.

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Rebekah - posted on 04/28/2009

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Here's an idea that will teach on God's love, but also allow a time for you to give an invitation to the kids to accept Jesus as the Lord (or boss) of their life.

You'll need:
Cross (any type, but one that will allow you to put stickers on it)
Heart Shaped Stickers (we used BIG ones)

Place each heart sticker under every chair or pass them out to every child that walks in. Tell kids that God's love is the greatest love you will ever experience. Ask kids how their parents show love? Let them respond. Then tell them that God loves them even MORE and He wants all His children to come to Him so that He can reward them, give them a bright future, and much success in life. Everyone hold up your heart in the air. David gave his heart to God because he knew that without Him he could not of defeated the giant or any of the battles that he won. And because David gave his heart to God, God gave David His heart! When we receive the heart of God, we come to know true love that is unconditional, which means you don't have to earn God's love, He has given it freely. Now everyone close your eyes and no talking. God loves you. He made you. He has given you talents and dreams that He wants you to fulfill. His love cannot be measured, because He loved you before you were ever born to your mom and dad. How many of you want to give your heart to God like David did? If you do, I want you to come up and stick your heart on the cross while the music plays. (Give your invitation, after they do this, have people up front to pray with them and explain what it really means to invite Jesus into their hearts.)

Other ideas are:

Snack: Love Chains
Reference: Luke 6:27-36
Read the Golden Rule and Jesus' teachings on loving our enemies. Children can wear these edible chains or give them to someone as an act of love.

Ingredients:
Long licorice whips
Ring-shaped cereals
Ring-shaped candies

Directions:
1. Thread a licorice whip with candies and cereals.
2. When full of goodies tie ends together in a hard knot.

For Added Fun:
Cut several 2" x 6" paper strips for each child. Allow kids to write their names or messages of love or friendship on each others' strips.


Here is a puppet skit:

(Need 2 puppets with party hats on their heads.)

Puppet 1: Peekaboo! (Waves)
Puppet 2: (Signal arrival with a green light, green circle or siren. Enters dancing until music fades.) Woot Woot!
Leader: Are you going to a party?
Puppet 1: We went to a party for children in wheelchairs. It was a party to let them know they matter to God.
Leader: That's what we are talking about today. Our lesson is about Zacchaeus, a man who climbed a tree to see Jesus.
Puppet 2: Was Jesus that tall?
Leader: No, Zacchaeus was a very short man. And because lots of people crowded around Jesus, Zacchaeus couldn't see Him.
Puppet 1: Zacchaeus sounds like fun - he played peekaboo with Jesus!
Leader: Well, people didn't really like Zacchaeus, because they owed him money, and sometimes Zacchaeus took too much.
Puppet 2: That's bad. Did Jesus like Zacchaeus?
Leader: Jesus loved Zacchaeus. He stopped and talked to Zacchaeus, and even went to his house for lunch!
Puppet 2: Did they have a party?
Leader: Zacchaeus was happy and changed because he felt Jesus' love.
Puppet 2: Go, go Zacchaeus! And go, go Jesus!
Leader: Jesus loves us all. It's wonderful to know that we all matter to God!


Based off what you are teaching them about God's love, you can review it with a game.
Use a board and put 2 columns on it (1) God's Love and (2) Other Ways to Show Love. Have kids raise their hands and give answers to what is love. And have them put the response under the correct heading. Hand out a piece of candy to every person or to each person that gives an answer, however you want to handle the situation.


Craft Idea:

Have kids cut hearts out of construction paper and put a door in the middle of the heart. Then have kids cut out either by making or giving them an actual cut out of a person. This person they'll glue to the back of the heart so that when they open they door there is Jesus. He loves us so much He has made a home in our hearts.


It helps much easier to help you though if you can give me more of idea of what your teaching sessions are - like Bible stories, etc. I have plenty of resources on "God's Love" and many of my own kids sermons that I have written, plus some stuff my volunteers have come up with.

Rebekah - posted on 04/28/2009

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Here's another puppet skit idea...

