Welcome to the final week of the Old Testament Toddler Bible Lessons! I found it a bit odd that the story of Esther came after the story of Jonah since Esther comes earlier chronologically in the Bible. But since I’m following the Say & Pray Bible, I followed the order in that book. :)
The book of Esther in the Bible never once mentions the name of God, but His powerful working is evident throughout the story. The verse of the week is Psalm 56:11, “I trust in God. I will not be afraid.” Other themes throughout the lessons are: God’s creation of us, beauty on the inside and outside, God working behind the scenes, worshiping God alone, pride and humility, courage, and Jesus our Advocate (speaking on our behalf).
This week’s lessons are from the book of Jonah! The first 3 days cover the well-known story of Jonah running away from God, hopping on a boat that gets caught in a God-sent storm, and Jonah thrown overboard and swallowed by a giant fish. The verse of the week is Psalm 73:23, “I am always with you,” and we will focus on that throughout the events that happen to Jonah. Days 4 and 5 will focus in on Jonah’s obedience to tell the Ninevites about their sin and God’s forgiveness, and then Jonah’s anger and pride when he thinks the Ninevites shouldn’t receive God’s mercy. This week is packed with adventure and deep truths about God!
Teaching toddlers is sometimes tough, but it is oh, so worth it anyway! Some days are frustrating and can be disappointing (like today, Day 1 of this week’s lessons). Katelyn woke up early and was grumpy all morning. We made Bible Time short (10-15 minutes), which was easy since it was a short and simple lesson anyway. But other times I will split the activities if we need to make things shorter. Often the songs and a fun activity are intriguing enough to cheer her up a bit. :)
But then there are the moments when I am so proud of the time and effort I’ve spent pouring into her and teaching her God’s Word. Last week we built the “Ark of the Covenant” out of popcicle sticks – and put a cross on top for Jesus. She was pointing to the cross and saying, “Craw.” Then yesterday at church we sang a song about the cross. There was a cross on the big screen, and Katelyn was just gazing up at the musicians singing about Jesus and the cross. Then she said, “Craw.” I was beaming inside. It’s so rewarding to see these important truths being ingrained in someone so young!
So don’t worry if the lessons are spread out across weeks and not consistent every single day. Or if your toddler throws a fit or antagonizes the cat and gets scratched in the middle of the lesson. Or if some lessons just seem to flop. Integrating God into the week is worth every effort, and little toddler eyes and ears are always watching and listening – ready to soak up anything and everything around them (even if it seems like they are distracted).
We’ve taken several weeks off from Bible Time since I’ve been subbing weekly for the homeschool program. This week is my last week of subbing, so I wanted to get back into Bible Time with Katelyn. (She’s also had a tough time some days with teething and skipping her naps – so she hasn’t felt very well and has been pretty exhausted.)
It felt good to jump back into a routine with her. When I told her we were going to do Bible Time today, she was excited and ran into the playroom! She is going on 19 months now and is starting to love imaginative play. She also loves to copy what she sees you doing. So Bible Time just keeps getting better and better! She loved the teddy bear opening song, so I’m looking forward to repeating it each day we do our lessons.
This week focused on stories from the life of David. Themes are: shepherding/sheep, protection and care, looking at the outside of a person vs. God looking at the heart, God is big, trusting God’s power, mercy, and God’s presence with us. It’s going to be a great week!
This week we get to explore stories of Samuel! The main theme throughout the lessons is listening to God. Other themes are: God’s Word, turning to God with your whole heart, God our Helper, Jesus the King of kings, and repentance.
I really try to get a lot of variety in the types of activities throughout these lessons. The activities themselves are fun, but I try to connect it with the lesson to allow conversations about God and His Word to permeate the time you spend together. Some of the activities require more prep or materials to get ahead of time, but hopefully the activities will enhance Bible Time and engage your little one. Feel free to substitute materials or activities to suit your own needs.
Most of the time I try to do some prep the night before or before I start the lesson. I don’t mind doing some prep with Katelyn there, and she absolutely loves it. For Day 1 she helped me hang the butcher paper with blue painter’s tape, and she was intrigued as I traced around the roll of tape to make circles. Even preparing for the lesson can be a fun learning experience. I do like to have everything pretty much set before starting the lesson just because of Katelyn’s attention span. That way I don’t lose her when I’m teaching her what I think is the most important part. :)
This week’s lessons focus on stories from the book of Ruth. Themes are:
empty and full,
faithfulness and friendship,
hard work and kindness,
redemption and love, and
Lately it seems that as I’m creating these Bible lessons, I find multiple activities to go with each lesson. You don’t have to do every single activity – you can just pick and choose. Or you can spread out the activities over the course of the day or over several days. Hopefully some of what I’ve come up with will help you do some fun activities with your toddler as well as bringing God into your daily lives.
Welcome to Week 4 of my Toddler Bible Lessons! This week focuses on stories of Moses. The verse of the week is 1 Peter 5:7, He cares for you. So as we learn about Moses and the Israelites, we will see examples of God’s care. Themes are: God’s protection, adoption, prayer, God’s rescue and deliverance, and Jesus – the Lamb of God.
Some weeks for us are very routine – we do Bible Time every day after breakfast for 5 days in a row. But this week – not so much. We had appointments – for the car, for physicals, for eye doctor – Nana and Papa visited for a day, Daddy was off work for a day. So Bible Time didn’t happen every day. I tried doing it after naptime one day, and Katelyn’s attention and focus was bonkers. Plus, that lesson got interrupted by a phone call. Some activities we did completely separate from a structured Bible Time, and some lessons we split between two days.
It took us a span of 2 weeks to complete the Moses lessons… And that’s ok! Toddlers really don’t care if their lessons and activities are all neat and tied up with a bow. Their attention spans are short, they love to explore, and they are learning no matter what the lesson looks like. Sometimes it is just messy. The point is that you are trying to fit in some sort of Bible teaching and exploration for your child. God’s Word and His lessons should flow into our everyday lives anyway. :)
It might seem strange to some that I am spending so much time and effort with these lessons because Katelyn is so young (17 months). But I feel that the truth of Scripture is the most important thing I could teach her, and I don’t want to waste any time. Our world is a very broken place, even more so just in the past 5 months. And no matter what happens, I want Katelyn to know and understand the truth of the Bible and the life she can have with Jesus, even in a broken world.
Week 3 covers Genesis 37-45 and focuses in on stories of Joseph. I always try to take the stories and point them to Jesus and the gospel. Joseph was a picture of Jesus in many ways. The main one that I highlight in these lessons is that Joseph provided food for people during the famine, which points to how Jesus is the Bread of Life and provides for our deepest need for Himself.
I also try to keep the weekly verse as a theme for each lesson. This week’s verse is Ephesians 5:20, Always give thanks to God. We can easily give thanks to God when things are good and easy, like when Joseph got a colorful coat as a gift from his father. But sometimes bad things happen and things are hard. In those times it’s more difficult to give thanks, but we still can because God is always good! When we discuss the brothers’ jealousy of Joseph, we will talk about how we can change our bad attitudes by giving thanks. And we have so much to thank God for because He has provided for all our needs and offers us forgiveness and love.