Category Archives: Bible Basics for Little Ones

Bible Basics: Day & Night

We’ve now completed our first 4 weeks of Bibles Basics for Two Year Olds. We are loving it! I scheduled a break for us this week so I’m going to blog about what we’ve done so far and schedule the posts once a week from now on.

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Kent was 26 months old.

We Started with Bible Songs

The overarching theme for the first 6 weeks of Bible Basics is, “God Made…”.  During week 1 we learned that God made Day and Night.  The curriculum comes with 2 CDs containing over a hundred Bible and activity songs.  I copied the CDs in to my itunes collection.  The song titles did not carry over automatically so I entered them manually.  It didn’t take very long though, maybe an hour.

The curriculum suggests several songs to play during the “God Made…” units.  The teacher’s manual stresses the importance of playing most or all of the same songs from week to week so that these little people can become familiar with them.  I normally would have chosen new songs every week but I took their advice and I’m glad I did.  As the weeks have gone by Kent has become better and better at the activity songs and I hear him singing the Bible songs to himself occasionally.

I copied the playlist on to my ipod.  I have the old school (8 GB?) ipod and it works perfectly for us.  I recently found an Amway gift card from our wedding (5 years ago!) and used it to buy this ipod dock for our homeschool.  I’ve been very happy with it.  I put the Bible songs at the start of the playlist so we did those and then I paused it.

A Special Bible Story

The curriculum includes a little blurb to read that introduces each week’s topic.  I didn’t think much of them initially, I figured I could have written up my own pretty easily.  However, these little 1-3 paragraph essays are wonderful!  They flow nicely and lead to wonderful conversation.  Each week’s talk includes a short summary of what we’ve already learned so we can review as we go.  The curriculum suggests sitting the teacher’s manual inside the Bible as you read so the children understand that this is fact from the Bible.  I decided not to do that.

Activity Songs

After our story and discussion I hit play again and we did the activity songs together.  One song says, “This is how an Elephant walks…” and that is Kent’s favorite.  He walks all around the house like an elephant now, even when we aren’t doing song time.  😀

Trays

When song time was over I introduced a tray or two and then tried to fade to the background and let him work.

Transferring pom poms (one to one correspondence, fine motor work)

Transferring pom poms (one to one correspondence, fine motor work)

For a fun sensory experience I gave him some star shaped marshmallows, cake pan, and a glass of water.

For a fun sensory experience I gave him some star shaped marshmallows, cake pan, and a glass of water.

I tried to encourage him to squeeze them but the most he would do was poke at them...

I tried to encourage him to squeeze them but the most he would do was poke at them…

... and then he started eating them and wouldn't stop so I eventually had to take them away.

… and then he started eating them and wouldn’t stop so I eventually had to take them away.

I introduced him to cutting with scissors for the first time.  He was enthralled with it!

I introduced him to cutting with scissors for the first time. He was enthralled with it!

Our favorite picks about day and night

Our favorite picks about day and night

“The Night Ones” was my favorite.  I can see us checking it out again when we learn about work and careers.  It was all about people that work at night, like janitors, bakers, and doormen.  Kent liked most of the books but his favorite were the two on the bottom left about the sun and the moon.

Practical Life

IMG_6155We baked bread together!

IMG_6149It was delicious!

We repeat the same routine each day that we do school (usually 3-4 days a week) except I only read the story on the first day.  Kent is loving it so much that on days that we’re too busy to do it he’ll often ask to “do school time”.  He hasn’t quite worked out his pronouns yet so instead of saying he wants to do it we hear, “You want to do school time!”.  🙂

If you missed it, you can read more about our very first day of 2 year old preschool (and more about cutting!) in this post.

What are your learning plans for the year?  Have you tried any fun, new activities lately?

Bible Curriculum for 2 Year Olds

I know a couple of you have been waiting to see what we chose for a curriculum. The study guide we chose is put out by Joy of Living Bible Studies. I was hoping to get a promo code for you but, alas, there are no promotions available at this time. However, if you decide to purchase the curriculum for yourself you can feel good about where your money is going. From the Joy of Living site:

“Joy of Living Bible Studies is an evangelical, interdenominational, nonprofit organization, dedicated to increasing the study and teaching of God’s Word.

All money not used for printing and office costs is used to develop new Bible study courses and to provide materials free of charge to prisoners and others unable to pay for them.”

The particular study I chose for Kent is Bible Basics for Little Ones. Joy of Living offers other preschool studies but the Bible Basics is specifically designed to be simple enough for 2 year olds. It includes 33 lessons. The lesson plans are brief and geared towards Sunday School or nursery school classes that meet once a week. However, I am finding it very easy to adapt the plans for a homeschool environment. It is easy to come up with supplemental activities that tie in to each week’s lesson (and I’ll be posting my ideas here as we go if you need inspiration!). I knew this was the right study for us as soon as I found it.

