Published: December 22, 2023
Looking to teach the children in your nursery about God’s love? Here are three tips that will help make God’s love real to them.
Recently I shared the story of the woman at the well with our toddlers. When I had finished, two girls reminded me of the incredible responsibility I have to introduce little ones to the concept of love in creative ways. As storytellers, how we share Bible passages not only introduces toddlers to their heavenly Father, but it also shapes their understanding of what love feels, sounds, looks, smells, and tastes like.
3 Tips for Teaching Your Nursery About God’s Love
1. Use props.
I created a “well” using cardboard bricks and placed a clean bucket of water with a rope attached in the center of it. The woman at the well took care of Jesus when he was tired and thirsty by giving him water to drink. As I served the toddlers each a cup of water from the “well,” I helped them discover what love tastes like.
2. Invite participation.
Make eye contact and use body language as well as voice inflections with varying tones so toddlers see and hear what love looks and sounds like. I exaggerated my voice, facial expressions, and body movements to evoke warmth and wonder when I used keywords such as “Jesus” and “love.” I also asked toddlers to cross their arms over their chests while rocking and saying “looooove” every time I said, “Jesus loves everyone.”
3. Get ready to learn.
I asked little ones to hug each other after I shared how Jesus loves everyone even though we’re all different. They immediately reminded me of their innocence and eagerness to feel loved as well as to show love when they decided to line up to hug me, too. All but two children enthusiastically wrapped their arms around me. These hugs let them experience what love feels and smells like.
The remaining two children melted my heart even more. They taught me that trust is earned over time and that we all want to be loved differently. One recently-adopted 2-year-old waited in line for a hug. After nine months of attending our ministry, this was the first time she was willing to receive physical affection from someone outside her family.
Another little girl stood stiffly at a distance, waiting for me to approach her. As I gingerly approached her, I asked for permission to hug the stuffed animal she was holding. She nodded yes without making eye contact but didn’t attempt to reach out to me. I leaned over and hugged both. That’s when I saw her smile for the first time in months.
God has put eternity in the hearts of little ones. With patience, we can creatively introduce them to what God’s eternal love feels, sounds, looks, smells, and tastes like.
Kal Otis is the owner of Creative Ministry Group Consultants and College Careers Consulting, and she served as a family pastor for over 30 years. She’s passionate about equipping next-generation leaders.
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