Category Archives: Bible

Shaving Cream Landforms and more

I’m attempting to record all our favorite activities that I just never got around to writing about.  This is one of the activities we did as part of our focus on Creation.  I was hoping to do a whole series of posts on our Creation activities.  But since it’s been almost 2 years and I still haven’t gotten around to the task, it’s pretty safe to say it’s not gonna happen.  Our landform activities were simply too fun not to share though!

We were talking about how God created the land and focused awhile on the different types of land we see. I was using the Creation story to fulfill our “science” activities.

I chose 5 or 6 landforms (it’s been awhile so I can’t remember exactly) to focus on and printed one photograph and one illustration of each. I found all the pictures online. It would probably be a good idea to laminate these. Our pictures certainly got messy.

Matching- First I had J match the illustration to the corresponding landform photo.  This is a great way to practice matching for any category, especially if your child has no trouble matching 2 pictures that are the same.

Here he is showing off our mountains

Shaving Cream fun- I brought out the shaving cream and we created our own examples of the landforms. Warning – you will use A LOT of shaving cream if you truly want to make quality landforms. :) I bought a can at the dollar store. J was 2 years old when we did this activity and did need some help making a few of the landforms. TIP: it’s a good idea to start with the mountains!

After all the landforms were made, J “labelled” each with the correct picture.

The photo doesn’t do our foam world justice :)
Of course he had tons of fun digging in the “dirt” too!
 We threw in some bath foam fish, nothing to do with landforms but he liked it.
Landform Obstacle Course - For our last landform activity, I set up an obstacle course in the living room.  Pillows on the floor were islands that he had to hop on. Pillows stacked on a chair was our mountain. A blanket thrown over the table created our cave. I pushed the couch up to the chair to create a “canyon” in between.  We talked about each landform in the obstacle course and went on a “bear hunt” through the obstacle course.  It’s so much more fun moms if you join in the climbing and hopping! And finally we played a game where I called out a landform and he had to climb, crawl or hop to it.  Lots of fun!

Seeds Family Worship resources

ThumbnailI’ve found some great resources to help as we memorize the scriptures found in the Seeds Family Worship cds.  I thought I would share them for all those enjoying the cds themselves!

Chord Charts for all songs.  My husband’s really getting good at playing these songs!  This just adds to J’s excitement, hearing the songs both on CD and on daddy’s guitar.

Memory Verse Checklist (provided by Seeds Family Worship)

Memory flashcards (provided by Seeds Family Worship)

Activities in their monthly newsletter (you’ll find an example in the link)

Videos – Seeds Family Worship offers both videos of live performances AND videos with lyrics.

Flashcards/Posters with pictures (also found here at Totally Tots; also has tracer pages, copy pages and minibooks)

If you know of any other resources, please share!

Seeds of Character

Seeds of Character Pre-Order - Give the Gift of Scripture Memorization

Remember our love for Seeds Family Worship? (if not, just check out this link) Well, it continues to grow!

J has always loved the Seeds Family Worship cds.  Ever since turning 3, his interest in them has grown even more.  He is singing along more. He is asking a ton of questions about the scriptures on the cds.  He is making comments that tell me he is listening.

What is the Rock eternal?
What is mighty?
What is endures?
Don’t be afraid. Jesus is with you.

Hearing these questions and comments from my toddler is all the encouragement I need to keep playing these cds! We have been listening to them for about a year and a half now.  I imagine we will be listening to them for many many years to come. Even my husband has one of the cds that he plays on his way to work. 

Well they have a new CD out!!  I know.  I’m late in sharing the news.  It’s been out for months.  A new baby kinda kept me distracted for awhile :) 

I ordered their new cd, Seeds of Character, and we LOVE it.  Yet again, they have created beautiful music set to Divine lyrics.  

Here are the scriptures you and your little one will learn with this cd. 

  1. More Than Conquerors (Romans 8:37)
  2. The Wages and The Gift (Romans 3:23 & 6:23)
  3. The Life (John 14:6, I John 5:11-12)
  4. The Fruit (Galatians 5:16 & 22)
  5. Delight (Psalm 1)
  6. Teach Them (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
  7. The Perfect Example (John 13:12-17)
  8. Children and Fathers (Ephesians 6:1-4)
  9. Put On Love (Colossians 3:12 & 14a)
  10. The Character Song (Romans 5:1-5)
  11. Give Thanks (Psalm 105:1-5)
  12. The Only Way (The New Testament Song)

 And don’t think these songs are just to teach your little ones.  God uses them to help me all the time.  My absolute favorite from the Character cd is “Teach Them” from Deuteronomy 6:4-7.  It is beautiful, and of course the perfect verse to have running through your head as a parent.  It is helping me reevaluate all the things that fill up our time each day, the conversations we’re having, the example I’m setting, etc.  “Teach us well,” keeps ringing in my ears.  I love how God uses these cds to teach and encourage me too.  

