According to the Old Testament, the Tabernacle was the portable dwelling place for God. The Ark of the Covenant was housed in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, and a few other special items were placed throughout the Tabernacle. Exodus 25-31 offers details about how God wanted the Tabernacle to be made and what was to be stored inside. Your preschool students can experience how beautiful and sacred the Tabernacle must have been to the Israelites through a few meaningful activities,
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Make a Model
Children can make their own take-home model of the Tabernacle using a few simple materials. Wash out a styrofoam meat tray for each student or turn over a styrofoam paper plate. Use a knife to make four horizontal slits in the styrofoam. For each student, cut out paper figures of the Ark of the Covenant, a Table of Shewbread, the Altar for Burnt Offerings and the Alter for Incense. After reading the Bible passage and story to the students, have them place the Ark of the Covenant in the slit at the back of the styrofoam Tabernacle. Closer to the front, have the students place the Table of Shewbread and Alter for Incense. In the front of the Tabernacle, students place the Altar for Burnt Offerings. Talk about how sacred this Tabernacle was for the Israelites as this was their symbolic home for God.
Young students love to play in forts made with sheets and furniture. Help them understand the layout and importance of the Tabernacle by creating a child-sized version of the Tabernacle in the classroom. Hang a sheet across the classroom to section off the Holy of Holies. Inside this area must be the Ark of the Covenant, a special box in which the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments lie. Outside the sheet in the Holy Place, students will find the Golden Candlestick, the Altar of Incense and the Table of Shewbread. Outside the classroom place the Altar of Burnt Offerings. Walk through the Tabernacle with the children to help them experience the sitting place for God built by the Israelites thousands of years ago.
Give each student a photocopy of concentric circles. Label the inside the Holy of Holies, the next layer is the Holy Place, the next layer is the Outer Court and finally the area outside the circle is the Camp. Give students a set of round colourful stickers found at office supply stores. Have them place just one sticker in the Holy of Holies indicating only one high priest was allowed in the Holy of Holies. Three or four stickers should be placed in the Holy Place, a few more were allowed in the Outer Court and finally, the rest of the people, or stickers, are placed in the area labelled Camp.
Listen, Draw and Color
Read the Bible passage to your child with the description of the Tabernacle. Beginning in Exodus 25 and reading through Exodus 31, read the descriptions of the Tabernacle to your child. As you read, your child can listen to the Biblical description and draw the objects inside the Tabernacle and the description of the walls. Have your child colour her drawing of the Tabernacle based on the description read by you.
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