Is your class in need of a breath of fresh air? How about meeting in the backyard the next time you get together? A backyard lesson plan is easy to put together because of the many resources available online and the abundance of Bible verses that connect us to the natural world.
Start with a nature scavenger hunt that invites children to explore the area and collect things in their surroundings that have lots of different textures and colors. Create a scavenger hunt that is unique to your church’s backyard or print one of the many free age-appropriate scavenger hunts available online. Divide the class into multiple teams of two or three children. Partnering up with another classmate or two will give them an opportunity to get to know one another as they scavenge together.
Explore Bible verses that reference God’s creation:
- Creation – All that God made is good. (Genesis 1)
- Trees – What does a tree’s song of joy sound like? (Psalm 96:12b)
- Creatures – Though they are small, they are noted for being wise. (Proverbs 30:24-28)
- Birds and flowers – God lovingly provides for birds, flowers, and us. (Matthew 6:25-29)
- Growth – God is the one who helps us to grow. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
- Roots – A tree that sends out roots for support teaches us about trust in God. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
- Rock – God is our rock and refuge. (Psalm 18:2)
- Sky – The heavens are full of God’s creative artwork. (Psalm 19:1)
After reading each Bible verse, invite the children to answer two simple questions:
- What can we learn about God in these verses?
- What does nature teach us about ourselves?
Wrap up your time together by having the children create their own edible creature craft that is both fun to make and fun to eat. Make pretzel butterflies with stained-glass-effect wings by attaching fruit leather to cover the holes of two pretzel twists, or make veggie caterpillars by filling the middle of a piece of celery with cream cheese and cherry tomatoes.
Exploring and observing nature reminds us of God’s creativity and provision for all living things. It also teaches us about ourselves and invites us into the privilege of learning from, and caring for, all creation. May your time in the backyard bless you and your class with a refreshing breath of fresh air!