Don’t forget to use our discount code ENGAGINGTODDLERS to get 20% off your order.  This code is good until December 20, 2011.  And remember gets an extra cd, so start thinking of who you want to give an amazing gift to!

Check out their website here.

Great Read: The Jesus Storybook Bible

“The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every story whispers His name”

…exactly the purpose of the Bible, presented in a kid-friendly way.

This is BY FAR my favorite children’s Bible.  Most children’s Bibles tell a simple story of Noah building the ark or Jesus healing the blind man and leave it at that.  They give no attempt as explaining WHY these stories are important for us.  They miss the meat of the message God has for us in the Bible.

“There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story.”

The Jesus Storybook Bible goes above and beyond others by giving the big picture.   Starting with God creating us to “share his Forever Happiness” to God remaining firm in His “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love” even after Adam and Eve’s sin to His promise to come back for us, to rescue us, and finally to His arrival on earth, putting His resuce plan into action.  “He was going to get His people back.”  Each story foreshadows the coming of Christ, explains the reasons for His coming and  the purpose for this time we live in today, between His ascension and His final return.

Honestly, that’s a deep message.  Amazingly the author, Sally Lloyd-Jones, explains this message in a way a child can understand. 

“The Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes.

The Bible is most of all… an adventure story about

a brave Prince who leaves his palace…

to rescue the one he loves.

The best thing about this Story is – it’s true.” 

I am confident you will adore this children’s Bible as much as I do and as much as J does.  Oh and they also have an audio version if you purchase the deluxe edition.  I don’t have this yet, so no personal experience with that portion.  It’s on order though, so stay tuned for my thoughts on that too!

A Soft Manger for Jesus

I saw my friend Kelle doing this with her kids years ago, before J was ever born.  I logged the idea away in my head for the future and was excited this year to include it in our own family’s Christmas traditions.

What you need:  A manger (the actual manger was most likely a stone troft, but we’re just using a basket); a baby doll to represent Jesus, and something to represent hay (rafia, shredded paper, cotton balls,…) 

The goal is to create a soft manger by the time baby Jesus is born.  They do this by adding hay to the manger each time they do a good deed.  I’ve incorporated this activity with our memory verse, Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  J gets to add hay into the manger whenever he shines his light.  It took a few days for the concept to grab hold, but it has.  J now takes note whenever he sees others shine their light too.  This makes for the perfect opportunity to put in practice the second half of the verse and praise God for that person’s light. 

In most cases, I’ve seen baby Jesus held from the manger until Christmas morning.  This year, I actually have our baby lying in the manger daily.  It just helps my 2 year old grasp the purpose of the manger that much more.  It’s also kinda nice to see our baby Jesus included under the tree, next to all our wrapped packages.  I like that it’s a simple visual that keeps the purpose of Christmas in the forefront of minds.  

Age attempted: 32 months

Teaching our kids Jesus is the Light of the World

I’ve been focusing a lot this season on teaching J that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and why a little baby born long ago is so important. 

Our first memory verse on this topic is John 8:12, “Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

We did an activity that helped to reinforce the scripture. 

Activity: After nap one day, I took a flashlight up to J’s room.  His room is pretty much pitch black without lights on, especially if the sun is down.  We talked about the purpose of a flashlight.  He loves flashlights, so he was thrilled to teach me all that he knew!  I pointed out that when the room was dark we couldn’t see anything.  I couldn’t find J and he couldn’t find mommy.  We could get lost easily in the darkness.  But the light helps us see (he turned the flashlight on).  The light helps us know where we’re going.  It helps us find the things we need.  It helps us know whether it’s safe to go a certain direction. 

