How to Teach Psalm 23 to Preschoolers

by Karen Hollowell, Demand Media
    Psalm 23 has a message for everyone, especially children.

    Psalm 23 has a message for everyone, especially children.

    Psalm 23 is a famous praise song written by David and recorded in the Old Testament book of Psalms. This psalm records David's assurances about God's providence and presence throughout his life. Psalm 23 is often recited at funerals. Verse 4 promises that, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." It ends with an eternal promise: "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." This Psalm can teach children about God and His love. Many children learn to recite the words, but they also need to know the meaning of this poetic scripture. You can teach your preschooler how to understand Psalm 23 with a few simple activities that don't require expensive materials and a theology degree!

    Step 1

    Read Psalm 23 in child-friendly language. You can find this in a children's edition of the Bible. The language of Psalm 23 is beautiful, but it contains words and phrases that children and adults do not use everyday. You may not find a translation as poetic as the original, but the goal right now is to be sure your preschooler understands the Psalm. Talk about the verses as you read. Ask your preschooler what he thinks the words mean. Tell him, "God wants His children to trust Him, especially when they are sad." Explain that God is the Shepherd, we are the sheep and we can be secure knowing that the Lord is always with us and protects us.

    Step 2

    Teach Psalm 23 with a song. Most preschoolers enjoy singing and can memorize lyrics quickly. You can help him learn the verses by singing them to the tune of a familiar tune like "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Teach him to sing the verses from the King James version of the Bible so he will be exposed to new words. This should not be a problem if you continue to reinforce the meanings with the modern day version. Sing the song with your child frequently. He will probably memorize it before you do.

    Step 3

    Use hand motions to teach Psalm 23. This will be very popular with any child who likes to move around, and preschoolers are usually in perpetual motion. The movements do not have to be elaborate. You can make up your own or use hand motions with simple movements. Point to yourself and towards Heaven and use facial expressions to express fear or love.

    Step 4

    Make a Psalm 23 book. Your child might not yet be reading, but he is probably showing an interest in books. Making a book of his own may increase your preschooler's motivation to learn how to read. You can help your child make the book with construction paper and markers. Get your child to draw pictures like sheep with a shepherd in fields with green grass.If he doesn't like artwork, you can draw the pictures. You may want to choose a book that already has pictures. You can write the scriptures or find one that's pre-printed.

    Step 5

    Teach Psalm 23 with a hands-on activity. Preschoolers can learn from projects they construct. Don't worry about your own creativity. Your child won't care as long as he gets to use glue, scissors and paint. Make sheep with cotton balls placed on paper plates, using safety matchsticks as legs. Using a sheep template, help your child trace and paint his hand print for the body and glue strips of yarn on top for the wool.

    About the Author

    Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.

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