As we reviewed the memory verse during our Wednesday night AWANA lesson, Amelia, one of the three-year-olds in my Cubbies group, blurted out, “I’m going to color you.”
“Let’s keep practicing our Bible verse,” I suggested cheerily, trying to distract her from taking us off the lesson topic. Amelia and the other sweet-faced preschoolers colored their Bible story worksheet as we practiced the verse.
My usual strategy is to engage the Cubbies’ preschool motor skills with coloring, in efforts to keep them on task and focused for several minutes, as we learn the Bible memory verse together. As newbies to God’s Word, the preschoolers need to have the verse broken down into understandable portions, so I discuss the meaning of the words, describe the phrases, and link the concepts together. I like to use hand motions, rhythm, sing-song articulation—whatever I can—to aid memorization. A five to eight word memory verse is challenging for preschoolers who have never memorized text before, not to mention that they are not used to paying attention for 15 minute lessons or focusing on academics in the evening.
Soon my entire group of three-year-olds followed Amelia’s lead and started coloring pictures of me. Rather than forbid it, I tried to ignore it, as I pressed on with the lesson. It was quite comical to see the group so focused, although not on anything related to what I was teaching. Peeking at Amelia’s drawing, I held back laughter as I identified circles that represented my head, slashes of hair sticking straight out, and lines of extra appendages multiplying off the circle.
Besides the usual management of diversions, my challenge was to present the word ‘create’. A three-year-old knows the word ‘made,’ but to create, to make something out of nothing, is a concept that even we as adults find difficult to understand. The concept of calling forth something out of nothing requires a faith leap. Theorists, theologians, and scientists have dedicated entire careers to explaining the earth’s origin.
As a volunteer presenting a Cubbies AWANA lesson, my job is to present the topic and pray that these precious little ones will begin to understand who God is and how He loves them. Despite the distractions, and to my surprise, all four three-year-olds learned our Bible verse: “God created the heavens and the earth.”
May our amazing Creator God help these precious preschoolers continue to learn more about Him.