The concept of God’s family can be a bit tricky for a preschool mind to comprehend. How can someone at church be a part of his family if they don’t live in the same house or know each other very well? How can Suzie be related to Johnny when they don’t look or act anything alike? Finding appropriate Bible stories to introduce this idea and driving the point home through simple visual aids and art projects help your preschoolers effectively make sense of the whole thing.
You can incorporate the theme of God’s family into many kid-friendly Bible stories. The story of the “wee little man” Zacchaeus — a favorite of preschoolers — and how he became a member of God’s family after telling Jesus he was sorry for his sins is an effective one to introduce the theme to your class of little ones. Other examples where the theme is appropriate might include the calling of the twelve disciples (Mark 3) and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4).
Flannel Board Illustration
If something is going to stick with a preschooler, then a picture or visual aid is a must. Help your preschool class understand that the members of God’s family include believers from the past and present using an old-fashioned flannel board. Use easily recognized characters from Bible stories that are well-known to your tots — Adam and Eve, Mary and Jesus, the twelve disciples. Make the story interactive to hold the attention of the wiggleworms by asking them to take turns placing each of the felt characters on the flannel board. If you have a class picture glued to felt or felt characters of little children to represent your class, place these on the flannel board last to show the class that they, too, are part of the same family.
God’s Family Tree
Have each member of your class create a unique family tree to represent God’s Family. Rather than trying to show specific relationships and geneology as you would in a typical family tree, have children just place their leaves randomly on each branch. The tree represents God, so be sure to write His name on the trunk. Each preschooler — who likely recognizes his own name in print — will want to see his name on one of the leaves. Other leaves might include the names of Bible characters from recent stories learned along with fellow church and family members on their leaves.
Preschoolers will enjoy making a paper chain with the names of fellow Christians on each link. The longer, the better — and more exciting and memorable for this age group. Cut long, equally-sized strips from different colors of paper. Help the little ones write names on each strip of paper, including their own names, the names of their classmates, pastor and other church friends and members. Use tape or staples to link the pieces of paper together, driving home the point that all the people on the chain are members of God’s family and linked together through a common love of God.