Joseph – Play Through The Bible – Week 5

 

Play Through The Bible5

Week five of Play Through The Bible is all about Joseph. The story of Joseph is one of my favorites, so many great lessons to glean from his life! However, the story is a long one and a little bit difficult for a toddler to follow. In the original Rhyme Bible the story is broken down into three smaller stories. Although K likes to listen to those stories, I can tell that he isn’t quite able to comprehend concepts like being a slave, or interpreting dreams. The Rhyme Bible for Toddlers manages to simplify the story down to just a few pages, which is much easier for a 2 year old to grasp. However, it does leave out a lot of the story. We found a compromise in reading the simpler story, but introducing a few more concepts through craft time. Hopefully it works out as well for you as it did for us!

If you haven’t read the introduction to this series yet I recommend going here. For all the plans in one place, go here.

 


Week Five – Joseph

Focus Point

Joseph’s brothers are mean and send him away. Joseph still loves them.

Story Time Tips

  • We read “Joseph Forgives” starting on page 40 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers.
  • Take the story slow, pausing on each page to elaborate. For example, on the first page, we talked about Joseph’s coat and I had K point it out. On the second page we talked again about how Joseph’s brothers were very mean.
  • On the second to last page, have your child guess if Joseph is going to be nice or mean to his brothers.

Activity

Find something to use as Joseph’s special coat (we used a robe) and pretend play the story. Have your child put on the coat and say “you are Joseph now! Here’s your special coat!” Then, you get to pretend to be a brother and take away the coat. This led to us playing a fun game of chase as I tried to get the coat off of K. After you get the coat, send him away to work as a slave. Then, follow on your knees, asking for food, saying “Oh! You are my brother! Will you forgive me?” End with lots of love and hugs.

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Discussion

Parent: “Were Joseph’s brothers mean or nice?”

Child: “Mean.”

Parent: “Yes, they took his coat and sent him away. What did Joseph do in Egypt?”

Child: “Worked hard.”

Parent: “When Joseph’s brothers came to get some food, was he mean or nice to them?”

Child: “Nice!”

Parent: “Yes, Joseph forgave his brothers.”

Daily Craft

Day One – Joseph Coloring Page

http://www.biblekids.eu/anticotestamento/joseph/joseph_coloring/joseph_patriarch_coloring_page_16.jpg

Day Two – Joseph’s Coat

 

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Materials needed:

  • Variety of colored construction paper
  • Contact paper (alternately, regular paper and a glue stick)

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First, roll out your contact paper and draw an outline for your coat.

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Then, cut it out.

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Next, stack your colored paper together and cut off a strip. Then, cut the paper into small squares. This would be an easy cut for a beginning scissor user.

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Peel off the backing on your coat. I used a little tape to stick it down to the table better.

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All that’s left is to stick your different colored squares onto your coat!

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Day Three – Journey To Slavery

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Materials needed:

For the rest of this week’s crafts you will need the printable packet I put together. You can download it here – Joseph crafts.

  • Map printout
  • Small Joseph with coat, printed and cut out
  • Small Joseph in Egypt, printed and cut out
  • Glue stick (not pictured)
  • Marker (not pictured)

joseph3

Even though he doesn’t quite understand them, K loves maps. Because of this, I thought it would be fun to show on a map where Joseph went when his brother’s send him away. First, we talked about Joseph getting his coat and I circled were he was when that happened. Then, we talked about how his brothers sent him away to work in Egypt and I circled that too and drew a line between the two.

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Next, glue the Joseph in his coat onto his correct location.

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And put the Egyptian Joseph over in Egypt.

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Then, we talked once more about Joseph’s trip to Egypt. It’s a super simple project, but if you have a little one who loves maps, it’s sure to be a hit!

Day Four – Joseph Collects Grain

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Materials needed:

  • Medium sized Egyptian Joseph printed and cut out (from the Joseph crafts printable)
  • White construction paper
  • Brown construction paper cut into a rectangle with a rounded top
  • Oats (or another grain)
  • Glue stick

The story in The Rhyme Bible for Toddlers doesn’t go into what Joseph did in Egypt, so I used a simple craft to introduce the concept to K. Before we started we talked a little about how when Joseph was working in Egypt his job was to collect the food and save it so that people would have food when they were hungry. After we talked about it, we started the craft. joseph5

First, put some glue on the back of Joseph.

DSC_3005Then put him over on one side of the paper.

DSC_3006Glue the back of the brown paper and put it on the other side of the paper.

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Cover the whole piece of brown paper in glue.

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Put the oats on the glue.

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Press them in there really good! That’s it!

Day Five: Joseph Loves His Brothers

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Materials needed:

  • Large Egyptian Joseph page, printed (from the Joseph crafts printable)
  • Red construction paper
  • Glue stick
  • Markers

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Cut a heart out of the red paper.

j6 Decorate the heart however you want. We wrote the world “love” on it and then K used markers. Put glue on the back and stick it onto your Joseph printout.

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Make sure to use this craft as another opportunity to talk about how Joseph loved and forgave his brothers even though they were mean to him.

Extra Resources

We didn’t find any other Joseph materials to use this week. Do you know of any? I’d love to add them to this section!


 

I hope you enjoyed week five of Play Through The Bible. I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #playthroughthebible on Twitter or Instagram! 

 

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life.

