I’m so happy to share this guest post from author Laura Sassi about simple Bible activities to do at home with preschoolers. It’s perfect timing for Lent and Easter family Bible studies! Enjoy learning about how to introduce your toddlers and preschoolers to the Good Shepherd!
I wrote Little Ewe as a fun way to introduce children to the the idea of God as our loving Shepherd through the eyes of one fictional little lamb. It’s such a fitting image, as He does indeed take tender care of us, His flock. It’s also an image that even a child can grasp, for who doesn’t love to snuggle up with a sweet lamb stuffy?
With all this in mind, I thought it would be fun to share five simple ways to talk about Jesus as our Loving, Good Shepherd with preschoolers. Thank you, Kristin, for this opportunity.
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5 Ways to Teach About The Good Shepherd to Preschoolers
Share your favorite “God as Shepherd” passages with your preschooler.
For me, the passages that best illustrate God as our Good Shepherd include Psalm 23, Isaiah 40:11, Ezekiel 34:11 – 16, Luke 15: 1-7 and John 10:14 – 16.
Even though your preschooler may be too young to have the whole passage read to them, you can still share a phrase or two. Ponder together what it means. Maybe even act it out.
For extra reinforcement, write the verse or phrase on a page and have your child create some refrigerator art – a visual reminder of our Shepherd’s love.
Plan a sheep-themed field trip.
Check your local listings to see if there is a petting zoo with sheep near you, or better yet, maybe your area has an annual sheep festival, like we have near me. Then plan a special outing to see how shepherds take care of their sheep.
Talk about what you see. Ask, “How is God like these shepherds?” “How are we like these sheep?”
Read Little Ewe or another faith-based sheep or shepherd story, even if it isn’t directly about The Good Shepherd.
After reading, think together about how God and Jesus are like the shepherd in the story. Then say a thank you prayer to God for being our
(Note from Kristin: Little Ewe is a very sweet counting story that I highly recommend for toddlers and preschoolers. You can find my review of it on this list of picture books I recommend for a Shepherds’ Dinner. Maybe having a Shepherd’s Dinner with your kids would be a good way to incorporate some of these conversations about the Good Shepherd, too!)
There is also a free activity kit to enhance your time together after reading Little Ewe. It is great for toddlers and preschoolers who are just starting to learn about Jesus as our shepherd.
Play some sheep and shepherd games.
Engaging in play is a wonderful way to reinforce biblical concepts such as God’s shepherd-like love.
Possible games include a version of hide-and-seek where all your little lambs hide and you, their shepherd, find them.
Another simple idea is to have them gather all their stuffies into a “flock” and tend to them in the ways described in the scripture passages you have investigated, the sheep-themed picture books you have read, and the real-life shepherds you have seen.
Look for teachable “God loves you like a shepherd” moments.
This is my favorite tip because it takes the first four tips and applies them to real-life teachable moments when you can connect the wonder of God as our Loving Shepherd to something concrete your child is experiencing in that moment.
For example, as you lovingly clip your little one’s toenails, compare that to how the shepherd lovingly clips his sheep’s hooves. Then marvel together how God loves us and cares for us right down to our toe nails – or hooves!
Or, when you are carrying your little sleepyhead from the car to the house, whisper gently that this reminds you of how God our Shepherd carries us in our times of need.
About the Author: Laura Sassi has a passion for telling stories in prose and rhyme. She is the author of five picture books including the best-selling Goodnight, Ark, which was a 2015 Christian Book Award Finalist (and which I reviewed on this list of Christian baby books); Goodnight, Manger (which I reviewed with other great Christmas picture books about Jesus); Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse, which won First Honor Book for the 2019 Best in Rhyme Award; Love Is Kind, which was a 2020 Anna Dewdney Read Together Award Honor Book (and which can be found on this list of great non-romantic Valentine’s Day picture books); and Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep. Her next book, Bunny Finds Easter, will release in 2022. In addition to books, she’s published over one hundred poems, stories, crafts, and articles in various children’s publications.