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I Am Special!

Terry Vermillion

PRESCHOOL-KINDERGARTEN

1. Welcome-As children enter the room, tape an "I am special" construction paper ribbon to each of them. [point] Say: You are special to God!

2. Jesus Loves You-Play the familiar game of Duck, Duck, Goose, but instead of saying "duck, duck, goose," have the child who is "It" say, "Jesus loves, loves, loves YOU!"

In this game, children sit in a circle. The child who is It walks around the circle and pats each child's head while saying only one word in the phrase. When the child says "you," the child whose head is tapped jumps up and chases It back to the tagged child's space. If the tagged child catches It, the child who's It must sit in the middle of the circle until someone replaces him or her. The new child is It and continues the game. Remind children to make sure everyone gets a turn because Jesus loves everyone in the circle.

Afterward, read aloud 1 John 4:9-10 in an easy-to-understand translation.

3. Celebration Circle-Play this game to celebrate each child's unique abilities. Have children join hands and walk in a circle as they sing this song to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell": God made you special, God made me special, amazing and wonderful, just look what you can do!

Each time the song is sung, have a different child tell one of his or her talents and then move to the center of the circle for the remainder of the game. Continue singing until you're the only one left in the circle.

4. Amazing Spinners-For each child, cut a three-inch circle from posterboard. Punch a hole in each side of the circles. Help children thread a rubber band through each hole. Pull each rubber band through itself and tighten the rubber band until firmly fastened to the circle.

Form pairs. Help children each write "I'm" near the top of their circles. Have partners exchange circles and draw their partner's picture on the lower half of his or her circle on the "I'm" side. Turn circles over with "I'm" at the bottom. Help children each write "special" on the top half of their circle, just above the rubber band holes.

Have partners return their circles to each other. Show children how to put their forefinger and middle finger of each hand through the rubber bands and wind the circles tight, using the thumb and middle finger of each hand. When children let go, circles will spin. "I'm special" will appear.

5. Snack-See the "Food for Thought" box.

GRADES 1-3

1. Special Chairs-Before children arrive, tape "special" signs to each chair. Greet children at the door and [point] say: You are special! And we have a special place for you to sit. Have children sit in the special chairs.

2. In God's Image-Form pairs. Have partners decide who'll be the "model" and who'll be the "mirror." Standing face to face, have the models move about and have the mirrors imitate their actions. After several minutes, switch positions so the model is now the mirror.

[point] Ask: How was this activity similar to or different from looking in a real mirror? What do you see when you look into a real mirror? How do you feel about what you see when you look into a real mirror? Explain.

Read aloud Genesis 1:27 and Psalm 139:13-16.

[point] Ask: What does it mean to be created in the image of God? How does being created in the image of God make each of us special? What is one special quality God created in you that can't be seen in a mirror? (Have each child answer.)

3. Friendly Frames-Take a picture of each child with an instant-print camera. Have the kids each glue their picture onto a slightly larger piece of posterboard. Have kids decorate the edges of the posterboard with items such as beads, yarn or glitter. Lay the pictures on the table and give each child a fine-tip marker. In the space between the edges and the picture, have kids write positive descriptive words on one another's picture, such as "friendly" or "nice smile." Have children each write one good thing about themselves on their picture frame.

4. Prayer of Esteem-Have kids hold hands in a circle. Walk around the outside of the circle and place your hand over each child one at a time. When you place your hand over a child's head, have children pray and thank God for that person. Encourage children to be specific in their prayers, such as "God, thank you for Tim's sense of humor" or "Thank you for Alyssa's brains." As the prayers wind down, move to a new child.

5. Snack-See the "Food for Thought" box.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

You'll need: Graham crackers, icing, knives, M&M's candies, licorice laces and red hot candies.

Directions: Form pairs. Have partners each create their partner's portrait, using the food supplies. Kids can ice their graham crackers and then use the candies to create faces. Encourage kids to be positive and kind. Then have partners trade portraits and chow down.

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