Abraham and Sarah – Play Through The Bible – Week 4

 

Play Through The Bible wk4

For week four of Play Through The Bible we are diving into the story of Abraham and Sarah. There’s a lot that goes on in Abraham’s life as God chooses him to be the first of His chosen people. The stories we read kept the focus on God keeping his promise by giving Abraham and Sarah a son and I thought that was a great first place to start!

If you haven’t read the introduction to this series yet I recommend going here. For all the previous plans, go here.


Week Four – Abraham and Sarah

 

Focus Point

God keeps his promise.

Story Time Tips

  • We read “Abraham’s Prayer” starting on page 40 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook and “The Promise” starting on page 30 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers.
  • Take some time to practice saying “Abraham.” It’s one of the trickiest names we’ve had so far!
  • Focus on how Abraham and Sarah wanted a son more than anything.
  • The toddler version of the story is great for its simplicity, however it doesn’t include the illustration of the stars. Even though the correlation between the stars and Abraham’s descendants is a difficult concept for a toddler to grasp, I still think it is a really cool part of the story, so we decided to include it by reading the story in the original Rhyme Bible too. We talked about how Abraham was going to have as many people in his family as stars in the sky. Even though K still didn’t quite grasp it by the end of the week, he was close. He will be ready for a deeper understanding next time we study Abraham, especially now that he’s already familiar with it.

Activity

Go outside at night after dark and take some time to look at the stars. This could be as simple as a few minutes outside before bedtime or be turned into a longer event by laying a blanket out on the ground and having some snacks. Try and count the stars together. Talk about how God told Abraham there would be as many people in his family as stars in the sky.

If you live in an area that doesn’t have a very good view of the night sky or the weather is bad the week you are doing these lessons, you could also do a Google search for images of a starry night sky and look at those while you discuss.

Discussion

Parent: “What did Abraham and Sarah want?”

Child: “A baby boy.”

Parent: “Did God say they’d get one?”

Child: “Yes.”

Parent: “Did God keep his promise?”

Child: “Yes!”

Parent: “Yes, he did. God always keeps his promises.”

Daily Craft

Day One – Abraham and Sarah Coloring Page

http://www.bible-printables.com/Coloring-Pages/Old-Testament/10-OT-006-abraham.htm

Day Two – Abraham’s Tent

DSC_2894Materials needed:

  • Paper sack
  • Markers
  • Scissors

tent

First, take your scissors and cut the bottom of the bag off at the crease. Set it up and trace a doorway on the side. Then, cut the doorway out.

tent2Grab your markers and decorate your tent a bit.

tent3We grabbed a few people and sheep for some pretend play. Farmer Abraham? Works for this 2 year old!

Day Three – Stars in the Night Sky

DSC_2896Materials needed:

starrysky

Use the paint to make starry dots on the black paper “sky.”

Day Four – Family Stars

DSC_2897Materials needed:

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Use the scissors to cut the yellow paper into as many stars as you want. If you don’t want to free-hand the stars, just search for star templates like this one.

DSC_2924Write names of family members on your stars. I cut out eight stars, so we just wrote down the first eight K could think of.

DSC_2927Pull out a length of tape.

PicMonkey CollagePlace the stars along the tape.

DSC_2935Now you have a lovely star garland. You can hang it up somewhere or….

stars and tent…K’s idea was to put it on top of his tent. Fun!

Day Five: Baby Isaac

DSC_2945Materials needed:

  • Salt dough (check out the super easy recipe here)
  • Markers

DSC_2943First, you need to mix up your salt dough. All it is is salt, flour, and water. Check out the recipe linked to above or do a Google search – there’s tons of recipes out there. It’s really easy to do and only took us a few minutes. If you’d rather not mix up your own salt dough, you can always use store bought play-doh. However, it might not dry as well.

DSC_2946Once your dough is ready, you might need to take just a minute to squish it.

DSC_2951Roll a small amount of the dough into a ball for the head (we made two, just in case!).

isaacThen, squish another piece of dough into a flat blanket shape and wrap it around the base of the head.

DSC_2958Place your figures on a baking tray and place in the oven to dry. Different recipes call for different temps and times. We put ours in at 200 degrees and I left it in for most of the afternoon, checking occasionally to see if it had hardened up. If you can’t or don’t want to babysit it in the oven, you can also just leave it out to dry at room temp, although it may take a few days.

isaac2Once your baby Isaac is dry, use the markers to color it in. I added a simple face and some hair and K colored in the blanket.

isaac3Add Isaac to your tent with Abraham and Sarah. Thankfully K didn’t seem to mind that the baby was the same size as Abraham!

Extra Resources

K absolutely loved this catchy version of Father Abraham!

Father Abraham by Yancy


 

I hope you enjoyed week four of Play Through The Bible. I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #playthroughthebible on Twitter or Instagram! 

 

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life.

Noah – Play Through The Bible – Week Three

Play Through The Bible wk3

Week three of Play Through The Bible is all about Noah. Although Noah and the flood is a common story used for children’s toys, books, and activities it can still be overwhelming to think of breaking down such a complex story for little ears. We decided to focus on one very important part of the story – that Noah obeyed God – remembering that further themes can be delved into in the future.

If you haven’t read the introduction to this series yet I recommend going here. For week one’s plans you can go here. For week two’s plans you can go here.

 


Week Three – Noah

 

Focus Point

Noah obeyed God.

