[The theme of ‘God loves’ is not as simple as it seems. Does God love sinners? If so, does that mean he accepts them? What sort of love is it? How do Jesus and faith fit it? And how does all this relate to young children? To read more discussion about these issues, please read the God loves? page.]
Here are some ideas for each page of the book:
1. God made me and God loves me.
- If your child hasn’t read the previous books in this series, it’s worth taking time to talk about the fact that God made them. God made
their hands, feet, arms, legs, eyes, ears…God made every part of them. And then you can say that God made them and he loves them.
- There is a book in this series called ‘God made me’ and one called ‘God loves me’
- So this book begins with the very specific: ‘God made me and God loves me’
2. God made these babies and God loves them.
- We’re starting with the youngest people—babies. And we’re being specific—‘these babies’.
- Does one baby crawl like your little one? Sit or lie like your little one?
- You can point to a baby and say “God loves this baby” and repeat with each baby.
3. God loves every baby.
- Then we move to the far more general statement—‘God loves every baby.’
- If your child is a really little one, while pointing to the babies on the page, you could say something like “Look at all the babies! God
loves all of them!”
- With bigger ones you can talk about what the babies are doing. (I know the babies are small given the size of the book). You could also talk about babies they know.
4. God loves this girl.
- We’ve moved up in age from babies to children.
- And we’ve moved from ‘every baby’ to ‘this girl’, back to specifics.
- You could ask your child what girls they know.
- You could also ask questions about the girl in the photo, eg “What do you think she’s going to do?”
5. And God loves this boy. God loves every girl and every boy.
- Here we are moving from specific children we can point to, to the general statement of ‘every girl and every boy’.
- We can’t say a general statement like ‘God loves everyone’ to a little one, expecting them to understand who
‘everyone’ is. Page by page we are building a concept of who ‘everyone’ is. Firstly babies and now children.
- You could talk about children that they know.
- You could also ask questions about the boy in the photo, eg “What do you think he likes doing?”
6. God loves my friends.
- You can ask your child: What are the children doing? What do you think they are building? What do you like building with blocks? What do you like
playing with your friends?
- Talk about where your child sees other children: playgroup? the park? at church?
- Is your child old enough to say the names of any of their friends?
- Each time you read this page you could mention one friend by name. And you could also thank God for them.
7. God loves all my family and all the people I know.
- So now we’re moving from a smaller number of people to a bigger group.
- Name the different people in your family.
- You can use their names to say something like, “God loves your brother Russell”.
- You can begin with the immediate family and then move beyond that to the extended family and friends.
- For really little ones, begin just with immediate family members (so in my case, when I was a young child, “Mummy, Daddy and Russell”).
Then gradually talk about a few friends and extended family.
- You can then progress to ‘all the people I know’, which might be people who live next door, the lady in the bread shop, family friends
- You can also talk about the people in the photo—who are brothers and sisters? Can you see a grandfather? Can you see a mother? Who owns the
8. God loves this man. (What do you think is in the boxes?)
- We’ve now moved to adults your child doesn’t know. We begin with specifics: ‘this man’.
- As you read ‘God loves this man’, point to him.
- You can talk about ‘this man’: what is he doing? Why are the boxes on something? (You might need to explain the trolley as the child
can see the back of the trolley but not realize that part of the trolley is under the boxes) Where do you think he is taking the boxes?
- Then comes the fun part (why fun? We want reading a book together to be a bonding time, a special time): “what do you think is in the
boxes?” With a younger child, you could suggest “Do you think there are teddy bears in the boxes?” (i.e. say something that they know).
For an older child, each time you read the book your child could think of something different that could be in the boxes. You could also add a bit more fun
on this page by suggesting something that couldn’t be in the boxes—for instance, “Do you think there are real elephants in the boxes?”
9. God loves this lady. She sells fruit and vegetables.
- As you read ‘this lady’, point to her.
- You can talk about ‘this lady’: what is she wearing? Why is she wearing an apron? Where do you think she lives?
- You can talk about the fruit and vegetables. Can your child name any of them? For a really little one, you can point to a basket and say, for
example, “These are carrots”. For a bigger one, you could point to a basket and ask, “What is in this basket?” You could also ask,
“Can you think of another vegetable that isn’t here?” “What vegetables and fruit do you think she has in other baskets?”
