5 Reasons I Love Easter in the Preschool Rooms

I love Easter. Love it.

Like Christmas, love it.

And so, I love to make the most of every opportunity to help our lil HiSKidZ see God’s Big Story about Jesus as we draw near to the holiday that is truly a Holy-Day.

Along with 5 reasons I love Easter in the preschool  5 (or more) ways we helped lil HiSKidZ at our church learn about and love Easter, too!

placemat

1–We share things we know they won’t completely understand.

We know preschoolers won’t completely understand everything about Easter. But y’know what? Neither did the grown men who walked with Jesus. This month we taught that Jesus loved his friends so much that He tried to explain everything that was going to happen. He told them that He was going to go to Jerusalem, He was going to die and He was going to come back to life. They didn’t really understand at the time, but they would later, and it would mean A LOT when they realized He cared enough to try to explain it them.

Our lil HiSKidZ made this place mat to use at home so that just like Jesus’ Bible friends, He would be helping them understand what Easter is all about. It was so easy for them to just glue the pieces on, and then work with our leaders to watch the laminator do the magic!! (Kids love laminating!)

 

zaccheus tree  zaccheus snack

2–We teach God loves everyone no matter how small, no matter what they’ve done.

Next, we taught about Zacchaeus. Because on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus met this now infamous man and changed his life forever. Jesus showed us again that He loves everyone–no matter how small and no matter what they’ve done–and that only He has the power to save them and forgive their sins.

We made the fun snack, (Twix bars, Rice Krispie Treats and Teddy Grahams) and our little ones made the craft! In case you needed to know one more thing you can do with a paper towel roll, try making a sycamore tree! Zacchaeus climbs up the tree to see Jesus and when Jesus stops by, down he comes.

donkey and handprint palm branches    donut hole guys

3–We celebrate Palm Sunday.

This week we will reenact Palm Sunday complete with Jesus in, not on, a donkey and our own interpretation of “palm” branches! You can make a million kinds of animals out of boxes, and be sure to hit up your local home stores for paint sticks–they are great for so many fun things.

My favorite thing this month has been our snack for this week. I saw this idea made with real rocks, (but not for a snack, obviously) which made me think of the verse from the Palm Sunday story where Jesus says that if the people stop praising the rocks will cry out. So, donut holes, candy eyes, some toothpicks, little flags and Hosanna! We are rocking the snack this week!!

palm branches

4–We get to have real Palm Branches.

As part of Palm Sunday, we always buy Palm Branches! And, yes, I think they should be capitalized. We get them for HiSKidZ of all ages, and they all love them. Several years ago, I almost stopped. I’m not sure why. Maybe they seemed old-fashioned, maybe I wasn’t sure if the kids liked them.

But, then, one of our 5th grade boys commented the week before Palm Sunday, “Next week is Palm Sunday! I love Palm Sunday! We always get those Palm Branches and we get to act like we were there.” ‘Nuff said. I’ve been buying them ever since. When a 5th grade boy tells you that Palm Branches have become a spiritual marker in his life, you buy them forever!

We live in midwest, and our palms aren’t always the best, but this year they are so green, I can’t wait for the kids to see them.

angel owl   IMG_3057

5–The angel rolled the stone away, and Jesus is alive!

Like I said, I love Easter Sunday. I love saying, “He is Risen. He is Risen, Indeed!” I love singing Celebrate, Jesus, Celebrate, Rise and Sing, and Jesus is Alive Right Now with our bigs and Hosanna, 1-2-3 and Jesus is Alive with our littles. I love the power of the day, and the reason we celebrate. I love how God moves as we share who He is and what He has done.

One of the above angel bags will be our craft on Easter Sunday. I’ll let you guess which one!

The picture on the left represents one attempt at an angel bag. I know it looks like a bird–a very surprised bird, but it is an angel. The bag on the right, thankfully, was created by one of our amazing volunteers so our kids don’t think angels are owls, and so their parents will let the come back to church with us!!

What do you love about Easter in your preschool rooms?

 

 

 

Angel Treats

photo 1

For our lil HiSKdiZ lesson last Sunday we made these super fun angel snacks. Sure, somehow it may seem a bit harsh to eat angels, but they are SO CUTE!!! And SO TASTY! Our lil HiSKidZ loved them and do did our leaders. Our lesson was centered on when the angel Gabriel came to tell Mary that she was going to have a baby and named Jesus.

They are super easy. You just need some Bugles chips, (it’s amazing how many people love the Bugle!) small pretzels, Kix and Cheerios cereals and some frosting. We used the kind in a tube. It made it super simple to apply and made the angels look neat and tidy. (Something I’m sure angels are!) It also made the task really quick and we had our own angel army in no time at all.

