Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From the Cradle to the Cross: The Boy Jesus in the Temple

I shared with you last week that I wanted to do a preschool-friendly study on the Life of Christ from now until Easter.  Today I'm sharing our first one with you!  We began our study with the story of the boy Jesus in the temple.  I had a really hard time finding many printables or ideas for this story, but we came up with a few things that were fun and helped cement the story in Isaac's mind.

I found a good idea here for telling/acting out the story.  I never know how things are going to go with Isaac, but I can honestly say he LOVED doing the story this way.  In fact, before he went down for a nap he said, "Mommy, when I wake up, can we do dat Jesus fing again?"  :)  

We each pretended to be a character as I told the story.  I was Mary, Silas was Joseph and Isaac was Jesus.  Matt's sweet grandma made this Bible costume for Isaac and we used a hand towel for a head covering.  (I'm hoping to do a post on Bible costumes sometime in the future, but a sheet or just a hand towel headdress can be a lot of fun!).  I wore a hand towel headdress too and I like to use an athletic stretchy headband across my forehead to hold it in place... Isaac refuses to wear one, but his stayed put pretty well.

We began our journey at home...
                          and traveled all the way to Jerusalem.

We put up a sign in the kitchen that said "Nazareth" and one in our entryway that said "Jerusalem."  You can print the little signs I made here, if you don't want to write it out.  We started in Nazareth and with my Bible in hand, we "traveled" from Nazareth to Jerusalem.  As we read the story from Luke 2:41-52, we acted out our "parts."  (I love reading directly from Scripture when the story isn't too long like this one!)  After we arrived, Isaac stayed in Jerusalem.  Silas and I headed back to Nazareth and then realized Jesus was missing, so we looked and looked for him.  Isaac's grin went from ear to ear nearly the entire time we "searched" for him.  After three days searching around the city (i.e. 3 trips around the coffee table), we finally found him.  We all traveled back to Nazareth together.  I didn't have the details of the story memorized well enough to do it without a cheat sheet, so the Bible was my guide and I carried it around as I told the story to the boys.  No prep and lots of fun!

We found "Jesus" sitting in the temple.
Isaac is still not big on crafts, but I like to do visual reminders of what we learned, so I came up with a super simple craft for us to do together.  We made a temple and cut the doors so that they could be opened to reveal Jesus sitting inside.  I just used a clipart picture of a temple and printed it in black and white.  You can download it here.  There's also this one I found online that would work well.  (Under the print button, click download large image and print it as an 8x10 picture).  

The boys colored the temple and I used a box cutter to cut around the doors, leaving the outer edges attached.  We taped it down to another sheet of paper and drew pictures of Jesus inside.  I helped Silas out and even added a concerned Mary and Joseph standing outside the temple looking for him.  They enjoyed opening and closing the doors over and over again as we talked about the story.

Repetition is key at this age, so I like reading Bible stories to my boys in as many ways as possible.  I love having tons of children's Bibles because each one seems to present the story just a little differently.  The story of Jesus as a boy at the temple was only in two of my kids' Bibles, but we really enjoyed both of them.  Picture That! is a neat children's Bible that has small pictures and symbols in the place of some words so that a pre-reader can help tell the story.  Each story is only a page or two long and my boys really like it.  The Read with Me Bible is my favorite because I've had great experiences using it with kids.  It has a lot of stories in it, bright pictures and it's Isaac's favorite.  A Bible that my child requested frequently quickly made it to the top of my list!  :)

We found and watched this short YouTube cartoon that did a decent job of retelling the story too.

As a review, I found an idea here to do a puzzle search.  I adapted it just a little and made a puzzle from this coloring picture of the story (Literally one of the only ones I could find!).  I colored it and made a felt puzzle from it.  (You can learn how to make your own from our post here!)  I hid the pieces around the room and just like Mary and Joseph searched for Jesus, we searched for the puzzle pieces and put together the picture that reminded us that they found him in the temple with the religious leaders.  I'm going to keep this for Isaac's church busy bag so we can review the story from time to time.

This is one of the rare lessons I've done recently that we accomplished in one day.  Typically we spend a few days completing the activities.  I actually think it sticks a little better that way, but we spread ours out throughout the entire day and neither of them got bored with it.  

I'm so excited to see the story of Christ really come together for Isaac in this study.  We've kind of been all over the Bible before now and this is the first time we're taking a more methodical, chronological approach.  He's got a good grasp on Jesus' birth, thanks to Truth in the Tinsel and I'm excited to see how much more he grasps in the coming weeks!  We hope you'll join us on this journey to the cross!

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  1. Love this!! After a wonderful experience with Truth in the Tinsel, I've been thinking about what to do between now and Easter as well. This is perfect! My 6, 4, and 1 year old and I will be following along!! Thank you so much for sharing all the details around your activiites!!!

  2. Wow, I am not even sure how I found your blog, but I sure am glad I did! Thanks for all of the GREAT ideas. New follower. :)

  3. Desiré, I just had to come back to leave another comment to thank you once again for this fabulous resource! We went through this lesson yesterday and enjoyed it so very much. The costumes were a complete hit (looking forward to your bible costume post!!). I decided to make the craft in ornament size so that we can continue displaying them just as we did with Truth in the Tinsel. Oh, and I loved this so much that I wanted to share it with others. I blogged about it here:

  4. I came over from Cindy's post and love this idea!! I may adapt it for my boys for next year between Christmas and Easter... right now we've got too much else going on to realistically commit to it but I really love this idea!

  5. Cindy, thank you SO much for your encouragement! I LOVED your post and your idea for saving the cradle and the cross from your Truth in the Tinsel ornaments and adapting the craft to make an ornament was fantastic! I'll have to do that next year!

  6. I am here from Cindy's post as well - love this idea! We did the Truth in the Tinsel crafts and I was struggling with how to continue teaching the life of Jesus in a similar way. Thanks for pulling this together! We will be following along!

  7. Great idea...I'm going to try this with my kids



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