2) Songs: Start the Story Hour with the learning our names song. Go around the circle or table and introduce each child.
4) Theme: Remind the children of the theme of the unit: Our joy in the Lord. “Sing of psalm of joy!” Tell them that they are going to learn about a psalm today that teaches us about our joy in the Lord.
5) Reading the Psalm: In order to simplify things for the children, first summarize the main point(s) of the psalm. In Psalm 119, the psalmist is singing about God’s laws or commandments. God taught us how to live not to make our lives hard, but to lead us when life is difficult. David sings that when he suffers, he can take comfort and courage by reading God’s words and following his commands. Then, read a portion of the psalm from the Bible. Since we focus on stanza 40, you can just read a related portion or two as you choose. Then, repeat the main point(s) again.
6) Sing the Psalm: Sing today’s psalm with the children. You may sing all or only one stanza depending on what is appropriate for your psalm. If possible, include some hand motions to highlight key words. In this psalm, try:
lamp/lantern… one hand makes a fist for the lamp, the other hand spreads like rays above for light
feet… point to them
path before me… use your finger to draw a path in front of you
adore… draw a heart on your chest
suffer… let your shoulders sag as if you were tired and make a sad face
recall… remember; tap your finger on your temple
restore… like strengthen; use both arms with clenched fists like a strong man
7) Text… you may use a verse from the psalm in the Bible or choose a key line or two from the stanza that you chose to sing with the children. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet” Psalm 119 stanza 40
- Candle Painting… give each child a picture of a candle on a stand. Give them some time to color the picture with crayons (not washable markers). Direct them to color the flame red or orange. Then talk about how light doesn’t stay just in the flame, but spread out all around. Put a squirt of yellow paint right over the flame. Give the children brushes or sponges and let them spread the paint outwards from the flame so that it covers the whole page!
Ps. Washable markers will bleed, so color the picture with crayons.
- Candle… you can do a similar sort of thing with glue and yellow tissue paper. Have the children color the picture first. Then use a paintbrush or sponge to “paint” the picture with white glue and cover with a thin sheet of yellow tissue paper for “light” all around. Or just use a circle of yellow tissue paper around the flame and rays and coat with a second layer of slightly watered glue. The color from the tissue paper will bleed so that you get an orange crayon flame, a dark yellow tissue paper circle and a pale yellow circle of dye around that.
- Candle Holder... save clean, empty baby food jars (one per child). Have the children decorate the jars and pop in a tea light candle before they take it home. Here are some decorating options: 1) glitter glue... Allow the children to draw squiggles and shapes with the glitter glue directly on the outside of the jar. 2) jewels... use white glue to attach flat backed "jewels" to the jar. 3) stickers... decorate outside of jar with sparkling stars or other simple shapes 4) tissue paper... cut tissue paper into small squares. Paint white glue (thinned with water to help it spread thinly) on the the jar with a paintbrush and attach tissue paper squares. Caution the children to go easy with the glue or it will take days for the jar to dry.
9) Closing prayer... say the Lord's prayer together with the children
10) Going Home: Round up all the children around the table or sit in a circle again. Sing today’s Psalm together and then sing the closing. Then, check to see if all the children have collected their crafts and coloring sheets before they go home. Say goodbye and tell them that you enjoyed learning about God together and were happy to have them today! You were, weren’t you?