You can tell how to put them together just by looking at the picture.

photo 2

I found the idea on Pinterest from the Blog, a http://showerofroses.blogspot.com/2010/12/our-2010-jesse-tea-for-advent.html”> in a post about snacks that can be used to teach from the book “The Jesse Tree.”

If you’ve never checked out “The Jesse Tree,” I highly recommend it, and the angel treats as well. Check out his picture of my friend Patti who helped put these together. I thought she was totally channeling her June Cleaver when she came in to the church the other day, but with the pic in black and white I think it’s even more perfect!! (She didn’t know I was going to snap a pic, but she was pretty sweet about it anyway!)

photo 3

Enjoy!! Taste and See. . . the Lord is good!

Very Blue Red Sea Cupcakes

moses cupcakes (2)

Like in many churches, we often map out a weekly teaching plan for our volunteers that includes a teaching point, Bible lesson, craft, activity, songs and snack. For our littlest HiSKidZ, snack is almost always something that ties into the lesson reinforcing the story or truth we want them to learn.

This month, our preschoolers are learning that they can praise God, and Sunday’s lesson was about how the Israelites praised God after they crossed the Red Sea. I love the snack that Susan, one of our veteran volunteers, shared with our classes to help them remember that God’s people praised Him after He helped Moses lead them safely across the Red Sea.

These super cute cupcakes were so easy to make with a simple cake mix, white frosting, Teddy Grahams, pretzel sticks and some Pillsbury Funfetti Aqua Blue Vanilla frosting (it comes with little fishes!)

funfetti

The cupcakes were fun, delicious and helped lil HiSKidZ learn more about God. Although it did bring up the age-old question, “Why is the Red Sea blue and not red?”

Taste and See. . . the Lord is good.

Fiery Furnace Snack for Kids–Taste and See Sunday

fiery furnace

This month our preschoolers are learning that “God is With Them Everywhere!” Today their lesson was specifically about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and their visit to the fiery furnace because they wouldn’t worship the king’s statue.

To help teach our story, we built a cardboard box furnace, expressed a little creativity with a super fun craft (that’s a future blog post for sure, for sure) and to top it off enjoyed the tasty snack of fiery furnace fun pictured above.

jace in the fiery furnace

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there was really anything “fun” about the guys’ experience in the furnace that day. But, I did think, as I looked at the faces of the little bears we used to represent “Rack, Shack and Benny,” that perhaps they were experiencing some pretty great joy in the fact that God was indeed with them everywhere–especially in the midst of the BBQ fit for a king.

One of the teachers told me that they asked the children what happened to the guys when they went into the furnace. The teacher expected them to say that God was with them, but instead one of the kids piped up with, “They got all burnt up!”

The teacher, a little taken aback, replied, “No, No, God was with them and He saved them.”

The kids responded with some “Woahs. . . .”

I have to wonder if I’m not a bit like my preschoolers sometimes. Do I fail to realize that God is with me in hot times? Do I forget that I can have joy in the midst of trials? Can I be as happy as the little bears on our graham crackers knowing that I can trust God no matter what?

The Spirit was speaking through today’s little snack and helped remind me that God IS with me everywhere and the joy of the Lord is my strength.

Taste and See. . . the Lord is good.

Super Easy Sheep Snacks–Taste and See Sunday

one sheep

You’ve heard me say it before, I love a good theme snack–especially when teaching preschoolers. Since we are now in week three of the Christmas lessons, this shepherd week. There’s an unwritten pattern to the Christmas story in children churches around the world. It goes like this:

Week 1: The angel comes to Mary

Week 2: The angel comes to Joseph

Week 3: Jesus is born and the angels come to the shepherds

Week 4: Wise men come bringing gifts.

Week 5: Review the above weeks above or a story about Jesus growing up.

Last year our shepherds week craft was shepherds staff cut out cookies. So this year, we gave the shepherds a rest and focused on the sheep and let the kids be the shepherds.

Here’s all you need to make just one or even a whole flock.

Giant marshmallows–guaranteed fun anytime, but they make for great big fluffy sheep
Skinny pretzel sticks–legs
Small traditionally shaped pretzels–these will be the eyes and nose.
Small pair of scissors or knife

Cut a slit in one of the ends of the marshmallow large enough to put the head piece into.
Put the head piece in there.
Stick the legs in and . . . .

Ta-Da! Ewe got sheep!!!

flock of sheep

Our preschoolers loved them. Well, so did our leaders! So have a little Christmas fun this year with your own little flock, and

Taste and See. . . .the Lord is good!!

