- Puppets: a class set of felt lamb finger puppets would be perfect today! Give the children time to pretend to be sheep. Talk about how sheep like to be together in a flock. Give one child a shepherd puppet and ask them how the shepherd takes care of the sheep?
- Felt Board: set out pictures of sheep and a shepherd. See above.
- Toy animals: set out sheep and a few people. See above.
- Dress up: simple sheep masks and a shepherd's hook. See above.
2) Songs: Start the Story Hour with the learning our names song. Go around the circle or table and introduce each child.
3) Prayer... praise God for being our good Shepherd
4) Theme: Remind the children of the theme of the unit: Our joy in the Lord. “Sing of psalm of joy!” Tell them that they are going to learn about a psalm today that teaches us about our joy in the Lord.
5) Reading the Psalm: In order to simplify things for the children, first summarize the main point(s) of the psalm. In Psalm 23, the psalmist is singing about how the Lord guides him through his life just like a shepherd guides his sheep. A shepherd loves his sheep, leads them to safety, makes sure they have enough to eat and drink and are protected from danger. The Lord does all those things for us too! He is our loving shepherd. Then, read the psalm from the Bible. Then, repeat the main point(s) again.
6) Sing the Psalm: Sing today’s psalm with the children. You may sing all or only one stanza depending on what is appropriate for your psalm. If possible, include some hand motions to highlight key words. In this psalm, try:
- love…use your finger to draw a heart on your chest
lie down… put your hands together at one side on your head and lean your head like you are sleeping
streams... use one or both hands to trace a winding path like a stream
paths of righteousness… use your hand to draw a straight line from the center of your chest outwards and upwards
7) Text… you may use a verse from the psalm in the Bible or choose a key line or two from the stanza that you chose to sing with the children. We suggest: “ The Lord is my shepherd” Psalm 23:1
- Sheep… use a picture of a sheep and have the children color the head and legs and glue cotton balls on the body for wool
- Handprint Sheep… trace each child’s hand with the fingers spread. Flip the page upside down. Now you have the outline for the sheep. Color the head and legs and glue cotton balls on the body for wool. Use can use a googly eye and a cut out shape for an ear too if you like.
- Paper Bag Lamb puppet...Use a white paper lunch bag if you can. Draw a face on the bottom of the paper bag. The mouth will be on the bottom edge where the bag is folded. You can also use felt and cut out eyes, nose, etc. Cut small, floppy ear shapes out of construction paper and glue them to the side of the bottom edge of the paper bag.
Once your face is drawn. You can create your lamb by gluing cotton balls all over your bag! This will give you a wooly, lamb puppet!
* Any other favorite sheep craft works well for this lesson.
9) Closing Prayer... say the Lord's prayer together with the children
10) Going Home: Round up all the children around the table or sit in a circle again. Sing today’s Psalm together and then sing the closing. Then, check to see if all the children have collected their crafts and coloring sheets before they go home. Say goodbye and tell them that you enjoyed learning about God together and were happy to have them today! You were, weren’t you?