This nesting box missions craft is a great way to help children understand how serving Jesus at home connects with serving Jesus all over the world. I did this project with preschool children over several weeks as part of a larger unit on Missions and service. I wanted to introduce the children to the missionaries our church supports while affirming that we are all missionaries when we share Jesus with others.
Nesting Box Missions Craft
This nesting box missions craft provided a tactile way to guide children through the different parts of our missions unit. Our unit moved from small to big, starting with how we serve God at home and in our community and working outward toward introducing children to what missionaries do around the world.
We took three weeks to make the boxes, but could have done it in two. I gave them extra time to paint the boxes because they were so VERY into it! The first week we made the peg people to go inside and started painting the boxes. The second week we painted the boxes and then the third week we glued on the pictures. I had one set that was completed that I used both during our teaching time so they would understand the purpose of the craft.
Every Child a Missionary
We started by decorating a wooden peg person to represent each child. Each child glued paper on for clothes, made hair by gluing on yarn or drawing it with a marker, and then made a face. We let the kids know they were making themselves. Here are a few examples. Those eyes were tiny, so the leaders helped with that part.
You could also use washi tape for the clothes. A couple of the kids found a roll of blue painters tape in the classroom and opted to decorate their person with that. So…tape…its a big ticket item with preschoolers!
We are Part of God’s Big World
Next, the children painted three boxes that could be nested together. This was by far their favorite part. They wanted to paint and paint and then paint some more.
I provided three pictures to glue to the tops of the boxes.
- A house for the smallest box
- A map of the United states with a star on our town on the middle sized box
- A map of the world for the largest box.
We serve God at Home
The first picture is a picture of a house. We talked about serving our families at home by being helpers, having good attitudes, etc. With preschool children, serving in the home helps form an attitude of service toward others. It’s also where they spend most of their time, so I wanted to represent that space as an important part of their service to God.
Plus, that cute little peg doll fits right inside that box. So…cute.
We Serve God Where We Live
The second picture is a map of the United States that highlights our town. If you want to use four boxes for this missions craft, you could have one box for your town and then a second box with a map of your country. We opted for three because I already two sizes of boxes and only had money to purchase one more size.
I just wanted them to gain a sense of perspective that our town is part of something larger. And even our country is part of a larger world. I emphasized that God is God everywhere, that all people need Jesus, and that God uses us to share Him with others.
We used a large map of our town in our classroom and I helped each child find his or her house on the map. We live in a pretty small town so this was pretty easy to do as everyone lives pretty close and mostly within the city limits covered on the map.
The children enjoyed comparing where they live to where our church is on the map. They took note of where the other kids live in relation to them. They even showed their parents where they live on the map when their parents came to pick them up.
We used the map along with the pictures from our serving tree during lesson time to talk about how we can serve our neighbors and help those who live close to us who aren’t our family.
My main goal was to communicate that we can share Jesus’ love with others everyday. and it’s an everyday kind of thing, not just something missionaries who live far away can do.
God Uses People to Share Jesus with the World
The third picture is a map of the world. You could add some cute phrase to this box as it becomes the outside of the project. Maybe something like….
Go, Serve, Love- God’s World Needs You!
I didn’t even think of that when we made these, but it would be a great way to emphasize the purpose of the craft.
When I taught the lesson, I used the nesting set missions craft that I made to teach part of the lesson over several weeks, so the children could begin to see how the craft connected to our teaching on missions.
I am in the process of writing more posts about our Service and Missions unit. Here are the links to the ones that are already up.
Also, you may find this link helpful if you are looking for more missions craft ideas:
Go Into All The World Craft– by Crafting the word of God
Do you think the connection between service and missions is important for young children to understand? What other things do you feel are important to teach young children about missions?