I’m teaching at a VBS in Salisbury, MD (near Ocean City, MD) this week and had a rare challenge on the first night – teaching 2-3 year olds. Now, I have most of my teaching experience with k-5th graders, with a little bit of experience with the preschool age. But my prior interaction with 2-3 year-olds has been slim to none. So, I am not an authority on teaching this age group, but I want to share one idea I tried that seemed to work. The first night was a little hectic (to say the least). I tried my normal stage routine with juggling tricks and volunteers. The 2-3 year-olds just stared at me – with not much reaction (much like preaching to a group of adults!). My volunteers stood on stage and just stared at me – they would not do what I asked. Then one kid started crying – very loudly. I did my best, but let’s just say that first night was a learning experience for me. Then came the second night. And I tried something different. I turned off my headset microphone and sat down on the steps to the stage. I had the kids sit with the adult volunteers on the floor right in front of me (a la library storytime). That was the first tactic that worked – being up front and close with the kiddies.
The second thing that worked was interactive-motion-storytelling. I have no other name for it than that right now. I taught the Bible story of Josiah finding the book of the Law, which had been lost for years. Throughout the story, I would do hand motions for different actions in the story – and I would have all the toddlers imitate the actions with me. That worked great! They seemed to be with it more than the night before.
I have a long way to go with this age group – but thanks be to God for second chances at stuff. Hey, if it weren’t for second chances (or third, or fourth, etc.), then it would be impossible to learn how to juggle anything.