Thursday, November 15, 2012

Be Content - The Magic Fish & There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Be Satisfied and Content...                     

A Preschool Lesson to Help Children Understand Greed

This storytime lesson plan for preschoolers focuses on the nature and consequences of greed. Christmas, birthdays, advertising, and our materialistic culture are all forces that compete to convince children (& adults) of their need to accumulate stuff. This lesson seeks to help kids recognize they can be content with what they have.

 For an object lesson on greed, build a small "table." Use building blocks at either end for legs, and a rectangle of thin cardboard, (one side of a cereal box would work well,) for the top. The constructed "table" should be about 12 x 9 x 8 inches. Place a small pile of small stones beside the "table." Pick up one of the stones and say, "I wish I had a _______." Fill in any item that's popular with the children in your group. Place that stone on the cardboard tabletop. Pick up another stone and say, "I want a _______." Again, fill in the blank with anything, from a bicycle to a Playstation to a pet dinosaur. Place this stone beside the first one on the cardboard. Continue in this fashion until there are so many stones on the cardboard that it collapses. Explain to the children that, if we're not careful, our "wants" can overwhelm us.

 The Magic Fish, by Freya Littledale. This fable about a fisherman's wife who demanded just a little too much is an excellent illustration of the consequences of greed.

 "I'll Be Content," from the "Kids Collection Sing Along: Happy Songs. 17 Sing-Along Songs of Joy" album by Brentwood Music.

Read the lyrics to the children first in order to help them understand the concept of contentment. Then play the music and encourage the children to march to the tempo.

"I'll be content when things don't go my way.
I'll be content and I will shout hooray!
Even when my heart is sad, I'll rejoice and I'll be glad,
For I know Jesus meant for me to live each minute joyfully.
Oh, I know He will help me be content.
I will trust Him for I know He's planned
Things I don't quite understand.
I was meant to be content.
I will trust Him, I will trust Him.
I'll be content (I'll be content) when things don't go my way.
I'll be content (I'll be content) and I will shout hooray!
Even when my heart is sad, I'll rejoice and I'll be glad,
For I know Jesus meant for me to live each minute joyfully.
Oh, I know He will help me be content."

(Words and music by Clay Clarkson and Janet McMahan-Wilson, copyright 1994 New Spring Publishing, a div. of Brentwood Music Publishing, Inc.)

Bible Verse Bracelets:
(Print out, on a brightly-colored sheet of paper, today's verse repeated down the page. Cut between each verse so that you have 10-15 strips, each with the verse printed on it. Ask the children to form a line, and using tape to stick the ends together, wrap a "Bible Verse Bracelet" round each little wrist. Some children do not want to wear it; in that case, hand it to them and tell them to use the verse as a bookmark. The childrenlove these, and come to expect them at each session! The verses also find their way home to parents and siblings, and help to spread the news about that day's storytime.)
Philippians 4:11 "I am not telling you this because I need anything. I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens." (New Century Version)

 "If You're Happy and You Know It" (Traditional)

 There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, by Simms Taback. Sing the song together after reading the book. Discuss how the Old Lady's greediness got her in trouble.

Art Activity:
 Make fingerprint flies. Give each child a small sheet of heavy white paper. Help the children moisten one thumb and one small fingertip in black ink. (This will be messy, be prepared!) Instruct each child to press his or her thumb down to make a fat body for the fly, and then press the inked smaller finger down to make the fly's head. Repeat for more flies. Give each child oval shapes, cut from colored cellophane, to paste on as wings. Draw wiggly lines for legs, and use small "googly-eyes" on the fly's head. Talk with the children about how flies behave as you make the art. Do flies act greedy? How do greedy flies make the children feel? How do they think greedy humans make God feel? Play "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me" in the background while working.