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Peer Pressure: Ages 4 to 5

Julie Shaffer and Heather Ward

Help kids stand up to their friends' negative influences and resist the temptations presented through peer pressure.

1. Choices-Before children arrive, set out three snacks. Cover each snack with a towel.

When children arrive, have them choose and stand by a covered snack. Don't reveal the snacks until all children have chosen.

As children eat, ask: "How did you choose your snack? Did you follow someone else's choice? Why or why not? Are you happy with your choice? Why or why not?"

2. Test of Fire-Say: "Let's listen to a story about three friends who did the right thing even when everyone else did the wrong thing."

Paraphrase the story about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Daniel 3. Then ask for volunteers to act out the story. Make sure each child has a part-even if they're just flames in the fire. Tell the story again, with children acting out each part.

Say: "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego obeyed God even when all their friends chose to do wrong. God protected these friends. He takes care of you also and he wants you to choose to do the right thing, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did."

3. Group Tag-Say: "Having good friends can help us make good choices. Let's play a game that shows that it's good to have lots of friends who help us make good choices. In this game, the more people who are together the better chance they have of catching others."

Choose one child to be "It." Have It chase children and try to tag them. When It tags a child, that child holds hands with It, and they both try to tag children. Children who are tagged continue to be added to It. Stop play when all children are tagged. Ask: "Was it easier or harder to catch people when more people were added to your group? Explain. How can having good friends make you stronger to make good choices?"

4. Are You a Puppet?-Give each child a paper lunch sack. Have children each make a face on their sack, using construction paper, yarn and markers. Form pairs. Read the following situations one at a time. After each situation, have kids brainstorm the right thing to do. Then have partners use their puppets to act out a good choice for that situation. The situations: (1) you're playing at a friend's house and she tells you to steal some cookies from the cookie jar; (2) your parents tell you not to watch television, but when they go outside, your sister tells you to turn it on anyway; and (3) your teacher asks you not to run in the hallway, but all your friends run.

Ask: "What could've been other good choices in each of these situations?"

5. Patty-Prayer-Form pairs. Have partners sit knee to knee. Have children slap their laps twice, clap once, pat each other's hands twice and clap once. While kids continue to do this rhythm, pray: "Help us, God, to do what's right."

 

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