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Ages and Stages: Grandparent's Day

Mike Gillespie

Use these wonderful Bible activities to build relationships and engage seniors with children in your children's ministry.

Preschool-Kindergarten

1. Working Together
In large letters, print the words of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 on a sheet of poster board. Laminate it if possible. Cut the poster board into large, easily put together puzzle pieces. Mix up the pieces on the floor.

Have children and senior adults work together on the puzzle. When the puzzle is complete, have an adult read aloud the passage. Say: Puzzles are fun to put together. This one has a special Scripture passage that Moses gave to the Hebrew people. It tells us to love God all the time. Some of us are little now; some of us are much older and have loved God for a longer time. God likes us to work together to learn about him. Putting together the puzzle was a fun way to work together.

2. Walk and Talk
Form pairs of children and adults. Tell the adults to take their child partners on a 5- to 10-minute tour of the church. While on the tour, have the adults follow these instructions:

Walk your preschool friend around the church. Talk about your favorite memories of the church and God. Ask the child to share favorite things to do at church. Tell your new friend the first time you remember learning about God. Remind the child that Moses told the people in Deuteronomy 6:7 that adults are supposed to talk with their children about God. Discuss other things about God that the child wants to talk about.

When the pairs return, sit in a circle. Ask: What did you like most about your time together? What did you talk about on your trip? Why is it important for kids and adults to spend time together? How was what you talked about like Moses' instructions to adults to tell their children about God?

3. Tied to God
Give each pair a crayon, two 8-inch ribbons, and two 3X5 cards. Ask each person to fold their card, draw a heart on the inside, and print the words "I LOVE GOD." Adults can help children. Use a hole punch to make a hole in each card. Then have partners each tie their card to their wrist.

Gather the groups around the puzzle from the opening activity. Read the verses again. Ask people to each hold up their wrist with the card on it. Say: Moses told the people to tie God's words to their hands. We just did that. Let's remember that God wants us to work together and learn from each other. Close in prayer, thanking God for the new friends made today.

4. Snack-See "Food for Thought."

Grades 1-3

1. All Mixed Up
Write the verses of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 on a sheet of paper. Photocopy and enlarge it as much as possible. Make one enlargement for every four people. Cut apart four- to six-word sections of each passage and put the word strips in an envelope for each group.

Form pairs of children and older adults. Form groups with two pairs. Give each pair a Bible and an envelope with word strips. Tell the groups their job is to see which team can perfectly put back together Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

After all groups are finished, ask: What was fun about working with your partners? How did you figure out the order of the words? What did you learn about each other as you worked together? What do you think is the most important advice in this passage?

Say: Moses told the Hebrew people to do everything they could to love God. He wanted to make sure they never forgot about God's love. One way we learn about God's love is from each other. That's why we're making new friends today with people of different ages. This is one way we can learn about and share God's love.

2. Lifted Higher
Gather everyone around a blanket with pairs standing together. Have an adult lie on the blanket. Have a child grab a corner and try to pick up the adult. Add a new child to each corner each time. Finally, have all the kids grab the blanket and gently lift the person and slowly put him or her down. Then do the same thing with adults lifting the child on the blanket. Sit in a circle and read aloud Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Ask: How did you feel during this experience? Who was easier to pick up-a child or an adult?

Say: It's easier for an adult to carry or lift a child. God wants adults to "carry" children closer to him and his Word.

3. Loving God
Give each pair two long strips of paper, tape, and markers. Tell partners to each write the words "I will love God with all my heart" on their paper strip. Then have partners help each other put on their paper strips as headbands. Encourage partners to talk with one another about what they think it means to love God with all their heart.

4. Here's My Heart
Write the words "GOD'S HEART" on a large red construction paper heart. Form a circle and give everyone a pencil. Pass around the heart. Have each person tear off a piece of God's heart and write his or her name on it. Tell pairs to exchange signed heart pieces.

Say: You made a new friend today. You talked about God's love. We had a great time. God wants us to take care of that new piece of heart and our new friend. Take your heart piece home and put it somewhere as a reminder of God and your new friend. Close in prayer, thanking God for new friends.

5. Snack-See "Food for Thought."

Grades 4-6

1. Say What?
Form pairs of children and adults. Tell senior adults they'll have to mime a verse from Scripture for their child partners. Show adults Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Tell adults they can condense the passage to embody the main thought. After a few minutes, have adults mime their verse for their partners until at least one partner shouts it.

Afterward, read aloud Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Ask: What was fun about working with your partner? What did you learn about each other as you worked together? What do you think is the most important advice in this passage?

Say: Moses told the Hebrew people to do everything they could to love God. He wanted to make sure they never forgot about God's love. One way we learn about God's love is from each other. That's why we're making new friends today with people of different ages. It's one way we can learn about and share God's love.

2. What Do You See?
Have pairs sit facing one another. Tell them to look at one another very carefully. Now have them sit back to back. Tell each person to change three things about themselves that they don't think their partner will notice. Then have pairs face one another and figure out what got changed.

Take a survey to see if the kids did a better job noticing what got changed or the older adults did. Ask: How easy or difficult was it to discover changes? Why don't we always notice things about other people? How can being more observant help us learn about God? Say: God's Word never changes. Even from a long time ago, God's Word tells adults to tell children about God's love. Older adults have a responsibility to teach you children. And children, you have a responsibility to listen and learn.

3. Shout It
Read aloud Deuteronomy 6:8-9. Give each pair two construction paper pennants and crayons or markers. Have pairs make a pennant to hang on their door. It should say something they believe about God's love. Once the pennants are finished, have partners trade pennants. Have each person complete this statement: "One way I will love God this week is by..." Close in prayer, thanking God for new friends made today.

4. Snack-See "Food for Thought."

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Food For Thought

Form groups of four, with at least one senior adult in each group. Have that adult bring his or her favorite recipe and ingredients to prepare with the children. As they prepare the dish, have the adult share memories related to this dish. Then have children talk about memories related to their favorite dishes. Have a potluck afterward for everyone to enjoy.


Mike Gillespie is a Christian education director in Kansas. Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and prices are subject to change.

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