This story fits within the larger story of the Exile and the Return that we recently shared. I’m sure the children will enjoy the message of this favorite: how God constantly reaches out to people-and even to his prophet- no matter if they seem to do everything the wrong way. God is always calling us to God’s self, trying to save us from ourselves and from sin that hurts us.
As in the story of Elijah, it is important that we focus on God’s saving nature rather than focusing on God as the One who sends storms. With the hurricanes and tsunamis and earthquakes in the news, hurting people all over the world, we certainly don’t want children to get the idea that God is the author and sender of such pain and suffering. (As in the story of Elijah, God was not in the wind, God was not in the earthquake- God was in the still small voice…)
Idea Sparkers for our Make a Gift for God Time:
1. Recreate the story in some way.
a. Could your children make parts of the story? Someone make a boat, another a whale, another the plant, the waves, another Jonah. Put them all together and take a photo, please!
b. Each child could make a depiction of Jonah in the whale, like the one shown here. I’d just recommend that you encourage each child to invent his/her own way of making this, rather than having them all done the same way. The children will think of all sorts of creative ways to do it. You could even take them into the resource room and show them lots of options. They could make the whale out of a milk jug, as shown here. (Scroll down) Or out of paper plates, as shown here. Or out of a paper bag as shown here.
c. Celebrate the story with a snack, as long as you’re following Covid procedures to keep everyone as safe as possible. (One gloved adult serves individual servings-rather than kids serving themselves, etc) Here are some ideas:
1. Goldfish crackers (I’ll have some if you want them)
2. Make a snack boat. Put blue frosting on a graham cracker to represent the sea. Cut an apple into wedges for a boat to stick on the sea. Make a cheese sail and attach to the boat with a toothpick. Have any ideas for Jonah? (I won’t have these items so you’d need to bring them.)
3. Make whales with individual egg carton sections.
4. Watch the video of the child telling the Jonah story below.
5. Let the children retell the Jonah story with the Godly Play materials and video them.
6. I’ll have several Jonah books from the media center in the Children’s Activity Room. Feel free to take them to your classroom. Just return them please, when you’re done.
For more art response ideas, check out my Pinterest page, here.
Enjoy the story, y’all! Thanks for what you do!