1. What Is a Friend?-Give the children markers and paper. Have them each draw a picture of their best friend. Have children each show their picture to one another and tell why this person is their best friend.
2. Bible Friends-Form groups of six. Lay a beach towel on the floor. Have groups take turns doing the following: Have one of the children in the group lie on the towel. Have the other group members try to pick up that child. Don’t allow children to lift the child more than 6 inches off the floor. Allow each group to take its turn.
Then ask: Was it hard to lift the children off the floor? Why or why not? What would you think if I asked you to carry this person downtown to the doctor?
Say: In the Bible, there are some friends who carried their sick friend to Jesus. Let’s read about it.
Read aloud Luke 5:17-26. Then ask: How did this man’s friends show they loved him? How did Jesus show this man that he loved him?
Say: Jesus was a friend to this man because he helped him get well. How has Jesus been a friend to you? How has he helped you?
3. Caring Hearts-Give children red construction paper, medium-size heart patterns, markers and scissors. Have children each trace and cut out three to five hearts and write their name on each heart.
Spread a beach towel on the floor, and have the children place their hearts on the towel. Have the children hold the edges of the towel. Then have the children move the towel up and down to make the hearts bounce. Encourage children not to let any of the hearts fall to the ground.
Afterward, say: We are careful with these hearts; we don’t want any of them to fall. In the same way, Jesus is careful with our hearts. He loves us, and he takes care of us.
4. Ring of Hearts-Staple a 2-inch-wide strip of red construction paper around each child’s head. Have kids find their hearts from activity 3. Have them write on their hearts sayings such as “Jesus loves me” or “Jesus is my friend.” Help the children staple their hearts to their paper rings to make crowns. Allow the children to wear their crowns.
5. Loving Hearts-Serve heart-shape sugar cookies. Provide red icing and plastic knives for the children to decorate their cookies. As children eat their cookies, review how Jesus is their true friend who really cares for them.
Lead children in singing “Jesus Loves Me” and close in prayer.
Janel Kauffman is a teacher in a Christian school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.