Psalm 23 is part of the Old Testament, describing God as a shepherd. The Psalm depicts God taking care of his flock with goodness and mercy. In the Jewish tradition, it is believed that King David wrote this Psalm, as he was a shepherd during his youth. In Christianity, it depicts how God guides people to eternal life. When studying Psalm 23, arts and crafts activities for children may be incorporated into home worship or Sunday school, to help children gain understanding of the Psalms.
Hand out word search puzzles that use words from Psalm 23, such as "want," "shepherd," "green," "pastures" or other terms. Teachers can create the word search, or choose to print one from an online resource. The first child to find all the words from the word search wins.
Acting it Out
Take a copy of Psalm 23 and read it out loud to the children. Using props and costumes, students can pretend to be sheep and each can take turns being the shepherd. Another child should play the role of the wolf who is trying to attack the sheep. The shepherd has to keep the sheep safe. After acting it out, discuss what Psalm 23 describes about how God is a shepherd who acts as a protector of his flock (the faithful). Discuss ways in which God protects his flock so children can gain a more complete understanding of a shepherd.
Use marshmallows, food colouring, cereal, pretzels and other items to create a treat in the shape of sheep. Instruct kids to put pretzels in the marshmallows for sheep's legs. Decorate the face of the sheep using food colouring or chocolate chips. To create a pasture scene beneath or around the sheep, mix green food colouring with cereal to put grass beneath the sheep. While making the snack, recite Psalm 23 or listen to it play.
Psalm 23 shows the relationship between a shepherd and his flock of sheep. The shepherd is God; the flock, his followers. Children can trace their hand onto construction paper to create an image of a sheep. After the tracing is done, decorate the paper by gluing cotton balls onto the construction paper. The thumb can make the face of the flock. Children may choose to add a drawing of a shepherd to make the image complete.
Pass out a picture of a shepherd, or have the children draw their own. After the children colour the image of the shepherd, they can put them on sticks or create hand puppets to act out Psalm 23 from the Old Testament. Students may come up with a way of retelling the story themselves, or be taught a rhyme to go along with it.
Collage or Painting
Take magazines and cut out pictures that describe the countryside where a shepherd may guide his flock. Children may choose their favourite line from Psalm 23 and write it on a piece of paper, then compile the pictures and create a collage surrounding the writing. As an alternate activity to a collage, students can draw a picture of what they think Psalm 23 represents, such as a shepherd with his flock, perhaps feeding them or caring for one that is ill. Hang up the collages or paintings throughout the room and discuss why it is important to care for others.