Preschool children are busy people, even at church. Keep them occupied, entertained and learning with a well-chosen skit. Stories need to be short and age-appropriate; make sure children can participate with a minimum of lines or just sit and watch. Puppets, flannelgraphs, props and enthusiasm make these skits come to life.
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Old Testament stories that work well for preschoolers include Adam naming the animals, Noah's Ark, Daniel in the lions' den, Moses and the Ten Commandments and Joseph and his coat of many colours. New Testament stories make good skits include the Christmas story, the Easter story, Peter walking on the water and Jesus healing people.
Remember that you don't have to include the whole story. For example, tell the Christmas story from the shepherds' viewpoint, with only shepherd and angel characters. Many puppet and flannel graph characters are adapted for acting out Bible stories.
Write your own simple situation or find a story that uses modern times and modern children to teach a moral such as accepting differences, seeking Jesus, honouring God, Christian kindness and avoiding temptation. Use adult characters along with the children to say longer lines, emphasise the lesson and read the related Scripture verses. Use familiar places, like playgrounds, to help children apply the moral to their lives.
To keep young children interested, include a part of the skit where one or more children can participate. For example, give the audience animal masks and call each animal up during the telling of Noah's Ark. Ask children to make noises for the storm when Peter walks on the water. Ask questions or give children a phrase to say such as "Get up and walk" when Jesus heals someone in the skit. Children can also move the flannelgraph figures while you read a story.
Reading from a book can become a simple skit by making it a reader's theatre. Have different adults read the different voices and invite the children to add sound effects. Longer books can be read as a series, breaking at interesting parts. Examples of books suitable for this include A Tale of Three Trees, The Princess and the Kiss, the Psalms for Kidz series and 101 Favorite Stories From the Bible.
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