Children’s Catechism Lesson 2: God Made All Things

Lesson 2

Lesson Plan

  • Topic: God Made All Things
  • Bible Passage: Genesis 1
  • Big Idea: God created everything.
  • Objectives: Children shall recognize that God created all things. Children shall realize that no one but God could create the world. Children shall acknowledge that God is powerful and wise for He created all the things we see around us.
  • Materials Used: Clay, Animal Figures/Toys

HOOK

When you’re teaching a toddler, open up the lesson by asking what sound each animal makes. You can say, “What does the cow say?” (Moo) “What does the sheep say?” (Baa)

Preschool children who already have phonological awareness or can recognize their letters can be asked to name different animals based on each letter. You can ask, “Can you name an animal that begins with the letter A?” (Alligator) “How about an animal that begins with the letter B?” (Bear)

You may transition to the next part by asking, “Did you know that God created all these animals? Not just that, God is all powerful because created everything that we see all around us!”

BOOK

The Bible tells us that God created us. This lesson talks about how God made our beautiful world, and everything in it. He created the stars in the night sky, the trees in the field, and all the animals, too. You may reinforce the first catechism lesson of how God created the world ex nihilo.

Read through Genesis 1 or the story of creation using an age-appropriate story Bible. My particular favorite for toddlers, Baby’s Hug-A-Bible, is written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It’s written as a lullaby for babies and small children, and it goes something like,

Little one, who made the seas?
Who made the birds? Who made the bees?
Who made the sun, all big and bright?
And twinkly stars to shine at night?

 

God made them all. Oh yes, it’s true.
Yes, little one, and God made you.

What’s great with this story Bible is that Rain for Roots wrote a song using those very same words. Actually, a whole album was recorded to complement the story Bible. I’ve included the YouTube video below:

God is powerful for He created all these wonderful things. God is also wise because he created different environments where humans and animals can survive and thrive. He created time, weather, and food. He made the birds in the air, the fishes in the sea, the creatures who could crawl and walk in the land.

I used a small book called God Has Power by Carine MacKenzie to teach the theological lesson. We got this from Westminster Bookstore many years ago.

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Some would people like to refer to the world as “Mother Nature.” This idea stems from Greek Mythology, and should be avoided as it is contrary to what the Bible teaches. There is no Mother Nature. There is only God who created all things. No one but God could create the world.

One familiar tune that you could also use to explain the lesson is the Sunday School classic, My God is So Big:

My God is so big,
So strong, and so mighty—
There’s nothing my God cannot do.

The mountains are His;
The valleys are His;
The stars are His handiwork, too.

My God is so big,
So strong, and so mighty—
There’s nothing my God cannot do.

LOOK

Repeat the catechism question and answer:

  • What else did God make? God made all things.
  • Can anyone else create the world? No one but God alone.
  • What did God use to create the world? The word of His power. He spoke, and all things came to be.

Smaller toddlers who cannot yet speak in sentences can simply answer “things” or “all things” when prompted with the catechism question. I do the same with my two year old who struggles to string words together.

TOOK

I decided to let the Little Man play with clay and animal figures in order teach him about the sky, sea and land. I had to rethink the activity because it was not age-appropriate for him.

One thing you could try to do at home is to bake cookies together using your favorite recipe. Younger children need a lot of assistance, but it is a worthwhile activity that most kids enjoy. Explain that we all need ingredients to make something. In order to make cookies, you need flour, salt, sugar, butter, chocolate chips, etc. But God did not use anything to create the world, He only spoke and all things came to be. God is powerful for he made all things out of nothing.

You could do a variety of activities/crafts depending on the age of your child. Here are some ideas that you could try:

  • Sequence the seven days of creation.
  • Create paper flowers.
  • Make homemade clay.
  • Paint a picture of God’s world.
  • Name animals, plants or food after each letter of the alphabet.
  • Mold animals or sceneries using clay.
  • Match animals according to their biomes.