IDEA: Wear shirt from Steve Greer: No Matter What You Do, No Matter What You Say, God Loves You!
THE “MY DAD'S BETTER THAN YOUR DAD SHOW”

Announcer: Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to the “My Dad’s better than your Dad” show. Today's two contestants will be trying to convince the audience to cast their vote for them by telling us why they think their Dad is better than your Dad! Welcome Puppet Number one. Please tell us your name and where you are from.

Puppet One: Hi, Carl. I’m really excited to be here. Oh yeah, my name is ______ and I’m from the long term storage box with the clear sides.

Announcer: Let’s hear it for ________. Now puppet number two, Tell us your name and where you are from.

Puppet Two: Hi my name is _________ and I’m from the green Rubbermaid box back stage here in Kids' Zone.

Announcer: All right, our contestants sound as if they are ready. Here is question number one. “How often does your Dad keep his promises?”

Puppet One: Well, Carl, that’s easy. My Dad has never broken a promise. When he makes a promise, it is ALWAYS kept. He’s never been known to let me down. Or anyone else for that matter!

Puppet Two: Yeah? Well my Dad almost always keeps his promises. Once in a while he might get too busy or forget a few things, but generally he’s pretty good about keeping his promises.

Announcer: Very good. Here is question number two. Now be honest, What does your father give you?

Puppet Two: This is an easy one, Carl. My Dad bought me a Nintendo with 23 games for it, a mountain bike, roller blades, the latest in clothes and a credit card in my name for anything else I might need.

Puppet One: My Dad always makes sure I have everything I NEED. I must admit that I don’t get everything I want, but I always have what I need.

Announcer: All right contestants, question number three. Tell us about some of the times your Dad hangs out with you.

Puppet One: Well, remember how my Dad never breaks a promise? Well one of the things He promised was to NEVER leave me alone. He is always with me wherever I go.

Puppet Two: (sarcastically) How sweet! My Dad has a life, you know? Sure we sometimes go to ball games or the movies, but he knows when I don’t want him around like when I’m hanging out with the guys and stuff - you don’t want your Dad to know what your up to ALL the time (snickering). Ya know what I mean?

Announcer: Yes, I think I do. Anyway... For the final area, “Please describe in your own words what life will be like between you and your Dad when you are an adult, when you’re all grown up”.

Puppet One: Well, in the end I plan on living with my Dad in a big, big house, with lots and lots of room. We’ll have a big, big table with lots and lots of food and a big, big yard where we can play football! Yeah, yeah, that’s my fathers house!

Puppet Two: Get Real! When I’m that old, if my dad hasn’t already kicked the bucket so I can inherit all of his money, then he can just veg out in a nursing home. I won’t NEED my dad when I’M an adult. There’s a time to grow up - (sneering at puppet One). not like some people I know.

Announcer: Well, there you have it, it is time for our audience participation. Our “sound a meter” will measure your response to each puppet. By clapping hands, stomping feet, whistling and cheering, let’s hear it for Puppet number ONE! OK, OK. Now by clapping hands, stomping feet, whistling and cheering, let’s hear it for Puppet number TWO!

Announcer: Well it seems to me that we have a clear winner today. ______ Your Dad seems to be one of a kind!

Puppet One: Oh, he is!

Announcer: He really seems to be out of this world!

Puppet One: Exactly!

Announcer: I bet many of us right here in the studio audience are wishing right now that we could have a dad just like yours.

Puppet One: Oh, but you can! He loves adopting people into his family.

Announcer: Really? How about introducing me to your Dad ?

Puppet One: I’d be happy to. He’s been around for years, you know ... (they leave together still talking about how Awesome he is, how powerful, He’s really a king, you know, etc.)
Puppet Two: Hey, you guys? Hey what about the consolation prize? Hey, I think you forgot something ... Hello? What about me? (While leaving stage) Can I meet your dad too? Mine’s not really that great. Think He can adopt me too? Hello? Hello?

