This printable lesson plan is designed to teach preschool aged children about the story of Jacob and Esau and the choices that they made. 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.
Bible Story: Jacob and Esau’s Choices
Scripture: Genesis 25:24-34
Target Age Group: Age 2 – 5 (U.S. preschool ages)
Time: 15 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 giving something to someone else.
- PRINT this lesson plan
- Bible, Genesis 25:24-34
- Print this file - Jacob and Esau Booklet PDF
- Various cooking utensil and supplies
- Clay (or playdough) enough for each child to have a good sized clump, paper towel for each child, Ziploc bag for each child, CD player, CD, marker to write each child’s name on their bag
Worship: Use the “Abraham, Sarah and Isaac Songs” (extra print out) to lead the children to sing before the Bible lesson
Teaching Plan: Jacob and Esau’s Choices
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.
Play Cooking – have various cooking utensils, bowls, spoons, etc available for the children to practice cooking
Worship: Abraham, Sarah and Isaac Songs
Bible Lesson Introduction
“What would you do if your mom told you to pick up your toys? (allow for responses) I heard a lot of you say that you would choose to listen to your mom. That’s a great choice. What if I asked you to sit down in a chair in order to listen to the story? What would you do? (allow for responses) Again, I heard you tell me that you would choose to listen. You all know how to make great choices! We are going to learn about someone in the Bible who didn’t make such great choices.”
Read Genesis 25:24-34 (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.
24 The time came for Rebekah to have her babies. There were twin boys in her body. 25 The first one to come out was red. His whole body was covered with hair. So they named him Esau.
26 Then his brother came out. His hand was holding onto Esau’s heel. So he was named Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when Rebekah had them.
27 The boys grew up. Esau became a skillful hunter. He was a man who liked the open country. But Jacob was a quiet man. He stayed at home among the tents. 28 Isaac liked the meat of wild animals. So Esau was his favorite son. But Rebekah’s favorite was Jacob.
29 One day Jacob was cooking some stew. Esau came in from the open country. He was very hungry. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick! Let me have some of that red stew! I’m very hungry!” That’s why he was also named Edom.
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me the rights that belong to you as the oldest son in the family.”
32 “Look, I’m dying of hunger,” Esau said. “What good are those rights to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “First promise me with an oath that you are selling me your rights.” So Esau promised to do it. He sold Jacob all of the rights that belonged to him as the oldest son.
34 Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. Esau ate and drank. Then he got up and left.
So Esau didn’t care anything at all about the rights that belonged to him as the oldest son.
Read the verses (story) again, but this time have the children do the following motions with you:
So Isaac prayed to the Lord for her – make praying hands
twin boys – hold up 2 fingers
His hand was holding onto Esau’s heel – hold onto heel
The boys grew up – stand up
But Jacob was a quiet man – hold finger up to mouth and “shh”
One day Jacob was cooking some stew – act like stirring a pot
I’m very hungry! – rub stomach with hand
Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew – act like giving something to someone
Esau ate and drank – act like eating and drinking
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?” Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau
“What was Jacob doing when Esau came in?” Cooking stew
“What did Jacob want Esau to sell him in order to get some stew?” His birthright as the oldest son
“Did Esau do it?” Yes
“Was that a good choice?” No…the birthright of the oldest son meant that he would get everything that his father has. Now that he has given it to Jacob, Esau gets nothing. He got stew, but now has nothing.
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 Good Choices
“Did Esau make a good choice today in our story? (allow for responses) No, he didn’t. He really should have thought about his decision before he made it. We have that same problem too, don’t we? We seem to make a choice before really thinking about it.
We are going to play a game where you have to make choices. I am going to give you two choices and you have to decide which one you will make. Hopefully you will all make good choices.”
- Have the children on one side of the room and you stand in the middle of the room.
- Read the following list of things (one set at a time).
- Show them which side of you they need to go to in order to show that they are making that choice.
Right of Teacher Left of Teacher
listening to your mom doing whatever you want to do
crying that you don’t like dinner eating what you are given
helping a friend who is hurt laughing at your friend when they are hurt
grabbing a toy away from someone asking nicely (using your words) to be able to see the toy
never praying or singing to God praying and/or singing to God every day
Activity: Bible Verse Memorization
“One day Jacob was cooking some stew. Esau came in from the open country. He was very hungry.” Genesis 25:29 (NIRV)
Have the children do the following hand motions along with repeating the words after you, to help them learn the Bible Verse:
One day: hold up one finger
Jacob was cooking some stew: stir an imaginary spoon in a pot
Esau came in from the open country: wave arms in front of you to show space
He was very hungry: rub hand on stomach
Genesis 25: hold up two fingers and then five finders
29: hold up two fingers and then nine 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: Making a Clay Bowl
“Do any of you cook or help someone else cook? (allow for responses) What was Jacob doing in our Bible Verse today? (allow for responses) Right, he was cooking stew. What is stew? (allow for responses) Yes, stew is like a thick soup. What do you think that Jacob used to cook his stew? (allow for responses) He probably did use a big pot to cook in. Would Jacob have eaten his stew right out of the cooking pot? (allow for responses) No, probably not. What would he have used to eat his stew? (allow for responses) Yes, he would used a bowl and spoon to eat his stew.
Today, we are going to make our own bowl out of clay. I will be giving you some clay and you may play with it for a couple of minutes. While you are playing with it, the music will be playing. When the music stops, you need to stop playing, put the clay on your paper towel and look up at me. Who is going to make a good choice and be a really good listener? (allow for responses) Great! I’m glad that we have so many children who want to make good choices! Let’s start playing!”
- Hand each child a paper towel to use as their place mat
- Start the CD player
- Give each child a clump of clay to play with
- Give them a couple of minutes to play, then stop the music
“I really loved how many of you made a good choice and stopped playing when the music stopped! Ok, who’s ready to make their bowl? (allow for responses) That’s great!”
- Demonstrate to the children how to roll their clay into a ball. Help them, if needed
- Then demonstrate how to stick their thumbs into the middle of their ball of clay to make the crevass in the middle. Help if needed.
- Once they have a crevas in the middle of their clay, they can mold it more into the shape of a bowl.
- While the children are molding their bowls, write each child’s name on a Ziploc bag.
- Allow the children’s bowls to look how they want them to look. Each one should be unique, just like they are.
- When they are finished, help them put their bowl into their Ziploc bag and lay it off to the side to be taken home.
Have the children give something to each other. Have them say what they are giving to the other child. It could be a pat on the back, a hand shake, a hug, etc.