Long Story Short: God Creates Man
There is so much fundamental truth packed into the first book of the Bible. Our devotional, Long Story Short by Marty Machowski, goes through the Old Testament in 78 stories; the first 26 are from Genesis. That means it’s a pretty crucial book for understanding the overarching story of the gospel. This week took us through Genesis 2, and even just this one chapter contains so much. You’ve got God creating Adam from the dust and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. Then there’s the Garden of Eden, including the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which will play prominently in the next chapter. You also see Adam being alone and how it was the first thing about which God said, “It is not good.” Then Adam named all the animals but none of them were right for being his helper, so God took one of Adam’s rib and created Eve from it. And so the chapter ends with a picture of the first marriage.
Over the course of the week we read through the entire chapter during Bible time before the children went to bed. The devotional covers 5 nights, which provides a lot of flexibility if we’re getting to bed too late one or two nights. However, we want to try to keep the habit of doing Bible time every night we’re home at bedtime, so I’ve been jotting down ideas for additional readings when needed. This week we needed to fill both extra nights, which we did by reading the corresponding story from The Gospel Story Bible (also by Marty Machowski) one night. As I said last week, this one’s a little wordy for preschoolers, but it was really easy to read “conversationally” with the boys. It’s not just a retelling of the story, but it also discusses some of the concepts that are in the devotional and helps point to Jesus. I may or may not use it every week, but it definitely works well to fill in when we need another night of material. Tonight we’ll finish out the week with Psalm 139:13-16.
My favorite part of using Long Story Short for our Bible curriculum is that even if all we do is our ten-minute devotions at night, the boys are getting solid teaching and growing in their knowledge of God. Still, I try to take time during the day to reinforce the lesson with various activities. Here’s what we did this week.
I’ve started collecting picture books that go with specific Bible stories. Some we read over and over, while others may only be flipped through. My point is simply to keep the story in the forefront of our minds throughout the week. We keep a basket of “school” books in a prominent spot in our living room and the boys pull things out to read several times a day. A few of last week’s Creation books included this part of the story, so I kept those out:
- God Made it for You!: The Story of Creation by Charles Lehmann
- The Real Story of Creation by Paul L. Maier (The text is too advanced for my preschoolers, but I liked having it out for the pictures.)
- The Creation Story for Children by Helen and David Haidle
I also added a new story:
- Adam & Eve’s New Day by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (not part of the biblical account, but a thought-provoking story from Hebrew midrash that makes you consider what things were really like for Adam and Eve)
It seems to me that learning to read has a bit of a snowball effect. The more success a child experiences, the more he wants to read, and all that practice makes him even more successful. Ian has begun to pick up some momentum and is really excited about starting to be able to read on his own. Here’s what we used this week for practice:
- We Learn About God from Rod and Staff Publishers (a beginning “reader” that’s right at Ian’s level)
- The Beginner’s Bible by Karyn Henley (Ian can almost read this on his own. We both read aloud simultaneously on this one so he doesn’t get stuck on any harder words.)
- Adam and Eve minibook from Christian Preschool Printables (If you need help folding it, here are directions.)
The Bible verse cards I made last week were so helpful in encouraging Ian in his reading, I decided to make them a regular part of our lesson each week. I wasn’t sure if they’d be as successful this time, since the verse was unfamiliar to him until this week. (“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18) I followed the same steps, however, and I was amazed how well he did.
- I laid all the cards out in order and read them to Ian, pointing to each one.
- He read them out loud as he pointed.
- I mixed them up and had him find the words in order. I didn’t read any of the cards for him, but I would recite the verse if he couldn’t remember what came next.
- He mixed them up and put them back in order all by himself.
Going through these steps meant reciting the verse over and over to himself, which was great reinforcement. He was having so much fun Elijah wanted to join in, and Ian enthusiastically read words for him and helped him participate. It was a great learning experience for both of them.
