When I was a Children’s Ministry Director at the satellite branch of our church, I planned a Sunday morning children’s program called PICTURE BOOK SUNDAYS: Sparking Faith Conversations using Picture Books and Scripture. Each week, using an engaging picture book as the spark along with games and a craft, children ages 3 – 10 delved into Scripture as we investigated what it means to be a beloved child of God. The kids enjoyed the lessons so much, that I have decided to write an occasional blog series focusing on picture books that can be used as the spark for conversations about faith with your children. Today’s lesson uses DREAM BIG, MY PRECIOUS ONE (Worthy Kids, 2021), written by Jill Roman Lord and illustrated by Brittany E. Lakin as the picture book hook. I hope it sparks thoughtful conversations with your kids.
PICTURE BOOK SUNDAYS: A Faith-Sparking Lesson
DREAM BIG, MY PRECIOUS ONE
by Jill Roman Lord
PURPOSE: Using DREAM BIG, MY PRECIOUS ONE, Jilll Roman Lord’s delightful ode to a child imagining all the possibilities for what they might be and do, this lesson will celebrate the dreams God places in each child’s heart, dreams that not only bring them joy, but spread God’s love to others.
OPENING PRAYER AND GATHERING GAME: When I Grow Up… (building challenge)
Open in prayer, then explain that it’s time for a game – a guessing game! Ask the children to quietly think about what they want to be when they grow up, but not say it out loud. Instead, have them give you a thumbs up once they’ve thought of something. (If needed you can have a whisper conference to help those can’t think of something.) Then, explain that they will have five minutes (or time of your choice) to build their “when I grow up” dream out of Legos. Once the dreams are built, give each child a chance to present their project, allowing for guessing and then the reveal.
INTRODUCE THE STORY:
Marvel at all the wonderful dreams the children have for their futures, then introduce the story by showing the book cover. Have someone read the title. What do they see on the cover? What do they think the book will be about? Dreams! Future hopes! Possibilities! And what might this have to do with God? Ponder together.Then read the story.
FAITH-SPARKING CHAT TIME:
After reading the story, have a round of “popcorn-style” responses (no hand raising needed) to see how many dreams they can remember from the book. Did they had a favorite? Then remind them of what you asked them before reading: What do our dreams have to do with God? Ponder the possibilities together, then open the story book again to reread the three precious spreads remind us that:
1) GOD is the one who plants dreams in our hearts because and HE is the one who grows us lovingly along the way;
2) that we can count on God to guide us we follow the dreams He plants; and
3) the dreams GOD plants in our hearts will not only bless us, but will BLESS others as well!
And where can we find God’s promises that all this is true? In the Bible!
DIG INTO SCRIPTURE TIME:
Wrap up the discussion by digging into scripture together to find God’s promises of love and hope as they relate to our dreams. Use these verses to get you started:
1 Chronicles 28:20 Jeremiah 29:11 Joshua 1:9 John 6:26
Special note: For first grade and up, I recommend having several children’s bibles on hand so children can work in pairs to find the verses. They LOVE this and in the process learn how to locate biblical passages by book, chapter, and verse – a rewarding and important foundational skill for future bible study.
STORY-BASED ACTIVITY TIME: Dream Big, My Precious One Paintings
Ahead of time, decoratively print the words “Dream Big, My Precious One” in thick yellow crayon on sheets of water color paper, one per child. Then get out crayons, watercolors and paint brushes, so children can create their own Dream Big, My Precious One images inspired by the Brittany E. Lakin’s gorgeous illustrations. First, have them draw what they dream of doing/being with crayons. Encourage them to use bright colors and to press firmly. When they finish, have a supervised water color station where, using a thick brush, they apply a color-popping coating of blue water color paint.
Download Free Activity Sheets on the Worthy Kids DREAM BIG, MY PRECIOUS ONE book page. (Scroll down to find it. )
WRAP UP: As children are finishing the activity – give thanks for each child and the dreams God has planted in their hearts. Close in prayer.