More ideas can be found at Danielle’s Place over here.

Related Resources

How to Teach Kids the Events of the Passion Week

The Passion Week is usually referred to the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. There is nothing special or holy about these dates at all. We should celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus every day of the week!

The reason for this post is to help parents teach their children these events on any day of the year. You can use six items that you may already have at home: a sprig of herb or leaf, a piece of bread, a string or thread, a nail or three, a piece of white cloth, and a rock.

Leaf/Herb

I used a sprig of rosemary herb to signify the branches that people used when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem while riding a donkey. nA alternative is to use a toy donkey, if you have one at home. Read the passage from Matthew 21:1-11. Jesus was riding into the city as the king of Israel had always done when they came to the throne.

Bread

The bread represents the Last Supper as recorded in Matthew 26:17-29. The Passover meal with the disciples points back to the night in Egypt, and points to the time when God would send His own Son to die in the place of sinners like us. This meal shows us that Jesus was the Lamb, who came into the world to be slain for the sins of His people.

String/Thread

This piece of jute string represents the whip used by the Roman soliders to mock Jesus, as well as how Jesus endured the betrayal of his friends, particularly Judas. These events were written down in John 18:1-19:27. It was you and I who deserved to be beaten, ridiculed, and rejected because of our many sins. But Jesus took our place, and bore all this suffering for us.

Nails

I realized that using nails can be a bit dangerous for younger kids, so using screws without pointy ends would be better in this case. Making a small wooden cross out of two toothpicks put together would be another alternative. The three nails or the wooden cross signify how Jesus was nailed on the cross. You may retell the passage found in Matthew 27:32-56. Jesus gave His very life to pay for our sins. Jesus lived the life that we should have lived, and died the death that we should have died. And this same Jesus calls us to follow Him, trust Him, and love Him. Shall we not serve Him who finished the work of salvation for us on the cross?

White Cloth

Matthew 27:57-60 shows us the story of Jesus’ burial, and this piece of white cloth represents the clean linen shroud that was used to wrap the body of Jesus.

Stone

You could use a stone to represent the earlier point about Jesus’ burial or you could use it to illustrate this next story found in John 20. When Mary Magdalene and other women came to garden to visit Jesus, they found that the stone was already rolled away. And the angel told them not to be afraid for He is no longer there. He is risen! He is risen indeed! The disciples didn’t believe the story of the women. Their hearts were so sad with grief that they hardly realized what Mary was saying. They had not understood that Jesus is stronger than death itself. By rising from the dead Jesus brought eternal life to all who love and trust in Him.

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how to TEACH THE STORY

Some people like to use these items and place them inside plastic eggs. The seventh egg would be left empty to signify that Jesus is no longer in the tomb for He is risen. I love the idea of a surprise but since eggs do not have anything to do with the story of the resurrection, I would like to avoid it as much as possible. There are also pagan overtones represented in those eggs.

So an alternative would be a sensory activity (as pictured above) using a salt box or kinetic sand box.

  • Put all the items in a box with iodized salt or kinetic sand.
  • Ask the child to find all the items.
  • Retell the story by arranging the items according to their proper order.
  • For an additional activity or memory work, scramble the items and ask the child to rearrange them according to their proper order.

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You may also use the book The Donkey Who Carried a King by Dr. RC Sproul to share the story of the Passion week. An audio recording of the story book read by Dr. Sproul himself is also available for streaming at Renewing Your Mind.

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Another additional activity is to sing the hymn of the month suggested by Happy Hymnody, that is Man of Sorrows aka Hallelujah, What A Savior by Philip B. Bliss.

“Man of Sorrows,” what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we,
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full redemption—can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die,
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high;
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
To His kingdom us to bring,
Then anew this song we’ll sing
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

I truly pray that you would find this resource useful and Jesus beautiful as you teach and train children about our wonderful Savior!

Please feel free to share how you will use these items to retell the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

Children’s Catechism Lesson 1: Who Made You?

