Psalm 23 is such a precious passage of Scripture, but the metaphors are a little allusive to young children in a culture distant from raising sheep and other animals. Talking about sheep and shepherds is a great way to learn more about the world, and eventually open up the truths of Psalm 23 (and several other key Bible passages) to our children. Below are photos of my little roll-up Psalm 23 take-a-long. Its a pretty simple little set for teaching toddlers and preschoolers. If you are interested in making similar felt pieces, I would encourage you to check out our Advent Patterns. Complete the pattern for Joseph (using gray hair) and one Sheep pattern from our Advent set, cut some triangles for the mountains, a pool of water, a strip of grass, a curvy path, and Wha-Lah! I decided to make a simple pipe cleaner staff for this shepherd instead of cutting a felt staff from the set. To do so simply fold brown pipe cleaner in half and twisting it. I also added a beard to the shepherd. You can glue the pieces on to a strip of felt, use them on a felt board, or just play with them on the floor.
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Some key things….
- Focus at first on teaching kids what a shepherd does (feeding and protecting the sheep)
- Move through the first part of Psalm 23 with your story set, allowing the children to move the sheep past each element of the verses. (As you say “leads me in paths of righteousness” walk the lamb down the path, and so forth.)
- Help children make connections for the Lord’s shepherd-like actions toward us in everyday situations. (Let’s thank God for our food! Just like a shepherd provides food for his sheep, God provides food for us.)