Some slip in quietly with a shy smile. Others burst in with noise and excitement. Bright eyes- curious- full of full of fun and full of questions- anxious to please; who wouldn't want to work with preschoolers?
Well, yes.. they are also still working on developing that self-control, and they are still learning to play and interact well with others.
Perhaps, one of the most important things to keep in mind with preschoolers is their short attention span... and I mean short! They want to get going, doing stuff, feeling things, smelling things, tasting everything, even the play dough, and trying to make things work.
How can you present meaningful moments for busy preschoolers?
So, when it comes to planning and teaching lessons, all that bottled up energy means creating loads of short, hands-on, interactive segments that teach a Bible truth in a short amount of time. Interest tables, puzzles, setting up scenes with miniature figures, music and instruments, art and craft, blocks and construction, science with plants and animals... anything and everything that they can touch and feel and smell and listen to that will teach them a Bible truth.
That's a lot of planning
Now, I know that means a lot of organising for each lesson but it's worth it. And, you'll enjoy it, too.
But... at the end of your lesson there may be times when you have some minutes spare; maybe the pastor preaches overtime or maybe, a few parents stay back to talk or linger over coffee and they're late picking up the kids.
Here's your answer.
5 Minute Sunday School activities for preschoolers- Jesus shows me, by Mary J. Davis.
This book is just made for those types of situations. You'll find it overflowing with five minute ideas for Bible lessons (44 in all) ready to print and use.
It includes activities for The Lost Sheep, the Large Catch of Fish, Jesus Calms the Storm, Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus and many more.
Each lesson activity provides a reproducible activity sheet to print ready to use, a list of needed supplies, instructions for preparation and a step-by-step guide for presenting the activity... plus extra suggestions for extending the activity.
What types of activities?
Sometimes they'll colour and create a small booklet. They might glue on yarn or seeds to create a a collage picture, search for hidden pictures or make a simple windsock.
I would suggest preparing a few of these activities ready to use at a moment's notice. Prepare 3-4 boxes of supplies ( I used clear acrylic document cases) and replace as necessary.
Label each box. I used blackboard labels so that I could easily edit the label according to the activity I popped into the box.
Fill each box (one box per activity) with enough copies of the printed activity sheets for your group plus the instruction sheet and any other needed resources eg yarn, sequins, seeds..
Then, simply take out a box and complete the activity when you need to fill in the occasional few minutes of unexpected activity time. It's easy!
The kids will love it... and so will the parents when they arrive to find their children engaged and having fun. And you'll love knowing that, regardless of what happens, you'll have plenty of activities to keep those busy, active little people happily occupied, learning and growing.