Preschoolers are curious, busy, energetic creatures (in case you hadn’t figured that out already) and the ability to corral all that energy into a place where they can hear and understand Biblical truth each week requires you as the SGL to match their liveliness with your own energy and excitement.  So, what’s the only thing that is more excited and energetic than a preschooler?  A preschooler’s small group leader! Wait, wait.  I can hear you now.  There must be some mistake!  I am a small group leader to six of the most energetic boys on the planet…

AND I have worked all week

AND my own four-year-old didn’t sleep well last night.

Ok.  Adult life is a bit more taxing than that of a four-year-old, but you can still bring just as much excitement and energy into your small group by leading smarter, not wilder!  All you have to do is use your senses.  All of them.  As often as you can.

What if, instead of just telling them the activity they were about to do, you whispered it to them?

“Shhhh! It’s our secret mission. We are going to put our memory verse stickers on our papers.”

You have just taken those boys out of the real world into a mysterious place in their imagination.  Whispering causes the kids to move in closer to hear and puts huge grins on their faces at the thought of the entire secret process.

You can change your voice for an activity….talk like a pirate, use a squeaky, high pitched bird voice, talk like a robot… any change will engage your kids.  Encourage them to talk in a different voice, too.  Let everyone have a turn saying the Bottom Line in their best “robot” voice.

Let them see things in a different format.  Find a couple of pictures related to the lesson and put them on your iPhone.  “Oh!  I have a picture of that  right here on my phone.”  Being able to “see” the lesson in a different, unexpected place captures their attention.

Or you might use the camera on your phone to take their picture as they demonstrate the memory verse motions.  As a bonus use for this, text that picture to their parents, after service, building relationships.

Is there a way to let them smell an object from the lesson or snack?  Put it in a small bag and let them guess what it is.  Or, let them touch it.  Have everyone sit down, give them their own bag, have them close their eyes and reach in and guess what it is.

If there is any other way to convey the message besides simply saying it, do that. Even a small change will add excitement to your day.   The excitement will capture their attention, so that the wonder of their Heavenly Father can capture their heart.

What have you used to appeal to your preschooler’s senses?  What was a big hit with your class?


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Barbara Graves

Barbara loves God, children's ministry, coffee, the Braves, and her granddaughter Eden-Grace. She's been in ministry for over 30 years and wishes she didn't have to sleep so she could write, teach, and read a little more.

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