But when I think of it from a parental point of view, I would have done almost ANYTHING for the chance to have Jesus lay his hands on my boys and bless them.
This story is not found in a lot of Children's Bibles, but there is one that had it and I want to share a little about the Bible series in general with you. My friend from college, Andrea, recommended these to me when I was looking for some good children's resources a while back. It's called the Read Aloud Bible Stories by Ella K. Lindvall. They are the most thorough toddler-friendly Bible (and preschool-friendly too) I've used to date. I'm not sure how they're not still really well-known and popular. Maybe because they're old? They were written in the early 80's, but you would seriously never know it unless you looked at the copyright. Here are a couple of pictures from Vol. 1. They don't look outdated do they? Or am I just crazy? Regardless, my boys like them...
The pictures are interesting and she just puts 2-3 short and very easy to understand sentences on each page. She makes a short story, such as Jesus Lets the Children Come to Him, about 20 pages long. That may seem too long, but the way she words it keeps their attention and puts it in terms that make it to where a 2 year old can REALLY understand the story by the end. Silas got his first one for Christmas when he was 8 months old and he would listen to a full story even then. Now I can read the entire book to both boys and they'll listen the whole time almost every time. (There are about 5 stories in each book and there are 4 volumes.)
We currently own Vol. 1 and Vol. 4 of the series. I've never read Vol. 2 and Vol. 3. I assume I will like them just as much and plan to get them for Silas' birthday coming up, but I can't recommend them based on experience yet. If you have a toddler who doesn't get much from the Children's Bibles you have or a baby that you're trying to begin to engage with Scripture, I recommend these (at least Vol. 1 and Vol. 4). The only drawback is they aren't board books, so those little ones can't just look through the pages without the danger of pages being ripped.
Okay, all of that to say, the story of the children coming to Jesus is in Read Aloud Bible Stories: Vol. 1 and I used it to teach the boys this lesson.
We've actually done this lesson before as a Valentine's Day playdate last year. We reviewed Psalm 36:5a from that lesson and how big Jesus' love for us is. (If you're interested, you can get heart printables for the verse here.) It's really neat to go back and review verses and stories and see what Isaac can remember! He didn't remember much of the verse, but he had it down again by the time we were done playing with balloons. I blew up 6 balloons and we had fun batting them to the "heavens" while we sang the verse over and over and over.
We also did a couple of new little activities to reinforce the lesson.
I found this video online that has several stories about Jesus that include Jesus and then ends with the story of Jesus blessing the children. I thought that was kind of a neat idea and the boys liked watching it with me. I was able to talk to them afterward about how much Jesus loves kids.
There are several great songs that are perfect for reinforcing this lessons. We sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and even watched a couple of YouTube videos for those songs as well. (I didn't really find anything that well done.) I also found a cute song from Mission Arlington's curriculum that tells the story of Jesus and the Children to the tune of "Are You Sleeping?"
Mission Arlington's lesson plan had a couple of other fun ideas that we incorporated. One was a spin-off of the game "Red Light, Green Light." I glued a piece of red and green construction paper together (back to back) with a popsicle stick in between. I stood at one end of the hallway with the boys at the other end. I would hold up the red light and say something like "The disciples said, 'Stop! Don't come to Jesus'" and then flip it over and say, "But Jesus said, 'Go! You can come to me!'" The boys would race down the hall while I held up the green side until I flipped back to the red side and repeated the disciples part. They thought it was great and loved taking turns holding the stick and saying "Stop" and "Go." (I had to help them with the explanation some.)
|I didn't get an action shots of this game, but here's the "sign" I made to go with it.|
They really liked the glitter. Me? Not so much, but they had a good time using the "shake, shake" as Silas calls it.
We'll hang them on a corkboard in their bedroom and they can be a reminder to us to talk about Jesus' love for them.
I also found this little coloring page that they colored. I think coloring pages are great to have on hand for review. (I especially like them for Sunday morning during church.)
I've been struck more and more lately at how much Isaac believes everything I tell him. As Jesus said in this story, "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it" (Mark 10:15b). Oh to have faith like a child!