Then I called out things for him to find in the dark.  Of course in the pitch black he couldn’t find them (and didn’t want to venture out to find them).  When he had the light, he could find them easily.  He had lots of fun pointing the flashlight to hit the exact thing I called out (unexpected practice in motor skills since they have to hold the flashlight steady and have good hand-eye coordination).  We also played some hide and seek in the dark, I hid while the flashlight was off and he used it to find me.  He just laughed and laughed everytime he found me and could shine that light on my face.

I emphasized how the light helped him and how he couldn’t do it on his own.  Then I brought out John 8:12.  We talked about how Jesus came into the world as a baby so that He could save us.  He is our light.  When we’re having trouble, lonely, scared or when we did something wrong, Jesus iss the light to help us.  If we don’t have Jesus, it’s hard to live the way we’re supposed to.  Just like trying to find the teddy bear in the dark on our own, it’s too hard.  But with the light, we could do it.   With the light he could find mommy and we laughed everytime the light hit mommy.  With the light we could laugh and have joy.  In the darkness we didn’t laugh, we were just lost and confused.  Because Jesus is our light, we can laugh and have joy inside all the time. 

I’m completley paraphrasing here.  I don’t remember everything I said, but you get the gist.  I didn’t preach a long sermon to my 2 year old because he wouldn’t have focused so long on one deep topic.  I certainly didn’t say everything I typed here in one long message.  We went back and forth between playing and me emphasizing the lesson.  If I saw questioning eyes, I would break it down in a simpler way.  If he had a question, I would stop and answer it. If he made a remark during the game that could be applied to the overall lesson, I commented on it quickly and we kept playing our game.   I saw this lesson as a stepping stone for many discussions in the future. I don’t have to teach him everything at once.  In fact, J has already brought up the topic on his own since this initial lesson.  I see it as slowly building a foundation that he can later stand on himself. 

We have since been working on the  memory verse.  Feel free to use the printable for John 8:12 (in pdf) that I made to help J visualize the scripture.  As always we have it hanging near the dinner table. 

There’s so many opportunities to remind J of this verse.  When we’re driving around and see lights on houses, repeat the verse.  When turning our tree lights on in the morning, repeat the verse.  When the light on his Little People Nativity set turns on, when he places the stars on our Advent calendar,…  We’ll do it when we light the candles on our birthday cake for Jesus. 

All of this also goes hand in hand with the Bible readings we’re doing through Advent (we’re pretty much following this list, using the Jesus Storybook Bible).  I love this children’s Bible, by the way.  I’ll probably have to do a post on it just to share all the reasons why it is so awesome!  And it leads you perfectly into teaching how Jesus is the Light of the World.

Age attempted:  31 months

Teaching Thanksgiving to Toddlers and Preschoolers

This is really the first year I included lessons on Thanksgiving prior to Thanksgiving day. The majority of what we do comes in day to day conversations.  I’ve used books, pictures, activities, games, and videos to give J a visual image of the different aspects of Thanksgiving.  You don’t have to do ALL of them, one book or one activity is enough to jump start many conversations throughout your day.  In my experience, those conversations are where they learn the most.  They are often asking questions and therefore paying close attention to the answers.  It’s all really simple and easy to do.  

Here are a few resources I used to help me introduce the history and purpose of Thanksgiving to J (at 2.5 yrs old). You might have seen most of these links on my Thanksgiving index post, but I wanted to highlight a few that have been helpful for us in teaching.

SCRIPTURE:

Thankfulness List - “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. —Psalm 9:1″ You don’t have to WOW them with fancy crafts, the beauty of a toddler!   I wrote the scripture on construction paper, we talked about it and then taped it up where near where he plays.  There’s a cup of strips nearby to add new things as inspiration strikes him.  My goal is to help him learn how to recognize things he’s thankful for all throughout the day and to thank God right then and there.  This means we stop whatever we’re doing to add to the poster.  It’s worth that tiny effort.  I review the scripture each time and we say a quick thank you prayer for that particular “wonderful deed” God did (or allowed in J’s life). 

SONG:

“If I Were a Butterfly” – This is an adorable song that kids love about being thankful for how God made us.  I played this song for him (used just the audio from youtube since the pictures weren’t great IMO) and had pictures of the different animals up on the computer.  I just copied the pictures real quick from google images.  He could follow along with the song by pointing at the different animals.  Now we sing it together all the time.  Sometimes we pull the pictures out again and he can choose which animal to sing about next, sometimes he calls out a random animal and I make up a verse about it.  We make it a fun game this way. 

