God wants us to obey him and pray to him.

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1 Jonah Prays to God Inside the Fish Lesson 12 Bible Point Bible Verse We must obey God (Acts 5:29b). God wants us to obey him and pray to him. Growing Closer to Jesus Children will n talk about how Jonah might have felt inside the fish, n hear how Jonah prayed to God for help, n teach Whiskers that God will listen to his prayers, and n discover that God is always ready and waiting to answer their prayers. Teacher Enrichment Bible Basis n Jonah prays to God inside the fish. Jonah 2:1-10 Being swallowed by a whale would be traumatic, to say the least, but in this case the event was arranged by God to save Jonah s life. For in the belly of that whale, Jonah came to his senses and realized that he needed to obey God. Deep inside the belly of the fish, Jonah finally yielded to God s will. As he contemplated his near-drowning, he must have finally understood the folly of trying to run from God. What would happen to him now? God had saved his life once perhaps God would save him again. Jonah cried out to God in sorrow and repentance, his heart full of gratitude that he was even alive. The Lord heard Jonah s prayer, and commanded the fish to deliver Jonah onto dry land. Prayer Read Proverbs 3:5-6. Where do you turn when you need guidance? Pray: Lord, thank you for your faithful direction in my life. Help me listen for your guidance, especially in the area of Before the Lesson n Collect the necessary items for the activities you plan to use, referring to the Classroom Supplies and Learning Lab Supplies listed on the chart. n Make photocopies of the Today I Learned handout (at the end of this lesson) to send home with your children. n Pray for the children in your class and for God s direction as you teach the lesson. 163

2 Lesson 12 This Lesson at a Glance Welcome Time Let s Get Started Direct children to one or more of the optional activities until everyone arrives. What Children Will Do Classroom Supplies Learning Lab Supplies Welcome! Receive name tags, and be greeted by the teacher. Option 1: Sea Senses Discover what it might have been like for Jonah to be in the sea. Option 2: Fish Bubbles Make bubbles like fish, and talk about the fish that swallowed Jonah. Praying Hands Name Tags (p. 23), scissors, marker, safety pins or tape Salt, cotton swabs, spoon, plastic bottle, food coloring, oil, tape, bowl of water Bubble solution, large bowl, bubble wands Bible Skills Bible Story Time Option 3: More Fish-Box Fun Continue to decorate and play inside their fish box. Pick-Up Time Sing a song as they pick up toys and gather for Bible Story Time. Setting the Stage Swim around the room as they get ready to hear about Jonah. Fish box from Lesson 11, tape, art supplies CD player Bible Song and Prayer Time Sing a song, bring out the Bible, and pray together. Bible, CD player Hear and Tell the Bible Story Hear how Jonah prayed inside the fish. Bible Closing Do the Bible Story Play a beanbag game to review Jonah s story. Time to Pray Help Whiskers learn to pray to God in a time of trouble. Fish box from Lesson 11, beanbags Inside the Fish Pray inside a giant classroom fish. Table *See the end of this lesson for extra-time ideas and supplies. 164

3 Jonah Prays to God Inside the Fish Welcome Time Supplies: Praying Hands Name Tags (p. 23), scissors, marker, safety pins or tape Bend down and make eye contact with children as they arrive. Greet each child individually with an enthusiastic smile. Thank each child for coming to class today. As children arrive, ask them how they put last week s lesson into practice. Use questions such as What did Jonah learn by being inside the fish? and Who helps you learn to obey? Say: Today we re going to learn that God wants us to obey him and pray to him. Hand out the praying hands name tags children made during Lesson 1, and help children attach the name tags to their clothing. If some of the name tags were damaged or if children weren t in class that week, have children make new name tags using the photocopiable name tag patterns. Direct children to the Let s Get Started activities you ve set up. It s important to say the Bible Point just as it s written in each activity. Repeating the Bible Point again and again will help children remember it and apply it to their lives. Let s Get Started Set up one or more of the following activities for children to do as they arrive. After you greet each child, invite him or her to choose an activity. Circulate among the children to offer help as needed and direct children s conversation toward today s lesson. Ask questions such as What do you do when you re in trouble? or When are some times you pray and talk to God? n Option 1: Sea Senses Supplies: salt, spoon, cotton swabs, plastic bottle, food coloring, oil, tape, bowl of water Set out one or both of the following sensory items for children to explore. Discuss what it might have been like for Jonah to fall into the sea and be swallowed by a giant fish. Have children help you add a spoonful of salt to a small bowl of water. Let children take turns stirring the salt water, and then invite them to dip a cotton swab in the salt water and dab it onto their tongues to taste it. For sanitary purposes, do not let children re-dip their cotton swabs. Explain that Jonah probably swallowed some salty water before the fish swallowed him. Create a slow-motion ocean for children to play with. Before class, fill a clear quart- or liter-sized plastic bottle half full of water. Add a few drops of blue or green food coloring, and then add oil until the bottle is three-fourths full. Seal the bottle by taping the cap shut. For extra fun, insert a miniature person or boat figure in the bottle before sealing it. Show children how to tilt the bottle up and down and move it back and forth slowly. Encourage them to watch the waves and imagine what it was like for Jonah to be thrown into the stormy sea. Explain that today they ll learn that God wants us to obey him and pray to him. 165

