Jesus in the Temple (Preschool Lesson)

Help children begin to identify God's love in their lives with this grab-and-go lesson.
6 min read

“Teach me your way, O Lord.”

Psalm 86:11

TEACHER PREPARATION

Who?

Mary, Joseph, Jesus, crowd, teachers and leaders at the Temple

What?

Mary and Joseph cared for Jesus as He grew up and when they journeyed to Jerusalem (Matthew 2:19-23Luke 2:41-52)

When & Where?

Approximately 5 B.C. to A.D. 5, in Egypt, Nazareth and Jerusalem

Why?

To help children feel glad about God’s care and help as they grow up

Goals For Each Child

  1. Tell that Mary and Joseph cared for Jesus as He grew
  2. Identify ways God shows love to and helps him or her grow
  3. Thank God for His love and for helping him or her to grow
Portrait of a cute little boy playing with his building blocks and toys in his room
Image Credit: PeopleImages/E+/Getty Images

PLAY TO LEARN

Bible Story Activities

Art Center

Supplies

  • Bible
  • Paper plates
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Tape

Prepare

Draw a simple happy face on one paper plate for each child.

Do

Give each child a paper plate. Children color the face. Cut yarn to measure the height of each child. Assist child in taping yarn to the wall to show his or her height, and then tape his or her face plate at the top of the yarn length. Talk about how Jesus grew.

Dramatic Play Center

Supplies

  • Bible
  • Various household and clothing items (washcloth, slippers, comb, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Suitcase

Do

Children pack suitcase with items for a pretend long trip. Briefly tell how Jesus’ family had to pack for a trip.

Talk About

  • In our Bible story, Jesus had grown to be 12 years old. Mary, Joseph and Jesus went on a trip to a place where they could pray.
  • Mary and Joseph loved Jesus. They took good care of Him as He grew. They gave him clothes and good food.
  • God gives you moms and dads to love you and help you grow, too. Elana, who helped you have breakfast today? God gave you a mom to help you because He loves you.
  • The best way God showed His love to us was by sending His Son, Jesus, to show us how to make good choices. The Bible says, “Teach me your way, O Lord.”
Bible in Life Curriculum Trial
Bible in Life curriculum trial

Bible Verse Activities

Blocks Center

Supplies

  • Bible
  • Blocks
  • Toy people

Do

Children use blocks to build a church and then play with toy people in and around the church. Talk about the ways children learn about God at church.

Game Center

Supplies

  • Bible

Do

Lead children in playing a game like Simon Says, but do not eliminate children who do not follow directions. As you touch your shoulders, say, “Simon Says, touch your shoulders.” Continue with actions using other body parts. After several rounds, say, Good job listening to my instructions. God made you to grow strong and to listen to others!

Talk About

  • Open your Bible to Psalm 86:11 and point to the Bible verse. The Bible says, “Teach me your way, O Lord.” “Lord” is another name for God. God wants us to learn about Him.
  • We learn about God at church. Cole, who brought you to church today? God gave you parents to show His love to you and help you grow. And He makes good food grow for you.
  • Hold Bible. What is this book? We learn about God when we read the Bible. I like to tell you stories from the Bible.
  • Let’s thank God for loving us and helping us to grow.  Lead children in a brief prayer.

LISTEN TO LEARN

Large-Group Time

Supplies

  • Bible
  • Skitter puppet
  • Measuring tape
  • Flannel board
  • Optional—God’s Story for Me Bible Storybook

Come Together

Children sit in a circle, feet stretched toward the center. Say, I see three children who are wearing tennis shoes. Children try to identify the three children. Continue game, varying the number of children and the color and type of clothing item that is the same.

Bible Verse

Open your Bible to Psalm 86:11The Bible says, “Teach me your way, O Lord.” Repeat Bible verse by clapping when saying each word. God teaches us how to love Him and others. God helps you grow, too. 

Show Everyday Life Poster. Put your hand on your head if you know what’s happening in this picture. Samantha, how old are you? You will be four years old at your next birthday. You will be taller, too. God loves you and cares for you as you grow.

Prayer

Lead children in prayer. Dear God, thank You for loving us. Thank You for helping us to grow. We love You, too. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Song

The Bible teaches us that God loves us. Let’s sing a song about God’s love for us. Play “Jesus Loves Me” several times, inviting children to sing along with you.