BOOK:

“Let’s Celebrate God’s Blessings On Thanksgiving” by Lise CaldwellI loved how this book incorporates the history of Thanksgiving, applicable scripture and the modern day Thanksgiving our little one’s will experience.  (I found it for $2 at our local Christian Bookstore)

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Thanksgiving: With Turkey, Family, and Counting Blessings“Celebrate Thanksgiving with Turkey, Family, and Counting Blessings” by Deborah Heiligman - I like to use non-fiction books as well as fiction, just to get J used to seeing both type of books.  This is a book published by National Geographic that takes you from Pilgrims on the Mayflower to the Thanksgiving parade to pumpkin pie.  I wouldn’t buy this book, but it’s a helpful library check-out this time of year. 

VIDEOS:

“The Story of Thanksgiving Basically” – This is a cute cartoon video that tells the BASIC story (with some humor) and does a decent job connecting it to our lives today.  It’s no more than 2 minutes long, so will easily keep the attention of young ones. 

This is America, Charlie Brown, The Mayflower Voyagers – this video is longer than the first one I linked to, but does OK at telling the story in a way little ones can understand.  (the link will bring you to part one of the story; here’s part two)

CRAFT:

Pilgrim, Pilgrim – This is a create your own coloring book about the pilgrims.  It’s told in a similar fashion to Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  I was surprised at how into coloring J was on this activity.  We just added a few quick staples and were done, nothing flashy.  We now have a good review book. 

Crafty Canned Food Drive - I love this (scroll down to the bottom of that link to see the canned food “craft”).  This is so simple, yet a great way to incorporate the lesson of WHY we give and be a witnessing tool as well.  You can bring this back to the history of Thanksgiving by explaining how we can be a blessing by bringing food to others, just like the Native Americans blessed the Pilgrims. 

GAME:

Thanksgiving through pictures - J loved this game and still asks to play a full week later.  You can choose whichever Thanksgiving images you want to reinforce whichever aspect of Thanksgiving you want.  I made both cards for the historical aspect of Thanksgiving as well as images of things J will actually see when the family gets together. 

LEARNING:

Thanksgiving Worksheet Packet – These are printable worksheets that add Thanksgiving imagery to basic skills like letters, writing, colors, sorting, and counting. They are really well done.  We won’t be doing all of the pages, but I’ve chosen a few that will challenge J.

Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child? Check!

  I wanted to post about our experience filling boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  This really was a perfect way to help my 2 year old understand the concept of giving.  See this post if you want to know more about the opportunity to give!
 

PREP: We made filling shoeboxes a family event with my husband, J and myself, starting by watching the videos I mentioned in the last post.  Veggietales’ Operation Christmas Child is 3 minutes long and “Give This Christmas Away” is almost 5 minutes.  They are great videos to help show the concept of Operation Christmas Child to little ones.

 

 
 

We talked about how happy the children were when they opened their boxes and how happy the children that made the boxes were.  Basically we got him excited about filling a shoebox with goodies for a little girl/boy somewhere in the world, focusing on how it would make that child feel.  We talked about what type of things we should put in the boxes and had him come up with a few things on his own (cars and balls!).  Print off this list of items to consider  from Operation Christmas Child to help.   

We pulled out our shoeboxes and pointed out that they were empty!  We needed to fill them with fun things for little boys and girls. 

 SHOPPING:   We all piled into the car with J holding his empty shoebox, ready

J is ready to fill his shoebox!

 to fill it up!  For younger ones, I would really suggest bringing the empty shoebox to the store with you.  This really helped J focus while we were shopping.  We went down the aisles to look for things little boys and girls could use.  He never once forgot the purpose of our visit.  Each time we pulled something off the shelf, he placed it in the shoebox.  It was fun to watch the shoebox fill up!

 PACKING: Since we were technically shopping for 3 boxes we had some more packing to do at home.  I spread out all the loot we brought home from the store (the following afternoon) and layed out our three wrapped boxes.  I could hand J 3 sets of crayons and he would sort them into the different boxes.  We made this an event too, letting him choose which boy would get the grey and white socks and which would get the blue and white ones, …  

ABOUT US: OCC has a fun worksheet  that allows you to share a little about yourself to the little one that will receive the box.  J helped answer the questions and glued a picture of himself onto each one.  Finally, he helped place the labels on each box and they now sit ready to deliver next week! **Remember if you want to follow your box, you’ll need the barcoded labels found here. **

Your Turn! You still have time to put together your own shoebox of goodies!  I was reminded of this event last Thursday and we had it completed by Sunday with no rushing and lots of fun.  You don’t have to mail the boxes yourself, just drop them off.  Click here to find your nearest drop off location.  You can drop off your shoebox between November 15-22.  Plenty of time to join in!

