In our church, my husband and I currently have the difficult responsibility of teaching the 3 year olds. They are adorable and sweet but they are a handful. We spend a lot of lesson time playing games, singing songs and doing wiggle activities. We try to make these activities correspond with the lesson, but after a while, our only option is “Ring Around the Rosies,” and it’s quite difficult to tie that into learning about prayer.
Most often, our best efforts go entirely unnoticed by our tiny pupils whose attentions spans make goldfish look like Memory Olympians.
Yesterday, we were teaching the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. You know, the story where Daniel prays to God, which is against the law at the time, gets thrown into a lion’s den and miraculously is not eaten when angels come and shut the lions’ mouths. He and the king also pray for his safety. That is supposed to be the point of the story.
To make the story more interesting and hopefully stick with the little dears, we showed a picture and then helped them act it out.
“Who wants to be Daniel?”
“ME,” said Child #1.
“OK. Pretend like you’re praying.”
“I want to be a dinosaur.”
“Ok. Daniel Dinosaur was praying and some bad people took him to jail for it. Who wants to be the king?”
“ME,” said Child #2.
“Ok. So pretend to be sad that Daniel…”
“I’m a dinosaur,” we were quickly reminded by Child #1.
“…that Daniel Dinosaur is getting in trouble.”
“I want to be a chicken,” stated Child #2.
“Ok. The chicken king was sad and he prayed that Daniel…”
“I’m a dinosaur,” came the reminder from Child #1.
“…that Daniel Dinosaur would be safe in the lion’s den. Who wants to be the lion?”
“ME,” said Child #3.
“Ok. Roar like a lion.”
“Roar!” from Child #1.
“Roar!” from Child #2.
“Roar!” from Child #3.
“Ok. So do you think that Daniel was scared?”
“I’m a dinosaur,” said Child #1.
“Do you think that Daniel Dinosaur was scared?”
“I want to be a frog,” said Child #3, our supposed lion, who then promptly began hopping around the room.
Child #1 began stomping and roaring like a dinosaur and Child #2 began flapping and clucking like a chicken.
So, to sum up: Daniel the Dinosaur was caught praying, was sentenced to a night in the lion’s den, much to the sadness of the Chicken King. We’re not sure why the lions didn’t eat him because we never got that far in the story, but one of the lions did turn into a hopping frog.
And then they all played “Ring Around the Rosies.”