Ever since I have been introduced to the Reformed faith, I’ve been wanting to write a catechism curriculum for children based on the First Catechism, an intro to the Westminster Shorter Catechism. That was almost a decade ago, and even though I was involved in children’s ministry I was not prepared to write a catechism curriculum. But having children of my own provided me with practical tools that could help me understand what it means to explain the beautiful truths of the Christian faith in a way that young children can understand. And getting to know more children with special learning needs has allowed me to discover various ways to explain these truths in a creative manner.

You can find a complete list of catechism question and answers at the Westminster Standard or through the OPC website.

Lesson 1

The first question and answer may seem too simple, even a small toddler can echo back the answer. But in the 21st century when evolution is a common thing, knowing the answer to the first question is essential to any young believer.

Q1: Who made you?
A: God.

Little Miss (now 5) only began echoing answers to this catechism question at age 3, and the Little Man (now 2) only parroted the answer when I taught him to answer “God” in a song-song manner. He started out answering “Amen” to the question when I reintroduced the catechism. Perhaps he associates God with prayer, which may actually be a good thing.

Lesson Plan

  • Topic: Who Made You?
  • Bible Passages: Genesis 1:26-30; Psalm 139:13-14
  • Big Idea: God created man out of nothing after His image.
  • Objectives: Children shall recognize that God was the One who created them. Children shall realize that God made them out of nothing and after His image. Children shall take comfort in knowing that they are wonderfully made by God.
  • Materials Used: Clay, Googly Eyes, Foam Stickers, Pipe Cleaners

Hook

Introduce the lesson by asking what the child’s name is, most toddlers are able to do that. An older child can write his name on a piece of paper. And then ask if he knows the story (i.e. meaning, history or reason for choosing) behind his name.
If your child is not yet ready for any of that, this is a great opportunity for you to practice saying or writing his name with him. Once or twice would be enough to start the lesson.

Transition to the next part by asking, “Do you know who made (Insert Child’s Name)? Let’s find out!”

Book

Read a story of how created Adam and Eve from a Gospel-centered story Bible or from the Bible directly. You could also use the first few pages of God Made All of Me by Justine and Lindsey Holcomb, which also addresses Q/A 1 and 2 of the catechism.

If older kids have questions regarding how God created us, you could look into Chapter 3 (“God Created Everything out of Nothing at All”) from The Oology by Marty Machowski (HT: Reformed Mama). You may also introduce the Latin phrase ex nihilo which means “out of nothing”. God did not use any raw materials to create man. Instead, He said it and it came be.

Look

After the Bible story, repeatedly practice the catechism question and answer.

  • Who made you? God.
  • Did God use anything to create man? No. God created man out of nothing.
  • How did God create man? God created man after His own image.

Took

Bring home the lesson by introducing another Bible passage in Psalm 139:13-14, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (ESV)

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Teach your child that all men are wonderfully created by God. Each of us are unique in the way our brains are wired, even how each of us are gifted differently. As God’s creatures, He has also given us emotions that could express how we feel. We can be happy by praising God who wonderfully made us. We can be sad when some people try to hurt others who are likewise created by God. We can be angry when some people try to destroy God’s original design for the male and female. You may use clay and other craft materials (optional) to teach your child about his body parts or different emotions. Teaching the importance of identifying or verbalizing emotions is an essential life goal for children with special needs. Non-verbal or less verbal children can learn by identifying pictures to convey their feelings.

Another alternative is to simply ask him to draw and color himself, if able. Make sure to add the phrase “God Made (Insert Child’s Name)” when done. You could then wrap up the lesson by singing “God Made Me” by the Cedarmont Kids:

God made me, God made me
In my Bible book it says
That God made me

Other Related Resources

 

Training Children through Song

I write this in the wee hours of the morning after preparing a Sunday School lesson for the kids in our church community. As I was searching for a few songs to teach alongside the Bible lesson, I happened to listen to a lullaby that transported me back to our old apartment more than five years ago, rocking my baby girl to sleep to the tune of “Jesus Loves Zacchaeus” by Rain for Roots. I have listened to their album, Big Stories for Little Ones for a hundred and million times until my daughter was about two years or so. Music has helped her calm down and drift to sleep all those years. I remembered the long nights, and it brought me back to the first few months of being a new mama.

