Teaching preschoolers about serving others is an easy task for Sunday school teachers; the Bible is rich with examples of selfless sacrifice and stories about helping others. The Good Samaritan, Dorcas, and King David were well-known for their kind treatment of their neighbors.
Here is a Sunday school lesson for preschool and elementary students based on the story of the Good Samaritan. Hearing the story teaches the children about helping others and how to be a friend. Re-enacting parts of the story during pretend play and learning a scripture verse helps them internalize the lesson. This is an excellent lesson for teaching preschoolers about serving others.
The following supplies are needed to teach this simple Bible lesson:
- Holy Bible or text of Luke 10:25-37
- One package of children's bandages
- Several packages of sterile gauze strips
- Several children’s doctor kits or toy stethoscopes and pretend play first aid items
The bandages and other teaching aids are used in an independent play center time to allow the children to experiment with helping others and being a good neighbor.
Teaching About the Good Samaritan
Read or tell the Good Samaritan story to the children and intersperse questions like:
- Who was a good neighbor?
- How did the Good Samaritan help the hurt man?
- Who paid for the man's care?
These types of open-ended questions encourage children to use critical thinking skills to analyze the message of the story. When the story is finished, divide the students into pairs, and let them re-enact a portion of the story in pretend play. Encourage them to use the bandages and other first aid props to help a wounded friend.
Memory Verse and Finger Play
Here is a piggyback song and actions to help preschoolers learn the memory verse from Luke 10:27 which reads: “He answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’" and,"’Love your neighbor as yourself."
Sing the verse to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me" and separate the words into the following rhythmic pattern:
He answered, “Love the Lord your God, /with all your heart and all your soul, /with all your strength and your entire mind,"/and “Love your neighbor as yourself. /Love, love your neighbor, /love, love your neighbor, /love, love your neighbor, /because God tells us to.
Here are some simple actions to teach the children, but wait to introduce the movements until the students can sing the song. Preschoolers have difficulty processing multiple sources of information, and it is easier to teach the songs and then the actions in separate steps.
- Love – cross arms over the chest as if hugging yourself.
- Lord – hold hands up, palms facing outward, with the thumb and first finger forming the letter L.
- Heart – place hand on heart, palm touching chest
- Soul – point to self
- Strength – hold up arms like a strong man, hands clenched in fists
- Mind – point to head
- Neighbor – point to a classmate
- Yourself – point to self
If the students have trouble singing and doing finger play motions at the same time, simplify movements to just four:heart, soul, strength, and mind.
Lesson Extensions and Teacher Resources
Here are some other Bible stories about serving others that make good preschool Sunday school lesson ideas:
- Abigail serving David found in 1 Samuel 25:1-19, and 35-42.
The prodigal father serving his lost son with a party found in Luke 15:11-32. (Teacher’s note: prodigal is defined as extravagant and many Bible scholars refer to the story as the prodigal father and the lost son because of the lavish love the father showered on the son.)
- King David serving the memory of his beloved friend Jonathon by providing for his son Mephibosheth from 2 Samuel 9:12, 13.
- Dorcas sewing clothing for the poor in the New Testament: Acts 9:36-42.
These are just a few of the many stories, parables, and examples from the Holy Bible of examples of how to serve others. Teaching preschoolers about serving others is a key way to guide them in forming biblical character and principle.
Image Credit and References
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Holy Bible, KJV, Kids' Study Bible, International Bible Society, 1984
Luke 10:27, scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, KING JAMES VERSION, Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.