The children were a bit more energetic than usual today! I wonder if it was the leftover excitement from Halloween festivities yesterday? I'm sure it didn't help that we were not in our usual rooms. When I arrived today, our rooms were set up incorrectly and it would have been difficult to use them, so we moved to a larger room. Will be checking with the parish office on this so our usual rooms are set up correctly next week.
In any case, we still had fun! We began the first of our two sessions on Biblical geography, using a globe to locate where we live, and where Jesus lived. We also used a topographical map, which shows us the terrain of Israel. (mountainous in some areas, desert in other areas, fertile farm lands in other areas.) We learned about the four main bodies of water in this area too -- the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea. I passed around little plaques that the kids could feel, which showed them the different "textures" of the land -- sandy for the desert, green/grassy for the farmlands, rocky in the northern part of the country, and "shrubby" (dirt with shrubs) for some of the other areas of the country. We talked about how salty the Dead Sea is, and I showed them photos of the Dead Sea, plus passed around some soap made from mud "harvested" from the Dead Sea.
I also pointed out three important cities in Jesus' life -- Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
The point of all this is to help the children realize that Jesus was real and that He lived in a real place on earth, just like we do. Sometimes it is hard for children to realize this, because the stories in their children's Bibles (and other children's books) unintentionally make it seem like these are just fictional stories like those they hear in their other books. So today's presentation and work is designed to help them situate Jesus as a real person who lived during a specific time here on earth.
This work lays the foundation for the presentations we will be doing during Advent -- especially the Annunciation presentation (when I will use a diorama to show how the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary) and the Nativity (when I will use another diorama to show how Jesus was born in a lowly place in Bethlehem, and how the shepherds came to see him.)
Here are a few photos of the children during the presentation. (Thank you, Christy for helping me take photos today!)
There are more photos on our Facebook page; check them out here.
See you next Sunday!