Carolee - posted on 04/25/2009

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Hello Shannon , my name is Carolee .My husband and I are long time traveling ministers. That is a wide age range . Any way you can split into 3 groups 2-5 ,6-9 ,9-12 If not I think that keeping the subject away from " look at what Jesus did for you " now what are you going to do for him ? This is sometimes the typical sunday school way of motivating {works for a short time with the young and old } YOu are probably after a big lasting impact . So instead maybe have the subject be on " the ways God loves us . He loves us by giving us the Bible that is filled with wisdom so that we can choose to live happy lives, He loves us by giving us grace so we can strive to be great. He loves us by giving us forgiveness and the power to forgive others.

I have just recently been talking to our 5 year old about what God's voice sounds like { a question often asked by young ones } I have been explaining to her that God's voice sounds encouraging uplifting and sometimes correcting in a " you are a champion , you can do better kind of way".

If you do talk about the cross help them understand that Jesus chose to die for " the JOY that was set before him " that WE are the that JOY ! I find that it helps children to first learn about the cross in terms of LOVE . I think sometimes kids Bible teachers out of good desire to motivate young people to be great and wise forget this important first thought . The Love was the motivation that covered the sin. A game could be { what does God's voice sound like } have the kids think of something God would say to encourage them if they failed or did something bad or even better something great :}

Janice - posted on 07/31/2012

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uh oh. Am I too late?
You could use My Bible Stories iPad or iPhone app and show them God's love through the interactive story telling of Jonah and the big fish and Jesus Miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fishes. It's available on the iTunes app store at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-bible-...

Hope that helps.

Rebekah - posted on 04/28/2009

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This is a more serious story about love, and the value of love over all else. A little girl opens a gift from her mother after she dies and learns a priceless lesson about living and dying and what is most important in life.

The Most Precious Treasure by Karl Bastian
Maybe now she could finally open it. It had sat on her shelf for the past nine months, though never forgotten. But for the past several weeks, she had carried it everywhere she went, even putting under her pillow at night. Her mother had been so serious when she gave it to her, that she treasured it, wondering often what was inside.

She had thought this day would never come, prayed it would never come, but as she walked out of the church on this cold rainy day, she felt in her pocket the tiny box. She could feel the small gems in the side, and the lock that held it closed. In her other pocket, her fingers played with the key.

As she walked down the stairs at the front of the church and looked around at all the people dressed in black and wearing sad faces, her memory drifted back to that day at her mom’s side in her bedroom. Her mom had just gotten back from the hospital, where she had been for several weeks, and she didn’t seem the same. She was much weaker and much quieter. And so much more serious, but not in a mean way, almost in a more intense loving way. It was in one of those serious moods she had given her the little locked box and key.

“I want you to have this.” Her mom had said looking her daughter straight in the eye.

“Can I open it?” the daughter had asked in return.

“Not yet, but you will know when.” Her mom had answered with just a hint of a smile.

“It’s beautiful.” the daughter said, as she looked at the colorful decorations all over the little box that was only about an inch long and a little less wide. It seemed like it must be less than an inch deep. “Is it a jewelry box? What’s inside?” Her mother took her hand.

“Inside you will see the most precious thing in my life. It is very valuable, priceless. I want you to keep it for me forever. And whenever you miss me, look in this box and know that what you see is what I loved the most in all the world.” Then she had closed her eyes and laid back. She looked like she wanted to cry, but she didn’t. She simply smiled and closed her eyes tight to stop the tears.

