This lesson would work for a children’s sermon or message, Sunday School or Children’s Church. Length could be anywhere from 10-60 minutes, depending upon the activities used. You might also like our Father’s Day coloring pages and craft ideas for Father’s Day.
By contributing writer, Nicole VanderMeulen, Children’s Ministry Coordinator at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Renton, Washington.
Children will consider the great sacrifice God made for us, how he loves each of us unconditionally and how we can attempt to love others in this same way after listening to a children’s book about a father who puts his daughter’s pleasure before his own on Father’s Day.
Target Age Group: Children age 3-12 years
Bible Story: John 3:16
Explanation: On Sunday, June 20, many people will celebrate Father’s Day. Through the use of a children’s picture book, this lesson helps connect the celebration of Father’s Day and the love we may receive from our birth fathers to the unconditional and sacrificial love we all receive from God our father. The use of this delightful story about how a little girl honors her dad on Father’s Day helps children to consider God’s sacrifice of his son for our sins in a very age appropriate and easy to comprehend kind of way.
- Bible/Children’s Bible
- “A Perfect Father’s Day” by Eve Bunting
- paper, scissors, crayons/markers
- sidewalk chalk
- large banner paper
Ask the children what is special about the day (Father’s Day). Tell them that you have a special Father’s Day story to share with them and read “A Perfect Father’s Day” by Eve Bunting . Be sure to read in an engaging voice and show all of the pictures. Stop every so often to discuss what you are reading with the group. Susie, the little girl in the story, takes her Dad out for the “perfect” Father’s Day, but they actually do all of HER favorite things, like visiting the duck pond and playing on the monkey bars. Ask your students what they think about this. Is this the perfect day for Susie or for her Dad? Why does Susie’s father do what she wants to do when it’s supposed to be his special day?
After you have read and discussed the storybook, share John 3:16 from a Bible. Remind the children how Susie’s Dad made some sacrifices for her on Father’s Day. Ask the children if they know what huge, unbelievable sacrifice God gave for all of us (giving his son Jesus to die for our sins). Discuss how whether we have a loving, involved birth father in our lives or not we all have the perfect, loving, giving father in God. Both our Father God and many of our birth fathers make sacrifices to love us unconditionally. How do you think we should love others in return? What does that kind of love look like? Can you think of some examples of sacrificial and unconditional love?
If you would like to extend the lesson beyond a children’s sermon or short Children’s Church lesson, consider adding one or more of the following activities:
Snack –Have POP-sicles for a snack! Get it… father, dad, pop?!!?!? Hint: The “otter pop” kind of popsicles frozen in the plastic sleeves are much less messy than traditional ones on a stick!
-Make Coupons for Dad (or other male role model!). Our Fathers make sacrifices for us, now what can we do for them? Help the children to make coupons for their Dads using paper, scissors, and markers or crayons that entitle them to gifts like one free carwash, a hug, taking out the trash, walking the dog, control of the TV remote, etc.
-Design Father’s Day cards or simple gifts. MANY free ideas are available online. One great resource is the Family Fun website.
-Use sidewalk chalk outdoors or markers and large banner paper inside to make a special Father’s Day greeting for the Dad’s at your church.
Consider closing with a “repeat after me prayer”. Pause between every few words, allowing the children to echo what you have said. Dear God/Thank you/for being our Father/and for/all of our other Father’s./Help us to/love each other/like you love us. /Amen.