Story Time Tips

  • We read “Safe in the Boat” starting on page 28 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook and “The Floating Zoo” starting on page 18 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers.
  • When you finish reading through the story, go back to the beginning of the story and talk about how God was sad (make a sad face) because no one was obeying him and everyone was being mean and bad. Flip back a few pages and ask “did Adam and Eve obey God?” Talk about how Noah did obey God.
  • Keep the main focus on Noah obeying God, even though no one else was. However, you can also point out that because Noah obeyed God, he kept Noah safe in the boat.

Activity

Gather up some stuffed animals and a laundry basket. Tell your child he or she gets to pretend to be Noah and put all the animals in the laundry basket “boat.” Then, he or she can climb in and sail the boat through the storm (we put a blue blanket under our “boat” and I shook it for “waves”). Finally, take all the animals out when the storm has past and the flood is over. This a great activity for reinforcing Noah’s name and what he did by calling your child “Noah” and asking if he is obeying God.

pretending

Discussion

Parent: “Did Noah obey God?”

Child: “Yes”

Parent: “What happened when Noah obeyed God?”

Child: “God kept him safe in the boat.”

Daily Craft

Day One – Noah Coloring Page

http://www.coloring.ws/noah.htm

Day Two – Build an Ark

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Materials needed:

  • Recycled container (that won’t leak)
  • Stickers
  • Toy animals and people (optional, not pictured)

 

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I gave K the option of what container to use and he chose the big one (I think it originally had spinach in it). Any kind of water proof container will work. I later came across a rotisserie chicken container that would have been perfect!

Use stickers to decorate the boat. You could also use permanent markers, but stickers were good enough for K.

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Grab some small toy animals (any kind will work!) and a few people to be Noah and his family. Load them into your ark.

floating boat

You could just pretend to float the boat with what you’ve got so far, but if you’ve got the time add some real water for more fun! Grab a tub (we emptied out our tinker-toys to use this one) and fill it with some water. This activity kept K engaged for a long time. He is a big fan of the water and thought it was pretty awesome that his boat actually floated! If you don’t have a good container another option would be to bring your ark into the tub for bath time.

Day Three – Animals on Board

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Materials needed:

 

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Put some glue on the half circle and place it at the bottom of the blue paper.

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Then, glue the rectangle and place on top of the half-circle.

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Use the animal stamps to make animals on and around the ark.

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And/or you could use animal stickers. If you don’t have animal stamps or animal stickers you could cut pictures of animals out of a magazine (or print off pictures from the internet) and glue them onto your ark.

Day Four – The Floating Boat

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Materials needed:

 

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First, take the skinny piece of blue paper and trace some waves on it. It’s a crazy storm, so don’t worry about them looking perfect!

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Once you’ve traced your waves, cut them out.

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Next, fold your other blue piece of paper in half (hamburger way) and draw a line two thirds of the way towards the bottom. The line should start in the center and almost reach the outside of the paper.

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Cut along the line. This is a great, easy cut for a beginning scissor user.

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Open up the big blue paper and put some glue on the back of the waves.

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Glue the waves just below the line you cut.

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Next, color those white clouds gray so they look more like storm clouds.

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Glue the clouds to the top of your page.

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Use the blue marker to add some rain.

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Next, you are going to need to assemble your ark puppet. First, glue the top of the ark to the bottom.

boat2

Then, glue the ark to the craft stick.

ark puppet

Put the puppet through the slit on your paper and you’ve got a stormy background for your ark to float in.

Day Five: Rainbow

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Materials needed:

  • White piece of paper with a rainbow outline drawn on it (or you could print one out here)
  • Markers or crayons in the color of a rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)

 

rainbow

After yesterday’s detailed craft, I decided to go for a simple one on day five. All we did was color a rainbow, talking about how God made a promise to Noah. Since K is getting a little better at coloring, I decided to give him the challenge of putting the right colors in-between the lines. I made it a little easier on him (shown in the top right picture) by marking which color went where. We worked on it together and he did a pretty good job!

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After he was done coloring I cut the rainbow out for him and he was pretty proud of his work!

Extra Resources

I found two songs via youtube about Noah that K loved.

Mr. Noah Built an Ark

Arky-Arky (Rise and Shine) 

We also enjoyed the book On Noah’s Ark by Jan Brett


 

I hope you enjoyed week three of Play Through The Bible. I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #playthroughthebible on Twitter or Instagram! 

 

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life.

Adam and Eve – Play Through The Bible – Week Two

 

Play Through The Bible wk2

For week two of Play Through The Bible we are learning about the story of Adam and Eve, also known as the Fall of Mankind. It’s a story that for some reason isn’t covered in The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers, but I decided it was too important to pass up!

If you haven’t read the introduction to this series yet I recommend going here. For week one’s plans you can go here.

 


Week Two – Adam and Eve

 

Focus Point

Adam and Eve disobeyed God.

Story Time Tips

  • We read “A Snake in the Garden” starting on page 18 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook.
  • Focus on remembering the names of Adam and Eve.
  • Focus on the main point of Adam and Eve disobeying God. Don’t try to explain every little nuance and implication of the story, it’s a lot even for us grown-ups to comprehend!
  • Use a sad voice for the last page when Adam and Eve disobey God.