I’ve been working on Ian with his drawing skills (until recently I couldn’t get much other than a scribble out of him), so I decided to do a little lesson on drawing people (well, stick people). He did really well with it, but this was definitely a week where our notebook page was beyond Elijah. I just drew his people for him (don’t laugh, I was drawing upside down). Ian got really into to and decided to draw some plants (roots and all), since they were in the Garden of Eden.
I usally try to print out a few activity pages for Ian’s “workbook,” but this week the only thing I found was a maze. We found plenty of other things to do though! I printed and laminated the “Adam Names the Animals” file folder game from Christian Preschool Printables, though I skipped the folder to make it work with my storage system. Ian blew me away with his reading ability on this game. I didn’t read a single word for him. (Looking at his picture when he’d completed his board, you can see he was almost as proud as Mama!) I laid out all the animal names and both boards and told him to find the matches. After he’d completed his board he helped his brother by reading the card and then letting Elijah find the correct picture. It has been great to see such cooperative learning this week. It helps boost Ian’s confidence and it drives Elijah to want to learn more to keep up.
This story offered lots of chances to learn a little about our bodies. The opening activity from the devotional involved feeling for our pulse. Neither boy was familiar with the word “nostrils” when we read it, so we talked about that and then reviewed it through the week as we re-read the story. The creation of Eve also led us to a discussion about our ribs. I found a cute picture from Little Blots to illustrate.
One night our devotion talked about husbands and wives, marriage, and creating a family unit. We pulled out our wedding pictures and enjoyed looking through them, talking about what a special day it was and what it means to be married. We’ve been to two weddings this summer, so Ian especially enjoyed seeing the pictures with us in the leading roles.
Our favorite activity, however, was making gingerbread couples. There’s a delicious recipe at dltk-kids.com. (I substituted 2/3 whole wheat flour and used organic whole cane sugar instead of brown sugar, and they were still the best gingerbread cookies anyone in our family could remember.) We called the flour “dust” and formed our gingerbread people. (We added “hair” to some of them to create girls.) Ian went a little crazy decorating them (definitely not “naked” like the real Adam and Eve). He loved every step of the process and kept asking, ” Can we do this again sometime?”
Last week as I was planning this lesson I stumbled across a CD called Questions With Answers Vol. 1: God and Creation. I was just looking for something to go along with our memory verse but I ended up downloading the entire album. It’s formatted like a catechism, with a question posed and then answers that are usually directly quote from Scripture. (Chords and lyrics are available on the Songs for Saplings website.) After listening just once I fell in love. What a great way to introduce important theological concepts to children! I was afraid the boys wouldn’t be into it, but instead they kept asking to “do that one again” after every song. I wish we’d had the album last week, because it seemed a little overwhelming to put all of it on our iPod playlist this time around and many of the songs would have been a good fit with that story. I chose a few songs to include with our current lesson, and I’m sure we’ll listen to the rest another time.
Our “Listening Lesson” this week:
- “Who Were Our First Parents?” (contained our memory verse, though in a different translation) from Questions With Answers Vol. 1: God and Creation
- “This is My Father’s World” from Hymns for a Kid’s Heart Vol. 1 (our hymn of the month)
- “All Creatures of Our God And King” from 100 Ways to Know God Loves me & 100 Songs to Love Him Back
- “Genesis 2 Made in God’s image” from the ESV Audio Drama Children’s Bible from Faith Comes By Hearing
- “For the Beauty of the Earth” from from a CD of Bible songs by Great American Kids I found at the 99-Cent Store
- “You for Me and Me for You” from Songs from the Beginner’s Bible
- Genesis 1:27 from G.T and the Halo Express: Made to be a V.I.P.
- “Who Made You?” from Questions With Answers Vol. 1: God and Creation
- “How Did God Make Adam and Eve?” from Questions With Answers Vol. 1: God and Creation
- “What did God Give Adam and Eve Besides Bodies?” from Questions With Answers Vol. 1: God and Creation
- “What Were Adam and Eve Like When God Made Them?” from Questions With Answers Vol. 1: God and Creation
- “For the Beauty of the Earth” from 100 Ways to Know God Loves me & 100 Songs to Love Him Back