Monday, November 23, 2015


“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  Psalm 106:1 
As the name indicates, Thanksgiving is a time for us all to pause and give God thanks for the blessings we have received in the past year. 
Each one of us on the Children of Hope staff is blessed by the precious little ones you bring to this school. We are thankful for them, and for all of you — parents and caregivers — for giving us the opportunity to teach them the basics they’ll need for Kindergarten, but more importantly, about Jesus. 
This issue of “Hope for Families” is simply an assortment of ideas for you to use or be inspired by to praise to Lord for His goodness, and to help teach our children to do the same. 
Thanksgiving Thank You Note 
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show others how much they’re appreciated. With a little help, preschoolers will enjoy writing thank you notes to special family members and friends this holiday season. The Thanksgiving thank you note activity is a wonderful exercise to help preschoolers take stock of the blessings in their life and is certain to become a cherished holiday tradition for both the thank you note writer and the recipient. 
Thanksgiving Tablecloth Family Activity 
Give thanks as a family this holiday season by creating a uniquely personal table- cloth for your Thanksgiving table. For this family activity, invite family members young and old to preserve festive drawings and sentiments of thanks with crayons on a paper tablecloth, prior to sitting down to your Thanksgiving meal. This activity could also be done using paper placemats instead of a paper tablecloth. 

Activity: Make a Thankfulness Turkey 
Several sheets of construction paper in fall colors (brown, orange, red, & yellow)
Black marker
Scissors Glue 
Pinking shears or decorative scissors (optional) Directions: 

Trace your child’s foot on a brown piece of paper and cut each one out. This part will be the head and body of your turkey — the heel is the head and the toes are the belly. 
Draw on the eyes with the marker. Write on the body “(child’s name) is thankful for...” 
Using the pinking shears, decorative scissors, or regular scissors, cut out 5-6 “feathers” from the additional construction paper. It seems to be easiest make them “football” shaped and each one should be about the same length as the body. 
Cut out the red “waddle” and an orange triangle for the beak from the scrap paper, and glue them on the face. 
Help your child write one thing on each feather that he is thankful for. Glue one end of each feather to the back side of the body so you can see the writing from the front. 
This makes a great decoration for Thanksgiving, as well as allows us to think about all the things with which God has blessed us. 

Jonah and the big fish

Jonah 1:1-3:10

Jonah was a prophet of God.  One day, God told Jonah, “Go to the big city of Nineveh.  Tell them to stop doing bad things.” But Jonah ran away.  He did not want to go to Nineveh.  Instead he got on a boat to sail across the sea.God sent a big storm to stop Jonah.  The sailors on the boat were afraid.  They thought the boat was going to sink!Jonah told the sailors, “My God has sent this storm.  If you throw me into the water, the sea will become calm again.”So the sailors threw Jonah into the raging sea.Instantly, the sea became calm.Just then, Jonah saw a big fish coming!  Gulp!  The fish swallowed Jonah. For three days and nights, Jonah was inside the fish.  He prayed to God, “Please forgive me.”Then God told the fish to spit Jonah onto dry land.  God told Jonah a second time, “Go and tell the people of Nineveh to stop doing bad things.”This time, Jonah obeyed God.  The people of Nineveh were sorry for doing bad things, so God forgave them.

Discussion Questions
What did God ask Jonah to do? Tell the people of Nineveh to stop doing bad things.Did Jonah obey God? NoWhat did Jonah do? He got on a boat to sail across the sea.God was not happy. What did He do?  He sent a big storm to stop JonahThe sailors thought they would sink.  What did Jonah tell them to do?  Throw him in the sea.What happened next?  A big fish swallowed himHow long was Jonah inside the fish?  3 days and nights 
Jonah asked God to forgive him.  Did God forgive him? Yes, and Jonah went to Nineveh like God asked him.

