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Nursery and Preschool Essentials

Lynda Freeman

Visual Aids

It's essential that we provide opportunities for children to connect visually with the things we're teaching them and with the things of God.

Designers' Choice -- Purchase a supply of Crayola Color Wonder markers and paper to use in your nursery so you can involve your little ones in coloring shapes and pictures to hang around your room. Color Wonder Markers and Finger Paints only mark on Color Wonder paper. Every nursery should use these amazing resources!

Show and Tell -- Your preschool classroom must have a bulletin board to display the projects and pictures kids make. This is a great place to post photos of the kids doing things in your classroom; kids and parents will enjoy these.

Post It -- Hang colorful posters that you change from time to time in your nursery and preschool room. For safety reasons, use tape or Handy-tak instead of thumbtacks to hang the posters. Look for posters that show babies and toddlers, animals, birds, flowers, and pictures of Bible people -- especially Jesus with children. Talk with the babies and toddlers about the people and how God made their eyes, mouths, hands, and other body parts. Talk about the animals and the sounds they make and the colors in the plants that God made. In your preschool classes, consider making your own posters; use a digital camera to take photos of the kids in your class, enlarge them, and post them for a personal touch around your room that kids and parents will love! Also, have preschoolers color posters that connect with the Bible themes and lessons you're teaching and then hang them around the room.

Puppet Magic -- Puppets make wonderful visual aids for nursery- and preschool-age children. Make a point of purchasing the VBS puppets from each publisher every year; this is a wonderful way to increase your puppet supply.

Dress Up -- Preschool-age children love to show they "can do it themselves," so include simple costumes in your visual aids to let children dress up and provide their own visual aids by acting out the Bible lessons themselves.

Designed to Tell -- Take whatever your theme for the next unit is and then decorate your room to correlate. Tape plastic tablecloths to the walls and then add the features for your unit. These are easily removed so you can redecorate for your next unit. Decorations can be simple; when you study Joshua and Jericho, use paper grocery bags to build your own wall of Jericho. For lessons on Jonah, hang paper fish from your ceiling and blue tablecloths on the walls. For Resurrection Sunday, make your room a garden with a paper tomb in the corner. When the classroom matches the theme, it creates enthusiasm and a sense of the unexpected for children while visually reinforcing and building on your lessons. Regardless of the size of our children's ministries and budgets, we all have elements that are essential for our ministries to effectively engage the kids so they'll remember, understand, and live God's Word. cm

Lynda Freeman is the editor for 'Round About the Church in Comstock Park, Michigan.


  • Baby-Safety Site -- Find outlet covers, window cord windups, cabinet door and drawer locks, baby gates, and more at www.babyuniverse.com; 877-615-2229. Secure Grip Door Knob Covers These guards from Safety 1st are cheap and make it difficult for little ones to turn doorknobs. Cost is three for $3.99 at www.babyuniverse.com; 877-615-2229.
  • Diaper Genie -- Available for around $22 at www.playtexbaby.com/diapergenie; 800-222-0453.
  • Glider Rocker -- Available for $88 to $290 at www.babyuniverse.com; 877-615-2229.
  • Child-Size Picnic Table -- Colorful table available for around $50 at www.littletikes.com; 800-321-0183 for a store near you.
  • Parachute -- Available for around $12 at www.ssww.com; 800-243-9232.
  • Fun Classroom Items -- Go to www.playhut.com for creative playspaces for your kids.
  • Music for Little Ones -- Some of the best collections are the Homecoming Kids series (www.Gaitherfamilyresources.com; 800-520-4664).
  • Good Books -- Some of the best books are the VeggieTales board books from ZonderKidz (www.zonderkidz.com; 800-727-3480); You Are Special books by Max Lucado from Crossway Books (www.crossway.com; 800-543-1659); and the Hermie and Friends books from Tommy Nelson (www.tommynelson.com).
  • Perfect Bible -- Check out Pray & Play Bible for Young Children and Pray & Play Bible 2 for $19.99 each at www.group.com; 800-447-1070.
  • Chalk and Magnetic Walls -- Use Krylon spray-on chalkboard paint and Krylon spray-on magnetic paint (available in hardware stores). Crayola Color Wonder Markers and Books Available for $10 at www.crayola.com. Also, check out the Crayola Twistables crayons.
  • Craft Supplies -- Find a wealth of craft supplies at www.ssww.com; 800-243-9232 or www.orientaltrading .com; 800-875-8480.
  • Posters -- Use posters year-round in the Little Blessings series from Gospel Light (www.gospellight.com; 800-446-7735).
  • Puppets -- Fantastic puppets in the Baby Folkmanis line are available for less than $50 at www.folkmanis.com; (510) 658-7677. Find great Puppettos finger puppets, Lolli puppets, Poppeteers, and more at www.manhattantoy.com; 800-541-1345.

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