This year, our preschool class at Austin Ridge Bible Church in Dripping Springs, TX were studying the parable of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10:25-37. The craft planned to go along with this lesson was called Love Our Neighbor.
In the story, Jesus is answering a Jewish lawyer’s question regarding what he has to do to have eternal life. Jesus answers him by asking him what the Scriptures said about that question. The lawyer tells him that the Scriptures say to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus told him that was correct, and that if he did that he would have eternal life, but the man asked him who his neighbor was and Jesus told him the story of the Good Samaritan. In the story, he was the only one who came to the aid of his enemy and showed love and he was a good neighbor to the man.
Love our Neighbor Craft Activity
With our craft, we wanted to focus on ways that we could actually love our neighbor, and expand the idea of a “neighbor” to include anyone you meet, not just the person who lives next door to you. This was a difficult concept for the children to understand since they usually only had heard of “neighbors” as those who live near you.
I had originally drawn inspiration from a craft I saw on The Orthodox Childrens Press. In that craft, the hearts had names of those that you love, but I thought it would work better for us to think of ways we could love others and be a good neighbor to them, so that is what is written on our hearts. I also thought it would be an appropriate time to make sure they knew the ASL sign for “I love you”. I saw a fun Valentine card idea where the handprint is drawn and cut out and the fingers folded out and down to make the sign. I saw the handprint idea at Busy Mommy Media.
- Pre-cut different colored hearts ahead of time, either with a die-cut machine, or by hand. If you have older children, you certainly could show them how to make a valentine style heart using the the fold and cut method. We also pre-printed the Bible verse-Luke 10:37 before class and mounted it to a small colored piece of paper to make it stand out in the center of their paper.
- As the children come into the classroom, trace their hands onto red construction paper, and cut those out so they are ready for the craft time.
- The kids glue the verse in the center of their paper, then glue down their hand Make sure you instruct them NOT to glue down the ring and middle fingers, then glued their hearts all around. Have them bend down and out the correct fingers and practice actually doing the ASL sign for “I Love You” together.
- This last step for us took the longest, since most of our kids are not able to really read and write words yet. Our junior and adult volunteers wrote down ways that we can be neighbors and show love to others on their hearts, as they discussed the ideas with the children. We had been talking about many different ways during the craft time and activities before that, so it wasn’t difficult to come up with things to write.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Feed neighbor’s pets
- Pick up trash in my neighborhood
- Open the door other others
- Bake cookies for someone else
- Clean room for parents
- Share toys
- Give water bottles to homeless
- Make a card for someone
- Pray for others
- Volunteer to help
- Visit a nursing home
We encouraged the children to put the paper up at home and try to do some of the actions during the week as they practiced loving their neighbors. This was a very successful and relatively easy craft to reinforce an important Bible truth. You can even modify this activity for the classroom, afterschool, or a summer program.
Lisa Baker is a retired 5th/6th grade teacher. She is also the mother of two grown sons and a sweet Morkie puppy, currently residing in Dripping Springs, TX, which is 30 minutes west of Austin. She started her own business as a children’s entertainer and storyteller, and entertained in local bookstores, churches, schools, events, and birthday parties for many years. Lisa currently volunteers in her local library for story times several times a month, as well as teach preschool at her church, Austin Ridge-Dripping Springs.