As our lesson today was on John the Baptist, we started out with a quick, clothespin grasshopper/locust craft, during the busy-time, as the children arrived. There are several different versions of this craft in Google images alone. In fact, Ticia over at Adventures in Mommydom made one using a plastic spoon, instead of a clothespin, for her own lesson on John the Baptist.
I thought I'd share our method, since it worked nicely with the 4-5 yr old crowd. I gave the children clothespins (which they colored green with markers, on top of paper towels), pre-cut pipe cleaners for legs and antennae, and let them choose from a selection of different sized googly eyes.
After they had finished coloring their clothespins, I placed a piece of clear tape, sticky side up on the table, and helped them press the leg sticks across the tape...
...and then the clothespin on top of that. I snipped and folded the tape around onto the sides of the clothespins, and showed the children how they could gently bend the legs to make feet, so the bugs would stand.
Then, they slipped the shorter antennae pieces through the hole in their clothespins...
...and I twisted the ends together around the top for them, and added dots of glue for the eyes.
I reminded the children about the story of Mary going to see Elizabeth, that we had studied during the Christmas season, and asked them if they remembered the name of Elizabeth's baby (which happily, they did).
We watched a quick clip about John the Baptist from What's in the Bible volume 10.
And then, I gave the children coloring sheets printed from the What's in the Bible website, for them to glue camel's hair (brown yarn) to his outfit (an idea from Dannielle's Place)
I found an idea from the Watermark Church website for making paper chains with the children, by asking them who had told them about Jesus, and then adding a strip for each person that had either told them about Jesus, or who they could tell about Jesus.
I used this idea to go along with our verse snippet - "John told others about Jesus. Luke 3:18" by writing the words onto strips ahead of time, then as we made our chains, we were reminded that John told others about Jesus, and so can we we.
Finally, we ended our lesson by talking about John baptizing people, after they turned away from their sins - preparing them to meet Jesus, and how he ultimately baptized Jesus too, initiating the active portion of His ministry, illustrated by a blue frosted graham cracker and teddy graham snack, which they loved putting together (though now I can't find where that one came from).
A word of caution to the wise: when giving children, dressed in church clothes, blue frosting to slathering onto graham crackers, painting smocks might not be a bad idea.