Family Resources - August 9
Now that August is here in full force, it’s back to school time! Whether you are still waiting for school to start, or are back in the thick of it, whether you have chosen on-campus attendance, virtual learning, or homeschooling this year, I pray that you would feel the kindness of God as you venture into this school year!
We wanted to share with you some highlights from our curriculum, so that your child will be able to follow along with the lessons they are being taught in Children’s Ministry. This blog post contains information about this week’s lesson from our Gospel Story curriculum, which is being taught to 3 & 4 year olds, up through 3rd grade, as well as this week’s lesson from our New City Catechism that is being taught to 4th-5th graders. May it brighten your week and bless you!
The lesson from the Gospel Story Curriculum for this week is about when God Sends Plagues Against Egypt. The story focuses on the first 9 plagues, saving the 10th plague for next week, in order to teach about the Passover as we go. The biblical account for this week can be found in Exodus 7:14 - 10:29. If you would like to read the child-friendly version of this story from the Gospel Story Bible, you may click here. There is also a preschool version of the story of the plagues of Egypt, taken from the Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, which you can read here. To access the weekly coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the last page.
There are some motions you can teach your kids for each of the 9 plagues we are learning about this week. That way, as you tell the story, they can respond to each plague with its motion/sound effect. They are:
Blood - Children say "drip-drop" over and over
Frogs - Children say "ribbit" and hop around
Gnats - Children say "bzzz" and wave their hands over their heads
Flies - Children say "buzzzz" much louder and flap their hands like wings
Livestock - Children get on all fours and "moo" like cows, but have them sound ill and they can fall over dead
Boils - Children say "boils, ooh boils" over and over while pretending to scratch
Hail - Children should pat the ground like a drum with both hands
Locusts - Children make loud chewing sounds and hop around
Darkness - Children cover their eyes with their hands
You can have them do these motions during the actual storytelling, or you could also act them out afterwards, as a review, where you play the parts of Moses and Pharaoh, saying "God says, 'Let My people go", but Pharaoh said "No", so God sent the plague of..... Then after they've acted it out a little bit, have Pharaoh say, "Ask your God to make it stop!", so Moses asked God and the plague stopped. Repeat through all 9 plagues.
Another good review of the plagues involves using 9 index cards, and drawing a picture on each one of one of the plagues. If your kids are older, or just fairly artistic, have them help you with this. Hold them up like flashcards and let the children guess which is which. Go through them faster and faster, maybe even making a mistake in the order on purpose, so the children have the fun of correcting you.
I know we did a playdoh activity last week, to talk about hard and soft hearts, but this week's lesson introduces a new concept. Give your child some playdoh and have them shape it into 6 different balls. Next, give them a sandwich baggie and tell them they may put 1-6 of their balls in the baggie. Now follow this up with a discussion, asking them which of the pieces left outside the bag will harden? All of the ones left out will harden. But what happens to the pieces in the bag? They are protected and remain soft. Ask them if we have to do anything to the pieces left outside the bag to make them harden? Not really, they will harden on their own. But could you say that they hardened on their own, or that you hardened them by leaving them out of the bag? You could say either of these things, and it would be true. The playdoh is like Pharaoh's heart. It was automatically hard by nature, and would continue to harden. Only God's mercy, like the protection of the plastic bag, could keep Pharaoh's heart from hardening. Romans 9:18 tells us that God "has mercy on whomever He wills and He hardens whomever He wills". Since the mercy of God is needed for any sinner to repent, all our hearts are hard and getting harder, until and unless God reaches out in mercy and gives us a new heart, soft and protected by His mercy.
There are a couple of teaching points that are really good to draw out to your kids as you go through this lesson. First of all, it’s important for us to remember that God cannot be stopped. Moses had already gone to Pharaoh twice, before the plagues even started, to demand that he let God's people go, but Pharaoh refused to let the people go. Did that stop God? No, His will is going to be accomplished, no matter what we say. Pharaoh said "No" an awful lot, but ultimately, God's people would be let free, because that was God's plan. To tie in with that, we can know that God means what He says: whether blessing or judgement. When God said through Moses that He would send hail or locust, He did it. God's warnings to Pharaoh were not empty words. In the same way, when God says He is going to save or deliver, He will do it. God keeps every promise, and every word He says is true!
Our August Sword Bible Memory Verse comes from Exodus 20. For preschoolers, they are learning Exodus 20:4. For K-2nd, they are learning Exodus 20:1-4. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Exodus 20:1-9. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #8.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #2 - “What is God?” Answer - “God is the creator of everyone and everything”. The biblical passage for this week’s lesson comes from Psalm 86. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Psalm 86:8-10, and also verse 15.
To introduce this question, the lesson suggests showing your children some autobiographies of famous people. While your child may never meet this person, either because they’re a historical figure and they’re dead, or because they’re so famous that you will probably never get to get close to them, you can still get to know them better by reading their autobiographies, where they’ve written things down about themselves to help people know them better. The Bible is God’s autobiography, where He has given us a book we can read so that we can know Him better. The only difference is that we will meet God someday!
To illustrate this point, give your child a blank piece of paper and have them fold it into a book shape. Have them decorate the front to be the cover of their own autobiography. Then they can write some things inside about themselves, to help others get to know them better.
There is also a resource that goes along with this week’s lesson, which you can find by clicking here. It is a list of several attributes of God, along with definitions to these big “church-y” words. Cut them into strips and hide them around the house. After your child has had a chance to look around and find them all, read through them together, discussing what each one means, and how it teaches them more about who God is.
If you’re looking for other resources for ideas and activities you can do with your children to help them use their time to invest in God’s kingdom, here are some we recommend:
https://pin.it/530GBXX (Some object lessons to help reinforce the 10 plagues)
https://pin.it/rMwalkt (A coloring picture about the 10 plagues)
https://pin.it/4AMET5Z (This is not necessarily a resource that helps with your children, it’s just a meme I thought was funny and wanted to share. It is a good reminder to me to not complain!)
https://www.faithgateway.com/teaching-children-attributes-god/#.XynPoI7YrnE (Some attributes of God that are good to teach to your children, along with scripture verses)