Dear God,  thank you for this story and teaching us that we should always obey you even when it is hard.  Amen
Memory Verses
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love is forever.”  1 Chronicles 16:34

Song:    Jonah Goes Out 
Sing to the tune of "I'm a little Teapot"One day God told Jonah, to go out
he began to pout, 
and took another route.
When he got on a ship they, threw him out,
he hit the water,
and swam about.
Along came a big fish, maybe a trout,
he swallowed him whole,
there is no doubt.
Then after three days, in that trout,
It took a big burp, 
and spit him out.
Craft Activity:
How to make a paper plate whale
Paint the whole paper plate blue, and leave it to dry.
Once dry, cut a piece from the bottom of the paper plate – about one quarter of the plate as you can see in the pictures here
Draw out and cut the shapes for the water coming out of the whale, and the piece of paper for the tale. Use your blue paper for this and stick them together as shown
Add the googley eye
Add a smile or extra details using your black marker pen

Daniel and the Lions

Daniel 6

Darius became the new king of Babylon.  Daniel was his chief helper.  The king’s other helpers did not like Daniel.
They said to the king, “You are such a wonderful king.  You should make a new law that for the next 30 days, everyone must pray only to you.  If they disobey, they will be thrown into the lions’ den.”
King Darius made the new law, but Daniel kept praying to God because Daniel loved God.  The king’s helpers caught him praying.
They told King Darius, “Now you must throw Daniel into the lions’ den.”
The king knew he had been tricked, but he had to obey his new law.
Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den.  He was not afraid.  He knew God would take care of him.  King Darius told Daniel, “I hope your God will save you.”
That night, the king could not sleep.  He was too worried about Daniel.

At sunrise, the king hurried to the lions’ den.  “Has your God saved you from the lions?” he called.  “Yes!” answered Daniel.  “My God sent his angel to protect me.”  King Darius ordered everyone to honor and respect God.

Discussion Questions

King Darius had a chief helper.  What was his name? Daniel
Were all of King Darius’ helpers good? No
The mean helpers tricked Darius into making a new law. What was the law? Everyone would pray only to King Darius for 30 days
Daniel continued only to pray to God.  What happened to him?  They threw him in the lions’ den
Was Daniel afraid?  No, he knew that God would keep him safe.
Did God protect Daniel?  Yes, He sent an angel to protect him
After God protected Daniel what did King Darius order everyone to do? To honor and respect God.


Dear God,   Thank you for hearing me when I pray. Please help me to remember to come to you when I am afraid and even when I’m not.  Amen

Memory Verse
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love is forever.”  1 Chronicles 16:34


Freeze Lion!!

Show your child how to be a lion by crawling on the floor, using his hands as claws and making a loud roar.  Play a “freeze” game with your child.  Have him move around the room pretending to roar at Daniel.  You play the angel and signal him to freeze.  He must stop and stay still until he can move again.  Talk with your child about how God kept the mouth of the lion closed to keep Daniel safe.

Protection Daniel

Play this game with your child where he pretends to be the angel in the lion’s den that closes the lions’ mouths.  Draw a simple face on a ping pong ball or a golf ball to represent Daniel.  Use a Dixie cup to represent the lions’ den.  Go outside on the patio or driveway and have your child place the cup on the ground upside down and place “Daniel” on top of the cup.  Use a large ball to be the lion and roll the ball towards “Daniel”.  Have your child protect Daniel by making sure the ball does not hit his “Daniel”.

Daniel and friends, the fiery furnace

Daniel 3

King Nebuchadnezzar’s army had defeated the Israelites.  Now he was their ruler.  King Nebuchadnezzar built a golden statue.  Then he made a bad law.  It said, “When the music plays, everyone must bow down and worship the statue.  Those who disobey will be thrown into the fiery furnace.”
The music began to play.  The people fell down and worshipped the statue.  But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused.  “We only worship the true God,” they said.  The king was mad!
The king said, “Make the furnace extra hot!”  He had he three men thrown inside.  Yet, when the king looked into the furnace, there were four men walking around!  One of them looked like an angel from God.

The king shouted to the men, “Come out!  Your God has saved you!”  The fire did not hurt them.  They did not even smell like smoke!  So the king made them rulers in his kingdom.

Discussion Questions

Who was Esther’s cousin?  Mordecai
Who was the king’s chief helper? Haman  
What was Haman’s plan? To kill all the Jews
What did Esther do?  She obeyed God and asked the king to save her people
What happened to Haman?  He was arrested


Dear God, Thank you for the story of Esther and how she saved her people.  Help us to remember that you do mighty miracles in heaven and on earth. Amen

Memory Verses

“Do good and share with others.”  Hebrews 13:16 

Game:  Making a Pretend Campfire

yellow and red tissue paper
brown construction paper
white paper plate

Guide Your Child To:
Tear or cut the yellow and red tissue paper
Cut sticks for the fire
Glue flames (tissue pieces) around the sticks