Activity

Play a modified version of “red light – green light.” Gather a few small balls and put them on a chair. Pretend the balls are fruit and the chair is the tree. Stand by the chair and have your child stand a little ways away. Face your child and say “God said: ‘Don’t eat the fruit!’” and then turn around. While you are turned around your child will try and sneak up to the fruit. Jump around again and say “God said: ‘Don’t eat the fruit!’” When you do this they have to freeze. Once they get to the “fruit”  you chase them out of the “garden.”

Discussion

Parent: “Who are these people?” (Point to Adam and Eve)

Child: “Adam and Eve”

Parent: “What did God say to them?”

Child: “Don’t eat the fruit!”

Parent: “Did they obey God?”

Child: “No.”

Parent: “That’s right. It was very sad.”

Daily Craft

Day One – Adam and Eve Coloring Page

http://makingartfun.com/pdf/adam-and-eve-coloring-page.pdf

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Day Two – Adam and Eve Puppets

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Materials needed:

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Glue cut-out pieces together in the shape of a person.

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Add a simple face and use markers or crayons to color the people.

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Glue onto the popsicle sticks to make Adam and Eve puppets. You can add more detail to the face or cut out some hair and glue it on there, but we decided to keep it simple!

Day Three – The Tree and The Fruit

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Materials needed:

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Use the dot marker to make fruit on the tree top. Then, make two cuts opposite each other on the top of the toilet paper tube and slide the tree top into the toilet paper tube base.

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Bring yesterday’s Adam and Eve over for a little pretend play, of course.

Day Four – The Sneaky Snake

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Materials needed:

  • Paper plate
  • Markers (or crayons)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Scissors

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Use the pen or pencil to trace the outline of a spiraled snake on the paper plate. Obviously, from looking at my non-artisic rendition, it doesn’t matter if it turns out a little wonky! Basically you just want to start with a head shape at the edge and slowly work your way around and in to the middle of the plate. After you trace it, carefully cut it out.

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Take a moment to revel in the fun, boingy-ness of the snake once cut out.

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Decorate the snake with the markers, adding two little eyes on the head. If you want you can also cut out a little strip of red construction paper and glue on a tongue (we didn’t).

Day Five: The Garden

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Materials needed:

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Take one of the blue pieces of paper and fold up the bottom about an inch.

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Take the second piece of blue paper and fold it in half (hamburger way). Then, fold in each short side about an inch.

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Go back to the first blue paper and draw (or have your child draw if they are able) a garden scene. We kept it pretty basic! You will want the folded piece folded up towards the back.

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Color in your garden scene.

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Take your folded piece of paper and glue it to the back of the garden scene like shown in the picture. You want it to be a little bit above the fold crease on the bottom. This is going to hold your scene up.

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Put some glue on the bottom of the fold on the garden scene paper. Glue the scene to the long edge of the green piece of paper.

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You now have a lovely little garden scene. Perfect for a little Adam and Eve pretend play.

Extra Resources

There were a few songs about Adam and Eve on youtube, but we didn’t particularly care for any of them. Do you know any good ones?

 


 

I hope you enjoyed week two of Play Through The Bible. Again, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #playthroughthebible on Twitter or Instagram! 

 

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life.

CREATION – Play Through The Bible – Week One

Play Through The Bible wk1

Hooray! Welcome to our first week of Play Through The Bible! And of course, what else would you start with than with The Beginning? You guessed it, this week we are studying creation. I hope you enjoy this week of activities – it’s super simple and super fun. Don’t forget, I’d love to see how you’re using this curriculum so leave a comment or use the hashtag #playthroughthebible. If anything below is unclear or you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. If you haven’t read the introduction to the series yet I recommend you go here.

So, without further ado… week one!

 


Week One – Creation

 

Focus Point

God created everything.

Story Time Tips

  • We read “A New World” beginning on page 6 of The Rhyme Bible Storybookand “God Made Everything” beginning on page 8 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers.
  • During story draw attention to each thing that is being created. For example: turn the lights on and off when light is being created, point to the sky, pretend to be a bird, make the animal noises, rest at the end, etc.
  • After the first few readings, pause at certain points and let your child say the next word. For example on the first page of the story in The Rhyme Bible it reads: “The world was once as dark as night, But then God said….” At that point my son would thoroughly enjoy shouting out “LIGHT!”

Activity

Go for a walk in your yard or neighborhood. While doing so, point things out and ask “Who made this?” If it’s not a nice day to play outside, you can also do the same thing while looking through a book.

Discussion

Parent: “Who made this?” (Point to something you’ve talked about before)

Child: “God!”

Parent: “Who made you?”

Child: “God!”

Parent: “That’s right he made you and loves you very much.”

Daily Craft

Day One – Light

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Materials needed: 

DSC_2710

Use glue stick to glue yellow strips of paper  onto the black paper. They are the light appearing out of the darkness. So ridiculously easy,  I know, but every toddler I’ve done it with loves it just the same!

Day Two – Sky

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Materials needed:

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Fluff cotton balls a little bit by slightly pulling them apart. These will make some nice puffy clouds. Then, use the glue stick to glue them onto the blue paper sky. If your glue stick isn’t doing a very good job at securing the cotton balls you can also use Elmer’s glue.

Day Three – Plants and Land

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Materials needed:

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Glue brown rectangle (the tree trunk) onto the bottom of the blue paper.

DSC_2722

Use the dot marker to make leaves on the tree. If you don’t have dot markers (they can be purchased cheaply at the dollar store) feel free to sub green paint and a paintbrush or even markers.

