Threes and Fours Are Growing

Grocery labels

Tenley bursts into our Mission Friends room and announces, “I’m here!” She is full of energy and ready to see what we have prepared for her to do in Mission Friends. If you teach 3-year-olds or 4-year-olds, you know how eager they are to learn. They are willing to try new activities and do new things. They also enjoy repeating favorite activities, which gives them practice at newly growing skills. How do we encourage 3s and 4s to use these newfound skills as we teach them about missions?

  • 3s and 4s are still developing the large muscles of their arms, and progressing to the hands and fingers. Use the large-size paper at the easel for painting or at the table for drawing so there is room for their arm to sweep across the page. The thicker preschool crayons and paintbrushes allow for easier gripping with their hand muscles.
  • Give opportunities for 3s and 4s to manipulate objects or move things around. Provide cardboard tubes and blocks for them to build Middle Eastern buildings in Blocks. Using the large wooden beads to make patterns helps them use their hands in moving the beads around.
  • Introduce scissors by first letting them tear paper, then cutting large open areas. Give them practice in cutting scrap paper or scraps of craft foam. As their fingers develop later, they will be able to cut on a thick line and then cut around objects.
  • 3s and 4s are realizing that the words we speak can be written in print. Write the Bible thoughts on bookmarks and show them where the words are written in the Bible. Write labels on items in the room, and use items such as kit item 11, “Grocery Labels,” from the Mission Friends Resource Kit and Pictures.
  • The vocabulary of 3s and 4s is growing. They will hear you use words that are new to them, such as the names of countries, states, or cities. Use words such as the names of foods and animals from the missions areas. Show pictures or explain new words in simple terms.
  • 3s and 4s are learning concepts such as colors, numbers, and the alphabet. Reinforce these concepts by counting the number of people in the missionary family or asking preschoolers to look for something red (yellow, blue, orange, etc.) in pictures from the Mission Friends Resource Kit and Pictures.

As our 3s and 4s grow physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally, their newfound skills can dovetail with their spiritual growth as they learn about missions. You can find out more about preschoolers’ development and growth through the interactive course, Uniquely Designed: Preschoolers, at As we know more about preschoolers and the ways they grow, we can lead them toward God in learning about His love for all people.

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