Crafts Domestic Church Homeschool Parenting Rachel M Sacred Scripture

Fishers of Men: The Board Game

In our little “School of Joseph”, named by my oldest preschooler, we try to focus on a Bible story a week. During letter ‘F’ week, I decided that we would talk about Jesus calling the apostles and asking them to be “fishers of men”.

I must say it’s one of my favorite passages, and I just love that analogy. It paints such a beautiful picture of what Jesus is calling us to do. But, I wasn’t sure that my 4, 3, and 2 year old would quite understand what it meant. So, I devised a game.

First, we read the passage straight from The Bible: “As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20). We talked about what it meant to be fishers of men, and what kind of sacrifices Peter and Andrew must have made in their lives to leave their nets, “at once”.

Then, we played our own “Fishers of Men” game. I used blue yarn to create the outline of a sea, and cut fish out of construction paper. I used a butterfly net for catching the fish to make it as close to the Bible story as possible, but you could also use a magnetic fishing pole and put paper clips on the fish to catch them.

On each fish, I wrote a place that the children and I go, where they may have the opportunity to be fishers of men. In other words, a place outside of our home where they have the chance to interact with other children in a Godly way. Some of these were the library, playdates, the neighborhood, McDonald’s play area, Lowe’s, grandma’s house, etc., and I left one blank so that if they got that fish they could come up with a place on their own.

Then, we took turns fishing. Each child would get a turn with the net, and choose a fish from the sea. We would read the place name and together try to come up with ways to act Christ-like towards other people. I tried to let the kids come up with some ideas on their own, but of course if they were struggling, I helped them come up with answers. For example, at our local library, they have a train table for the kids. My son said that if there were lots of younger children playing at the table, he would give his train to one of them so that they could play. We talked about how him making this small sacrifice was similar to what Peter and Andrew must have gone through to follow Christ.

The kids really had a great time playing. It reinforced the ideas in our original discussion of the Bible story, and they had a lot of insight to share when we made it personal to their lives. The kids had such a great time playing the game, that when we were done, they decided to use the props to reenact the passage as well, which is another great way to scaffold learning.

Try the game and let us know what great things your children come up with!

Crafts Ink Slingers Rachel M

Teaching Prayers to Young Children

We have four young children at home, and though we always and often pray together as a family, it sometimes turns into a three-ring circus.

For example, at bedtime we gather all four kiddos into one bedroom. We take turns each telling God what we’re thankful for and then each share who we would like to pray for. We end with a formal memorized prayer. In our larger-than-average-sized family it leads to quick distraction, bickering, and on and on. It can take us a long time to get through it all, but I feel strongly about teaching our kiddos both how to pray to God using one’s own words, and the beauty of words handed down to us through the ages.

So, I realized I needed something to bribe….or entice them with, something to help them want to participate to get to the end. I turned my search to pinterest, where I discovered the prayer cube, a promising discovery.

The next day, I set to work. I gathered my three preschoolers around the table and we came up with six prayers that they know or were working on. In our family, we decided upon the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Memorare, Hail Holy Queen, and Apostles Creed. I cut down squares of construction paper, wrote the titles on each and let them decorate to their heart’s content. (Rookie mistake: Don’t let them choose which prayers they get to decorate, just pass them out.) Finally, I cut down an old 12-pack soda box, to form a cube and we attached the prayers.

I explained in my best Mommy voice the intention of using this prayer dice, and how we would take turns rolling it to see which prayer we would end with each night. But, and here’s the clincher, only boys and girls who sit on their bottoms and participate nicely get to roll.

Ours has been well-loved!

Well, as you may have imagined, that night was blissfully silent during family prayer time and as reverent as you get in a house with four kids under four. It continues to be something that we all look forward to at the end of the night, and they love to see how many nights in a row they roll the same thing or when we get to say a prayer we haven’t said in weeks. Another added benefit, is that you can’t really get into ruts with the prayer dice. Each one of my kids has a favorite prayer, and so when they get to choose a prayer to say, it’s always the same ones over and over again. But this way, it’s random.

In the future I plan on creating a second one with new prayers and rolling both so that we can say one together, and then Daddy and Mommy can teach a new prayer as well. There are so many fun ways to adapt this to fit your family, and your family’s needs.