Day Four – Sun, Moon, and Stars

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Materials needed:

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Decorate the sun, moon, and stars with the crayons.

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Glue the shapes onto the black paper.

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Day Five – Animals and Me!

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Materials needed:

Cut pictures of animals out of magazine (you can do this beforehand or have your child do it depending on their age/skill level). Glue the animals and picture of your child onto the paper to create a collage.

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We hung our pictures on the wall (they are actually in a different spot now, but still up!). This makes it really easy to continue to talk about and reference the creation story. K loves to go down the line naming off each thing on the pictures he made.

DSC_2738

 

Extra Resources

Creation Song via youtube

 


 

Well, that’s it for this week. Again, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #playthroughthebible on Twitter or Instagram! 

 

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life.

*INTRODUCING!* Play Through The Bible: A Toddler’s Introduction To God’s Story

Play Through The Bible

I am so excited! It’s finally time to begin our toddler bible study series. It’s going to be called “Play Through The Bible: A Toddler’s Introduction To God’s Story” and I wanted to take today to give you a little introduction before we jump in later this week. First, I want to explain a little of my focus with this curriculum.

PicMonkey Collage

My Focus

I first got the idea to write this curriculum because I wanted something that would allow me to introduce my toddler son to the Bible at his level in a simple, basic, and engaging way. I searched for what I was picturing in my mind, but couldn’t find quite what I was looking for. So, we started forging our own path. I wanted to share what we’ve been doing so that you, too, can begin to lay the foundation of God’s word in your child’s heart and mind. My focus in this curriculum is three-fold:

#1 Simple

When I started doing activities with my toddler son, I learned early on that it was best to keep things simple. There was no telling how long his attention span would last and I didn’t want to take longer to prepare the activity than he took to actually do it. Plus, sometimes as adults we forget that what may seem simple to us can be exciting and new for a little one. There will be plenty of time for elaborate activities as my son gets older, but for now I’m keeping it simple. Because of this, I am writing this curriculum with simplicity in mind. You can easily prep the crafts in 5-10 minutes beforehand and none of the activities call for crazy supplies. I wanted this to be something so simple and easy that no matter how crazy things were that day, if you could spare 15 minutes you would be able to have Bible time that day.

#2 Basic

Our little toddlers and preschoolers are very concrete thinkers. If I tried to explain all the complex implications of the various Bible stories to my son, I would probably be met with a blank stare and he wouldn’t be very interested because it wouldn’t make sense to him. For that reason, I’ve chosen to keep the focus of this curriculum very basic. While a toddler may not be able to grasp all the theological ramifications of the fall of mankind, he can remember the names Adam and Eve and the very basic points of the story. Once this basic foundation is laid, it can be then built upon. Adding more information and depth in each year to come. In this way, my son both grows up with God’s stories as a part of his life and he grows into them as he continues to mature in his understanding of God’s Word

#3 Engaging

Simply put, I want this curriculum to be perfectly in tune with the way toddlers learn best. Through stories, songs, hands-on crafts, and simple activities. In one word: play. Mr. Rogers sums it up wonderfully: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Doing the activities in this curriculum means that your child will be engaged, playing and having fun – not even realizing that God’s Word is being hidden away in his or her heart.

Children’s Bible Choice

The next thing I wanted to go over is our choice for a children’s Bible. For the purpose of this study we are using one main children’s Bible and one supplementary children’s Bible. The main Bible we are using is The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers and the supplementary bible we are using is The Rhyme Bible Storybook. We started with using the original Rhyme Bible Storybook, but found that although we enjoyed reading the stories in it, some of them were a little above toddler level when we tried to really dig into them. Because of this, we switched to the toddler version. This will be the main Bible we are going to use, although we may add here and there from the original version or read both stories when applicable. For example, the second week is the story of Adam and Eve, however, this story is not found in the toddler version of this Bible. So, we will read it out of the original version instead.

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Now, if you are following along with us, you can definitely use whatever children’s Bible is your family’s favorite. I can’t guarantee the activities will match up perfectly, but I don’t think it would be that big of a problem. However, both of the Rhyme Bibles can be bought very cheaply on Amazon and I highly recommend checking them out!

Method

My plan is to release the upcoming week’s plans on Thursdays so that you will have plenty of time to look them over, prepare, and make any changes that you want. The basic set up is that you will read one story every day for a week (we normally read at breakfast time). I’ve found that this method works great with toddlers because they usually love repetition. I’ve also found that aspects of the story my son didn’t quite grasp the first time we read the story, he is really starting to get by the end of the week. There will be an activity that you can do (again, the same activity for each day that week) and a craft for each day.  There are a couple other things included, totaling six different sections, so let’s go over those really quick so you’ll know how they work!

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Focus Point
This is the bottom line. The point to repeat over and over. This is what you want them to remember. For example, week one’s focus point is “God Created Everything.” So, that week, you really want to drive home God as creator and all the activities will support that.

Story Time Tips
In this section, I’ll give a couple tips to make the story time fun and engaging. Whether it’s ideas to make the reading more dramatic or things to look out for that might be difficult for your toddler to grasp, if it’s something that helped us, I’ll pass it on to you.

Activity
The activities in this section are fun and simple. The usually require either no supplies or things you have around your house already. They use play and kinesthetic learning to further reinforce the concepts and vocabulary learned in the week’s story.

