Only God is Forever: Toddler Devotions from Ecclesiastes

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Pumpkins, colored leaves, brisk air. In Minnesota we tend to love the fall. There seems to be so many things to celebrate from pumpkin spice lattes to apple orchards. And with this change of seasons, I decided to take a look at Ecclesiates, both for myself and my littles.

At first glance, the book seems kind of depressing. It talks about everything being meaningless. Work, wisdom, knowledge, everything is meaningless…but God. God is forever. Everything in life is temporary, but in the end, God remains. Here is how we played through this concept.

God Is Forever

We focused on Ecclesiastes 3, because there are a bunch of tangible examples of temporary things. Before every activity, we read a very short verse from Ecclesiastes 3, related to the activity. Then I followed up with saying. “But God is Forever” to help summarize what this book is really about. While we played we listened and sang “¿Puede Dios Morir?” from Songs for Saplings’ album “Preguntas Y Respuestsas.” (English: “Can God Ever Die?” from Songs for Saplings’ Album “Questions and Answers.”) This band puts full catechisms to music to make them easy for littles to learn and memorize. This song talks about that God can never die. He is forever.

A Season for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 says there is a time for everything. A talks about their being a time to plant and a time for harvest. So we played with a Fall sensory bin. We used faux pumpkins and leaves that we picked up from the Target Dollar section, and pine cones we picked up on a recent nature walk. I also included clothes pins for fine-motor work and tin buckets, both from the Target Dollar Spot.

Break Down and Build Up

Ecclesiastes 3:3 talks about a time to break down and a time to build up. So we built up and broke down our Mega blocks, working on our fine motor skills and color recognition.

Weep and Laugh

Ecclesiates 3:4, as well as many of the other verses talk about various emotions. Weeping, laughter, mourning, love, hate…so we explored emotion words. We read books with strong emotion words, and then practiced making those emotions with our faces.

One of our favorite emotion books is Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton. This book features the classic animal illustrations of Boynton with all sorts of emotions that can be fun for a little to try to mimic.

Another one of our favorite emotion books is La Catrina from Baby Bilingue. It is a bilingual board book, perfect for our Spanish-speaking family. The faces are bright, animated, and easy to copy. It was perfect for my little Coco fanatic.

(Disclaimer: You may notice La Catrina features skeleton faces. Some people may not be comfortable with exposing their littles to skeletons, because they have a morbid connotation in American Culture. In our home, we associate them with Dia de los Muertos. Though, for some, this holiday remains a little controversial, Elena Foulis wrote a great article for Christianity Today, that largely reflects out families view of the holiday. If you would like more information, please go check it out: Day of the Dead Gets New Life).

A Time to Gather Stones

Ecclesiates 3:5 says “there is time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones.” So we gathered stones. Our apartment complex has a bit of a rock garden to its landscaping, and Vale loves to play with the rocks. My original plan was to gather some stones, and have us put them in groups. This would have worked on number recognition and quantity.

However, Vale was not on board with this plan. So instead we made rock “trains” (that’s what Vale likes to call it when we put things in a line). We lined up the rocks and then we counted them. This still worked on quantity, counting, and making lines. When we were done we scattered the stones back to their original places.

A Time to Find

There is also a “time to find and a time to lose” (Ecclesiastes 3:6). So we did a color hunt. I borrowed this idea from New Trick Kids. I laid down construction paper in primary colors, and found objects around the house that matched those colors. I showed Vale, and then hid the items around the house. She then found the items (like an egg hunt). And sorted them by color.

What do you think of studying Ecclesiastes with littles? How did you adapt these activities for your littles? Comment below.

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