[Ed. note: This article is part of our weekly series of resources for churches and families called Cultivating Community published on Thursdays.]
It is never too early to start learning about creation care. In fact, Sunday school might be the most “fertile soil” for sowing lessons about God’s creation; the imaginations of children are often just one step away from wonder at the world.
Flourish has talked about how to take Sunday school outside; now, here is a guide to bringing the outdoors inside for a hands-on creation-care lesson.
Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It
The mission is to tell the biblical story of God’s love for creation while teaching the kids in your Sunday school class how to plant and care for their own seeds.
- Get ready for a mess. When kids are involved, cleaning up after any activity can feel like walking into a disaster area. Add water and dirt into the mix and things could get ugly. Make clean-up easier by doing the dirty work of planting the seeds on a tarp or in an area of the classroom without carpet. Have cleaning supplies on hand for any messes.
- Gather supplies. For this activity you will need some seed planters (old egg cartons or Dixie cups work well). You will also need a few pots of soil, spoons to fill the seed cups, and a jug of water.
- Choose your seeds. Seeds can be purchased at any garden store, or, if you want to be more adventurous, you can gather seeds from native plants growing near your church (or even from produce you buy at a farmers market). You can give the same seeds to each student or choose an assortment. You can also label the seeds and keep track of what they are or let it be a surprise the kids can discover as their seeds grow.
- Pray. Open the class with prayer. Thank God that he created the earth and made it so beautiful and that he gave us plants to give us pleasure and provide for our needs. Thank him that he gave us his Son to provide for our ultimate need.
- Ask Questions. Ask the kids to share their favorite memories of being outside, what their favorite thing about nature is, or other creation-related questions to get their minds ready for the lesson.
- Explain the activity. Tell the kids that they are going to be planting seeds and will get to take them home and watch them grow.
- Have a mini science lesson. Ask the kids what a seed needs to grow and use their answers as an interactive way to tell them about how to plant, water, and care for their seeds.
- Plant the seeds. Split the class into groups and give each group a few seed cups and seeds. Have each student write their name on their seed cup. Help them plant and water their seeds then set them aside to take home at the end of the lesson.
- Talk about the Bible. Read the passage in Matthew 6 when Jesus talks about how God feeds the birds and clothes the lilies of the field. Ask the kids for their reactions to the story. Explain that God made the world and cares for it, even little plants! Connect those truths with the activity so that they have a concrete reminder of God’s care for creation every time they see the seeds they planted.
- Talk to parents. As the kids get picked up by their parents at the end of the lesson, explain the activity to their parents and ask them to help their kids take care of the seeds as they grow.
Follow-up with the kids every Sunday and see how their seeds are growing, and follow-up with us on our Facebook page and let us know how the lesson went!