Esther, the brave Queen

Esther 1-10

Esther was Jewish.  That means she was an Israelite.  She lived in the land of Persia with her older cousin Mordecai.
The king of Persia needed a new queen.  He announced, “Bring me the most beautiful women from all over my kingdom.”  Esther was one of the women sent to the palace.  When the king met Esther, he chose her to be his queen.
Haman was the king’s chief helper.  He hated the Jewish people.  They were God’s people.  Haman wanted everyone to bow down to him.  Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman.  Mordecai would only bow down to God.  
Haman went to the king.  He said, “The Jews are bad people.  You should sign a law that will help me get rid of them.” So the king signed the new law.  God’s people were in great danger!
M0rdecai heard about the new law.  He ran to tell Esther, “You must save yourself and the rest of God’s people.  Perhaps God has made you the queen for a reason.”
So Esther came up with a plan.  It would be very risky for her.  
Esther invited the king and Haman to a special dinner.  Then she asked the king, “Why does Haman want to get rid of me?”  The king was surprised.  She said, “I am Jewish. Haman tricked you into signing a new law that would get rid of all the Jews.”

The king told his guards, “Arrest Haman!”  Then he made Mordecai his new chief helper.  He told Queen Esther, “I will make a new law that will keep you and our people safe.” God used Esther to save his people!

Discussion Questions

Who was Esther’s cousin?  Mordecai
Who was the king’s chief helper? Haman  
What was Haman’s plan? To kill all the Jews
What did Esther do?  She obeyed God and asked the king to save her people
What happened to Haman?  He was arrested


Dear God, Thank you for the story of Esther and how she saved her people.  Help us to remember that you do mighty miracles in heaven and on earth. Amen

Memory Verses

“Do good and share with others.”  Hebrews 13:16 
Song:  Haman was a Mean, Evil Man
(to the tune Zacchaeus)

Old Haman was a mean, evil man,
A mean, evil man was he,
He was meaner than an angry old flea,
As mean as he could be.

When Mordecai could not bow to him,
He had to make his plea,
He went to the king and made him agree
To sign an evil decree.

But Queen Esther was a very good queen,
A very good queen was she,
Without delay she began to pray
And she sent to God her plea.

She went to the King and bowed really low,
Even though she wanted to flee.
She got the king to change his decree,
The Jewish people were free!

Game:  Good King May I

Have a throne at one end of the room, choose a queen (or king) to wear a crown.  (It may be wise to start with an adult in this position)

The Good King or Good Queen should wear the crown and hold a scepter.

Instruct the family members to take turns calling, “Good King (or queen), may I come closer?

The Good King (or queen) must answer, “Yes, good servant, you may.”  Then have the king (or queen) tell how many and what kind of steps the player may take, such as three baby steps, two large steps, or one hop.

The first person to reach the throne becomes the new king or queen.

As your family plays, review the story of Esther and remind them that Esther had to ask the king for something important.

King David

2 Samuel 1:1-2:4; Kings 2:1-3

Saul chased David, but he never caught him.  God watched over David.  Then one day, David heard some sad news.  King Saul and Prince Jonathan had died in a battle.
The people remembered what God had told them, and they went to find David.  “David, you are now our king!” they exclaimed.
King David ruled over Israel for 40 years.  He wrote many songs about God, called psalms.  He even had plans to build a temple for God.  
David was a man who was dear to God’s heart.

When King David was old, he told his son Solomon, “You will be the next king of Israel.  Be strong and obey God with all your heart.  Then he will bless you.”

Discussion Questions

Did God watch over David? Yes
David heard some sad new.  What was so sad?  King Saul and Prince Jonathan had died in a battle.
Who became King next? David  
How long was David king? 40 years
King David wrote many songs about God.  What are those called?  Psalms
When King David was old what did he tell his son?  He told Solomon that he would be the next king of Israel


Dear God, We know that you care about how we love you and others, not what things we have or how we look.   Please help us to have hearts that love you and want to serve you. Amen

Memory Verses

“Do good and share with others.”  Hebrews 13:16 

Song:  Praise Him, Trust Him

Sing to the tune of “Praise Him.” Encourage the kids to join you in repeating the verses.

Praise him, trust him. (Raise right arm, then left arm.) 
Let’s all sing together! (Cup hands to mouth.)
We can count
On our God! (Raise both hands.)
Praise him, trust him. (Raise right arm, then left arm.) 
We can count
On our God! (Raise both hands.)


