I hope you are able to use this Bible lesson for preschoolers over John 13:5-20. This lesson teaches kids that they should serve one another — just like Jesus served His disciples when He washed their feet. Please feel free to adapt if however you need to in order to best meet the needs of your group.
1. Have a fun race to start your time together! Line the kids up and then have them run to a particular spot in the room. Have a towel waiting for them. They have to put the towel around their waists (holding it there is fine) and then run back to the starting line. (If you are doing this as a relay race, when they get back, the next person runs.) Do this several times to see how fast the kids can accomplish this task. When you are finished, say: You did a great job running with this towel around you! What are some things you do with a towel? Today we are going to talk about someone who used a towel to serve others . . . and we can serve others, too!
2. Beforehand, cut some feet out of cardstock. Line the feet up at one side of the room. Then give your kids beanbags (or something similar) and have them try to toss their beanbags so that they land on the feet. Each time, pretend the beanbag is something disgusting that you would not want to step on (for example, say: Let’s pretend this beanbag is a mudpuddle! Can you get your mudpuddle to land on the foot? If they are successful, say: Oohh . . . now this foot is really dirty! It has yucky mud all over it!) When you finish the game, say: Wow! We got these feet really, really dirty! Who would want to clean up these dirty feet? That is not a job that sounds fun at all – it certainly is not a job that I would want to have . . . but sometimes we need to do those jobs that no one else wants to do. We need to be SERVANTS! Today, we are going to talk about someone who did just that.
Needed: bowel/bucket of water and a towel
Gather all the kids together for the lesson time. Say: Can I see your feet? Hold your feet up for me! (Give the kids time to hold them up). Let’s see what kind of fun things we can do with our feet! Can you hop on one foot? (Lead the kids in doing this). Can you stomp your feet really hard? (Lead the kids in doing this). How fast can you run in place like this? (Demonstrate running in place. Then let the kids try to run in place).
Have the kids sit back down. Say: We do all sorts of things with our feet! Our feet can get really dirty and stinky, too! Jesus and his disciples had feet that got dirty and stinky – and they really needed to be washed. Let me tell you what happened.
One day, Jesus and his disciples were going to eat a special meal together. Now, before they ate this meal, it was right for someone to wash their feet. Their feet got really dirty because they walked everywhere with sandals on! Normally, the servant in the house would be the one to wash everyone’s feet, but there wasn’t a servant at this house! There was nobody to wash the disciples’ feet!
Take out the bowl of water and the towel. Say: Do you know what happened next? JESUS got up and took a towel and a bowl of water and he started to wash everyone’s feet! Walk around to each kid, kneel down and hold their feet up, one at a time. Talk as you are holding their feet. He washed Andrew’s feet, he washed Matthew’s feet, he washed James and John’s feet! He washed all 12 of the disciples feet. It was a dirty, stinky job . . . not a job that everyone would like to have.
Jesus showed the disciples that NO job was too yucky for them to do . . . and no job is too yucky for us, either! Jesus showed the disciples what it meant to be a SERVANT – what it meant to serve other people. Jesus was a servant, and we should be a servant, too!
What are some ways that we can serve others? Encourage the kids to answer this question. If they have trouble answering, help them come up with some answers.
Help the kids trace their feet on a piece of paper. Inside the outline of their feet, have them draw or write ways that they can serve others. Lead the kids in praying for opportunities to serve others this week. (Optional: draw an outline of a foot on paper beforehand and have the kids draw or write their ways to serve inside of that outline).
1. Make a craft using the verse from Galatians 5:12, “Serve one another in love”. First, have the kids trace their feet (barefoot if possible) on colorful paper. Then, write “Serve one another in” on top of the page (or on a bulletin board) and have the kids write the word “LOVE” using their feet to make the “V”. Let them decorate the rest of the page/bulletin board.
2. Give the kids a chance to do a service activity in your classroom! Give each kid a rag (or baby wipe) and have them look for areas that need to be cleaned up! Encourage them to “dust” toys, books, tables, walls, etc. If you can, take them to other areas of the building and have them clean. Let them know that they can be a servant wherever they are!
3. Eat a fun snack to help the kids remember the lesson about Jesus washing his disciple’s feet! You need teddy grahams and vanilla pudding. Put some vanilla pudding in a bowl for each of the kids. Then give them teddy grahams. The teddy grahams are the disciples! Have the kids dip the teddy grahams feet in the pudding to remind them of how Jesus washed the disciples feet! (Add blue food coloring if you want to make the pudding look more like water).
4. Make “fake mud” with the kids. Mix 1 cup flour and 1 ¼ cup water in a bowl. Add cocoa powder until the mud reaches the desired darkness. You can also crunch up chocolate cookies and mix them into the mud if you’d like. Once you have made your fake mud, let the kids play with it! You might even choose to have them “paint” with it (perhaps a cutout foot). Talk about how mud is messy . . . just like the disciples feet! But Jesus washed them, anyway. He was a servant, and we can be servants too!