Review: God’s Story for Under 5s

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2016-05-11 21.20.15

Title: God’s Story for Under 5s – 36 Bible-based sessions for midweek and Sunday groups.

 Author: Becky May

Useful for: groups leaders and parents of under 5s wanting to share Bible stories with their children in a developmentally appropriate, play-based approach

Best bit: loads of stories, and multiple ways to playfully explore each story in a meaningful way, plus short succinct scripts to tell the story.

Worst bit: not very exciting cover and internal design

Price: RRP £12.99 available from BRF

So I should confess that I do know the author of this book and so was unlikely to write something horrible about it. However,  I’m delighted to have a copy to review and to discover it really is a good book as now I can use it with my daughters.

What you get in this book are 36 stories from the old and new testament, with 3 A4 pages of activities per story, including a script to tell the story. I’m not often a fan of scripts, but these are good – short, succinct and age appropriate. It’s definitely easier to tell a story using toys and props once you’ve learnt to tell the story without reading it and these short scripts will make that easy to do.

The activities are beautifully open ended, focusing on the process of play and giving ideas of these to chat with the children about as you play alongside them. I really like the range of ways to explore, and at home I might do some of them outside and add a biy of nature in too. There’s also song suggestions to link with each story featuring classics and contemporary options which would be fun to bring into the activities too.

Did I say there are 36 stories? That is seriously loads, especially if you don’t change the story each week! Very good value. The choice of stories wouldn’t all have been ones I’d’ve picked (I’d maybe have chosen more with women in and fewer parables and difficult classics like Noah and baby Moses) but there’s a good spread including some old testament prophets, which is fab.

Although this book is aimed at under 5s group leaders, it will work well at home. Personally, I like to focus on one passage of Scripture for a while, to really dwell in it and experience the richness that comes from exploring it in different ways. The way I would use God’s Story for Under 5s at home would be to do one story a month. That way I’ll have time to l set up 2 or 3 of the activity areas then tell the story and leave the children to explore the story in the activities for a few days. When I feel they’ve finished with an area, I’ll swap it out for one do the others, and perhaps add an extra one in as well. I’d continue that, allowing space and time for the children (and I!) to use each of the different activities to explore the story at our own pace. This is the beauty of doijg faith at home. We have many of the types of activities Becky suggests, such as small world play and construction, so they wouldn’t necessarily need getting out especially. Or if I did, I might move them to a different place in the house and set them up as an invitation to play, perhaps with a book of the story nearby. I think I’d also take time to make the story partner my own time with God so we can share exploring the same passage together.

I’d say this book would be fab for group leaders and for parents, great value with 36 stories to use and plenty of guidance to get lots out of your time exploring the Bible together.