What matters most to God is what is in our heart, not what we look like. Cut a large heart out of construction paper for your child. On one side of the heart have your child draw pictures of things that describe a heart that is not pleasing God. On the other side of the heart, have him draw pictures of things that describe a heart that pleases God.

Monday, September 28, 2015

David and Goliath

1 Samuel 17:1-51

The Philistines were enemies of God.  Their army came to fight King Saul’s army.  A giant soldier named Goliath yelled, “Bring out your best soldier to fight me!”
“If your strongest soldier defeats me, we will be your slaves!”  he boomed.  “If I defeat him, you will be our slaves!”  King Saul’s soldiers were afraid.  They did not want to fight the giant.
Meanwhile, young David was taking food to his brothers.  They were soldiers in King Saul’s army.  When David reached the camp, he saw Goliath.
David heard the giant’s challenge. “I am not afraid to fight the giant,” said David.  King Saul called for David and told him, “You cannot fight the giant.  You are too young.” David replied, “God will be with me.”
King Saul gave his armor to David, but it was big and heavy.  David wasn’t used to wearing armor.
David went to a nearby stream and picked up five stones.  He stood before Goliath.  The giant laughed at him, but David didn’t care.  He said, “I come before you in the name of the Lord who rules over all.”
David put a stone in his sling and ran toward the giant.  Then he let the stone fly.
It hit Goliath’s forehead, and he fell to the ground!  The Philistines saw that their hero was dead.  They ran away.

Discussion Questions

There was a very big soldier.  What was his name? Goliath
Who was brave enough to fight Goliath?  David
Did the rest of the army think David could fight Goliath? No, they thought he was too young  
How many stones did David get from the stream? Five
How many did he use to knock Goliath down?  Only one!
Why was David so brave to fight Goliath?  He knew God would be with him and protect him.


Dear God, 
Thank you for the story of David and Goliath. We know now that whether we are small or young we can make a BIG difference.  Amen

Memory Verses

“Do good and share with others.”  Hebrews 13:16

Song:  Only a Boy Named David

Only a boy named David
Only a little sling
Only a boy named David
But he could pray and sing
Only a boy named David
Only a rippling brook
Only a boy named David
But five little stones he took.

And one little stone went in the sling
And the sling went round and round
And one little stone went in the sling
And the sling went round and round
And round and round
And round and round
And round and round and round
And one little prayer went up to God

Activity:  Cooking

Streams and Stones
You will need:  celery stalks, raisins, cream cheese or yogurt, a plastic knife
Have the children help to rinse the celery.  
They then use a plastic knife to spread the cheese or yogurt in a celery stalk.
They place 5 raisins (5 smooth stones) on their snack.
VARIATION:  Color the cheese or yogurt blue by adding a small amount of blue food gel coloring and mixing.

Sling Shots
For this snack, you will need:  cookie dough (the refrigerated cookie dough will work), red licorice (the ones you can peel), chocolate chips
Give each child a slice of cookie dough.  Have them roll it into a snake.
Show them how to shape their snake into a letter "Y" (Sling shot shape).
Bake the cookies.  When done, the children attach a piece of red licorice from one top of the "Y" to the other.  Give them a handful of chocolate chip stones!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

David, a good heart

1 Samuel 15:1-16:13

Saul was a good king for about 20 years.  Then he began to disobey God.  God was sorry he made Saul the king.  Samuel was sad about it, too.
God sent Samuel to a man named Jesse to find a new king.  When Samuel met Jesse, he said, “I would like to meet your sons.”
When Samuel saw them, he thought, These are strong-looking men.  God said, “I do not look at the outside of a person.  I look at the inside of a person.  I look at the heart.”
Samuel asked Jesse, “Do you have another son?”  Jesse said, “Yes.  His name is David.  He is out in the field with the sheep.”  Samuel asked to see him.
As soon as David arrived, God told Samuel, “He is the one I want to be the next king.”  Samuel anointed David.  He poured oil on David’s head, and David was filled with God’s power.