Puppet Time

Supplies

Bible Story

Jesus At The Temple

 Matthew 2:19-23Luke 2:41-52

Introduction

Show measuring tape. Ask one or more volunteers to stand and be measured. As we get older, we grow taller. Listen to today’s Bible story to find out what Jesus did as He grew older. (Hold your Bible open to Luke 2 as you tell the following story.)

Jesus The Little Boy

Mary, Joseph and Jesus were living in Egypt. Jesus was growing bigger. One night, God told Joseph, “King Herod is dead. It is safe to take Mary and Jesus home now.” They packed their things and walked to their home town of Nazareth.

Joseph was a carpenter. Carpenters use wood, tools and nails to make chairs, tables and other things. As Jesus grew, He probably learned to use a hammer. He probably cut wood with a saw. Jesus helped Joseph make things out of wood.

Jesus The Big Boy

Every year many people traveled to worship God at the Temple in Jerusalem. (The Temple was like a big church.) When Jesus was 12 years old, His family traveled to the Temple, as they did every year. Many families walked together to go to the Temple.

Mary, Joseph and Jesus saw the beautiful Temple. They were glad! Many people prayed and sang glad songs to God at the Temple. They listened to God’s Word. They ate special meals and talked to their friends.

Then the visit was over. Many people were walking home with Jesus’ family. Joseph and Mary thought Jesus was walking with their friends. But Jesus wasn’t! They didn’t know it yet, but Jesus was still in Jerusalem!

Jesus The Missing Boy

When everyone stopped for the night, Joseph and Mary looked for Jesus. They couldn’t find Him! Joseph and Mary began to worry. They asked everyone, “Where’s Jesus?” No one knew where Jesus was. Mary and Joseph hurried back to Jerusalem. They asked all the people they saw if they had seen Jesus! But nobody knew where He was!

Then Mary and Joseph went to look in the big Temple. There was Jesus! He was talking with the Temple teachers and leaders! He was not afraid and He knew God loved Him. Joseph and Mary were glad to find Jesus! They took Jesus back home. They took care of Him. Jesus grew and learned, just as God had planned.

Conclusion

Jesus grew just like you do. God loved Jesus as He grew. And God loves us as we grow, too. We can learn about God as we grow. The Bible says, “Teach me your way, O Lord.” (Optional: Review story by using pages 294-299 in God’s Story for Me Bible storybook.)

Kids Dancing To Music
Image Credit: FatCamera/E+/Getty Images

TALK TO LEARN

TalkTime Activity Page

Supplies

  • Bible
  • Markers or crayons

Do

Hand out TalkTime activity pages and demonstrate how to complete the page. Distribute sticker pages and crayons or markers. As children complete their own page, talk about the items on the page.

Bible Story Game

Do

Today in our Bible story, Mary and Joseph looked for Jesus. They found Jesus in the Temple. Show Figure 22. Let’s play a game to remember our story and find this picture of Jesus at the Temple. While a volunteer covers his or her eyes, hide Figure 22 in the classroom. Volunteer uncovers eyes and searches for the figure. Give clues to help child find the figure. Go to the window. Look under the table. Repeat several times with new volunteers.

Talk About

  • Who grew up in our Bible story today? God loved Jesus and helped Him as He grew.
  • When Mary and Joseph started traveling home from Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph couldn’t find Jesus. Where was Jesus? What was Jesus doing in the Temple?
  • Jesus loved God, and God loved Jesus. God loves you, too.  Read Psalm 86:11 aloud. God helps you as you learn about Him as you grow.
  • Pray with children. Thank You, God, for loving us and helping us grow. In Jesus’ name, amen.

For more fun lessons like this one check out this post!

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  Updated on October 8, 2021

About the Author

  • Gospel Light curriculum is built on the belief that the gospel changes lives! A successful Jesus-centered ministry starts with a comprehensive plan—a plan that builds year upon year from birth through preteen with a proven scope and sequence and age-appropriate lessons. Couple that with Gospel Light's deep rooted passion to bring God’s Word to kids in fun, easy-to-learn ways, based on a strong foundation in the Bible that gives kids godly values they can carry with them throughout their lives. That’s the Gospel Light difference!

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