I am really excited to have Cheryl Pickett as my guest poster today. You can find out more about her in her bio below.
Kids and animals, more often than not, they go together like peanut butter and jelly. What’s great about that is God gives us lots of opportunity to use this connection to help build our children’s faith along with teaching them about His wonderful creation. Here are just a few examples of how include science, fun and faith with a kid’s natural love of animals:(photo credit: Jan Willem Geertsma)
1. Sea Star
Believe it or not, a summer trip to the ocean or aquarium offers an opportunity to talk about Christmas and the Christ child! Most adults grew up calling this creature a “starfish” but it’s not really a fish at all so scientists are really encouraging the use of its proper name. If your child gets to see (and hopefully touch) a sea star, a simple connection is to ask them what story in the Bible talks about a star and see where the conversation goes.
(photo credit: marshmallow)
2. Brown Bear
Brown bears are smart builders. When it’s time to build a den, they choose their site very carefully. They look for places that are solid, often near a rock or large log if they can find it. Another big goal is to make sure the ground is not sloped so water and snow don’t flow in as easily.
Building a house on a firm foundation…sound familiar? Bears have the right idea because Matthew 7:24-25 instructs us to build our faith on a firm foundation too.
Have some family fun time with this idea and make a further connection by going out to the sandbox. Build a “house” on the sand then use the garden hose to show how easy it is to wash it all away. Do the same on a harder surface to show the difference. They’ll learn a little about water power too!
(Photo by Cheryl Empey)
3. American Alligator
When you think of an alligator, what comes to mind? Do you think of a cuddly animal that you could snuggle up to? Probably not, unless one of your favorite stuffed animals happens to be an alligator.
Most people think of alligators as tough and dangerous. This makes sense because they aren’t soft or snuggly at all. Their skin is thick and covered with bony plates and scales that protect them similar to the armor that knights or soldiers wear. Alligators also have powerful jaws and the most forceful bite of any animal on earth. All of these traits help them to survive and defend themselves.
The faith connection this time is that as Christians, God gives us our own armor and strength through the words of the Bible so that we can defend our faith when we need to.
As a reminder of this lesson, kids can easily draw their own gators: Place a piece of green or white printer paper (or construction paper) on a flat surface horizontally. Put your left hand on the paper so that the fingers are together pointing right. Now, slide the thumb down a little for the gator’s lower jaw. Trace around the hand and wrist. Draw in eyes and a few teeth, color it green if you used white paper and you’ve got your very own Grinin’ Gator!
Psalm 104: 24 (NIV) How many are your works O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Cheryl Pickett is the author of Creation Inspirations: A New View of the World Around You. Find out more about the book and how to connect kids to faith via nature at her website www.creationinspirations.com.