I love the stories of this week’s lessons! The first two days introduce the disciples – first working by themselves to catch fish and coming up empty. There are no fish! On the second day they meet Jesus! They listen and obey when He tells them to put their nets down again, and this time they catch so many fish! The third day is about following Jesus and sharing Him with others, “fishing for people.” And the week ends with lessons on trusting Jesus to calm storms and to provide for our needs. What wonderful lessons to learn as a child and to review as an adult!
This is such a fun week – learning about Jesus as he grew into a young boy! It’s fun to talk about Jesus growing and experiencing things as a child. There’s not a whole lot in the Bible on this period of Jesus’ earthly life, but it’s been a precious journey for me to teach my daughter these lessons.
The lessons begin with Anna and Simeon’s meetings with baby Jesus at the temple when He was being dedicated at 8 days old. Then there are lessons on Jesus growing and learning, getting “lost” at the temple in Jerusalem, and growing in favor with God and man. Themes include: seeing Jesus and His salvation, Jesus is the Light of the World, gratefulness, sharing the good news of Jesus, growing so big, things that are “lost,” learning, growing strong, and obedience.
What a precious story awaits us this week! All of the Old Testament points to the need for a Savior, and this week, He arrives – in the form of a baby in Bethlehem! “Let us go to Bethlehem!” is the theme and title of these lessons. Day 1 begins with a special announcement – the Savior is coming! Activities will focus on the angel and His message of good news. The following days will follow different people as they go to Bethlehem: Mary and Joseph, Jesus’s arrival, the Shepherds, and the Wisemen. And we must also “go to Bethlehem” in the sense that we need to come to see the Savior – to see the wonder of baby Jesus, to worship Him, and to bring Him our gifts.
Katelyn and I started this week’s lessons at the beginning of November. No, it’s not Christmas time yet, but I didn’t want to wait until December to teach her the story. For one thing, my Type A personality wouldn’t let me go out of order with the lessons, and I didn’t want to be without our Bible Lessons for a whole month. But also, I figured it might be nice to spread out the Christmas story so it wouldn’t be too much overload all at once, since I have another Christmas story devotional activity I’m planning to do during the month of December. But these activities would be perfect to spread out through the month of December if you’re looking for a way to keep the focus on the Christmas story.
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. :)