Now it was nine months later and the funeral was over. She already missed her mom so badly. Could this be when she was supposed to open the little jewelry box? She climbed into the backseat of their car. Her dad was still outside talking to someone. She reached in her pocket and took out the little shiny box and key. As the key slipped into the lock, her heart began to speed up. What could her mom have put in this little box that was so valuable, and yet so small. A diamond ring? A precious gem? What could she have loved so much that she wanted her daughter to keep it forever? As she turned the key there was a small click. She lifted the lid and eagerly peered inside. But it was empty. The sides were lined with beautiful red velvet and in the bottom lay a small mirror filling the bottom, but nothing was inside the box. Had her mom forgotten to put it in? Had someone stolen it? Maybe it had fallen out as she carried it around these past few days? She lowered it to her lap in disappointment. As she looked down in her lap she reflected on her moms words, “Inside you will see the most precious thing in my life.” Suddenly a tear began to form in her eye and began to run down her cheek, for as she looked down into the little box she suddenly saw what her mom was talking about. She saw herself in the mirror. She was the most precious thing in her mom’s life. As she looked into that little mirror it suddenly became so clear. The most valuable things in life are not the things we can buy with money, they are the people we love. As she closed the box she whispered, “Thank you, Mom.
The Point: When you look in the mirror, you see the most precious thing to God: YOU. He made you in His image.

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Rebekah - posted on 04/28/2009

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Here is another idea (and yes, I'm sure many of you would feel this is wrong, but if you want to reach kids, you have to get in their world) by teaching from Harry Potter...

Needed
The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

References
Rom. 5:8; Titus 2:14, Eph. 5:2, Gal. 3:13, 2 Cor. 5:21

Introduction
The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, ends with a powerful message that can be used as an object lesson in the Power of God's Sacrifice of Christ for us. Whether you like the Harry Potter books or not, the reality is that many of the kids in your ministry have read them. Here is a way to take the message of Harry Potter and refocus it to teach about the power of Jesus to save. You need not 'endorse' Harry Potter to use this lesson.

Often I will give a disclaimer when referring to something that kids are into and redirect them to what I am teaching. For example, before doing this lesson I might say something like: "How many of you have read the first Harry Potter book? (they answer) Well, I've had a lot of parents ask me what I think about it, since kids like Harry Potter, but there is a lot of magic and evil stuff in the stories too, so I read it to see what I think. I don't really like all the ghosts and spells and the evil 'you-know-who', but I know you know that all that is make believe. However, I did find something I liked at the end, and I'd like to share it with you."

In this way you point out what you don't like, give a casual reminder that the 'magic stuff' is not real, and indicate that you did not read it because you condone it, but because you wanted to know what kids were reading. You could even add, "if your parents won't let you read the Harry Potter books, I can see why, and don't worry, you aren't missing anything, but here's the part I wanted to talk about..." and go into the lesson.

Lesson
There are two things to point out. First of all, Harry has a mark, or scar on his forehead that is in the shape of a lightning bolt. Whenever he is in danger, he feels pain there, kind of like a warning of some sort. Secondly, at the end of the story, Harry finally is confronted by the evil wizard who is out to try and destroy him.

However, when he attacks Harry, he is injured every time he touches him. In the end the evil wizard is again defeated and Harry wakes up in the medical ward. When Harry asks Professor Dumbledore, "But why couldn't he touch me?" Dumbledore explains to him why he was able to survive both the attack by Voldemort as a baby and in this encounter.

"Your mother died to save you. If there is one things Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn't realize that love as powerful as your mother's love for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign... to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever... Voldemort could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good."

Can you see the powerful lesson? Here in this secular book is a description of the core of the Gospel! We all are under the attack of God's Enemy. He has sought to destroy us by bringing sin into the world. Spiritually, Satan killed our first parents, Adam and Eve, by introducing into this world sin and its consequences. But rather than allow us to be destroyed, God provided a sacrifice for us. He sent his Son, Jesus, to die in our place (Rom. 5:8; Titus 2:14, Eph. 5:2, Gal. 3:13, 2 Cor. 5:21) to take the death we deserved upon Himself.

When we acknowledge our sinfulness and accept Jesus' death as the payment for our sin (Rom. 10:9), Jesus stands in our place before the judgment of God and takes the wrath upon Himself. That's a pretty powerful love! (I John 3:16) Love like that ought to make a mark on our life! It ought to cause us to live for Him every day. And it also does protect us from the Enemy! (Col. 2:13b,15)

Once we are God's, the Enemy is powerless to defeat us, for "Greater is He who is in us, then he that is in the world." (I John 4:4) Have YOU accepted Jesus as your Savior? He wants to leave His mark on you - not a scar on your forehead - but a transformed life! And in exchange for your giving your life to Him, He will protect you from the Enemy and the ultimate consequences of your sin, an eternity without God in the place of punishment with the Enemy!

