Why Your Lessons Should Be Muddy

Children haven't changed, but childhood has.  Past generations spent time outside.  Playing in the backyard.  Splashing in puddles.  Chasing butterflies.  Building forts out of wood.  Climbing trees.  Immersed in nature.

Today they are immersed in technology.  Spending more time indoors, interacting with screens. 

Many have lost the wonder of learning from and playing in nature.  The term "nature-deficit disorder" has even been coined to describe the state of today's kids.

Think about how this affects the kids who walk into your ministry on Sunday.  They have been immersed in technology and screens all week long, probably even looking at a screen on the way to church.  

Kids are naturally curious about nature and love to play outdoors when given the opportunity.  Perhaps, the last thing they need on Sunday is more time staring at a screen while at church.  Perhaps, what they are looking for is the opportunity to learn through nature.  Perhaps, what they are longing for is the chance to move out of a sedentary posture and learn through interacting with the natural elements of God's creation.  

Think of ways you can bring nature into your lessons.  You may or may not be able to take kids outside during their time at church, but you can bring outside to them.  

Teaching kids about creation?  What elements of nature can you place in kids' hands to illustrate this?  Leaves?  Flowers?  An animal?  A stick?  A rock? 

Teaching kids about John the Baptist?  How can you bring nature into the lesson?  Tasting honey?  A grasshopper in a jar? 

Sharing a lesson about Jonah?  What elements of nature can you use?  Seaweed?  A fish? 

Sharing with kids how the prodigal son was in the pig pen?  Could you bring a baby pig for the kids to touch?  Maybe even have them make a "mud-pie" and write the key point of the lesson in it? 

Telling the kids that God has promised if He provides for the flowers of the field, that He will provide for us?  How about having a flower for them to touch while you're sharing this truth with them?

Think about how many times Jesus used nature in His teaching.  He taught more of His lessons outside than He did inside.  He constantly brought nature into His teaching.  Birds of the air.  Flowers of the field.  Sheep.  Fig trees.  Water.  Mud.  Rocks.  On and on we could go. 

As you prepare your lesson, brainstorm how you can bring nature into it.  The possibilities are limitless.

I'm not saying you shouldn't use some technology in your lessons.  There is a place for that.  But make sure you balance it with nature.  Remember, kids are immersed in technology all week.  Nature not as much.  This makes nature very novel and appealing to them.

Kids love to get into nature and "get muddy."  Give them the opportunity to interact with nature and you'll see them engaged and loving your lessons.

I intentionally infused nature into our curriculum.  You can see this each month in a year's worth of curriculum.  Check out the curriculum and how it brings nature into the lessons at this link.  It's available now for your ministry.

Your turn.  How do you use nature in your lessons?  What are some ideas and insight you have using nature for engaging kids with God's Word?  Share your thoughts with everyone in the comment section below.