I also remember being a sleepy girl in a church sanctuary on a Sunday morning whenever I listen to Cedarmont Kids, and seeing my own mom right in front teaching all the Sunday School kids how to sing the songs with matching actions. Likewise, I remember being a carefree elementary student sitting in one of the pews inside the hot auditorium of my old alma mater and following along to the lyrics of Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em In Your Heart while the smell of ripe sugarcane permeates the air. I still remember those songs, and I remember the memories well. These songs have helped me in putting Scripture to heart, and the Spirit of God brings them to memory whenever I need them.

I grew up attending Sunday School all my life, and I am also thankful that my parents forced me to attend the Chinese worship service where they only sung hymns. This exposure to Scripture songs and old hymns during my youth has proved useful in the ministry even as I married a Reformed pastor. How wise is God’s providence!

From Music to Memory

The Reformer Martin Luther said it best: “Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music.” Luther always emphasized the importance of music in training people in the faith. He went on to writing many hymns, one of which is A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.

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Music is an able aid in memorization. Young children, particularly those in the Pre-Grammar and Grammar stage according to Classical Education, can absorb vast amounts of information when taught through song and rhyme. This old practice is often times neglected by modern education. Rote memorization and drill and practice aren’t to be abandoned. They are the essential building blocks of education.

Recommended Resources

If you want to train your children to learn Scripture and theology through music, I would like to recommend the resources listed below. Thanks to wonderful Internet technology, most of these are readily available for streaming on Spotify, Amazon Music or Bandcamp.

Ask Me Whooo

This is a recent discovery, and it easily became my favorite resource. These are beautifully written tunes sung by Diana Beach Batarseh, and are based on the First Catechism. Scripture verses are also recited at the end of each song. I cannot recommend this enough. DOWNLOAD. NOW.

Songs for Saplings

My preschooler started listening to their ABC memory verses album, and pretty soon she memorized them. They also have other music based on the New City Catechism.

Rain for Roots

The Big Stories for Little Ones album is based on Sally Lloyd-Jones’ Baby’s Hug-a-Bible, which in my opinion, is the baby/toddler’s version of the famed Jesus Storybook Bible. These are my favorite lyrics from the song “Jesus Is Born”:

Who was there when time began?
Who came to earth to live as man?
Whose cradle was a cattle stall?
Who is the greatest gift of all?

Judy Rogers

My favorite song is “What is a Sacrament?” from her album Why Can’t I See God? What a way to raise covenant children!

What is a sacrament?
It is a holy ordinance
Given by Christ unto believers
Showing His great love for us.

Baptism was ordained,
And the Lord’s Supper;
Jesus gave them to His church
To keep and to remember.

Sacraments, given us by Christ
To signify and apply God’s covenant to our lives.

Family Devo

These are also songs based on the First Catechism. They are more upbeat than the classic tunes of Ask Me Whooo, which may be more appealing to some people.

Sovereign Grace Kids

I always watch out for whatever new album that Sovereign Grace Music releases. One of my favorite albums from them is The Ology, a companion to the The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New, a storybook theology by Marty Machowsky. Here’s a lyric from the song called “All About Jesus”:

From Genesis to Revelation
There’s one story of Your great salvation
It’s all about Jesus, oh, it’s all about Jesus
Shoutin’ out from every page
There’s one Hero that’ll save the day
It’s all about Jesus, oh, it’s all about Jesus

Getty Kids

If you want your kids to learn old and new hymns, listen to Getty Kids’ albums. Like Sovereign Grace Music, they are blessings to the local church.