4 Lesson 12 Bible Skills Bring in a goldfish for children to observe, name, and feed. Let children imagine what a gigantic goldfish might be like! n Option 2: Fish Bubbles Supplies: bubble solution, large bowl, bubble wands Empty a large bottle of bubble solution into a large bowl and the tray of the bubble kit (or make your own bubble solution with dish soap and water). Form pairs, and give each pair a bubble wand. Remind children of the giant fish that swallowed Jonah. Tell them that today s Bible story is about how Jonah prayed inside the fish. Explain that fish sometimes make bubbles under the water as they move their tails and fins. Have pairs pretend to be fish swimming in the ocean. One partner can blow bubbles, and the other partner can swim through the bubbles, using his or her arms as fins. Make sure the children don t rub their eyes after handling the bubble solution. Let children switch roles frequently. As they re swimming, encourage them to try different styles, such as swimming fast, slow, backward, and at the bottom of the ocean. n Option 3: More Fish-Box Fun Supplies: fish box from Lesson 11, tape, art supplies Let children add decorations to the fish box they made last week. They can add additional paper-plate scales or make construction paper fins and tape them on. They can even name the fish! As children work, encourage them to climb inside the fish box and then crawl out to see what it might have been like for Jonah to be swallowed by the fish and then spit out. Explain that today they ll learn that God wants us to obey him and pray to him. When everyone has arrived and you re ready to move on to Bible Story Time, encourage the children to finish what they re doing and get ready to clean up. At this stage in their physical development, 3- and 4-year-olds can draw recognizable shapes and can work simple puzzles. n Pick-Up Time Supplies: CD player track 2 Lead children in singing Come Along With Me with the CD (track 2) to the tune of Come and Go With Me. Encourage children to sing along as they help clean up the room. Come along with me and pick up all our things, Pick up all our things, Pick up all our things. Come along with me and pick up all our things So our room will be clean. (Repeat 2x.) 166

5 Bible Story Time n Setting the Stage SupplieS: none Tell children that when they hear you clap your hands two times, they re to stop what they re doing and clap their hands two times. Practice this signal a few times. Encourage children to respond quickly so you ll have time for all the fun activities you ve planned. Ask: What did you make or do when you came to our class today? (Blew bubbles; tasted salt water; got in and out of a fish box.) Say: Some of you tasted salt water, some of you made fish bubbles, and some of you played in our fish box. You were all learning important things about our Bible story. If you tasted salt water, stand up and make a sour face and say, Ooh, yuck! Pause. If you played inside our fish box, stand up and say, Gulp! I m in a fish s tummy. Pause. If you made fish bubbles, stand up and swim with your fish fins right where you are. Pause. In a few minutes, we re going to hear what happened to Jonah inside the fish. We ll learn that God wants us to obey him and pray to him. Let s all get ready for that story by swimming around the room with our fish fins. Lead children around the room once. Then pretend to see Jonah, and say: Calling all fish! Do you see that man swimming in the water? I think it s Jonah. Open your fish mouth wide and swallow him up. Gulp! Lead children in opening their arms wide and then closing them to indicate they ve swallowed Jonah. Say: Oh my, that Jonah didn t taste very good. He s giving you a tummy ache. Groan and rub your fish tummy. Ohh! Lead children in groaning and rubbing their tummies. Then say: I don t think your tummy ache is going to go away as long as Jonah s in your tummy. Spit Jonah out so you ll feel better. Ptooie! Lead children in pretending to spit Jonah out. Then say: That feels much better. People don t make very good fish food. Let s swim over to our story area and lie down. All this swimming is making me tired. Lead children back to your story area. Then say: Let s rest here in our story area while we hear how Jonah learned that God wants us to obey him and pray to him. n Bible Song and prayer Time SupplieS: Bible, CD player Say: Now it s time to choose a Bible person to bring tracks 3 & 4 me the Bible marked with today s Bible story. As we sing our Bible song, we ll pass around our special Bible. The person who s holding the Bible when the music stops will be our Bible person today. Lead children in singing I m So Glad for the Bible with the CD (track 3) to the tune of Give Me Oil in My Lamp. As you sing, pass around the special Bible. Jonah Prays to God Inside the Fish 167

