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Names of Jesus: Preschool Lessons


Included in this lesson set:

  • Video and Art: Watch The Legend of the Three Trees and do coloring pages.
  • Drama and Art: creative movement - act out vine and branches; do an art project with crayon rubbings.
  • Cooking and Art: Make stained glass window cookies to share with others (preschoolers will do this workshop with older kids as buddies); do an art project/demonstration with light.


Scripture Reference:

John 15:1-17

Note: These lessons were created for preschoolers age 3 and 4.  I have posted my elementary age "I AM" lessons here.





Names of Jesus

Video Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. But Jesus is more than just a baby in a manger. Kids will watch the video The Legend of the Three Trees.



Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Preview the video.
  • Gather the following materials.


Supplies List:

  • Nativity Scene coloring pages
  • Crayons
  • Clipboards (optional)
  • The storybook: The Savior That God Sent by Kelly A. Rainbolt
  • Video: The Legend of the Three Trees (available on YouTube)
  • Necessary device(s) to watch the video (see here for some ideas)



Lesson Plan: Opening

Greet the children and introduce yourself. Open with a prayer.
Distribute clipboards, crayons and coloring pages.

Read the storybook,  “The Savior That God Sent.” Have them color a nativity scene picture while you read it. Book, The Savior that God Sent

After you finish reading, collect the clipboards, crayons and coloring pages. (Plan to return them to the kids to take home.)

Dig - Main Content and Reflection

Conversation before the movie:

Jesus was born as a little baby but then he grew up --- he was preschool age, and then older and older until he began a man. God had something special planned for Jesus’ life.
 
Do you ever think about what it will be like to be a grown up? What do you want to be when you grow up?

In this movie called “The Legend of the Three Trees” there are 3 trees that hope to become something special. It’s a pretend story - in that trees don’t really think and talk - but there really were 3 trees that became something special in Jesus’ life! Watch for the 3 things and we’ll talk about them after the movie.

(Editor's note: To save time, start this video at 1:31. You may also view the video at YouTube.)

After the Movie:

  • What did the first tree want to become? Something to hold a great treasure. Did it? Yes – the tree was made into a manger that held baby Jesus. Jesus is a great treasure!
  • What did the 2nd tree want to become? A mighty ship to carry a king. Did it? Yes – the tree was made into a fishing boat and it carried Jesus – and Jesus is the King of all kings!
  • What did the 3rd tree want to become? Something to point people to God. Did it? Yes – the tree was used to make the cross that Jesus died on. But then Jesus was alive again and went to live with God in heaven, and even today when we see a cross we think of Jesus and how much God loves us.

Closing

End with a prayer.





Names of Jesus

Drama & Art Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will take part in acting out the scripture to learn that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. And then they will do crayon rubbings on a sheet of paper pre-printed with John 15:5.


 

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the following materials.


Supplies List:

  • a few gardening tools (such as a watering can, nothing sharp!)
  • artificial vines (pieces for each child)
  • papers printed with John 15:5: Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches." (one per student)
  • crayons with their papers removed



Lesson Plan: Opening

Begin with some drama warm-up exercises:

Tell them to move safely so you and others don't get hurt and no talking (use your face and body to show the object/feeling/experience).

Ask them to make "shapes" with their bodies, pretend to be objects, and work together to make things, too. Say: Move like a butterfly, a bird, etc. Let them suggest things to “be” too. End up making a suggestion like: a tree with a bird family living in a nest in your branches.

Move your conversation to talking about gardening, pruning and vines. Use the gardening tools, watering can, artificial vines and grapes to help explain. Let them pretend to be the gardeners.

Then ask the kids to each get with a partner and act out:

  • being a vine (twisting and wiggling)
  • a branch (blowing in the breeze)
  • growing
  • a gardener
  • being happy
  • sad
  • fruit
  • love
  • plants withering/wilting/drying up

Dig - Main Content and Reflection

Tell them that you are going to read something Jesus told his followers and when they hear a word they’ve been acting out, to act it out again. Words in CAPS are words they will act out and you can emphasize.

Jesus said, (paraphrased from John 15): A BRANCH has to stay connected to the VINE so it can grow. When it grows it makes FRUIT. That makes the GARDENER HAPPY.
If there is a BRANCH that doesn’t create FRUIT the gardener will PRUNE it and cut it off. The BRANCH that isn’t connected to the VINE can’t create FRUIT any more. The BRANCH falls to the ground and DRIES UP, WITHERS AND DIES. That makes the GARDNER SAD.
Jesus said, “I am the VINE and you are the BRANCHES.” I want you to stay connected to me and be kind and LOVE each other.

You can act this out a second time with the kids helping to tell the story.

Art activity: Do crayon rubbings of John 15:5. Papers will have the verse written on it: Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” Place the artificial grape leaves under the paper and using a peeled crayon on its side, rub over the leaves. Encourage them to use a variety of colors.

While they work, ask:

  • In Jesus’ story, who is the gardener?
  • Who is the vine?
  • Who are the branches?
  • If a branch is cut off from the vine, what will happen to it?
  • If we’re supposed to be the branches connected to Jesus, the vine, what do you think Jesus wants us to do?
  • What makes God, the gardener, happy?
  • What makes God sad?


If extra time, go back to acting out gardening, vines, branches, etc.


Closing

End with a prayer.





Names of Jesus

Cooking Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Preschoolers will be paired with a 4th/5th grade buddy in the cooking workshop, making stained glass window cookies to discover that Jesus is the light of the world. While cookies are baking (and 4th/5th are doing discussion) the preschoolers will go to a different room to do an art project/demonstration with light. See my cooking lesson for the cooking portion of this lesson. What is included here is the Art portion.


 

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials. (See my cooking lesson posted elsewhere for the cooking supplies and the cooking portion of this lesson.)
  • Ahead of time, securely clip the black construction papers to the back of the candle drawing.


    Supplies List:
    dots on a candle drawing

    • Papers (one per student) with a drawing of a candle on it (attached to the end of this lesson is a line drawing you may reproduce)
    • Pieces of black construction paper
    • Paper clips 
    • Toothpicks
    • Hand towels (optional, if you don't have a rug in your room)



Lesson Plan: Opening

Greet the children and introduce yourself. Open with a prayer.
Attend the Cooking Workshop with the older students. When the cookies are in the oven, return to do the Art portion of this workshop.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection

Sit on the floor and give them each a piece of paper with the drawing of a candle on it which has a black piece of construction paper paper-clipped to the back.

Give them each a toothpick and show them how to use it to poke a hole on each dot on the paper. Do this on the carpeting, not the table, so the pin pokes all the way through the black paper. (Or use hand towels under the papers if you don't have carpeting.)

When they finish, unclip the white paper and have them hold up their black paper to the light.

You can continue to talk about light and Jesus as the light of the world. Explain that we are supposed to shine Jesus light to others. Discuss what that means (by our actions and words).

If extra time, you can play the CD “This Little Light of Mine”. Show them how to hold their finger up as a light/candle as they sing or hold up their candle light picture.

When the cookies are cooled and ready to eat, they’ll be brought to you. They will eat one cookie and take one home to give to someone as they share about Jesus being the light of the world.



A lesson set posted by Jan Hanson from First Presbyterian Church, Napa, CA
Permission to use at the local church level only.

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Images (2)
  • Book, The Savior that God Sent
  • candle dots
Last edited by Luanne Payne
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