The books do have a lot of magic and references to witchcraft. Witchcraft is not presented as something evil, but as something completely neutral that can be used either for good or for evil. It would be similar to the "Force" in Star Wars. In and of itself it is not good or bad, it is the way in which it is used that determines whether the person using it is good or bad. This could give the idea to kids that some witchcraft is OK and encourage a curiosity to experiment with witchcraft in the real world, where it is ALWAYS harmful and extremely dangerous.

Jennifer - posted on 04/28/2009

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I have been leading kids in a similar big group/age range setting for about 15 years now on Mexico mission trips. Usually it is close to 100 kiddos with 1 - 3 leaders. This March we had a very succesful time. It went so well I think because of prep. We made sure we had everything we needed and had it set up before hand. We had a plan with transitions planned. We also before hand had a few parents want to help and we gave them very specific ways to help. The biggest thing we did in prep was bathe it in prayer. We prayed all the way up to the session and had others all over praying too. I'll be praying for you!

Shannon - posted on 04/27/2009

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Thank you ladies for your responses and ideas. I greatly appreciate it. I wish I could divide the groups up to teach more individually but unfortunately it is me, myself and I available to teach all the children. So I'm going to set up the room with multiple ideas and activities to accommodate everyone.
The site Sermon4kids has great resources thanks.
I think some of my older kids 6 and up will really like the game "Honey, I love you."
Carolee - that is definitely a good perspective on how to teach God's love. I'm going to see how I can incorporate that into the program. thanks.

Carolee - posted on 04/25/2009

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Hello Shannon , my name is Carolee .My husband and I are long time traveling ministers. That is a wide age range . Any way you can split into 3 groups 2-5 ,6-9 ,9-12 If not I think that keeping the subject away from " look at what Jesus did for you " now what are you going to do for him ? This is sometimes the typical sunday school way of motivating {works for a short time with the young and old } YOu are probably after a big lasting impact . So instead maybe have the subject be on " the ways God loves us . He loves us by giving us the Bible that is filled with wisdom so that we can choose to live happy lives, He loves us by giving us grace so we can strive to be great. He loves us by giving us forgiveness and the power to forgive others.

I have just recently been talking to our 5 year old about what God's voice sounds like { a question often asked by young ones } I have been explaining to her that God's voice sounds encouraging uplifting and sometimes correcting in a " you are a champion , you can do better kind of way".

If you do talk about the cross help them understand that Jesus chose to die for " the JOY that was set before him " that WE are the that JOY ! I find that it helps children to first learn about the cross in terms of LOVE . I think sometimes kids Bible teachers out of good desire to motivate young people to be great and wise forget this important first thought . The Love was the motivation that covered the sin. A game could be { what does God's voice sound like } have the kids think of something God would say to encourage them if they failed or did something bad or even better something great :}

Heather - posted on 04/25/2009

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When I was little I went to Girl Scout Camp. One of my favorite games was "Honey, I love you" It was very fun, and you could even put a Bible story with it. Something about God loving you even if you don't smile? I don't know, but how you play the game is you all sit in a circle and one person is 'it'. They have to pick someone else and go over to them and say "Honey, I love you, will you please please smile?" They can't touch the other person but can make funny faces while they say it and talk in silly voices. They are 'it' until someone smiles when they say it. Then the smiler is 'it'. Just a thought. It was a fun memory for me.

Shelly - posted on 04/25/2009

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Sermon4kids is a great place for progects and games and songs for the kids I have childrens church once a month and I just love this site for ideas and suports check it out and let me know what you think...BTW it covers many different denominations(sp) so no matter what church you are teaching for you should beable to find something on there...Good Luck and may God Bleess your journey with these children

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