Discussion
This is a unique section that came about due to a discovery I made while talking with my son. I realized that he likes to have the same conversations over and over and over again. He asks me the same questions and likes it when we talk about familiar topics. I decided to use this to my advantage and started having short conversations about the story we were working on, always keeping them about the same every time. They almost have a catechism like feel to them. I’ve found that doing this really helps him remember the main points of the story. I usually start the week incorporating only part of the discussion I hope to have, slowly building up to the whole thing by the end of the week. He is always so proud of himself when he answers my questions!

Daily Craft
Like i’ve mentioned before, these crafts are very simple. You can usually prep them in just a few minutes. They are also simple in the way that they are very do-able for little toddler hands. Sure, they will need a little help here or there, but for the most part, they should be able to do them with a lot of independence.

Almost every week, one of the crafts is a link to a downloadable coloring page. Doing the coloring page is great for those super busy days where you don’t have time for a full craft. We usually do them on Monday’s when I’m catching up from the weekend still. I’ve found it is a great introduction to the story, mainly focusing on just remembering the names of the characters.

One more note about the crafts: they aren’t meant to be perfect works of art. Their purpose is more for the experience and the learning they provide. Plus, toddlers really don’t care about making their crafts perfect. For example, in the fourth week we make a tent for Abraham and Sarah. Does the tent end up looking super pretty? No way. However, my son thought it was awesome and the 30 minutes of playtime afterwards where he used some of his toys to play pretend with Abraham and Sarah was way better then the most awesome tent could have been.

Extras
The last section is for miscellaneous resources. I’ll add whatever extra things we’ve found to add to that week’s story. Often it will be songs or other books that go along with the story that week. I’d also love to hear what extra ideas and resources you have discovered – if you leave them in the comments I’ll add them to the list! Another thing you can do is use the hashtag #playthroughthebible on Instagram or Twitter to share how you are using the Play Through The Bible curriculum. You can also connect with me on Facebook. I can’t wait to see how you make this study your own!

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Well, that’s about it! Look out for the first week of plans coming this Thursday. If you don’t want to miss any, be sure to enter your e-mail address below to get weekly updates!

Affiliate links included. Thanks for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life. 

6 Tips for Making Bible Story Time Come Alive for Your Toddler

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If you’re like me, you want to get your child started reading God’s word as soon as possible. Maybe you even started reading to your peanut while he or she was still in the womb. Then, you read to that squishy newborn as you rocked and snuggled. However, along the way something happened. That little babe you used to hold in your arms, who would be captivated just by the sound of your voice, grew up. Sitting still is a thing of the past now – you have a toddler.
So, how do you get a squirmy toddler to sit still long enough to have a daily Bible story time? Today, I’d like to share six tips I’ve learned as I’ve tried to introduce my son to reading the Bible. Hopefully, some of them will help as you impart God’s word to your little one.

1. Make it a routine

Toddlers thrive on routine. Although we’re not always as consistent as I’d like to be, we normally read K’s bible story during breakfast. Once we were able to get that routine established, every breakfast time (and often at lunch as well) he would be begging for story time to start. The routine helps build the anticipation and also gets them started on making Bible reading a daily habit.

2. Choose a good children’s Bible

There are seriously TONS of kids Bible’s out there. Some are good. Some are not so good. There are also some that are great, but are above the level a toddler is able to understand. I can’t speak for all the Bibles out there, (if you don’t have a Bible you already like, I’d recommend looking through Amazon reviews or heading to the local Christian bookstore to page through the options) but here’s what we do have experience with:

  • The Beginners Bible— Someone gifted this bible to K at his baby dedication just before he turned one. We read from it for a long time. The only problem I have with this children’s Bible is that, personally, I feel like they couldn’t have made it more boring if they had tried. That said, it is a popular choice, it has a lot of stories in it, and it works for a lot of people.
  • The Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers - This is a board book version of The Beginner’s Bible, with less and shorter stories. While we do read from this one occasionally, it would not be a good choice if it is the only Bible you have because it skips two very important stories – the fall of mankind and the death of Jesus!
  • A First Bible Storybook by Mary Hoffman – We just got this book recently and haven’t had a chance to really try it out. The stories look good, but a little long for a young toddler.
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This Bible is really great. You can find reviews on it all over the blog-o-sphere since it boomed to popularity (try here, here, or here). We have read stories from it from time to time, however, it is above the level of a toddler. We will probably use this Bible as a transition to a real Bible once K is a little older.
  • The Rhyme Bible Storybook by LJ Sattgast – This is our favorite Bible for toddlers. I have used this one with children other than my son and always it does a great job of grabbing their attention. Something about the sing-song of the rhymes just works with toddlers. I highly recommend this Bible. It can be purchased very cheaply on Amazon.
  • The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers by LJ Sattgast – We just ordered this one (for $0.25 + shipping!),so haven’t had a chance to look into it too in depth. The original Rhyme Bible Storybook has worked great for us, but I wanted something a little more simplified for us to use for some of the more complicated stories. I think this will fit the bill perfectly.
3. Read the story with some drama!

I am probably one of the worst actors ever, but when I read Bible stories to my son, I try my best to use tone, inflection, and excitement to bring the story to life. When the story says God was sad, slow down your speech and talk with a sad voice, frowning. When things are getting exciting, pick up the pace, talk a little louder. Use hand motions, too. When the story talks about God creating the sky big and wide, point to the sky and motion how big it is. Your excitement will naturally be contagious.

