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Church at Home // The Rules in the Garden

This is part three of a four part series on The World God Made. You’ll find the other sessions here:
1. Creation
2. God made people
4. Looking after the World

I was really keen writing this session but it didn’t become about what are our rules and how we have to say sorry when we do things wrong because that can be quite hard just to chat about as family without our kids feeling like they need to apologise for something or focusing on our relationships as family rather than on our relationships with God. You’ll know what kind of language will work for your kids so you might want to change the way you chat about the story.

If you want to sit down and do ‘kid’s church’ with your kids this can probably be used as it is but I also hope that the ideas might serve as prompts for thinking about how you can chat together throughout the week. I hope most of the things needed are accessible or easy to interchange with things you have in the house!

Please do pick and choose what works for you and don’t feel restricted by the order I’ve written this in. You’ll also notice that lots of bits repeat between sessions as I’ve found that under 5s love and learn so much from routine and repetition. I hope that this will be helpful for you as a family to connect with God whilst you’re trying to figure out what ‘church at home’ looks like for you.


The World God Made – The Rules in the Garden (3)

Start by thanking God that he’s with you. When we pray it’s like stopping and saying hello to God and asking Him to speak to us, teach us things and have fun with us today. 

CHATTING

What is one of the rules we have at home? Why do we have rules? Use this time as an opportunity to chat and get thinking rather than have any right or wrong answers.

SUNG WORSHIP

Creator God by Nick and Becky Drake is a great one for thinking about all the things God made. There’s also a version with actions here which you might like to learn together.

PLAY TIME

Building blocks/lego
Build things together with whatever kind of building blocks you have. Explain before you start that at every activity today there is a rule. The rule for the blocks is “No throwing the blocks.” We can all play with the blocks but if anyone throws them, they will have to go and play with something else. Why do you think we have that as our rule for the blocks?

Play dough (if you have some!)
Make lots of different animals and shapes. Explain that there is a special rule for this activity too. The rule is “No breaking other people’s models.” Why do you think we have that as our rule?

Role Play
Make a role play area with kitchen toys (or bits from your kitchen), and help the children pretend to make dinner, set the table, etc. (Or go one better and get them to set the table ready for lunch later!) Explain that they can play with the kitchen things, but there is a special rule for playing here. The rule is “You have to share the toys.” Why do you think we have that as our rule?

Board game
Play a board game together. What are the rules for the game? Would the game work if no-one followed the rules?

STORY TIME

When I did these sessions with children at church I used a song to encourage them to sit down for a story, we sung it every week so they knew it always meant it was story time. I’m not sure if I’d use this at home or not but thought I’d include it in case it’s helpful.

Sing the sit down song (Tune: “If You’re Happy And You Know It”)
If you’re ready for a story, come sit down.
If you’re ready for a story, come sit down.
Let’s all gather near, so everyone can hear.
If you’re ready for a story, come sit down.

Sit together to have a story.

Gather together some small bags, tubs or whatever you can find to hold a selection of objects related to the story. As today’s story is about rules choose objects that link to that. You can literally just walk around your house and choose some things which link, some ideas to get you started are:
– A picture of a red traffic light
– A ‘Beware of the dog!’ sign
– Some matches, with a sign saying don’t touch!
– Some medicine or tablets.

…All these things are about rules. What would happen if we ignored a red light? What might happen if we ignored the sign about the dog? This medicine says just two tablets when we’re sick. What would happen if we ignored the rule and had it all at once? We would be very sick. What about these matches. They are for grown-ups only to use. We must be having a story about rules. We have rules to keep us safe. Sometimes God gives people rules to keep them safe.

BIBLE

Read the story of Adam and Eve eating the fruit from Genesis 3. If you’re reading from an adult version you might want to have a read first so you can summarise as it’s quite wordy.

Here are some ideas for stopping to ask questions and interact with the story together:
– Can you find two people for us to use as Adam and Eve for our story? Invite the children to go and find some toys. God made Adam and Eve and he thought they were amazing. In fact, He thought they were the best things he had ever made.
– Hold a piece of fruit up. There was fruit on the tree. If Adam and Eve ate fruit from this tree, they would know about all the bad things as well as the good things. God didn’t want them to know about the bad things so he told them, “No eating from this tree”. He wanted to keep them safe. God made rules to keep them safe from things that were bad for them.
– Adam and Eve didn’t listen to God’s rule. They ate the fruit (you could take a bit of your fruit for dramatic effect!) God made them leave the beautiful garden. Now things were harder for them and they were farther away from God.

God wants us to do what he says because he loves us, wants us to be safe and wants us to be close to Him. God made a beautiful world and he wants us to enjoy it. He gave us the Bible so we can follow Him and learn about how much he love us.

We can pray and ask God to help us follow rules to keep us safe and close to Him. Sometimes we can be tempted to make bad choices and to do things that make us feel far away from God. But God loves so much that He wants to be close to us and He forgives us when we say sorry and when we go to Him to fix it.

PRAYER

Thank you God that you made the world and everything in it. Thank you that you made Adam and Eve and that you made us and love us so much. Thank you that you want to be close to us.

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