Preschool Lesson Plans: Jonah and the Whale
The story of Jonah and the Whale is a fun one for preschoolers to tell and retell. You can bring the story to life with these Jonah-Whale lesson plans. Preschool students will learn about the story and be able to apply it to their lives.
Draw a simple outline of a fish, and cut out enough copies of the fish for each child to have one. Then let the children decorate the “whale.” Help them to paste each whale onto a piece of construction paper. Help students to draw simple stick figures and cut them out. Then help them cut a slit right next to the whale’s mouth that is equal to the width of the stick figures. Show them how they can slide their stick figures into the whale’s mouth by using the slit. (If necessary, attach the stick figure to the back of the construction paper with a piece of string or yarn.)
This game is perfect if you have an odd number of preschool students in your class. Divide the class in half (with an extra student in one of the two groups), making the larger group “Jonahs” and the smaller group “whales.” Tell the whales that their job is to catch a Jonah and swallow him by tagging him lightly. Once a Jonah is tagged, the whale and the Jonah walk together to the side of the room. The Jonah that is left after all of the others have been tagged is the winner! In the next round, the winner gets to stay a Jonah, and the rest of the whales and Jonahs switch places.
Teshuva – Repentance
The main theme of the story of Jonah is repentance. Remind students that Jonah was swallowed by the whale because he didn’t do what he was supposed to do – tell the people of Ninveh to repent. Discuss the idea of saying “I’m sorry” with students, and ask students why it is important to say “I’m sorry.” Then teach students the following chant:
“I did it,
I’ll never do it again.”
Explain to students that these are the three steps of repentance: admitting that you’ve done something wrong, feeling sorry about it, and making sure never to do it again. Ask students to apply these steps to something they might do wrong, such as taking someone else’s toy, yelling at a sibling, or not listening to a parent or teacher.
Try out these Jonah-Whale lesson plans. Preschool students will love the different ways that they can explore the story through these activities.