Thankfully with the use of technology it’s become pretty easy to get animated stories that bring the person of Jesus to life. But there’s another application that connects a young child to a subject that is extremely connecting and that is play through learning.
Fresh out of college I had the opportunity to work with children in a local preschool and years later having my own in addition to a year of homeschooling. Home education was a center focus filled of books and any kind of imaginable re-creations that made learning a extremely fun from birth to middle school. (Like in Richard Scary’s Busy Town , Wikipedia describes where “Every “human” in the series is an anthropomorphic animal, most commonly pigs, foxes, breeds of dogs, mice, rabbits, goats, and cats. Each episode always features a conflict which is eventually resolved in the end.)”
“Children learn more from what you are, than what you teach.” W.E.B. Du Bois
It was at play that I saw students and especially my children reveal incredible knowledge, thoughts and ideas, possibly well beyond what traditional question and answer could relay.
The activity here was originally for an Easter meal but I thought even as adults we don’t just store our devotionals after the holiday and wait until Christmas to remember His sacrifice. So neither would we want our children; so they are consistently and lovingly taught the Word of God as Christ’s Passion is revealed day by day.
I would suggest for children 5 & up; as both themes can be modified greatly according their reading and skill level. It can also with work multiple ages by assigning or modifying roles.
You have to decide what best, the importance is how the story is presented and that setting is allows for their expression and interpretation with having the using scripture for accuracy.
Pick a Favorite Story Book Hardcover or Digital
Gather Decor – Using the book as an inspiration decorate an indoor or outdoor space or picnic together or let them completely surprise you.
Prepare the menu – kids can be apart of planning, prep and serving to set the stage Make a playlist for the full effect with movie scores to compliment the theme; it will transport everyone to Jerusalem.
Let children volunteer or pick servers in the Remembrance with loaf or dinner rolls complete with “faux” wine while eating the Last Supper Picnic or Meal enter the story.
Have an enthusiastic reader share a children’s version of the Passion when choosing books be mindful of the child’s age and attention span.
Allow for time for conversation and Q&A you could also incorporate songs.
Using an age appropriate (animated or cartoon if possible) movie of the Passion or story book as a way to prepare them for a dinner theatre.
Then make paper bag puppets representing the main characters
On the same or following day present a puppet show between dinner and dessert.
Then at dessert (with the puppets ) interview both the puppets and the puppeteers and a ask more about the events or any details that what that may have been missed.
Older children and teens could coach or be the facilitator for the evening.
Additional or optional:
If you have older children or young teens assist them with the meaning and preparation of The Remembrance to serve the family & in candle light celebration with a choice of music they feel best fits the occasion after the play.
Importantly each activity should be voluntary and centered around the God’s daily love.
Lovingly, encourage family members to volunteer. Gently, take the lead if needed.
Have a great and meaning moment. If you make it sacred, they will remember.
Things to consider when hosting little people:
- Choose the best time of day for certain activities ( avoid lessons that close to naptime.)
- Use age appropriate material – or modify
- Consider length of activity ( remember this not an adult devotional)
- Feed nutritional valued foods ( sugar filled meals may lead chaos)
- Plan according to attention span
- Pre-pare & organize ( this depends on the you – prior to prepare lessons)
- Package materials in a easy to carry crate if there’s not a designated book
- Boundaries ( If you haven’t establish a no call zone – eliminate phones / text and social media during the children home school hour – even with pictures – it takes up more time then you know … or do so without it being the main focus and the the day’s lesson as priority.
- Keep the same schedule that would have if they were leaving for preschool or school. Children needs order as do we. This includes night time rituals and yes fresh clothes for next day, so they up and dressed with breakfast by a daily set time. Using time management everyone wins ..maybe Mom & Dad have a quiet night cap or decompression time at the end of the day.
I hope these hosting tips for children will be helpful…if you a parent or caregiver, it will be one of the most incredible things you’ll ever do.
Please let me know all about your theme email me firstname.lastname@example.org