Discussion Questions

God was disappointed with Saul.  Why? Saul began disobeying God 
God asked Samuel to find a man.  What was his name?  Jesse
True or False.  Was God searching for a new king. True
Does God care about how we look on the outside or how we are we are on the inside?  He looks inside at our heart
Who did God choose as the new king?  David


Dear God, 
Thank you for the story of David’s good heart.  Please help us to remember to see the good in others.  Amen

Memory Verses

“Do good and share with others.”  Hebrews 13:16 
Song:  I am Special

(Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques)

I am special, I am special (point to self)
If you look, you will see
Someone very special, someone very special,
It is me, it is me!! (Point to self)


Grab two bags, one a plain, brown one and the other a fancy gift bag. In the plain, brown one, place your child’s favorite snack food. In the gift bag, place your child’s least favorite food. During snack time, let your child choose and open each bag. While he is eating his snack, talk to him about how it only mattered what was on the inside of the bag, not how it looked on the outside. Read the bible story of how God chooses David to be king and how God looked at what was in David’s heart not what was on the outside. Use these questions to talk with your child.  Here are some questions to talk about afterwards.

What do you think is important to God?
What makes you special to God?

Israel's First King

Israel’s First King 1 Samuel 8-10

When Samuel was an old man, God’s people said, “We want a king to rule over us.”  Samuel asked God for help.  God told Samuel to warn the people about all the trouble a king could bring.
A king would make the young men join his army, and the people would have to give the best things they owned to support the king.  Samuel warned the people, but they still would not listen.  Then God told Samuel to give them a king.
God led Samuel to a man named Saul.  Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head.  This was a sign that Saul was God’s choice for their new king.  Saul hid because he was shy.
The people found him.  Then Samuel said, “Here is your king.” Everyone cheered and shouted, “Long live the king!”

Discussion Questions

God’s people wanted someone to rule them.  Who did they want? A King
Did Samuel think this was a good idea?  No
Did God tell Samuel to give them a King? Yes
Who was it?  Saul
Samuel put oil on Saul’s head. What did that mean?  It means that Saul was God’s choice for their new king


Dear God, 
Thank you for the story of Saul becoming king.  We can always trust you to make the best decisions for us.  Thank you for that gift.  Amen

Memory Verses

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all  your soul and with all your strength.”  Deuteronomy 6:5 

A Voice in the Night

A Voice in the Night -- 1 Samuel 3

When Samuel was a little boy, Hannah brought him to live at the tabernacle.  She had promised God that Samuel would serve him all his life.  The priest Eli would now take care of Samuel.  He would teach Samuel about God. 
One night while Samuel was sleeping, he heard a voice say, “Samuel!” He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am .” But Eli said, “I did not call you.” Then Samuel went back to bed.
Samuel heard a voice call his name two more times.  Each time, Samuel ran to Eli.  Finally, Eli told Samuel, “I think God is speaking to you.  Next time, say, “Yes, Lord, I am listening.” Then Samuel went back to bed.
“Samuel! Samuel! the voice said again.  This time, Samuel answered, “Yes, Lord, I am listening.”  From that moment on, Samuel gave messages to God’s people.  He was a special prophet of God.

Discussion Questions

  • Where did Hannah take Samuel Tabernancle
  • What is a Tabernacle?  It is a church
  • Why did she take him there? The priest Eli was going to teach Samuel about God.  
  • Samuel heard a voice in the night.  Who was it?  God
  • What did Samuel do after realizing who was speaking to him?  He gave special messages to God’s people.


Dear God, 
Thank you for the story of Samuel.  It is a great lesson on listening to you God.  We pray we are obedient to You and our parents.   Amen

Memory Verses

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all  your soul 
and with all your strength.”  Deuteronomy 6:5 

Bible Story Rhyme

Samuel, Samuel slept one night,
(Lay titled head on hands as if sleeping)

In the temple; that’s alright.
(Make the “O.K.” sign)

Awakened by the Lord’s own voice,
(Place fists next to eyes and open fingers)

Helping God was Samuel’s choice.
(Point to heaven)

Craft / Activity:  Cup Phones

Materials Needed:  Disposable Plastic Cups, String (not yarn), Small Paper Clips, and Ball Point Pens
1. Pass out two disposable plastic party cups to each student.
2. Poke a hole in the bottom of each cup with a ball point pen.
3. Cut a 10 foot piece of string for each student.
4. Slip the piece of string through the bottom of each cup.
5. Tie a paper clip to each end of the string.
6. Pull cups away from one another slowly until there is a bit of tension on the string.
7. Allow students to take turns talking into their “cup phones”.
For Discussion
As students are assembling their “cup phones”, remind them that we should listen to the Lord too. Though the Lord may never choose to speak audibly to us, he does speak to us through his word. Encourage students to “listen” to the Lord by reading the Bible.