My-Oh-My-Ley (Tiny Tot Tuesday)

Normally on any given Tuesday, I would be blogging about preschool songs, preschool crafts, and preschool home or teaching ideas. Not today. Yesterday I wanted oh-so-much to do a Mama Mia Monday about Ms Miley and the “show” she put on at the VMAs. (No, I didn’t watch it, but it was all over the news.) I think I was still in shock; not about Miley Cyrus and the VMA’s, but that this is the first real time we’ve really gotten our panties in a wad about her.

I’m sure I will address that at another time. But for today, for the parents, grandparents and care givers of our tiny tots, I want to encourage you in two ways.

Number One–WAKE UP!!!! Seriously WAKE UP!!!! We cannot continue to feed our tiny tots from the table of entertainment and think they are not going to be influenced by it. “Just say No!” to the Disney channel, Nickelodeon or whatever the flavor of the month is. Quit making Miley, Justin, and Selena your children’s heroes when they are still in preschool. Quit taking your 8 year olds to concerts. Find better heroes for your kids. They are out there.

Stop trying to do what you can to help your child become the next Miley, Justin, or Selena. For the life of me I cannot grasp, why, when we see what happens to children involved in the entertainment industry do we continue to try to do all we can to see our children become a part of that, and to make these children our children’s idols. (Um, they are called “idols” for a reason!) Maybe you don’t want your child to be a star in Hollywood, but you do want them to be a star in elementary school–coolest clothes, coolest hair, coolest activities. It’s self centered, and it’s very, very dangerous.

proverbs1419final

Number Two–STAY STRONG!!! For those of you who already feel like you are swimming upstream, and your child is only three, don’t give up and don’t give in. Keep living out Proverbs 3:4-5 and keep Proverbs 14:12 in mind. Continue to measure what you see by what God’s Word says. We just finished teaching our elementary students that God’s word is our plumb line, and we now have a plumb line hanging in our classroom to remind them to make their choices based on God’s Word. Keep the end in mind; keep your child’s heart, not just their immediate happiness, in mind, and keep God in mind.

proverbs345 final

One of the crazy things to me in all of this is why weren’t we in an uproar when the “We Can’t Stop” song came out? Have you read the lyrics? Have you seen the video?

Why weren’t we upset when the birdcage came out?

Why aren’t we upset that Lady Gaga was on stage in her underwear? Or with all the other things she’s done? How did that all the sudden become okay? Because, we’ve now decided that at least she wasn’t as bad as Miley?

Why is it that every time we are upset about someone “crossing the lines,” do we continue to go back to the table for more?

And why, oh why, were so many children watching this in the first place? And why, oh why, were their parents??

Whether we admit it or not, we like it. These are our heroes. They are our idols. They are what we spend our time and money on, and they are who we have given our hearts to.

And for the sake of our tiny tots, we need to stop and put a little–or a lot–of Philippians 4:8 into our lives.

philippians48final

Romans 1:32 says, “Although they knew God’s righteous decrees that those who do these things (sexual immorality, envy, greed, murder, strife, gossip, slander, hating God, insolent, arrogant, boastful. . . .) deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them.”

“We do what we want.
We say what we want. . . and
We can’t stop, and
We won’t stop.”

My-Oh-My-Ley.

Who Knew? Blue Jello and Bible Stories–Tiny Tot Tuesday

Naaman Jello

Seriously. Who knew?

Okay, maybe you did. But. . . on the other hand, maybe you didn’t. And, so, now you do. Or you will. Soon anyway.

I’m a food lover. Sure, I’m a little picky about some things, like, say, onions, for example. But, all in all, I’m a fan of food–especially as a teaching tool.

Holding fast to the concept that we all learn differently, it’s not only fun, but smart, to use meals or snacks to teach whenever we can. Using all a child’s senses to help them learn. Well, it just makes sense!

One of the favorites of our tiny tots is blue jello. The kids absolutely love it. Plus, it’s very rare someone is allergic to it, and you can use it with soooo many different Bible stories. (I wonder if Bill Cosby knew that?)

For example:

Naaman–Just add a Teddy Graham or Keebler elf and you are good to get dippin (7 times of course). We just did this one Sunday.

Jesus or Peter Walking on the Water–Same idea as above.

Creation–God made the water. Want clouds?? Add some whipped cream to the top.

Disciples Fishing–Add gummy fish to the jello for a big catch!

Israelites Crossing the Red Sea–No, we don’t use red jello for this, but you could for a lesson on the plagues!

Let your imagination go crazy and have some fun–at home, with family devotions or in your class or small group at church. It’s a wonderful privilege to be able to use simple, creative, colorful, and inexpensive things to help our tiny tots see the Bible come to life.

Who knew??