A couple of weeks ago I overheard a conversation between my 4 year old son, Elijah, and a Primary teacher at church. She asked him what his favorite color was, “Red.” he replied decisively.
She asked what he wanted to be when he grew up and he immediately responded, “A King and a Dad.”
She then asked what his favorite scripture story was and he looked up at her blankly and said nothing. I would like to say this hesitation was because he had so many favorite stories that it was difficult for him to narrow down his favorites to just one choice.
My heart sank as I realized he didn’t know how to answer because I hadn’t made teaching him the beautiful stories of the scriptures a priority. In our homeschool, the Big Kids (ages 13 and 9) and I read scriptures every day and discuss them. We read scriptures together as family in the evening, we have family home evening lessons about stories from the scriptures. But I have been aiming these reading times and lessons more at our older kids and not at The Littles (ages 4 and 18 months).
I left church that day with a renewed conviction to teach Elijah the miraculous, uplifting stories from the scriptures on a level that he can understand and internalize. He’s a very active boy, so I knew hands-on activities would be best for him.
That’s where today’s free printable comes in. I’ve created a paper play set for the story of Jonah and the Whale. (The perfect scripture story to interest a four year old boy!)
Printed puppets (Download below)
A brad for the whale’s jaw
Popsicle sticks, if desired
Velcro or pieces of flannel, if desired
Cut out the figures.
Laminate, if desired.
Attach the brad so the whale’s mouth opens and closes.
You could attach the popsicle sticks as a handle onto the puppets, but we like them better without.
You could also use velcro or a piece of flannel glued to the back of the puppets to use them on a flannel board, if desired.
Tell the story of Jonah and the Whale (found in Jonah 1-3) either as a Family Home Evening lesson, or part of your family scripture study. Help your child act out the story using the figures from the download. You could even let them play with it on their own or in Sacrament meeting. I hope your kiddos enjoy playing with this set as much as Elijah has!
I’m excited to make a new paper play set from the Old Testament for you each month for the next little while! Any requests?
This post first appeared as a guest post on Little LDS Ideas.