Operation Christmas Child

christmas shoeboxes

I am so excited about this!  I first heard about Operation Christmas Child last year through a Veggietales video.  Of course I didn’t find out about it until the after the deadline to drop off boxes.  This year I won’t miss it!  I think it is so important to teach J a heart of giving.  That takes putting it into practice. 

So this year we will be organizing some shoeboxes full of goodies for little boys and girls around the world.  I plan to do something similar to what Amanda described here on Impress Your Kids (a WONDERFUL site by the way!!)

Since J is so young, I first plan to show him this video: Veggie Tales Operation Christmas Child story. I originally saw this on the St. Nicholas Veggietales video. 

 

We’ll talk about the act of giving, make a list of fun things to give other little boys and girls and GO SHOPPING!  I’ll be sure to share how everything goes once we’ve packed our boxes, but I wanted to get this info out in case others would like to join us!  The week to drop off boxes is November 15-22, 2010.  Don’t miss out like I did last year!  If you go to Operation Christmas Child  you will find all the info you need, including where the drop off locations are for your area.  This is something everyone in the family can get involved in!

ETA: I wanted to mention that they even give you the opportunity to track your box.  You can a barcode online to attach to your box to determine it’s final location.  This is a great way to incorporate a little geography and culture to the project!  This page tells more about their tracking process.

To add to the links for you to check out, please take time to listen to this song, Give This Christmas Away.  It will touch your heart and inspire you to find all sorts of ways to give this year.

Joseph’s Colorful Coat

I’ve decided to take a little different approach to reading the Bible with J.  We were reading his entire toddler Bible through, one story each day. When we finished, we read through his second children’s Bible.  This was fine and he enjoyed it, but I knew we could do better.

I decided instead to focus on one story for an undetermined amount of time (until we’ve exhausted it; until he knows the story and is showing that he understands certain lessons from it,…)

We’ve been focusing on the story of Joseph in the Bible for the past month or so (we did take a little break while on vacation).  I read the stories from both The Jesus Storybook Bible and The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers multiple times throughout those weeks.  I love both of these children’s Bibles for different reasons.  In the case of Joseph, the rhyming Bible does an excellent job of putting the story on J’s level.  Focusing on one story for so long really helps me to start recognizing opportunities throughout the day to reinforce the lessons from the Bible story.  I keep reinforcing it for weeks.  J is doing so well with this.  He now knows who Joseph was, what happened to him, and can tell you a few of the lessons he’s learned from the story. 

Here are the lessons we’re learning from Joseph…

  • How to respond when we get a gift from someone (like Joseph received his coat from his dad)
  • How to respond when others get a gift and we don’t (like Joseph’s brothers… or rather NOT like Joseph’s brothers)
  • How to respond when others aren’t kind (like when Joseph’s coat is destroyed and he’s sent away)
  • How to take care of our belongings.. and other people’s belongings (NOT like Joseph’s brothers handled the coat)
  • We can trust God no matter our circumstances
  • We should work hard and do our very best (like Joseph did in Egypt)
  • We can keep a happy heart even when circumstances aren’t going well
  • If we do something wrong we should ask for forgiveness (like the brothers did in Egypt)
  • How we should respond if someone apologizes to us

You’ll notice this list is still lacking.  I am trying to pinpoint the lessons that apply to J, at his age and developmental age.  I’m trying to give him the milk before he chomps down on the meat to reference a bit of scripture! If I hadn’t been focusing on one story for so long, I wouldn’t missed TONS of teaching opportunities.  At this age, they love repetition anyway.  He has no problem reading the same story over and over.  He even requests Joseph a lot on his own. I’m learning that it was really me that wanted to move faster through the Bible, not J.  So for his sake, slower it is! 

(By the way, this serves as a good lesson for me too.  How many times do I move onto the next scripture in my own quiet time before really grasping and practicing what I read in the previous one!!)

We did make a few crafts when we first started Joseph.  We made Joseph’s coat by gluing fabric (and construction paper) squares on a picture I drew and then we did a second craft with dot markers.