This thread is for posting ideas and resources for teaching the Ten Commandments to Preschoolers.
I think the easiest way for 2's/3's to understand the Ten Commandments is to talk about rules ... rules at home, in your city, when driving, in Sunday school, etc. Talk about what would happen if you didn't have certain rules. Make some classroom rules if you don't have them yet.
Briefly touch on the ones that will make sense to them in terms they understand (love God, honor parents, don't steal, don't want what others have, don't use God's name inappropriately) and leave them with Jesus' version to remember/memorize - "love God and love your neighbor".
Use graham crackers and let them use frosting in a tube to "write" on them like the tablets, reminding them it was God, not man, who gave us the 10 Commandments.
There is a Godly Play version of the Ten Commandments called the 10 best ways to live. It is a wonderful way to present bible stories to very young children. Jerome Berryman is the author I believe and if you look up Godly Play or his name you will find out much about it. You can even order the whole story or you can get the book and make your own materials. Godly Play is a Montessori Based method for teaching the bible stories. Our church has used this for a long time. Even after rotation we will not give up the stories entirely, I will use them in my story telling room.
You can find The Godly Play resource for the 10 best ways to live in "Young Children and Worship" by Stewart and Berryman. A fantastic resource!
For 2- to 3-year olds, I would take 10 squares of cardboard. Have the Arabic numbers 1 through 10 on one side and the roman numbers on the other side. Place the numbers in a grab bag ... have each child (or gruops of children depending on class size) pull a number from the hat. You then recite the commandment and discuss the concept in preschool terms they can understand. This is a good way to show them arabic vs. roman numerals as well. Another way, write the numbers 1 through 10 on a chalkboard and have each child/ren pick a number (you then recite that commandment) and erase it from the board.
Lisa M. Exchange Volunteer Posted
This was done with our pre-schoolers, but I can see it working for older children:
We made little arks (of the covenant, not Noah) and placed inside something to symbolize each of the commandments. i.e.:
We're #1 fingers: you shall have no other gods before me.
hors d'ourve sword shaped toothpicks: thou shalt not kill
rings: thou shalt not commit adultery, etc.
The kids learned to associate the commandment with the symbol and put them in order 1-10.
I could imagine making a life-sized ark with larger items, too.
post moved by Exchange Volunteer
The Story of the Ten Commandments, By: Patricia Pingry, Ideals Publications (Standard), 2002, ISBN: 0824941659.
Description: This little book tells the story of how the Ten Commandments were given and we still live by these rules. The commandments are presented here in simple words with no intent to change their meaning, but only to make each understandable to the very young child. Parents can use this book to introduce Moses, the Ten Commandments, and the concept of rules to a very young child.
Counting to Ten with Moses, Peg Augustine & Daphna Flegal, Abingdon Press, 1999, ISBN 0-687-08201-3 (may be out of print).
The ten commandments are spelled out in easy language for pre-schoolers and the items on the bottom of each page allow for hands-on counting.
For 2 and 3 year olds, decorating pre-written scrolls with a commandment on it, explaining to them a bit about the Jewish faith is very effective.