Here are 5 ways to creatively teach John 3:16 to preschoolers to help them learn this most beloved verse in the Bible.
How do you teach a preschooler to memorize John 3:16, or any verse for that matter? You must present the verse using creative visuals and activities to keep the child’s interest. Today, I want to give you 5 ways to creatively teach John 3:16 to your little ones.
I am a firm believer that a preschooler IS NOT too young to begin learning the Bible.
As Christians, we believe that the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible instructs us how to live our lives for the glory of God, which is why were created – to give God glory. Therefore, your children are never too young to learn about God and His great love for them.
Teaching John 3:16 to your little ones will help them be introduced to God’s great love.
John 3:16 says this: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)
You might think this verse has a lot of words for a little tike, but if you try the following fun ways to teach this verse, you may be surprised at the results.
1. For God So Loved the World: A Bible Memory Verse Activity for John 3:16
This Bible memory verse activity for John 3:16 for young children will be a fun addition to any children’s church lesson in which you want to share God’s abundant love.
One of my preschool chapel programs is called “I Can Be a Missionary.” It’s a program that introduces young children to the job of a missionary. This is the definition I give to the children at the beginning of the chapel time:
A missionary is a person who loves God so much that they are willing to go anywhere in the world that He sends them to tell the people all about Jesus.
Of course, this is a simple definition, but it is a good introduction for young minds.
I then proceed to tell the children that missionaries use God’s Word, the Bible, to share the good news about Jesus. Missionaries tell all the great Bible stories and they share all the great Bible verses to teach others about Jesus. For example, missionaries love to read John 3:16 to the people they meet.
Get ready to share this sweet activity to help them learn more about the truth of John 3:16
What to prepare for the Bible memory verse activity for John 3:16 for young children:
For this activity, you will want to gather either several pictures of different countries or several pictures of different people from different countries. Below, I am providing you with some cards showing some of both. Print the pictures and place them in a bag from which the children will pick.
The last thing you need to do is draw a large circle on the floor to represent the world. You will want this to be large enough so all your children can safely run around its perimeter.
How to play the Bible memory verse activity for John 3:16 for young children:
You will want to introduce John 3:16 to the children with the following moves:
For God (point up high to God)
so loved (criss-cross their chests as a sign of love)
the world (raise your hands above your head into a big “world”)
that He gave (start with palms down about chest high, then flip them up and over like you are giving a gift)
His one (hold up an index finger showing the number one)
only Son (put your ams out to the sides like making a big cross with your body)
that whoever (fan your arms out to everyone)
believes in Him (tap an index finger to the side of your brain)
will not perish (shake an index finger back and forth)
but have eternal life (criss-cross your hands and arms facing down to the ground then bring them up and around in a big gesture way up high)
Have the children say the verse together several times.
Now have the children go over to the “world” you created on the ground and ask each child to find a place on its edge to stand.
Say the following: Boys and girls, our Bible verse of John 3:16 says that God loved the world. Let’s pretend this is a picture of our great big world. Our world was created by God, but not everyone in the world knows about God, so we need to be willing to tell everyone in the world about God and His Son Jesus. For example, we need to be willing to go to Japan. (Pull out the country of Japan that is in your bag and show it to the children. Then place the card of Japan inside your “world” circle. Repeat this line of talking with the other cards that you have. Once you have shown all the cards, have the children gather them all up and put them back in your bag.)
Continue by saying: OK, boys and girls, let’s pretend we are going to travel all around the world to share Jesus while we say our Bible verse of John 3:16. We will run around the circle and say our verse. Once we have said our verse, I will let one of you pick a country or person out of my bag and you will get to place it inside our world. Then we will all say, “Jesus loves you!” Alright, is everybody ready to go around the world? Here we go!
Tip: You don’t have to say all of John 3:16 if you think it would be too much for your children. You might just have them say, “For God so loved the world.” Or make it a little longer by adding the next phrase of “that He gave His one and only Son.” Just use your discretion.
Pictures of Children from 4 Different Countries
Pictures of 4 Different Countries
2. John 3:16: A Bible Verse Song
I love putting Bible verses to music. John 3:16 was one of the very first Bible verse songs that I wrote. I needed a verse that showcased God’s love for my Fruit of the Spirit program. So, I thought it would be fun to add a little Hawaiian flavor to the scripture and what I came up with is what you will see in the video below.
