Aug 1, 2017

How to Create Lessons That Preschoolers Love

Do you want to see preschoolers really engage with your lesson?  See them excited to come to church to learn more from God's Word?

Here is some fresh insight to help you create lessons that preschoolers love.

Give preschoolers opportunities to make choices during your lesson.  Preschoolers crave control.  They want to be in charge.  But they don't have many opportunities to do so.  They are told when to get up, when to go to bed, what to wear, when to go to preschool, what to eat, etc.  When the opportunity to be in charge and make their own choices comes along, they are drawn to it.  There's something about being able to make choices that draws preschoolers in.

Here are a few examples of how you can do this:

  • Offer them several options and let them choose which craft they want to do.
  • Let them choose which song they want to sing. 
  • Let them choose between several Bible story options which they would like to learn about the next month. 
  • Let them name a new puppet or character you are introducing.
Surprise them.  Preschoolers love surprises.  One of the hottest trends among preschoolers right now is YouTube videos where adults open surprise eggs or peel away layers of slime or Play-Doh to reveal a hidden toy.  Preschoolers like things that are enclosed and then unwrapped.  An example of this is a video by Toys Unlimited.  It already has over 25 million views. 

Here are a few examples of how you can do this:
  • Announce a surprise guest Bible character coming the next week. 
  • Hide your object lesson item in a box and then have a big reveal. 
  • Cover a figurine that ties into the lesson with Play-Doh and then peel it away to reveal it. 
  • Tell them everyone will get a surprise gift the next week.
Break your lesson into small segments that honors their attention span.  Sesame Street is a great example of this.  It provides preschoolers with short segments within the longer program.  YouTube also models this as it provides preschoolers with short videos to watch.  As soon as one video is over, others pop up that the child can choose from.  You could compare it to channel surfing.

Here are a few examples of how you can do this:
  • Divide your class time into short segments.  Rather than looking at your class as 60 minutes, look at it as 12 five-minute segments. 
  • Play close attention to when kids show signs of disengagement during class and tweak those parts to make them more engaging. 
Make your lesson interactive.  Researchers have found that incorporating some sort of interactivity helps children retain information better.  One big reason preschoolers love certain apps is because it gives them the opportunity to interact with the story or game.  Even if it's as simple as pushing the space bar, interactivity captures the attention of kids.  And retention and learning goes up when kids are given the opportunity to interact versus just sitting and listening. 

Here are a few examples of how you can do this:
  • Give each child a page with pictures of people and objects that are in the lesson.  As you tell the story, have them touch the corresponding pictures. 
  • Give kids lots of opportunities to talk and answer back to you (p.s. if you don't, they will do it anyways - they are wired that way).
  • Tell the kids to shout out a sound when they hear you say a certain word.
  • Have the kids make sound effects as you tell the story.
Use repetition.  If you haven't noticed, preschoolers like to watch the same video over and over.  Often this due to comprehension.  They will watch again so they can better understand the story and characters.  Repetition is one of the glues of learning and engagement.  

Here are a few examples of how you can do this:
  • Rather than having a different truth you teach each week, spend a month on one truth. 
  • Use repetition to help kids learn key Bible verses. 
  • Don't hesitate to use the same Bible story again. 
The preschool years are some of the most critical of a person's life.  It lays the foundation for a person's world view and beliefs about God and His Word.  We must create lessons that will engage kids and capture their hearts for God.

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What are some more ways to create lessons that preschoolers will love?  Share your ideas and insight with everyone in the comment section below.

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