6 Lesson 12 Play The Bible Is God s Special Book (track 21 on the CD) when you bring out your Bible. Have children march around the room with the Bible person and invent motions to the song. For example, they may pretend to swim, pluck a harp, or spit Jonah out. Lyrics are on page 80 if you want to refer to them. I m so glad for the Bible, Keep me learnin, learnin, learnin. I m so glad for God s book today. I m so glad for the Bible, Keep me learnin, learnin, learnin Keep me learnin all about his way. Let me hear bout God s love Keep me learnin, learnin, learnin. Let me hear bout God s love for me. Let me hear bout God s love Keep me learnin, learnin, learnin. Let s shine the light for all to see. (Repeat first verse.) When the music stops, invite the child who s holding the Bible to bring it to you. Stamp the child s hand with the fish stamp, and thank the child for bringing you the Bible. Then stamp the other children s hands. Return the fish stamp and ink pad to the Learning Lab. Say: I m thankful for [name of child who brought the Bible], and I m thankful for everyone in our class today. Let s thank God together for all our friends in this class. Lead children in singing I m So Glad We re Together with the CD (track 4) to the tune of Give Me Oil in My Lamp. I m so glad we re together. Keep us prayin, prayin, prayin. I m so glad we re all here today. I m so glad we re together. Keep us prayin, prayin, prayin Prayin for each other every day. Lead children in folding their hands and bowing their heads as you continue to sing. Thank you, Lord, for each one. Keep me thankful, thankful, thankful. Thank you for everyone who s here. Thank you, Lord, for each one. Keep me thankful, thankful, thankful Thankful for our friends both far and near. 168

7 n Hear and Tell the Bible Story Supplies: Bible Open the Bible to Jonah 2, and show it to the children. Say: Our Bible story comes from the book of Jonah in the Bible. Our Bible Big Book shows us pictures of our Bible story. While I read the story of Jonah from our Bible Big Book, I want you to listen very closely. Every time you hear the word fish, I want you to puff out your cheeks and make a fish face. Remember, God sent a giant fish to teach Jonah to obey. Read the story from the Bible Big Book: Jonah using the text printed on the back cover. Pause whenever you read the word fish so that children can make fish faces. Turn the pages as directed. After you finish the story, put the Bible Big Book away and out of sight. Ask: What did Jonah do when he realized there was no way out of the fish? (He prayed to God for help; he cried; he didn t know what to do.) Say: I ll go first and tell you about a time God answered my prayers. Tell children about a time you received an answer to your prayers. Ask: Who can tell us about a time you prayed and God answered your prayer? (My dog was lost, and we prayed and then found him; my dad was sick and he got better; I prayed before I went to bed so I wouldn t be scared at night.) Say: God likes it when we talk to him, because he loves us. God loves us so much that he gave us Jesus to be our forever friend. We can talk to Jesus anytime, and Jesus can help us obey if we ask him to. Let s thank God for giving us a friend like Jesus right now. Lead children in a short prayer of thanks for sending Jesus as a friend who loves us and always listens. Say: God wants us to obey him and pray to him. God will hear and answer our prayers just as he heard Jonah s prayer and helped Jonah get out of the fish. Jonah Prays to God Inside the Fish 169