10. God loves all these people. (What do you think some of them do?)
- Now we are moving from one man and one lady to lots and lots of them, with children as well. But we are still talking in specifics by saying
“all these people”.
- You can talk about the different people. For a really little one, you needn’t read “What do you think some of them do?”.
Concentration-wise, you might just need to be brief. Or each time you read this page, you might just say something like, “Look there’s a
lady.” or “Look there’s a lady with a bucket.” And then say, “God loves her.”
- Bigger ones can talk about what they think some of the people do (or are about to do). Don’t just talk about ‘occupations’ as
such (as if occupations define them) but also their roles in life and their hobbies—for example, a grandfather, a mum, an uncle, someone who
likes…, someone who plays…
11. God loves all the people who live in my street. God loves all people everywhere.
- Now we’re moving from “these people” to “all the people who live in my street” to “all people
- So we are going from specifics to a general statement ‘all people everywhere’.
- It might sound a bit clumsy but I intentionally wanted to say “all people”—we can point to people (for instance the people on the
page) so it’s a bit more concrete than the word ‘everyone’.
- On this page we have “all people everywhere” and over the page we have “everyone in the world”—two different ways of
saying the same thing. Why? One expression might be better understood by your child. You can also take a word from each to then say “everyone,
- I know that the photos of the people are small but I wanted to get an idea of a lot of people and the fact that they all look different (eg.
different heights, long hair, short hair, no hair…!). So ‘all people’ are different people, and lots of them.
- Talk about people who live in your street. Do you know any of their names? With a really little one you could say, “Mrs Smith lives in our
street.” If concentration is waning, just read one sentence and move on, or just read one sentence to cover the two page spread (‘God loves all
these people’) and move on. Read the other sentence/s another time.
- You can talk about the people in the photo (depending on your eyesight). With a really little one you could talk about the colors (green, yellow,
red…tops, pants etc)
- You could also talk about large numbers of people in a context known to your child (like ‘all the children’ who are at the local
school, ‘all the people’ in the shopping centre near you, ‘all the people’ on the train/bus) and that God loves them all. Talking about people in different places also reinforces the idea of ‘everywhere’. Talk about places your child knows.
12. God’s book, the Bible, tells us that God loves me and God loves everyone in the world! He showed us he loves us by sending Jesus.
- Up to this point we have been reading that “God loves…” (babies, children, people in my street etc). But here we have an
important statement—“God’s book, the Bible, tells us that God loves…”. So this gives us the grounding for all that we have said
previously—we know God loves everyone because God says it in the Bible.
- The Bible tells us about Jesus and God’s love. The Bible tells us how God showed us he loves us by sending Jesus. So the Bible is a really
important book to read (listen to).
- As appropriate start explaining that God sent Jesus so we can be God’s friends.
- We have led up to “God loves everyone in the world” by saying that “God loves all people everywhere”.
- See notes on the next page for tips for explaining “the world” and “showed us he loves us by sending Jesus”.
- “God showed us he loves us by sending Jesus” is a similar statement to one made in ‘God loves me’. You might like to read
the notes for that book on the two page spread with the verse 1 John 4:9.
13. John 3, verse 16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son.” Thank you God for your Son, Jesus.”
- Here we have a specific verse that tells us that the way God showed his love for us is by giving/sending Jesus.
- Young children may not be able to grasp the full meaning of this verse, so at first we want them to hear that God’s love and Jesus are connected. We
want them to equate Jesus with God’s love.
- For little ones it’s about reading the verse time and time again.
- For older ones it’s about a growing understanding of the verse and an appropriate response to it.
- Here are a few tips for explaining:
- ‘God loved the world’—here, ‘the world’ means ‘everyone’ in the world.
- ‘world’ is a bit of a tricky concept for young children. If we show them a globe and say “that’s the world”
it’s not necessarily going to help. Imagine how much you need to understand in order for a globe of the world to make sense. The same is true for a
map of the world. As a child meets different people who come from different countries, as a child realizes there’s more than just where they live, as
a child gets the idea of planes going to lots of different far away places, and as a child gets the idea of the ‘country’ where they live and
other countries ‘in the world’, gradually a child will grow in their understanding of ‘the world’. So it’s a
‘concept’ they will gradually understand. (As they will eventually understand that all the different countries in the world can be shown on a
map or a globe.)
- ‘God loved the world so much’ God loves the people in the world lots and lots.
