What a beautiful story that so perfectly depicts Jesus--the one who would (and did) lay down his life for his sheep! The parable is full of so much meaning, so many layers that the children can explore. I'm sure they'll be ready to talk about their own times when they've "found the good grass" as well as times where they've felt that they (or others they know) have been through places of danger. It's a great time to share our own such experiences and how our faith in God helped us make it through. Most every child has a story to share about being lost and found. I'm hoping you'll enjoy lots of discussion with this lesson!
There are wondering questions within the story script for this lesson. I'll have them in the classrooms for you to write in their responses.
Idea Sparkers for our Create a Gift for God time:
As you may know, here at FBC we're about to give our children's area a facelift. One thing we'd love to include as art on our children's hallway is a collection of the children's own depictions of the life of Jesus. Remember the story tiles we use at Easter? (Jesus' birth, Jesus as a boy in the temple, Jesus' baptism and blessing by God, Jesus' temptation, Jesus healing others, Jesus serving the last supper, Jesus' death and resurrection) We'd love to have the children work this summer on making their own version of these scenes. Since we'll be able to only use some of them, please instruct the children that we will use some of their work to decorate our space on the inside of the classroom --we'll certainly do so.
How to do it?
Children can use markers or crayons or colored pencils or paint, on 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of white paper. (I'll put some in your classrooms.) They don't need to copy the Easter tiles--encourage them to be creative in how they create the scenes. The key is to make their pictures fill up the page, since small figures can't be enlarged easily. Ask them please to leave their work at church for the summer, rather than taking it home.
This is a project they could work on all summer long. We hope some of the children will be enthusiastic about this project. They may want to do work illustrating the particular Sunday's parable, and that is fine too of course.
Thanks for your help with this. I'm excited about it!
Now, ideas for this week's story:
There are two ways to go here. The children can either reproduce the parable in some way, or they can explore their own experiences with what the parable talks about: being lost and found, their own faith in the Good Shepherd, their own times of good grass and cool water or times of danger and faith.
Ideas for reproducing the parable:
1. Let the children make their own miniature parable boxes with this week's parable inside. If you want to buy small boxes, just purchase them, give me a receipt and I'll reimburse you. We have green felt in the resource room. The kids could use fun foam for the pen and the water and the dangerous places, and could make the sheep however they want, with clothespins and cotton balls or their own ideas. Some links for sheep are here and here.
They could draw and cut out a wolf and the shepherd.
2. They could make their own sheep and shepherd puppets at the links above. (in #1)
Ideas for exploring the parable in terms of their own experiences:
1. The children could make a class mural/picture of how it feels to be lost (on one side) and found (on the other side). The title could be something like The Good Shepherd Takes Care of the Sheep or something like that.
2. They could illustrate My Good Shepherd Calls My Name, drawing the Good Shepherd and themselves.
3. This would be a perfect time to study and illustrate the 23rd Psalm!