This printable lesson plan is designed to teach preschool aged children about the story of The 12 Spies. It could be used in any setting with children age 2-5 at church, including a preschool Sunday School class or a preschool children’s church class. As always, consider your own ministry context and modify it as needed. Please leave any feedback or suggestions for improvement in the comment box at the bottom of this page. We also have an elementary version of this 12 Spies lesson plan.
Bible Story: The 12 Spies Visit the Promised Land
Scripture: Numbers 13:1-2,18-20,26-28a,30-32
Target Age Group: Age 2 – 5 (U.S. preschool ages)
Time: 20 Minutes
Learning Context: Church Preschool Class
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Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate an understanding of the story by retelling it with the teacher’s help.
- Bible, Numbers 13:1-2,18-20,26-28a,30-32
- “The 12 Spies” Story Booklet PDF file
- Pictures of 12 spies, buildings, fruit, giant people (multiples)
- Binoculars (optional)
- 2 toilet paper rolls per child (or rolled construction paper), crayons, tape, marker
- You might like our preschool friendly coloring page about crossing the Jordan river.
Worship: You can print off these “Moses Songs” (PDF file) to use to lead the children to sing before the Bible lesson.
Preschool Teaching Plan
Welcome Activity: Welcome activities are things to have out for the children to do as they are arriving for class. These activities will get them engaged as soon as they arrive and will help the transition from their parents.
- Before class, hide the following pictures around the room: 12 spies, buildings, fruit, giant people (have multiples of each)
- During class, have the children find them as they come in. Let each child find one picture when they arrive…if there are extra to find after all of the children have arrived…let them find the rest.
Worship: Moses Songs
Bible Lesson Introduction: Play “I Spy” with the children with items around the room.
Read Numbers 13:1-2,18-20,26-28a,30-32 (NIRV) aloud to the children. There is also a book that you can print out that has the story along with simple pictures to help the children understand what is being read.
Read the verses (story) to the children. If you are using the print out story, point to the pictures as you read the story so that the children can better understand what you are saying.
1 The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 2 “Send some men to check out the land of Canaan. I am giving it to the people of Israel. Send one leader from each of Israel’s tribes.”
18 See what the land is like. See whether the people who live there are strong or weak. See whether they are few or many.
19 “What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Do the towns have high walls around them or not? 20 How is the soil? Is it rich land or poor land? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes.
26 The men came back to Moses, Aaron and the whole community of Israel. The people were at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There the men reported to Moses and Aaron and all of the people. They showed them the fruit of the land.
27 They gave Moses their report. They said, “We went into the land you sent us to. It really does have plenty of milk and honey! Here’s some fruit from the land.
28 “But the people who live there are powerful. Their cities have high walls around them and are very large. 30 Then Caleb interrupted the men who were speaking to Moses. He said, “We should go up and take the land. We can certainly do it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him spoke. They said, “We can’t attack those people. They are stronger than we are.” 32 The men spread a bad report about the land among the people of Israel. They said, “The land we checked out destroys those who live in it. All of the people we saw there are very big and tall.
Read the verses (story) again, but this time have the children help hold the pictures found during the Welcome Activity.
Discuss the Bible Reading: When you are finished reading the story the second time, ask the children the following questions so that you can know they understood it.
“Who was in the story?” 12 Spies, Moses, God
“What were the spies asked to do?” Go check out the land of Canaan
“What did they find in Canaan?” Giant food, tall walls and giants
“How many spies said that they shouldn’t attack?” 10
“How many spies wanted to follow God and attack?” 2
Bible Lesson Craft / Activity
Use the following activities to reinforce the learning goals. If time is short, move on to the evaluation portion of the lesson plan.
Activity: Making Binoculars
Before class, attach the 2 toilet paper rolls together to make binoculars
“In our Bible story today, it talked about the men going to check out Canaan. They were going to go there to look at the land and everything that it had. Has anyone ever used anything to see far away? (allow for responses)”
Show them the binoculars (if you have them) and ask them what they are.
Let each child use them.
Give each child their 2 toilet paper rolls
Let the children color their binoculars
Activity: Bible Verse Memorization
“The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, “Send some men to check out the land of Canaan. I am giving it to the people of Israel.” Numbers 13:1-2 (NIRV)
Have the children do the following hand motions along with repeating the words after you, to help them learn the Bible Verse:
The Lord: point to the ceiling
Spoke to Moses: motion with hand as though saying something
He said, “Send some men: point to people in the class
To check out: put hands up as though holding binoculars and looking through them
The land of Canaan: motion with hands – flat like showing land
I am giving it to the people of Israel: point to people in the class
Numbers 13: hold up all 10 fingers and then 3 fingers
1 & 2: hold up 1 finger and then 2 fingers
Do this a few times with the children. Make it fun for them to do the motions and say the words. Involving them in active learning is essential for memorization at this age.
Bible Verse Activity: Binoculars
Have the children say the Bible Verse while using their binoculars.
Evaluation: Have the children tell the parts of the story that they remember. Help them keep the order correct as they are telling the parts.