Have you ever been asked to teach children, looked at the lesson you’re supposed to teach and panicked? Or have you been pulled in a class at the last minute with no prep time? What can you do to make sure that the kids in your class walk away knowing something more about God based on your time with them? Here are some practical tips to use in any teaching situation:
1) Use what the kids have…their senses. Consider the Bible passage and help the children experience as much of it as possible. What would they see or hear if they were there? Would there be any unusual smells or tastes? What could they could touch? Connecting a child’s senses with the lesson helps them process what they are learning on a deeper level. Another benefit…the more of a child’s senses you engage in learning, the fewer things that will distract them!
2) Involve the children in the learning process. If you are teaching a memory verse, have the children help you create motions to go with the words of the verse. If you are telling a Bible story, give each child something to do. You can give them a pipe cleaner and have them create something they hear in the lesson.
3) Get their hands moving. Teach them simple sign language (such as Jesus, love, God, Bible) and have them do the signs whenever they hear the words in the lesson. If you don’t know the signs for key words in your lesson, have them raise their right hand when they hear one word and their left when you say a different one!
4) Always use the Bible. Have the children open to the passage. While they are finding it (and they may need help), talk about Bible basics. For preschoolers, let them know that everything the Bible teaches is true. For younger children, talk about the two divisions and how each point to Jesus. For older children, get them thinking about what this passages has to do with how they live their lives today.
5) Remember every session does not have to have a craft. The goal of the time after the lesson is not “get crafty.” The goal of the time after large group is for the children to do something that helps them apply and remember the truths of a lesson. Yes, that can be a craft. It can also be a game, a drama, a project around the church. Remember what we said earlier about using their senses. The goal is to get the truth of the lesson deep in their hearts.