Here are some of the reasons I like it so much:

  • There is a page in the beginning titled “Considerations in Teaching Two-Year-Olds”. Every parent should read this! It is a great reminder that it is NORMAL to have many challenges at this age but that our young children have great potential to begin learning about the Lord. The opportunity to help them establish a relationship with Him early should not be missed!
  • The music is included and scheduled in the curriculum! Using relevant songs really helps to draw interest from little minds and drive home each week’s lesson. Plus, the CDs are reproducible and the company actually suggests you share copies! This is intended for church classes but in our case I can make a CD for the car and and Grandma’s house.
  • Overarching unit themes are scheduled for 2-9 weeks at a time with different stories or lessons being focused on each week. This works perfectly with our new plan to leave our trays out longer. I can set up trays that fit the unit theme and leave them out for several weeks in a row.
  • The schedule is flexible. Keeping the unit themes together is nice and should be easy to do but, really, there isn’t a lot that carries over from week to week so most lessons can easily stand alone. Three lessons pertain to Christmas and two to Easter. The rest would work at any time of the year.
  • The topics are relevant to a small child’s interests. For example, this week we are learning that God made day and God made night. This is perfect for a toddler who has noticed the sun, moon, and stars and is fascinated with them!
  • It doesn’t require the parent or teacher to be a Bible scholar. I am still learning the basics myself so I wanted a study that lays things out in a simple, clear manner. This one fits the bill perfectly.
  • It includes suggestions for gross motor activities. They are very simple and repetitive but that is what 2 year olds like! Having the ideas right there saves me from over-complicating things and then failing to offer anything at all.
  • It was very affordable! Even with shipping I only paid $32 and some change. That’s less than $1 per lesson, and don’t forget you can make extra CDs!
  • The study guide is available as a downloadable pdf, a CD of the pdf, or printed on loose leaf paper. I opted to download the pdf and print the study myself because we have a laser printer and I was excited to get it as soon as possible. I took it to OfficeMax and had it spiral bound with a protective front and back for less than $4. This allows me to easily open up to the pages I need for the week, and making photocopies is a breeze.

    The music is available on 2 CDs or as a digital mp3 download. The sound is nice quality. Fingerplay and activity song motions are described in a special appendix of the study guide. I opted to have the CDs mailed to me. They came in a sturdy plastic case and included a printed list of the songs included. There are 131 song all together: 78 Bible songs and 53 activity songs. Most of them are very short, again perfect for the youngest learners.

    I suggest calling directly to place your order or ask questions. The actual charges were a bit different than the website said because of the formats I chose so it worked well for me to call. I couldn’t be happier with the customer service. Everyone I dealt with was fabulous.

    You can view a sample of the study, see the details, and find ordering information on the Joy of Living website. If you think of it, please mention that you heard about it here. I am not getting any compensation from them or anything but I think it would be nice if they knew how much we are enjoying the material.

    If you have older children check out their other preschool and youth studies. Kathy from Joy of Living shared with me in an e-mail:

    …we offer studies for Youth as well. They were originally developed for homeschooled children where the mothers were doing the adult study together at a church group. The Youth studies (as well as the Preschool studies) are reproducible, so a group of mothers that do it together could purchase one copy and use it for all. In addition, our adult studies are currently being used by a homeschool co-op of middle-schoolers.

    I hope this helps if you’re interested in teaching your little one about God in a more formal way. Please let me know if you have any specific questions about the curriculum. I’ll be sharing how we use it throughout the year so be sure to check back for ideas.

    First Day of 2 Year Old Tot School!

    Kent was 26 months old.

    Yay! Finally, time to kick things off with our new plan.

    Inspired by 1+1+1=1, I made this cute sign for Kent to hold.  This is how he wanted to take the picture…

    IMG_6118…but I kind of wanted one that didn’t cut off his head so I tried again while tickling his toes…

    IMG_6131…and still just got a look of “really, Mom?” instead of a true smile.  sigh

    I didn’t think we would be able to start Tot School on schedule but the guys were able to help me rearrange the house at the last minute last night.  They took our play kitchen up to the attic for storage, brought in our new shelf, and took a couple things out of our office so there is more room for storing materials.  I want to give you a whole tour in a separate post but for now here is a sneak peek of the shelf.

    IMG_6117I moved our old tot trays shelf over by the recliner so it can house part of our book collection.  We didn’t get to start school right away in the morning but Kent was very excited to have so many books at his disposal.  He spend a lot of time with books spread out on the floor, “reading” them.  Here he is standing on the windowsill because there is a picture of a ladybug in that book and he wanted to show it to the real ladybug that lives up there.

    IMG_6115.CR2

    We started with song time.  He was surprisingly apprehensive and very quiet, more like I would have expected if it was his first time in a new group or something.  He usually loves songs but since these were new he just watched while I  sang along and tried to get him to dance.  Then I told him it was time for a special Bible story.  This week we are learning about how God made day and night.  I read him the blurb from the curriculum, trying to spark his interest along the way by asking him questions about stars and the moon.  He was excited to talk about them but still kept saying, “Mama done reading, do more song time!” until the story was over.  I started playing the activity songs, which he will probably long once he learns them, but since they were new he wasn’t catching on.  He started getting a little too wild: harassing the cat, stepping on my feet, etc.  So, we took a break for lunch.

    After lunch I introduced him to cutting with scissors.  He had spied the scissors on my desk earlier and was VERY excited about learning to use them.  He absolutely loved it!  I really did not think he would have enough hand strength or coordination yet, I just wanted to see how far off he was.  It took a few tries with me demonstrating how to hold the scissors and paper but then he took off with it.  He was so enthralled with the tray that I was able to get up and get the camera and still take this picture.

    IMG_6132He was so focused!

    IMG_6134And yes, those were baby feet a couple pictures up.  Little brother was supervising.

    IMG_6136

    Eventually I moved the tray to his desk for him.  He settled in there for another 5-10 minutes or so.  I was so thrilled to see him bent over his task, concentrating so hard and in his own little world.  Moments like that… they are the best!