4. Read the same story multiple times in a row.

I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that toddlers love repetition. They want to eat the same foods, wear the same clothes, play with the same toys, and read the same books over and over again. Use this to your advantage and read the same story every day for a week. It may seem boring from an adult’s perspective, but toddlers love reading things they are already familiar with. It really helps them become familiar with the story and remember the details better.

5. Take some time to discuss what you are reading.

For us, I ask that my son try not to interrupt while I’m reading, but after I’ve read the page we often pause so he can ask questions or point out things on the page that interest him. We will also often flip back through the entire story after reading to look at the pictures again while we summarize what happened. I will also ask him questions to see what he can remember. During the first few times we’ve read the story, I usually try to keep to simple questions that require “yes or no” answers or ask him what the characters names are. The more we’ve read the story, the more I see what he can remember.

6. Add an element of play.

Young children learn best through play, so it’s a great idea to add that into your story time. It’s very easy to do as well! Just take an element of the story and make it into a game or act it out. When you play through a story, you have a great opportunity to reinforce themes and vocabulary from what you just read. For example, the other day K and I read the Noah story. Afterwards, I grabbed a laundry basket and some stuffed animals and K pretended to be Noah. He piled all his stuffed animals into his “Ark” basket and jumped in with them, having a blast. The whole time we did this I called him Noah, cementing into his brain through play the name of the person God told to built a boat. We also talked about obeying God as he put the animals in the ark and pretended together that his boat was in the stormy flood. He had tons of fun and was learning God’s truths all at the same time!

Coming Soon!

Are you looking for more ways to help your toddler begin to learn basic biblical truths? Then you are going to love what I have coming up soon! Me and my little helper have been working hard to write and test out an exciting toddler Bible study curriculum and we are so excited to share it with you!

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Here’s a sneak peek at how the study is going to be set up:

  • It will be released weekly, mostly likely on Thursday, so you will have plenty of time to prepare for the coming week.
  • It is being designed with busy parents in mind. Everything about this study is simple, easy to prepare, doesn’t require tons of crazy craft supplies, and doesn’t have to take a ton of time to do. All while being set up perfectly for how toddlers learn best!
  • We will be going through an entire children’s Bible, following God’ story from beginning to end.

I am so excited for this series to start! K and I have been having a blast reading, learning, and playing our way through the Bible, and I know your toddler will too. I knew I wanted to create this study because, although there are a ton of great resources out there, I was having a hard time finding something that was designed specifically for toddlers being taught at home by their parents. There are a lot of great resources for individual stories, or church preschool curriculums, but not a lot that would take a toddler through the entire Bible, without requiring me to take little bits from here and there around the internet.

So, if you’ve found yourself in a similar spot, wondering what the best way is to go about imparting basic biblical truths to your littlest learner, this study is for you. It will be debuting soon, so if you don’t want to miss out, be sure to enter your email address below to get updates sent directly to your inbox. I would be honored to have you and your toddler join us on this journey through the Bible!

My Husband Travels for Work: 10 Tips for Transitioning Home

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After spending an extended amount of time away from my husband over the last two years, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the process of returning to doing life together again. Today I’m guest posting over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum about what I’ve found are my top ten tips to make this a smooth transition.

I’d love it if you would come join us over there!

My Husband Travels for Work: 10 Tips for Transitioning Home

 

 

 

No Fuss Potty Training – How We Did It

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For months leading up to our big move I would tell him, “when we move we are getting rid of the diapers and you are going to wear undies!” I would quiz him: “what are we doing with your diapers when we move?” Once we did move, I knew I didn’t want to spend any more money on diapers, so together we watched the last basket slowly dwindle. I told him, “I’m not buying anymore. When they are gone, you are going to wear undies.”

Well, that day came sooner then I was ready for. I was still unpacking, the house was a disaster, and I had a to-do list a mile high. I seriously contemplated buying just one more pack of diapers and sneaking them into the basket, hoping he wouldn’t notice. But, I didn’t. I decided to stick to what said and we went for it – ready or not! He averaged one (or maybe two) accidents for a couple days and then he was good to go. It hasn’t even been two weeks now and he is accident free and able to go run errands, play by himself in his room, and go potty all by himself when he needs to.

So, how did I manage to so quickly and easily potty train my 2 1/2 year old? Well, I am sure a lot of it has to do with his personality, but I thought I would share a few things that I think really helped make the transition from diapers to underwear easier. Before I delved into potty training I read pretty much every potty training article I came across. I loved seeing how everybody did it and what worked for them and what didn’t. I hope that you are able to pick out a few things from our experience to make potty training that much easier for you!

Here we go…

1. We started using the toilet early. 

Before K was born, I happened to read about this really neat thing called elimination communication. If you’ve never heard about it, it is basically a method of learning your baby’s signals early on and helping them eliminate using the toilet instead of a diaper. You can read more about it here. While we didn’t do full-blown EC, we did use some of the principles off and on. I taught K how to use the potty when he was just a tiny baby, and had him use it fairly regularly while he was a baby/young toddler. I think this really helped because it meant that using the toilet wasn’t a completely foreign concept to him when he made the transition to being potty trained. I’ve known of a lot of kids who are scared of the toilet or reluctant to use it and seeing it as a normal part of their life from early on can really help avoid that.

