Bible stories and truths are profound enough to perplex adults, causing theologians to spend a lifetime exploring their depths of meaning and intricacies of arguments surrounding them. However, stories are also simple enough to be communicated at a basic level to young children and even toddlers. Let the developmental level of two- and three-year-olds guide the structure of your lesson; focus on keeping your stories short, action-oriented, expressive and as concrete as possible.
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Put on a multicoloured robe and pretend to be Joseph. Talk about how much you love your coat. Have an assistant pretend to be your brother and act out being jealous of you because of your coat. Act out the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, but how, after many years, God made Joseph a powerful ruler in Egypt and allowed him to save his brothers during a time of famine. Print a colouring sheet of Joseph and his coat for the children to colour. Encourage them to use many bright colours.
David and Goliath
Tell the story of David and Goliath to the children in five to eight minutes. Use pictures and stand on a chair when mentioning Goliath to show how big he was. Talk about how David was just a boy and was small like them but killed Goliath with a slingshot because God was with David. Help the children make David's five stones and bag out of a brown paper sack and play dough to help them remember the story.
Understand that two- and three-year-olds think concretely and benefit from pictures, acting and models to learn. Explain the flood story in very simple language, describing that the whole earth was full of people doing mean things to each other, and so God decided to destroy the earth with a flood because of their sins. Draw a picture of a man or have an assistant dress up as a man in a robe and a beard and call him Noah. Explain that Noah did good and believed God so God saved him and his family. Talk about how God told Noah to build an ark. Construct a model of the ark, or buy one online, or bring in pictures of large oil tankers. Show pictures of many different kinds of animals and discuss how God told Noah to fill the ark with two of every kind of bird and animal. Let the children identify the animals and ask them what sounds the animals make; this keeps them interested in the story. Explain that Noah and all the animals were safe in the boat from all the rain and flooding that God brought on the earth. Draw a picture of a house underwater and the ark floating on top.
Jesus Makes a Blind Man See
There are many suitable lessons from the life and ministry of Jesus that you can teach to two and three year olds. The incident of Jesus giving sight to a man born blind is just one example. Read John 9 to the children in an animated and lively fashion. Read an easy-to-understand version like the English Standard or New Living Version. Ask children to cover their eyes with their hands and try to walk around the room. Explain how this is what it was like for the blind man. Talk about how he never saw trees or birds or butterflies or his parents.
Explain how Jesus spit on the ground to make mud, rubbed it on the man's eyes and restored his sight. Explain how happy the man was but that not everyone was happy Jesus healed him. Describe the reaction of the religious leaders to the healing. Explain that they were jealous of Jesus and resented both him and the man He healed. End the story with talking about how the blind man followed Jesus and loved him and we should too.
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