Teaching Preschoolers to Help Others and to Give

child on bike

During the months of March and April, Southern Baptists will focus on giving to North American missions through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. We will focus on praying for North American missions during the Week of Prayer, March 5–12. For Mission Friends®, our March unit will serve as the North American Mission Study.

Our focus on North American missions provides a natural opportunity for Mission Friends leaders to teach preschoolers that we are never too young to be on mission with God! Two resources that can deepen your preschoolers’ understanding of the missional lifestyle are I Can Give  and I Can Do It! 

   

With I Can Give, preschoolers follow Juan Carlos and Gabriela, a brother-sister team who are learning what generosity means. As preschoolers read of Juan Carlos and Gabriela’s generosity, they learn that giving to missions means much more than sharing money. Preschoolers are encouraged to think of ways to share their own gifts and energy and love.

In I Can Do It! Meiying and her family learn what it means to do missions and to help others. Meiying learns that living missionally means that we make friends, invite others to church, pray for others, and look for ways to tell about Jesus.

Both “I Can” books include notes and Scripture for parents and teachers, Bible thoughts to share with preschoolers, and phrases in Spanish (in I Can Give) and Chinese (in I Can Do It!). Additionally, the author, Angie Quantrell, shares a series of practical suggestions for missions activities and giving activities for families.

Each page in the books shares a different way that preschoolers can give or engage in a missional activity. Because they are structured this way, preschool teachers are given the flexibility to select a page or two to add into your weekly sessions.

 

Here are a few suggestions for sharing these books with your preschoolers: 

  1. As you read, ask preschoolers if they can remember a time that they have engaged in each mission action or giving activity. Ask questions such as: Have you ever given a Bible to someone? Can you think of a time that you’ve shown love? How have you given thanks to God?

  2. Encourage preschoolers to look closely at the illustrations. Ask them what they see. Help them to compare and contrast what they see in the books with what they experience in their families. To put this in preschoolers’ language, ask them how the families are the same as or are different from their own.

  3. After reading, share a Bible thought with preschoolers to reinforce that we are obeying God when we give and when we help others.

  4. Ask preschoolers to think of ways that they can give or help others in ways similar to Juan Carlos, Gabriela, and Meiying.

  5. Extend what preschoolers are learning by asking them to draw pictures, create murals, or make booklets sharing what they have learned from these books.

  6. Send a note home each week to parents sharing what you’ve talked about in your reading of I Can Do It! and I Can Give.

  7. Consider sharing the books with a different family each week. Pray for the families who have taken the books home. Ask God to use these books to show them ways that they can engage in missions as a family.

By sharing the books I Can Give and I Can Do It! with your preschoolers, you are teaching them that missions extends far beyond the walls of the church. You are teaching them that God loves all people and that He wants us to share our money, our time, our gifts, and our love with others. As preschoolers develop this understanding, they are moved from being self-centered to being God-centered and others-centered. The preschoolers' love for missions will extend out to their families and into their communities. And, it is this love for missions that has the potential to transform the world.

In 1886, Sunbeams, the precursor to Mission Friends, was begun by Anna Louise Elsom and George Braxton Taylor at Fairmont Baptist Church in Nelson County, Virginia. Reverend Taylor’s words still ring true for us today: “The Sunbeam movement was not altogether to do things for children but that children might do things for others and for Jesus. Not only can children receive, they can also give. They can do their part in sending far and wide the story of Jesus. They do not need to wait until they are men and women to know the romance of modern missions.”

I pray that you will join us in continuing to carry the torch.

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