2) Songs: Start the Story Hour with the learning our names song. Go around the circle or table and introduce each child.
3) Prayer... thank God for his steadfast love.
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 136, the psalmist is singing about the steadfast love of the Lord. Steadfast means strong and dependable. God promised to love his people no matter what we do. God loved us from the beginning of the world when everything was created. God loved his people when he rescued them from slavery in Egypt. God love us today- remembering our tears and providing us with all good things. Then read the psalm from the Bible. Then, repeat the main point(s) again. Point out the refrain in this psalm and encourage the children to say it with you as you read the psalm through 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:
thanks… fingertips on lips, then bring your hand out palm up in front of you (this is the ASL sign for thank-you)
Lord… point upwards to heaven
Love… draw heart on chest, or use arms to “hug”
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. “For his steadfast love is sure; it shall evermore endure” Psalm 136
- His Steadfast Love... You'll need:red construction paper,scissors,markers,heart stickers, string. Directions:Take a red piece of construction paper and cut a big heart out of it. Glue the text in the center. Have the children decorate with heart stickers and markers. Punch holes at the top of heart and tie about a foot of string to each heart so that the children can hang the heart around a doorknob.
- His Steadfast love stamp painting… Cut firm sponges into various shape hearts. Give each child a sheet of paper with the words: God loves me! “For his steadfast love is sure; it shall evermore endure” Psalm 136...in the center. Provide several different colors of paint and allow the children to dip the sponges into the paint and stamp the hearts all over the paper. If you like, you could sprinkle glitter or valentines theme confetti over some of the hearts while the paint is wet. When dry, you could glue this onto a sheet of construction paper and add string as well.
Give Away a Heart... cut out for each child: a large heart, two small hands, two small feet, and four long strips (for arms/legs). Show the children how to glue the "heart person" together with arms and hands on the sides and legs and feet on the bottom. Draw on a face and use googly eyes if you like. To make this really special, put some chocolate "hugs and kisses" in a snack sized bag and staple to the heart person. Tell the children to share the hugs and kisses with someone they love!
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 song. 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?