Other Classic Resources

What are some of your family favorites? Feel free to share them below.

One Big Story

This is Part 1 of a series on How to Choose Big Story Books for Little Hearts.

When I was a children’s worker in a Chinese church in Cebu, I started searching and collecting books for children that were helpful to my ministry. What I found though was a shortage of supply of good resources. So I had to either bring in materials from abroad or come up with my own materials. But not everyone is equipped to come up with Gospel-driven lessons. This is why I am always on the look out for good Christian resources, and I have made it part of my mission to provide quality resources for Christian parents and homeschooling families through Katecheo.

About ten years ago, these materials were very scarce. And only one or two were available locally. Sure, there are many children’s books in Christian bookstores. But I am not comfortable in recommending most of them. And why is that, you may wonder? They aren’t much different than other children’s books that teach good manners and right conduct—Joy Berry books actually teach the Golden Rule very well. If there isn’t anything that sets them apart from all the other books in the market, what makes them Christian in the first place? To put it simply, these books are usually devoid of the One Big Story that the Bible always talks about.

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One Big Story

What is this One Big Story that I keep referring to? A big term that theologians like to use to refer to this idea is Biblical Theology. And I always say, one of the greatest factors in the ability to choose the right books for instructing children in the faith boils down to having a good understanding of the Bible’s One Big Story. So I will take the time to summarize and explain plainly the four parts:

Creation

Before all things ever came to be, God is there. God created the word and everything in it for His own good pleasure and His own glory, including man. The first two chapters of Genesis talk about how God made the world good:

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31a, ESV)

Fall

God created man perfect and righteous, but man disobeyed God’s command.  Sin entered the world through our first parents, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Sin ruined God’s world. And ever since, man always rebelled against God and His Word, making themselves their own little gods. Man is lost without God. But God’s promised to send a Savior,

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15, ESV)

Redemption

Even before the foundation of the world, God had already planned to save His people from their lostness. God became man. Through the perfect life, atoning death, and miraculous resurrection of Jesus, God’s own Son, He secured salvation for His people. Jesus broke the chains of sin.

She [Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21, ESV)

Jesus paid for man’s sin, and when we believe in what He has done in our stead, His perfect righteousness is accounted to us. When we and our children put our faith in Jesus, we are given new birth and new hearts to joyfully follow God’s commands.

Restoration

One day, God will restore all things to His original design—perfect and sinless. God is making all things new. 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5a, ESV)

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Christ the Center

All Scripture is about God’s redemptive plan. And what binds all of the four parts of the One Big Story together is that it centers around the person and work of Jesus. All stories either point to or look back to Jesus and what He has done. In fact, whenever we miss the important fact that Jesus is the main character of all the stories in the Bible, we miss the One Big Story. Whenever we forget about the One Big Story, we will most likely resort to moralistic lessons that aren’t much different than all the other stories out there. What is more, whenever we forget the One Big Story, we will altogether miss what or who the Bible is really all about, Jesus.

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doin. It’s about God and what he has done. Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of te people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes(sometimes on purpose), they get afraid and run away. At times, they’re downright mean. No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescues the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life! You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true. There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling on Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in the puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture. (Sally Lloyd-Jones, Jesus Story Book Bible)

We want our efforts to teach, train, and disciple our children to not go to waste. And whenever we offer them alternatives and half-truths—no matter how flashy and attractive they seem to be—without addressing their heart’s truest and direst need, we would have failed our primary role of passing on the faith to the next generation.

The gospel is the ultimate story that shows victory coming out of defeat, strength coming out of weakness, life coming out of death, rescue from abandonment. And because it is a true story, it gives us hope because we know life is really like that. (Timothy Keller)

Never assume the Gospel. Never tire of telling your children the One Big Story. Never tire of telling them about the Gospel, that Jesus lived and died for us and for our salvation in order to bring us to God. Our children need to hear it daily, and so do we.

 

Part 2 coming soon.