Here’s another preschool lesson for you all! This one is based on John 21:1-14 and teaches the kids that Jesus took care of his disciples AND Jesus will take care of them!
A Preschool Lesson Based on John 21:1-14
1. Beforehand, draw pictures of fish on paper and cut them out. Put a picture of one way that Jesus takes care of us on each fish. Hide these fish around your room. Have the kids search for the fish. When all the fish are found, bring everyone together and show each fish. Talk about each picture on the fish and the way that the picture shows that Jesus takes care of us. Say: Aren’t you glad that Jesus takes care of us? Today we are going to talk about one way that Jesus took care of his disciples – and Jesus still takes care of us today!
2. Do a fun “floating” activity with the kids! Beforehand, fill up a container (such as a small aquarium) with water. Gather several different items – some that float and some that do not. Hold each item up one at a time and have the kids guess if that item floats. Place the item in the water and watch what happens. Your last item should be a toy boat (make sure it floats!). Say: Today we are going to talk about something that happened when the disciples were on a boat!
3. Play a fun game with hula hoops! Say: Today we are going to talk about a time when the disciples went out to catch some fish! I want you to pretend to be fish and I am going to try to “catch” you! Swim around the room, and I am going to try to catch you in my net (the hula hoop). Have the kids “swim” around the room, pretending to be fish. “Catch” each of the kids by putting the hula hoop around them. (You can also connect this to today’s lesson by having the kids say one way that Jesus takes care of them when you “catch” them.). Have lots of fun with this activity . . . and make sure each kid gets “caught” at least once! When you finish, say: Today we are going to talk about something that happened when the disciples went out to try to catch some fish!
Needed: Masking tape (to tape a boat shape on the floor), fish snack (goldfish and bread or fish sticks or fish sandwiches and bread), fish cut out (draw an outline of a fish on hard paper or use the one provided)
Optional: Life jackets, fishing net
Beforehand, take some masking tape and outline an area on the floor in the classroom to look like a “boat”. When the kids enter the room, say: Welcome to class today! Today, we have a very special day planned! We are going to ride in a boat! Do you see the boat? (Point to the area on the ground and show the kids how it is a boat). Let’s put on our life jackets and get in the boat!! (If you have real life jackets, put them on the kids and then “help” them into the boat. If you do not have real life jackets, pretend to put them on and then “help” them into the boat.
When every kid is sitting in the “boat”, say: It is a great day for a boat ride, isn’t it? Look at how calm the water is and how blue the sky is! I think we will have a lot of fun in the boat today! Can you help me row the boat? (Have the kids pretend to row the boat. You might even want to sing a song like “Row, Row, Row the boat” while you are rowing)
When you have reached a “good spot”, say: I think we are at a good spot now. I am going to put the anchor down and tell you a story about something that happened when Jesus was on earth. Are you ready to hear this true story?
This story happened after Jesus had died on the cross and risen from the dead. The disciples knew that Jesus was alive. They had seen Jesus and talked to Jesus! One night they decided to go out in the boat and go fishing. Can you show me what it would be like if we went fishing? (Show the kids how to pretend to fish. If you have nets, help the kids toss the nets over the side of the “boat”. Pretend to see fish swimming away . . . say things like, “Oh, catch that fish! There’s a big one! Oh no, that one got away!” Have fun while “fishing” with the kids!
When you are done fishing, say, Do you know how many fish the disciples caught? They didn’t catch any fish!! It was starting to get light outside, and there were no fish for them to take home and eat!
Then they saw someone on the shore. That person called out to them, “Put your net on the right side of the boat and you will catch some fish!” The disciples did what he said and GUESS WHAT! They caught a WHOLE BUNCH of fish! They caught so many fish that their net was super heavy and they couldn’t haul it in. That is when they realized that the person on the shore who had called out to them was Jesus!
When Peter realized it was Jesus, he jumped out of the boat and swam to the shore! Can you show me what it would look like if you jumped out of the boat and swam to the shore? (Demonstrate jumping out of the boat and pretending to swim. Have all the kids follow you. You can say things like, “The shore is this way! Let’s get to Jesus!” and have all the kids “swim” after you to Jesus. Let the kids do this for awhile, and then gather them together again on the “shore”.
Say: Wow! That was quite a swim! I’m glad we are safe on the shore now! Peter was also safe on the shore. He was now with Jesus! And do you know what Jesus was doing? He was making breakfast for the disciples! He had started a fire and he took some of the fish the disciples had caught and cooked the fish and gave them bread! Jesus took care of the disciples, and Jesus will take care of us, too!
Have the kids sit down on the “shore” and give each kid some bread and fish. (It is up to you what to use. You can use goldfish crackers and bread or, for even more fun, cook fish sticks or fish sandwiches and serve with bread or on a bun). As you are eating the snack, talk about the ways that Jesus takes care of us.
When the kids finish their snacks, give them the fish cut out. They should draw or write ways that Jesus takes care of them on this fish cut out. Say a prayer thanking God for the ways He takes care of us.
1. Draw an outline of a boat on a large piece of paper. Have the kids help color the boat. Glue their fish from the last part of the lesson on the side of this boat. Talk about the ways that Jesus takes care of us while completing this activity.
2. Make a fun fish handcraft! Trace each child’s hand on a piece of colored paper – make sure you trace it so that the hand is lengthwise and sort of looks like a fish. Use dark marker to trace the hands! Let the kids decorate the hand with crayons. You might also choose to have them glue a googly eye on the hands. You can have them decorate the rest of the paper to look like water, or you can cut out the “fish”, glue it to a craft stick, and let the kids “swim” their fish around!
3. Make a fun boat craft using paper plates, craft sticks, and construction paper. Beforehand, cut paper plates in half and cut out triangles from construction paper. Give each child a paper plate half, construction paper triangle and craft stick. They should glue the craft stick to the paper plate and the triangle to the top of the craft stick. (This is the sail on the boat). Then let them decorate the paper plate. You can do this by providing torn up paper for them to glue on the plate or give them crayons or any other craft item you may have. Encourage creativity! When they finish, they can “sail” their boats around the room as you remind them of today’s lesson!
4. Make a fun boat snack! A couple ideas are as follows: a) use sliced apples, pretzel sticks and cheese to make a boat (put the pretzel through the cheese and stick it out of the apple to look like a sail) or 2) use bananas, strawberries and pretzels to make a boat (put the strawberries through the pretzel and stick into the banana to make a “boat”). Talk about how Jesus takes care of us while you are eating the snack!