270 - Sowing seed


15 minute Story planner

Mark 4
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 308

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about 'The life of Jesus FlashCards' cards one to five

Jesus told many stories about farming. Farming was a part of everyday life when Jesus lived on earth. The places he visited would have had fields close by. People would have watched farmers year after year sow their seeds then harvest their crops. As Jesus told these stories people would have imagined the farmer scattering the seed then waiting patiently for the harvest.

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Did you know that sparrows are particularly good at eating seeds? Their beaks are short and stout which means they can crack open the shell to find the soft inside. However, although sparrows enjoy a tasty meal of grain, there are some people who want to keep birds as far away as possible from their recently sown seeds … who might they be? What do farmers do to keep birds away from their seeds?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Beware of allergies - make sure it is safe for the children to handle the food used in this activity.

  • A bag of pearl barley or other small seeds

  • A tray/foil dish of stones

  • A tray/foil dish with a very thin layer of soil

  • A tray/foil dish with twisted green pipe-cleaners sticking out of a thin layer of soil

  • A tray with a thick layer of soil

  • Four textboxes (see Printables)

Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web

4. Story activity - 6 mins

Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Feed the birds
You will need: a bucket and as many bundles of socks as you can find (to make a sock bundle turn one sock partially inside-out with the other bundled inside).

Before the session place the sock bundles in the bucket. These will represent the seeds.

Ask for a volunteer to be the farmer. The farmer should stand with his/her back to the group holding the bucket full of socks. The remaining members of the team are birds and should run or walk around the teaching space. Younger children may want to flap their arms to be more bird-like.

When the farmer is ready he/she should shout ‘Freeze!’. At once the ‘birds’ should stand still. The farmer should then throw all the seeds (socks) over his/her head so that they land amongst the birds. Once the farmer’s bucket is empty he/she can turn around to face the birds. At this point the birds should try and gather as many ‘seeds’ as they can. However they are not allowed to move their feet. They can crouch or lie on the ground to reach the seeds but they must keep their feet in contact with the spot where they stopped. The birds will need to act quickly so that the other birds don’t get the seeds within their reach. When all the seeds have been collected the bird with the greatest number of seeds is the winner.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins

Father God, thank you for this wonderful story. Thank you that this one story can teach us so much.

Father, please help us to be like the good soil; help us to have hearts and minds that are ready to receive your message of love, forgiveness and eternal life. Help us to have lives that show that each day we are learning and growing to live your way.

Father help us to be like the farmer too. Help us to be ready to spread the message of your love and forgiveness. Help us to be ready to tell others that because Jesus lived, died and rose again everybody, everywhere can become close friends with you. Amen

Alongside this story, make the craft...

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