Video of the moves to John 3:16: A Bible Verse Song by The Scripture Lady
3. Preach it, Preacher!: A Bible Activity for John 3:16
Preschoolers love receiving gifts. Whether from Grandma Jane or Uncle Stan, they love getting presents. So, it’s definitely not too early to begin teaching them that God loves to give gifts and that He has many to give to all who love Him. Of course, the greatest gift God has given us is His precious son, Jesus Christ. John 3:16 proclaims this truth which says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Here is a fun Bible School activity to help your little ones learn how generous God truly is. I call it “Preach it, Preacher!”
Here’s what you do:
Bible verse games are fun and for this one you will need to prepare 3 posters that portray pictures of 4 different gifts God has given us. I have provided you with the lists below:
- God’s Son – use a picture of a cross
- God’s Love – use a picture of a heart
- A Home
- The Bible
- Sun, Moon and Stars
You will also need to make duplicates of all the pictures you placed on the posters. Finally, it would be extra fun if you brought in a small-sized suit blazer for the “preacher” to wear. Your kids will love this additional detail.
How to play:
After introducing the lesson, pick one child to be the “preacher”. Let this child wear the suit blazer. The rest of the class will be the “congregation”. Hand out the twelve duplicate pictures to the children in the “congregation”. Tell the class that they are going to pretend to be in church. The “preacher” is going to give a sermon about God’s wonderful gifts. You will give the “preacher” one of the posters and ask him to hold it up while “giving the sermon”. I suggest you say the following dialogue and have the child repeat after you:
Welcome to our church. (Child repeats after each phrase below.)
Today’s sermon is about God’s gifts.
God loves to give gifts!
Here are four gifts God has given.
God has given us ____________. (At this point, say the gift pictured in the image. For example, it might be the picture of a heart for God’s love. After each gift is described, the child who is holding the gift in the congregation is instructed to stand up and shout, “Hallelujah!” Then he or she could sit down. Follow this line of play for all four gifts. Pick a new child to be the preacher for each new poster. End the dialogue with the following: “God is good and gives good gifts.”)
Before playing this activity you might want to introduce the lesson in the following way:
Raise your hand and tell me the best gift you have ever received. (Wait for responses.) Wow! Those are great gifts. Did you know that God likes to give gifts too? It’s true! Our Bible verse found in John 3:16 says this: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Let’s play a fun game to help us learn more about other gifts God has given us. It’s called “Preach it, Preacher!”
4. Carmen Sings Jesus Loves Me This I Know: A Scripture Lady Character Song and Coloring Page for John 3:16
If you know me, you know that I love to interact with my “family” of characters. During one of my performances, your children might meet “Scripture Granny,” my wonderful grandma. Or they might meet my “cousin” Pollyanne or my “cousin” Carmen.
Today, I am sharing with you one of my favorite renditions of “Jesus Loves Me this I Know” with my cousin Carmen.
John 3:16 is all about how much God loves us and pairing the old classic “Jesus Loves Me this I Know” with a coloring page for John 3:16 can be a winner.
Here is the video of Carmen singing “Jesus Loves Me this I Know” with a Latin flare!
After sharing Carmen’s “Jesus Loves Me this I Know” song, have your little ones color the following picture of John 3:16 showing God’s love for children.
John 316 Coloring Page as a pdf file
5. The “Who Does God Love?” Heart: A Bible Activity for John 3:16
John 3:16 declares that God loves the world. But it’s important for your preschooler to know that God specifically loves them.
Here is a fun activity that you can pair with your teaching of John 3:16 to help them learn this truth.
Valentine’s Day is almost here and I have a VERY fun idea for you to try with your little ones that will assure each one of them that God Loves Them! I use this idea in my “God Loves You” program and the kids think it’s grand.
To prepare the “Who Does God Love?” Heart you will need to do the following:
Simply get a nice heart shaped box – they are everywhere right around Valentine’s Day – and a piece of mirror that will fit nicely inside. Michael’s craft/art store or other similar stores will have the mirrors in all different shapes and sizes. Safely secure the mirror inside the box.
When you have the children’s attention, tell them you have something very special you want to show them. Say that you have something that will tell them who God loves.
Ask them if they would like to know who God loves. Of course, they will all shout out, “Yes!” Then proceed to have each child come up one by one.
Have them stand facing the audience or other children. Take the lid off the box and have them “look inside to see who God loves”.
Most children will get a big grin on their face when they see themselves in the mirror.
You then ask, “Who does God love?” They will say, “ME!”
Finish the child’s turn by saying, “For God so loved (fill in child’s name) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Place the lid back on the box and have the child sit down. Pick another child to come up to do the same. If you keep the mirror hidden from the rest of the children, the effect is much more fun. You and your kids will have lots of fun with this heartfelt activity!
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