2. We knew he was “ready.” 

This is a tip you will hear over and over again and it can be a hard one to actually put into practice! What does it even mean to be ready? For us, ready meant two things. First, that K was ready to be taught to use the toilet and, second, that he was able to use the toilet by himself (pulling his pants down, etc). When K was 18 months old we decided to give early potty training a shot. It went really well for about a week and then he lost interest. I think in many ways he could have be ready then, but it would have taken a lot more effort and time on our part to see it through. Because of that, we ended up putting it on hold. Due to life circumstances and the schedules we were on, it didn’t make a lot of sense to try again until this summer, after we made a 14 hour move. At that point, he was definitely ready!

3. We talked about it constantly.

Little kids understand and remember a lot more than we often give them credit for. Months before our move I started talking to K about how he was going to wear undies after we moved. I reinforced it whenever I could. We would talk about it to Grandma, to daddy, to anyone who would listen! We said we were going to throw away the diapers. We said he was going to be a big boy. Almost every time I changed his diaper we would talk about it. We watched as his last basket of diapers dwindled to nothing, and when I asked him if he wanted to put on some underwear, he was totally ready and excited.

4. We didn’t make a big fuss about it. 

Other than talking about it a lot, I didn’t make a big fuss over potty training. If you remember, I was still unpacking and had a lot to do! There was no three day potty training boot camp. I didn’t give him salty snacks and load him up on juice so he would pee more. There were no charts or treat jars. I didn’t contain him to one room. I didn’t drag him to the toilet every 15 minutes. Basically, I just put some underwear on him and we went with it! I put a little potty in the living room and he had a potty seat insert in his bathroom upstairs. I eventually put another little potty in his bedroom too. For clean-up, I kept it simple with disinfectant wipes for the potties and a bottle of vinegar and some rags to clean up accidents.

5. We used positive language to avoid power struggles. 

Somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 years old, K started really resist me taking him to the toilet. I decided to not push the issue and only took him when he wanted to go. I knew that I didn’t want to have that same problem with potty training, so when I read about someone who didn’t make their child use the bathroom during potty training, I knew that was what we needed to do. The only times he was required to use the toilet were before bed and before we went out somewhere. Other than that, I would just frequently remind him to “keep his underwear dry” and to “use the toilet if he needed to go potty.” I think I said those things a couple thousand times! If he had an accident, I just helped him get to the toilet quickly and said “uh oh, make sure you go on the toilet next time!” Keeping the language positive really helped. I wasn’t forcing a stubborn toddler to do anything and because we had talked about it so much and I encouraged him a lot, he was excited to do it on his own.

6. We went with a big(ger) reward.

Instead of giving him treats every time he used the toilet, I told him early on that once he was keeping his undies dry I would buy him some super hero underwear. Super heroes were a new obsession, so it was the perfect reward to help give him just a little extra motivation. When he would have an accident, I would remind him about the reward as encouragement to keep trying. When he finally was staying dry we went to the store and picked some out. He was so excited and proud of himself!

7. We trained him to go on his own. 

This was probably one of the most important things for me. I didn’t want to have to remind him constantly or make him use the bathroom every 30 minutes. I wanted him to recognize he had to go and just go all by himself. What can I say? I’m just lazy like that! So, from the beginning I had him do as much as he could by himself. I do usually ask him if he needs any help when he says he has to go and I help him wipe a lot of the time, but for the most part he does go all by himself.

I really couldn’t believe that the potty training transition went as smoothly as it did. I must admit, I was a little nervous! However, it just goes to show that potty training doesn’t have to be all horror stories! Hopefully some of what we did can help in your potty training endeavors. If you have any questions or tips of your own, please share them in the comments below! 

And… Keep your fingers cross for us. We have the ultimate potty training test coming up this weekend – a 16 hour car trip!

When I Don’t Want My Child To Obey

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My blood was boiling. It felt like the tension inside was going to break me into a million pieces. The last string of patience I could muster snapped.

My thoughts whirled.

“Why does this always have to happen?”

“Can’t I just have a few minutes of peace?!”

“That is it!”

Words spewed out of my mouth like poison.

Anger. Frustration. Bitterness.
Hurtful words. Shaming words.
Little eyes wide open, taking it all in.

Finished with my lecture, I collapsed at the kitchen table. I regained control of my racing pulse and pushed back the tears. My heart felt like it was a million pounds.

What had I done?

I opened my Bible and tried to pray. But I was overcome with remorse. I gained obedience, but at what cost?

It was then I knew that I didn’t want obedience like that. I didn’t want to teach my child (or any child) that you obey the person who hurts you. I want my child to obey me because of my calm authority as his mother, not because I know which words will cut at his heart.

I love my child and I want it to show. Even when I am frustrated.

And I must admit, I am far from perfect. The life I lead is often a messy one. However, I’m trying my best to take my parenting lessons from the best Father of all. The One who is slow to anger and abounding in mercy. The One who never shames, but holds out abundant grace and invites me to sin no more. The One who is ever just and lets me reap the consequences of what I sow, but who never deserts me along the way.

This is the Father I want my child to know as well.
So, I swallow my pride and I ask for forgiveness from the little one that I hurt, pointing him to the One who will never fail him.

 

Have you had a messy moment this week? I hope you will join me in casting my burdens at the feet of a Father who cares.