Hey, why don’t you join us for two weeks of LUV?! We’ll be making a “Love” poster and learning all about the descriptions of love found in 1 Corinthians 13.
First, click over to Totally Tots, where you can read my Bible Bites post for this week and download Carissa’s fantastic “Love Poster” template. Then click back here for teaching ideas as your tot selects each love-word. Be sure to let me know how your “Love” poster is going!
Some big ideas:
is Patient: You might say, “Being patient means waiting for something. When you love someone, you will wait for them. God loves all of us so much that He is waiting patiently for more and more people to meet and believe in Jesus! Now, I know that you love me and that you can be patient. Let’s practice! Run across the room and wait patiently until I can make it over to you for a hug.”
(Let the child wait 10 – 20 seconds before walking over to the child and rewarding him with a big hug and, “You love me! You were patient with me!”)
“Now, I’m going to call So-and-so for 3 minutes. Because you love me, you’ll wait patiently and quietly while I talk on the phone.” (You might want to ask, “do you need to go the bathroom before I make my call? I won’t be able to help you until I’ve hung up the phone.”) An egg timer will help your tot see that time IS passing and that your phone call will, actually, come to an end! In fact, egg timers seem to be so mesmerizing for older tots that you might even get in a SIX minute phone call tomorrow. Be sure to make this call reasonably short, but long enough to build a little “muscle” in your tot. After the phone call, encourage your tot’s good behavior and read a book together. (You get bonus points if the book has ANYthing to do with patience and/or if it is the one-millionth time you have read it and doing so “one more time” builds your own patience muscle!)
Of course, all day long, you’ll be singing, “Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry…” (Learn it here)
Kind: When your tot pulls “kind” out of the envelope, you know you have a fun day ahead of you! All day long, look for ways that the two of you can do kind things for each other and other family members. Help your tot clean up big bro’s toys, take Daddy’s shoes off for him, fluff your pillow, or draw a picture for baby sister. Kindness is one of those qualities that our tots learn best by doing with us!
Does Not Envy: “This means that you are happy with what you have! You don’t want what other people have.” If you don’t have a cake gloriously sitting on a pristine cake plate, today’s the day to make that cake with your tot! If not a cake, you’ll need to dig up some kind of fantastic treat. Explain to your tot that you will give him a tot-sized piece of cake and you will eat a grown-up-sized piece of cake. The tot-sized piece will be small, but will have a piece of candy on it. The grown-up-size will be large withOUT the piece of candy. As you sit down with your tot to enjoy the cake, point out that you both will be happy with the cake that you have and will not envy. Lead by example and say, “Wow! Your piece of cake looks so good with that piece of candy on it. But, I’m so happy with my delicious piece of cake. Isn’t this such a great treat?!”
Does not boast: “When we love God’s way, we don’t talk about how great we are.” Choose an activity that your tot can do quite well and that she loves. Do the activity together. Say, “You are very good at this activity, and I enjoy doing this with you because you don’t boast. If you had said, ‘I am SOOOO good at this’, I wouldn’t have much fun playing this with you very long. Thank you for not boasting!”
Is not proud or rude: “When we love someone, we remember that they have feelings too and we treat them politely.” Watch the “asking to go out and play” Hoops and Yoyo skit together. Talk about how it is polite to remember Mommy’s feelings, to come to her, and listen to her; it is rude to yell at her and to ignore her. (Be prepared to watch each of the Hoops and Yoyo skits over and over again. It’s okay; these are great examples of being polite vs. rude!)
Is not self-seeking: “Loving someone means that we are willing to do things their way sometimes. We don’t always have to have our own way.” Play make-believe together: dolls, trucks, doctor, office, school, whatever. As you play, look for opportunities to directly oppose your tot’s idea and encourage him to go along with your ideas every once in a while. Remind him that “love does not insist on its own way”. Point out a few examples of you choosing to give up your own idea for his, too… because you LOVE him!
Is not easily angered: “When we love someone God’s way, we don’t get angry very easily. We stay calm and love them anyway!” Using crayons and paper, draw a stick-figure story (telling it as you draw).
Here’s how mine might sound: “There once was a little girl named Olivia. You would love her – she played doctor every day and loved to do experiments. But Olivia had one problem: her baby sister always crawled up to her doctor kit and took out Olivia’s favorite toys! One day, Olivia got so irritated that she grabbed the toys from her baby sister and bopped her on the head. Oh, she knew right away that she should not have done this. Her baby sister’s smile turned into a frown and she began to cry so loudly that Olivia’s mother came rushing into the room. “Olivia! What have you done?” Her mother asked her. Olivia looked down at her shoes and told her mother, “I just got so angry that the baby takes my toys. I bopped her on the head.” Olivia’s mother explained, “Oh, sweetheart, I know that these toys are special to you, but your baby sister is even more special to you. You love your sister and you must not become angry with her.” Olivia and her mommy came up with a plan so that Olivia wouldn’t get angry with her baby sister again: whenever the baby sister got into Olivia’s toys, Olivia would gently take them from her hands and give her another toy to play with. Then, Olivia would put her toys on a higher shelf.”
Does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth: “Love is happy when good things happen!” Dig up some streamers, balloons, curly ribbon, old pinatas (we actually have one of these laying around, ya know), and noise makers. When your family is gathered together – perhaps after dinner time – have a “Rejoicing with the Truth” party. As each person exclaims something good and true about the day, toss the balloons up in the air, toot on the noise makers, and rejoice!
Always protects: “God wants us to take care of each other. To protect each other from danger.” Take a tour around your home and identify some of the things that “protect” your tot: locks on the doors, warm clothes, safety plugs, a guard rail, etc. Explain, “We use these things to protect YOU because we love you!” Come up with a small plan for your tot to protect someone or something that is smaller than he is: a baby sister, a cat, a plant, etc.
Always perseveres: “When we love God’s way, we are strong; we go through hard times for each other and we don’t give up!” You might want to remind your tot about a time when you recently practiced this for her. Perhaps you stayed up at night when she was sick or cleaned up the house so that he could have a friend over. Then, choose a household chore that you and your tot can do together. As you work side-by-side, remind your tot that you are persevering together and doing this hard work because you love each other and you love your family. (I’ll probably choose to do the laundry or grocery shopping since these require great perseverance!)
Always Trusts: “When we love someone, we always believe that God will do great things in their life. We pray for them and say good things to them to remind them about how much God loves them.” Gather a handful of family photos. Take ten minutes to sit quietly with your tot and look through the photos, praying specific blessings for each person. For each person, say, “I trust God to care for…”
Always Hopes: “When we love someone, we always want the very best for them and we believe that God will give it to them!” Choose one or two people with obvious needs. If you can, attach a photo of that person to the refrigerator next to a photo of a blessing that you hope for that person. Pray for that person. Together, say, “God, we are hoping that…” (For example, we might pray
Love never ends: “God’s love never ever ends. So, when we love God’s way, our love never ends.” Depending on your child’s leaning, make the longest paper chain, block road, or yarn path possible with your materials. Be impressed by the length! Then point out that God’s love goes further and further and further!