Take advantage of preschoolers while they're still little sponges, soaking up all the knowledge that comes their way. If you're teaching young children in Bible school, you have a golden opportunity to imprint in your preschoolers' little heads all the basic knowledge that will help them as they grow older. It's helpful for the children to learn the names of the Apostles, and it won't take the kids long to know them with a few simple activities.
List the names of the Apostles on a piece of paper so you don't forget to include any of them in your activities. You don't want to be standing in front of your kids trying to remember one of them. On the list you should have Simon, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas.
Create a sentence from the first letter of each Apostles' name. Make it funny and entertaining so that the your preschooler will be more likely to remember it. Write the sentence on your class board and underline the first letter of each word. Say the sentence and then the Apostles' name that goes with each letter. For example "S is for Simon, A is for Andrew." Repeat it during each class time.
Make up a song. Music is often used to help kids remember information. Just as the books of the New Testament have been put into a song, you can make one up for the Apostles. Research the Internet before going to the trouble. You might find that there already is one available. For example, here's one for "Jesus Loves Me." It starts out, "Jesus called them one by one -- Peter, Andrew, James and John. Next, came Philip, Thomas too, Matthew and Bartholomew." You can find the link to the page in the Resources section below.
Send home classwork such as the sentence you made up, and let the parents work with the children at home. Tell the kids you will provide prizes for those who can come to class and recite the names.
List the names alphabetically and let the children practice writing the first letter of each name. Kids enjoy practicing writing because that's a new skill they are learning, and the excitement will spill over into memorizing the names of the Apostles. Repeat the names as they write the first letter. For example, "T is for Thomas." Ask the kids to say it with you.
Note that one of the Apostles is often referred to as Peter instead of Simon.
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