8 Lesson 12 n Do the Bible Story Supplies: fish box from Lesson 11, beanbags For this activity use the fish box you made last week during Let s Get Started or Do the Bible story. You ll also need three beanbags or small balls. Have children gather around the fish box. Say: God wants us to obey him and pray to him. We re going to play a game now to help us remember how Jonah prayed inside the fish. Hand the three beanbags to a child standing near you. Say: When I say, In goes the water, [name] will throw one beanbag into the fish box, and the rest of us will say swoosh. Let s try that. Say, In goes the water, and let children do their actions. Then continue: When I say, In goes the fish, [name] will throw another beanbag into the fish box, and the rest of us will flip our arms like fish and say, Swim, fish, swim. Let s try that. Say, In goes the fish, and let children do their actions. Then continue: When I say, And in goes Jonah! [name] will throw the last beanbag into the fish box, and the rest of us will kneel on our knees, fold our hands, and say, Thank you, God. Let s try that. Say, And in goes Jonah! and let children do their actions. Say: That was good practicing. Now we ll take turns until each of you has a chance to throw the beanbags while the rest of us do our actions. Repeat the game until everyone has had a chance to toss the beanbags into the fish box. If children miss the fish box, let them try again or help the beanbags in yourself. After everyone has had a turn, collect the beanbags in the fish box and have children sit down. Say: God was waiting for Jonah to ask for help. As soon as Jonah prayed, what did God do? (Told the fish to spit Jonah out; answered Jonah s prayers.) Toss the beanbags out of the fish box as you say: When Jonah prayed, God told the fish to spit Jonah out. God wants us to obey him and pray to him. Our Bible verse is from Acts 5:29, and it says, We must obey God. Let s say that together. Lead children in saying the Bible verse. We can obey God by doing what our parents or our teachers tell us to do. They help us know what God wants us to do. Our friend Whiskers likes to hear about Jonah. Let s tell him what we ve learned about how God helped Jonah out of the fish. Closing n Time to Pray Supplies: none Bring out Whiskers the Mouse, and go through the following puppet script. When you finish the script, put Whiskers away and out of sight. 170

9 Jonah Prays to God Inside the Fish Whiskers: (Crying) Oh h h, oh h h What s wrong, Whiskers? Whiskers: Remember the big cat that was after me last week? I remember. You ran away because you didn t want to get in trouble, and then you met up with a big cat behind the church. You were afraid he was going to eat you. Whiskers: Yeah, well I went right home and told my brother I was sorry. What did he say? Whiskers: (Scowling) He had already told my dad that I pinched him. My dad made us play by ourselves for a while. Then he showed both of us some tricks to help us get away from cats. Well, it looks like the tricks must be working. You re still here. Whiskers: Yeah, but so is that cat. And I m so afraid! Will he ever go away? I think I know how you feel, Whiskers. Do you remember our story about Jonah? When Jonah was inside the fish, he probably wondered if he d ever get out. Whiskers: But Jonah was only in the fish for three days. This cat has been around for a whole week! Jonah didn t know how long he d have to stay inside the fish. But he finally did something very smart after doing many foolish things. Whiskers: What was that? Children, can any of you tell Whiskers what Jonah finally did inside the fish? (Help children explain how Jonah prayed to God. Lead them in repeating the Bible Point: God wants us to obey him and pray to him.) Whiskers: I guess I should pray to God, too. Maybe God will help me not be so scared of that cat. God is always there to listen to us and help us especially when we re feeling scared. Maybe your brother could even pray with you. Whiskers: That s a great idea! I feel so much better. I m going to go home and pray right now. Then I m going to practice those tricks my dad taught me. You never know when I might meet another cat. I ll see you next week. Goodbye! Permission to photocopy this script from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum Preschool granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 481, Loveland, CO HandsOnBible.com 171

