Our lesson in Sunday school, this week, was on David playing the harp for Saul, but really more about his time as a shepherd, playing the harp, writing songs/psalms, and focusing in specifically on Psalm 23.
We started out making craft stick and rubber-band harps (an idea from Toddler Sunday School Crafts) to play while we sang our Sunday school songs.
I pre-glued the craft sticks, so the children just had to add rubber-bands, and decorate the sides with markers. They don't make much noise, but they are fun to hold up next to your ear, and pluck away at while you sing "Little David Play on Your Harp".
As we talked about what a shepherd is and what he does, we played a game of "protect the sheep". The children blew through straws to knock lions, wolves, and bears (gray, tan, and brown pom-poms) away from the sheep (white pom-poms), while trying to keep all the sheep together on the table.
Then we used some of the white pom-poms and bendy straws to decorate pictures the children drew of a shepherd. I quickly wrote the beginning of Psalm 23 at the top of each page, and then we set them aside to dry...
...while we moved on to a snacktivity to help us better understand the Psalm. First, each child made a sheep of their own (slightly modified from those at WHOSTHEFARRIS) using a jumbo marshmallow, a mini marshmallow, two pretzel sticks, and one mini pretzel.
We broke the pretzels in half (it's a good idea to have extra pretzel sticks on hand)...
...to make 4 short legs to stick into the bottom of the marshmallow. I let the children push the pretzels into the marshmallows on their own - and they really did a good job.
Then, we stood the sheep up, and pinched the fronts, to make a sticky part (having wet wipes ready, is a must)...
...that we kind of pushed the mini pretzels into, so they would hang down, like heads.
Then we tore the mini marshmallow in half, and used half to stick to the backside of the sheep for a tail...
...and the other half, torn in half again, for ears.
We placed our sheep on plates next to green pastures (green frosted graham crackers), and still waters - cups of water, that first we jiggled around to make waves, and then we held them steady, to still the water. Of course, I poured too much water into one cup, so we could talk about cups "flowing over" - with more water than we need.
As we ate our high sugar snack (I would have loved to have come up with something healthier -these are other people's children, after all - but I was at a loss) we talked about how sheep like to eat green grass, and drink fresh water almost as much as we like frosting and marshmallows. The Shepherd (Jesus) leads his sheep (us) to all the good things they (we) need.
And when things do get frightening (like when the sheep were surrounded by lions, and bears, and wolves) the sheep know the Shepherd has his staff (like we had our straws) to keep the sheep (us) safe, and where they (we) belong.