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Alternate Activity 4: Bookmarks — The Parable of the Mustard Seed (10 minutes), Session 4: Love in Our Congregation

In "Love Will Guide Us," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Mustard seed packets
  • For bookmarks: Heavy paper stock, glue that dries clear, craft sticks (popsicle sticks), contact paper (sticky on one side), a permanent marker, and (optional) thin ribbon and a single-hole punch
  • Optional: Music, and music player

Preparation for Activity

  • Cut paper into 2x7-inch strips, one for each participant plus a few extra.
  • Cut contact paper into 4x7-inch pieces, one for each participant, plus a few extra.
  • Optional: Choose music to play while children work, such as the song "Magic Penny" by Malvina Reynolds, and set up a music player.

Description of Activity

This is a wonderful lesson for a wide variety of learning styles, including kinesthetic. Playing music while children work on bookmarks can tap another mode of learning.

Open a mustard seed packet and show the children the seeds. Say, in your own words:

Have you ever seen a mustard seed before? The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds. It is so small that if you held one in your hand and you dropped it, you would have a very hard time finding it. Even though the mustard seed is so small, it grows into a plant large enough for birds to stand on its branches and make nests in it. At least this was true for mustard plants in the time of Jesus.

When you look at this little mustard seed before planting it in the ground, you might think it would be impossible for a seed so tiny to grow into a tree.

Jesus talked about the mustard seed and he compared it to love. Love starts out very small at first. Nevertheless, when you see that the more you love, the more you get back in return. Love grows and grows, just like the mustard seed.

Tell the children the story about Jesus and the mustard seed is in Christian scripture, in the book of Matthew.

Distribute heavy paper stock, glue, and contact paper. Show children how to add a bit of glue to the paper stock and spread it thin (so it will dry quickly). Go around the room and sprinkle some mustard seeds on each paper. Give each child a piece of contact paper and invite them to wrap it around the bookmark once the glue is completely dry.

Optional: Use the permanent marker to write "Matthew 13:31" on each bookmark.

Optional: Punch a hole in the top of each bookmark and loop a piece of thin ribbon through the hole.

While everyone is making bookmarks, lead a discussion:

Do you like to read or listen to stories? Jesus loved to tell stories. Jesus' stories that have lessons in them are called parables. The mustard seed story was one of many he told people as he walked around the countryside.

Ask the group:

  • Does anyone know another parable Jesus told? (Affirm: Good Samaritan; Prodigal Son)
  • Why are stories a good way to learn?
  • Do you have a favorite story you like to hear or read over and over again?

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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