10 Lesson 12 n Inside the Fish Supplies: table Have children gather under a large table or under two small tables pushed together. Encourage children to pretend they re inside a fish. Say: Shh! Let s sit very still for a minute and pretend we re really inside that giant fish. Remember, Jonah was alone inside the fish, so he didn t have anyone to talk to. Sit quietly for a few moments, and then ask: Do you think Jonah tried to get out of the fish? What would you do to try to get out from inside a fish? (Tickle the fish to make him open his mouth; ask God to help me.) How did Jonah finally get out? (God helped him; he prayed; the fish spit him out.) Say: God heard Jonah s prayer and helped him get out of the fish. God wants us to obey him and pray to him, too. When we pray to God, God will help us just as he helped Jonah. What can we pray to God about today? Share something you d like to pray for, and then let the children share. Invite children to pray for one another s requests if they want to. Then close with a prayer similar to this one: Dear God, you heard all these things that we want to pray for. Thank you that you love us and are waiting for us to talk to you. Thank you that you will answer our prayers. In Jesus name, amen. Want even more activity ideas for this lesson? Check out HandsOnBible.com/tips. Growing closer to Jesus extends beyond the classroom. Photocopy the Today I Learned handout (at the end of this lesson) for this week, and send it home with the children. Encourage parents to use the handout to plan meaningful family activities to reinforce this week s topic. 172

11 Jonah Prays to God Inside the Fish n Lively Learning: Wiggly Fish track 19 For Extra Time If you have a long class time or want to add additional elements to your lesson, try one of the following activities. Make sure the floor is clean for this activity. Have children lie on the floor on their tummies and pretend to be fish. Tell children that when they hear music, they should wiggle around and swim. When the music stops, they should stop and lie still. Play the Swimming Music segment from the CD (track 19). Start and then pause the CD several times. Each time children are lying still, have them tell you something they remember about Jonah and the big fish. n Make to Take: Ball Fish Give each child a small ball such as a tennis ball or pingpong ball, and set out sheets of colored construction paper. Let children tear the construction paper to create fins for their fish. Help them carefully tape the fins to the balls. As children work, talk about the big fish that swallowed Jonah. Ask children who helped Jonah get out of the fish and remind them that God wants us to obey him and pray to him. When children finish adding fins to their fish, help them draw eyes on their fish. Then lead them in swimming their fish around the room while they wait for their parents to arrive. n Treat to Eat: Straw Bubbles Give each child a straw and a paper towel. Have extra paper towels on hand for quick clean up. Demonstrate to children how to blow and suck air through a straw, and then give them each a glass of chocolate milk. Have them blow gently through their straws into the milk to make bubbles. (If you have children with milk allergies, provide juice or water instead.) To keep this activity from getting too messy, tell children you ll time them for 15 seconds while they blow fish bubbles in their milk. Then let children drink their milk. Serve fish-shaped crackers with the milk. As children are enjoying the snack, review details from Jonah s story. Remind children that God wants us to obey him and pray to him. n Story Picture: Jonah Prays Inside the Fish Give each child a copy of the Today I Learned handout. Have children color the picture of Jonah inside the fish. Then give each child a square of blue plastic wrap or acetate large enough to cover the picture. Show children how to crumple the plastic wrap to make water to cover the fish in the picture. Watch children closely to make sure they don t hold the plastic up to their faces or put it in their mouths. Help children tape the plastic wrap over their pictures. Review the story of Jonah with children as they work. Remind them that God wants us to obey him and pray to him. 173

12 God wants us to obey him and pray to him. Help me learn this: We must obey God (Acts 5:29b). Ask me: n What did Jonah do inside the giant fish? n Tell me about a time God answered your prayers. n When can our family pray together this week? Family Fun Lesson 12 Today your child learned that GOD WANTS US TO OBEY HIM AND PRAY TO HIM. Children heard how Jonah prayed to God inside the giant fish and discovered that God is always ready to answer their prayers, too. n Make a family prayer chart. Ask each family member to share one or two things they want to pray for. Write down the prayer requests on fish shapes drawn on blue construction paper. Set a special time each day to pray for the items on the list. As each prayer is answered, help your child outline that fish with glitter glue. Hang the list where everyone can see it and be reminded to pray. Jonah Prays to God Inside the Fish (Jonah 2:1-10) 174 Permission to photocopy this handout from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum Preschool granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 481, Loveland, CO HandsOnBible.com

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