This lesson is shared today as Ministry-To-Children’s contribution to Blog Action Day 2009. The goal of the event is to encourage bloggers worldwide to post about the same issue on the same day on their blogs, sparking discussion about a topic of global importance. Today, in an attempt to help create the largest social change event on the web ever, we are participating in the discussion about the 2009 theme, Climate Change, through the sharing of this lesson. This lesson would work for Sunday School or Children’s Church. Estimated length is 45-60 minutes.
We have added a new coloring sheet that might help with this lesson too. It’s based on Genesis 1:11-13 and highlights God’s call to the land to produce vegetation. The illustration has plants, trees, and grass that overlook an ocean scene.
Learning Objectives: Children will review the Creation Bible story and explore ways to help care for God’s creation.
Target Age Group: Children age 3-12 years
Bible Story: Genesis 1:1-31 Creation (read more Bible verses for Earth Day)
About This Children’s Lesson About Climate Change
While it may not be appropriate to discuss the issues of global warming and climate change with young children, it is age appropriate to teach kids about the world God created for us and our responsibility to be good stewards of his awesome gifts. If you do wish to discuss the specifics of climate change with older elementary children, excellent free resources including a slide show, how to talk to kids about global warming, and more are available here at The Climate Classroom. The specific lesson below is the first in a four part series about “Kids In Mission” and the different missions God calls us to fulfill.
Some Christians may be skeptical of addressing “Climate Change” within a Children’s Bible lesson. However, God has commanded mankind to care for his creation and the animals in the earliest chapters of the Bible. Furthermore, the changing climate patterns (sometimes labeled global warming) greatly effect impoverished nations and aggravate the global food crisis. This lesson avoids the political sides of the issue and simply instructs children on God’s desire that we be good stewards of our environment.
- Laminated World Nametags
- Trash Cans
- Recycle Bin
- Trash (empty bottles, cans, newspaper, etc.)
- Water & Buckets
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Signs
- Paper Grocery Bags
- Blue & Green Rice Krispie Treats
- Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg
Kids Mission The Environment Teaching Plan
Introduction: Discuss What is Mission? ( -a task or job, often assigned to us (by God?), work that helps others, serves Jesus, and makes a difference.) You may want to provide each child with a laminated nametag with a picture of hands holding the world. They write their name with permanent marker and add a sticker that represents the theme of the week. A tree sticker would work well for this lesson. More stickers will be added during each subsequent lesson in this mission series.
Story: Supply the children with a sheet of paper and have markers or crayons available. You may also want to provide stickers (sun, moon, stars, flowers, animals, fish, etc.) Read the Creation story from Genesis 1:1-31. Explain that as you describe God’s creation, you would like the children to make their own picture of creation. When reading, pause after each day, and encourage the children to add what you just described to their picture (water/light/plants/etc.). Discussion questions following the reading may include: What did God make? What is your favorite thing God made? What do you think is the most important thing God made? What did God say at the end of each day? What did God give to the humans? What do you think God meant by “rule” over the animals and all living things?
The Recycle Games:
Recycle Relay: Set up classroom trash cans in an obstacle course, with a recycle bin at the end. The first student on the team runs the course, weaving in and out around the cans. When the student reaches the last can, he or she puts her piece of trash in the recycle bin, turns around, and weaves back to the team. The runner taps the next team member in line, who takes his/her turn running the course…For older students, split into two competing teams, or ask them to sort the items into, paper, plastic, aluminum, etc. Discuss how picking up trash and recycling cares for God’s creation.
Waste No Water: Fill a clean open-topped non-breakable container with water for each team; be sure the containers are the exact same size and filled to the brim with water (do not fill to the top for preschoolers). Set a start and finish point. At a signal, the first runner heads for the finish line, walks over the line, turns around and heads back to his or her team, and passes the container to the next person in line. At the end of the race, the team with the most water still in the container is the winner. Discuss ways we can not waste water in our lives!
Reduce, Reuse, or Recycle? For older children, post the signs labeled reduce, reuse, recycle. Read different ways we care for God’s creation out loud and have students decide whether each action is reduce, reuse, or recycling. Need more information about reduce, reuse, recycle or examples of how to do these things? Check here.
Art Activity: Before the lesson, visit a local grocery store and ask for paper bag donations. Inquire with a manager about whether or not the store would be able to display the bags or give them to customers after you have decorated them with Earth friendly messages. First brainstorm with the children a big list of ways we can help the Earth, and then provide them with markers or crayons to use to depict one of the ideas on their grocery bag.
Snack and Story: Children receive two lumps of rice krispie treats, one blue and one green, and smush them together to make an edible earth snack. You may want to read, “Just a Dream” by Chris Van Allsburg, while they enjoy their snack.
Prayer: Consider using a “repeat after me prayer”. Pause between every few words, allowing the children to echo what you have said. Dear God/Thank you/for the Earth/you made for us./Help us/to take good care/of all of your gifts. /Amen.