Use this Preschool Sunday School Lesson: Dealing With Grief to help young children deal with grief.
1. Barnyard Bonanza-Bring to class wind up barnyard animals, such as a cow, dog, cat, or pig. Bring enough so children can take turns playing with them as they arrive. After kids have had a chance to wind up the animals and watch them move, collect the animals. Then form a circle.
Say: We’ve had such a good time playing with these toys! When you wind them up, they become alive and move. (Wind up a toy as an example.) What happens to the toy after it has wound down? What happens to real animals after they stop breathing? What happens to people after their bodies wear out and they stop breathing?
2. Bag-o-Feelings-Draw a different face on three paper plates: a happy face, a sad face, and a mad face. Put the paper plates in a paper sack.
Say: When someone we know dies, we may feel lots of different feelings. There are times we feel sad (pull out the sad face) because we really miss that person. Sometimes we feel mad (pull out the mad face) because we wish that person would come back! Other times we feel happy (pull out the happy face) because we have good memories of that person. It’s okay to have all of these feelings!
Ask: Have you ever known an animal or person who died? Tell us about it.
3. Joy From Jesus-Have kids wrap themselves up in a comforter or blanket you’ve brought from home.
Say: Jesus was sad when people died. But Jesus said if we’re sad, he’ll comfort us or help us feel better. In Matthew 5:4, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who are sad, for they shall be comforted” (paraphrase). When we feel sad because someone has died, Jesus comforts us. That means he helps us feel better just like this blanket makes us feel warm and safe.
4. Comforter Collage-Set out a large sheet of butcher paper and various supplies such as yarn, construction paper, cotton balls, and markers.
Ask: What are some of your favorite things or people that help you feel better when you’re sad?
Say: We’re going to make our own “comforter” with this sheet of paper! You can use any of these supplies to draw a picture of your favorite things or people that help you feel better when you’re sad.
5. Snack-Let the children put together the snack in “Food for Thought.” While the bread is baking, have the children each tell about their creation on the comforter. Remind them of Jesus being our comforter when we feel sad because someone we love has died. Close in prayer asking God to be our comforter when we’re sad.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
You’ll need: Heat-and-serve bread sticks, no-stick cooking spray, sugar, cinnamon, a knife, and cookie sheets.
Directions: Say: When we’re sad, we can remember that Jesus is always with us! The cross helps us think about him when we’re sad because someone has died. Give each child one and a half bread sticks. Have children pinch the long and the short pieces together to form a cross. Have the children sprinkle the top of the cross with sugar and cinnamon. Spray a cookie sheet with no-stick spray. Place crosses on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Then enjoy.
For children in grades: PRESCHOOL-KINDERGARTEN
Elaine Friedrich is a director of elementary ministries in Texas.