Daniel in the Lions’ Den
We’ve all been looking forward to this week, when we spent time on Ian’s favorite story Bible story: Daniel in the lion’s den. It also got us back on track with the ABC Jesus Loves Me 3-Year Old Curriculum, picking up where we left off at Week 17. It’s the last Old Testament story we’ll be studying this year, both because of the way the curriculum’s written and because we’re getting so close to our new baby arriving. I have a few ideas we might do if I’m feeling up to it before she gets here, but we’ll probably just spend some time enjoying getting ready for the holidays and our new addition!
I got the pieces for the flannel board set cut out and set up a few days early, and Ian got excited as soon as he spotted them. Even though he could probably recite all of Daniel 6 from memory (we read it every night for almost a year at his request, and we still read it several times a month at bedtime), he wanted me to tell the story using the figures. I did that first day, but he returned to it many times to act out the story himself and tell it to Elijah. (We didn’t read from any Bible storybooks this week, but we’ve probably read the story in all the ones we have at some point due to Ian’s fascination.)
For a little change of pace and excitement, on Wednesday we headed to the zoo to enjoy all the animals, but especially to see lions. What a disappointment! The only lion there was a female who never woke up the whole time we were in that part of the zoo! Ian wanted to go back later and see if she was awake, but this very pregnant mama did not feel quite up to trekking back up the hill to that exhibit. Maybe next time. Thankfully, all the other animals we wanted to see were much more satisfactory, so overall the trip was a success.
Ian’s been enjoying figuring out mazes on the computer, so printed out a Daniel maze from www.dltk-bible.com. I slipped it in a plastic page protector so that using a dry erase marker he could do it over and over again. Then as I was preparing our literature unit for the week (see my post on Angus Lost) there were a number of simple worksheets I printed out as well. That inspired me to go one step further. I had printed out most of the pre-writing worksheets from ABC Jesus Loves Me a while back, and Ian has enjoyed doing them occasionally, but it’s not like there’s a lot of variety. So I decided to make Ian a workbook for the week combining the Daniel maze, the Angus pages, and some prewriting worksheets. He LOVED it. I used a small 3-ring binder with plastic page protectors and he did each page with a dry erase marker so we could erase and reuse. He did these several times throughout the week (at first with my guidance, then on his own) and delighted in showing Daddy how he did them. Plus he was very proud of himself as he got better at them through the week. I think we’ll keep this idea in mind and change out the pages each week with various appropriate activities.
(NOTE: If anyone had asked me if a 3 1/2-year old should be doing worksheets, I would have answered with an emphatic, “NO!” However, Ian started Yamaha music lessons a little while back, and they’ve got him starting to write music notes. I didn’t want him to build bad habits, so we’ve been working on how to hold a pencil, starting a circle in the right place for letter formation, etc. He’s been enjoying that kind of activity so much I thought I’d extend it to school time. I don’t make him do this work (I don’t even usually suggest it unless he’s bored and looking for something to do, and then I include it in a list of options), but I leave it out and if he asks to do it then I help guide him through it. As soon as he wants to quit, I let him.)
I came up with my own idea for our Bible notebook page since most of the lion crafts I saw online used paper plates, which I just didn’t think would lay flat enough for our notebook. Ian is fascinated by handprint activities, so we made a ring of handprints with brown paint for a mane. Then later I just cut out some simple shapes from construction paper to make the rest of the face.
We watched a few related videos this week. I really like the Greatest Heroes and Legends of the Bible: Daniel in the Lion’s Den because it covers most of the major parts of Daniel’s life as recorded in the Bible (NOT just the title story). We also enjoyed Animated Stories from the Bible: Daniel (I could only find it in VHS on Amazon, but we had it on our DVR), and Veggie Tales: Where’s God When I’m Scared? (available streaming on Netflix).
Our memory verse for this lesson was Psalm 56:3. “When I am afraid I will trust in you.” (NIV1984). It was the first song on our iPod playlist:
- “When I Am Afraid” from Hide ’em in Your Heart Vol. 1 by Steve Green
- “Daniel” from The Singing Bible
- “Daniel 6 The Lion’s Den” from the ESV Audio Drama Children’s Bible from Faith Comes By Hearing
- “Royal March of the Lion” from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens (I love to throw in a little classical music when I can find something appropriate! The recording we used came with a wonderful book that helps kids know what they’re listening to with each piece.)
- Karen & Kids podcast: “Old Testament Stories” (also talks about the 3 men in the furnace, Noah, and Jonah)