Valentine’s Day is coming, and so over here we are talking about love.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we should also lay down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
-1 John 3:16
We can love, because God has love us first. This is such an abstract concept for a young child. So this week, we are using some tools to make these concepts more concrete.
This week we use a Love Sensory Bin. Naomi (1 year-old) simply explore the box and experimented using scoops. Vale enjoyed finding the hearts, identifying colors, and finding pairs. We talked about how a heart is a symbol for love. Click here to find out the details, and learn how to adapt the box for various age groups.
To get Vale thinking of ways she could show love to others, we used the Kindness Bingo from Mi Legasi. This beautiful game is bilingual (Spanish/English), and shows way that even toddlers can show love to others. This was a very sweet conversation-starter in our home, and has been a delightful way to spend our afternoons recently.
We also watched the movie Frozen! I know, you’re probably asking what Frozen has to do with the Bible? Well, here’s the deal: my toddler loves Frozen. If I talk about how Jesus laid down his life for us, she’s really not going to get it. Saying Jesus died on the cross, may mean a little bit, but the whole significance of that will probably be lost. You know what my toddler does understand? Anna saved Elsa by an act of true love. Anna laid down her life for Elsa. So this is a perfect metaphor for the Biblical truth we’re aiming for this week.
Finally, we actually practiced loving others. It wasn’t big thing. Actual the acts of kindness were quite small. We bake cupcakes to a friend (that was pretty sacrificial when you consider how much Vale loves cupcakes). Now that Vale is potty trained, we packed up our extra diapers, and gave them to a friend. And, of course we made some Valentines! For more ideas on how little ones can show love, check out Toddler Volunteer Opportunities.
He First Loved Us
These activities are all just for fun and games. I truly believe the greatest way we can teach our children about God’s love is simply by loving them. We won’t do it perfect. We will mess up, and that provides a whole other opportunity to show humility and reliance on God. However, when we abide in the love of God, the love he gave us first. It empowers us to love our little ones. More than activities, or prayers, or going to church, the way we abide in God’s love for ourselves, and pass that on to our children is the greatest way we can teach our children about God’s love. When you put food on the table. When you change that nasty diaper. When you snuggle your little ones. That is showing love.
And, Mama friend, you are loved! Whether you make meals from scratch, or heat up boxed macaroni. Whether you work or stay at home. Whether you are doing activities with your little one today, or letting them have extra screen time so you can catch a break, know that you are seen. You are known. And you are loved. Take a breath to abide in that truth. You are loved. And let that be what propels us to love our littles today.