Our lesson this week was Jesus loves the little children and we shared the story of Jesus welcoming the little children which is found in several of the gospel accounts.
What a picture of what it was like to be near Jesus! In this story, it seems as though the children just can’t help but want to be close to Him.
I picture them laughing and playing and them loving every moment—when along come those well meaning disciples and try to shew the children away because to them, Jesus is too busy and important for children. But Jesus puts a stop to that nonsense, proclaiming “let the little children come to me, do not stop them. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
The longer I work closely with children both as a teacher and parent, I begin to realize that children, in God’s image, reflect something of the character of God that that we lose somewhere on the path to adulthood and we need their perspective as much as they need ours in order to more fully understand God’s character.
Jesus Loves Me or Jesus Loves the Little Children Reflection Activity
For the response to this activity, I wanted to provide a quiet reflective space. I set up a picture of Jesus with the letters L-O-V-E-S and a heart for the pre-readers. I added some mini feet to represent coming to Jesus.
Next to the other items I set out a box of assorted letters. The children were able to individually find the letters in their name to complete the line “Jesus loves _________”
I had a helper stand nearby to help children find the letters in their name if needed. I also recommend writing young children’s names on a piece of paper so that they can match the plastic letters to the letters in their name.
Jesus Loves Me or Jesus Loves the Little Children Sensory Bin
For a sensory activity, we put together this sensory bin with items to represent Jesus loves the little children. This sensory bin can be used for a Jesus loves me lesson or for a lesson about how Jesus loves everyone.
In the bin I added lots of heart items (leftovers from Valentine’s Day). We had heart doilies, heart shaped pasta, foam hearts, etc.
I also printed out several pictures of Jesus with children or pictures of children worshiping God to represent the Jesus loves the little children theme.
These can be laminated for durability or printed on thick card stock. We have used this sensory bin several times and the children like to pull out the pictures and stack them or line them up and look at them.
I then added children figures that I use to represent “all the children of the world”. I have a wooden set, I purchased on Amazon.
I included the link here, but it looks like this set is no longer available. It has terrible reviews on Amazon, but I have been very happy with it and have used it a ton in both storytelling and activities. All that to say, If you happen across this cute little wooden set, grab it!
I threw in some plastic crosses and red filler to complete the bin. I added the crosses to help make the connection that Jesus’ love is directly tied to his sacrifice for us on the cross.
When the children explored the bin—they really liked the red filler and pretended it was Jesus’ blood. Seemed like a bit of a violent twist, but there is a good theological connection there. Just not one I saw coming!
I am still learning about how to facilitate sensory bins–and how to introduce them when other teachers are there since I am not always in Children’s worship.
The basic idea is to present the materials with a few ground rules and really the kids take the lead on what they do. Sometimes it helps to give them more specific direction depending on what your learning goals are.
Sensory bins are a supervised activity. Someone should be observing at all times, but be careful to not interfere with the creativity of the children. I usually take the role of silent observer unless someone starts being rude with the materials or the other children or if individual or group safety is in question.
With younger children, I remove the activity if they are misusing the materials and let them know we will try again another day. Around age four, the children seen to be able to receive the correction and continue to use the materials.
For sensory bins I know I want to reuse, I have started storing as many of the materials together as I can so I can easily pull the activity out and share it again. As a bonus, this makes clean up a lot faster too (less sorting!). For this Jesus Loves the Little Children bin, I pull out the items I will need for other lessons (the crosses, the finger puppets and other people) and just store the rest of the materials in a labeled Ziplock bag.
Do you use sensory bins as a worship activity?