- ‘God loved the world so much that he gave’ —Jesus was with God in heaven. God ‘gave’ (sent) Jesus. Jesus is a wonderful
gift—the best gift ever. When children are older, they can better understand that because God ‘gave’ Jesus as a gift, people in the world
need to ‘accept’ or ‘receive’ Jesus, the gift. See John 1:10-12 (here ‘the ‘Word’ is Jesus). In these verses (in
the Good News Translation) it says that some ‘did receive him and believed in him’ and so were able to become ‘God’s
- ‘his only Son’—when parents have a child that is a boy, he is called their ‘son’. God had one ‘Son’. So
Jesus is called his ‘only Son’. (For children who can read, when we write ‘God’s Son’ we write son like ‘Son’
because of how important Jesus is and because in the Bible it is also a title for God’s king.)
- ‘Thank you God for your son, Jesus.’ Our response to God giving his only Son Jesus, should be one of thankfulness. We want our little
ones to thank God for Jesus. They won’t fully understand why it’s something to be so thankful for, but we can assure our little ones that we
need to thank God for Jesus because God loves us so much.
- In the notes for the book ‘God knows me’, I explained the importance of children realizing that “God knows what I do and what I
say”—everything, all the time. We can’t hide from God. So God sees when we disobey, when we are unkind, when we are naughty. This is a
step towards children realizing that they ‘sin’. They are not always ‘good’. They don’t always do ‘good’ things.
They don’t always say ‘good’ things.
- God is good. God is always good. Our sin means we can’t be friends with a good and holy God. We deserve to be punished for our sin (just like
children deserve to be punished when they are naughty, do wrong things, disobey, hurt others).
- God gave/sent Jesus to take that punishment for us. Instead of us being punished (which we deserve) Jesus (who is always good and never does
anything wrong) was punished. So Jesus died.
- It sounds like sad news. But the good news is that Jesus didn’t stay dead. He came back to life and is living with God in heaven where
everything is always good—no sin, no sadness, no grumpiness, no tears. So God showed his love (how much he loves us) by giving/sending Jesus so that
we too can live with God forever in heaven.
- While we live in the world there will be sadness and tears and hurting. God sent Jesus as a gift. Those who believe that Jesus is God’s Son, who trust in him, will be given that gift.
14. Thank you God that you love us so much.
- God loved us so much that he sent Jesus. The ultimate expression of God’s love is that he gave/sent Jesus. Remember to thank God for Jesus.
- Model thankfulness in prayer to your child, thanking God for loving us so much.
- And you can pray for people your child knows. You could make a pictorial prayer diary with photos (see below).
Making your own pictorial prayer diary
Take photos of, or your child (or an older sibling) could draw, your child and other family members (including extended family) as well as friends. You
might have one or two people (or one family) per photo.
You could put the photos in a mini album or a book.
Using mini album:
When praying with your child at a special time in the day, you could use your photo album book, and turn to one (for a really little one) or a few photos
and pray for that person/those people. Here are some ideas of what you could pray. For the really little ones you might pray just one sentence:
…Thank for Aunty Jess.
…Thank you that you love Aunty Jess.
…Please help Aunty Jess to know how much you love her.
Using a book:
Older ones could be encouraged to pray more specifically for the people in their book. So, if your photos are digital, you could print one page for each
photo (with the photo at the top of the page). Put the pages in a book or folder. Or paste printed photos into a book.
Decide how many people you will pray for each time you pray (it might be one, or it might be more).
You could talk about (and then write down under the photo) a specific prayer point for each person. So you might want to pray for Aunty Jess and her sore
leg, or a cousin might be starting school, or a friend might be moving to a new home a long way away.
As well as praying a special prayer point for each person, continue to pray general prayer points.
By way of encouragement, I’d like to share a personal story of our little friend Hannah. Just 2 days before her 2nd birthday, my husband
Ian was admitted to hospital (for about a week). For the first few days he was too sick to have visitors, but once he was starting to improve,
Hannah’s family came to the hospital to visit. For quite a while after that visit Hannah prayed for Ian (she called him ‘Eee’) and her
prayer consisted of ‘Eee bed’. It was very special to know that she was praying for ‘Eee’ and her way of expressing the fact that
he was sick was by saying ‘bed’—she knew he wasn’t supposed to be there in that bed. We were very grateful that God did help Ian to
be well enough to get out of his hospital bed and come home and fully recover.
‘God loves the Postman’ from A very, very big God.
Back to top