In this toddler lesson for Queen Esther, students learn how she saves her people, the Jews, from extermination. This lesson can be used by teachers or homeschool educators as is or adapted as needed to suit special educational requirements.
Teacher Prep and Objectives
This Bible lesson is designed for toddlers and includes tips on making the story understandable for youngsters. It can be presented in about forty-five minutes and requires few supplies. The educational objectives are:
- Teaching about obedience
- Demonstrating God’s justice
- Discovering how God protects His people
- Submitting to authority
Sunday school materials needed:
- Bible: Esther 1:1-2:18 – Esther replaces Vashti; 2:19-7:10 – Mordecai overcomes Haman; 8:1-10:3 – Israel survives Haman’s attempt to destroy them.
- Computer or laptop to play the online story
- Yellow 8 ½ x 11” construction paper
- Assorted colors of construction paper
- One or two packages of ready-to-bake sugar cookies (depends on class size)
- Triangle-shaped cookie cutters
- Candy or sugar sprinkles
- Template pattern for a hexagon and a star shape
Before class, use the patterns and trace the hexagon and star shapes on colored construction paper. Cut out the shapes. Take the yellow construction paper and fold it in half, and then in half again. Cut the folded paper into four strips. Each crown requires two strips to form the headpiece. Each child needs two hexagons and one star to make their crown craft.
Using the online story of Esther is a good idea because it is simply written and covers just the main points of the tale. It is short enough to engage toddlers' attention and has simple graphics to help them visualize the story. However, if you prefer you can tell the story or read it from a children's Bible.
Share these fun facts with the class to help them understand the story:
- In Bible times, it was against the law for anyone to go to the king without being invited. Esther was afraid to go the king, but she was more afraid of disobeying God.
Esther prayed before she went to see her husband. We can pray when we feel afraid, and God will help us to be brave like she was.
- She was also afraid because she had been keeping a secret: she was a Jew.
- She told the truth and God protected her and saved her race (the Jews).
- Esther is the name she was given in captivity in Persia. Her Hebrew name was Hadassah.
Make a Crown
Give each child two strips of yellow paper and staple the strips together for them. Invite them to use glue to paste the shapes on the strip as shown in the image. Adjust the paper strips to fit each child's head, and fasten them with another staple. Cover the backs of the staples with tape for safety. Encourage them to wear their crowns for the rest of the class and pretend to be kings and queens.
How to Make Hamantaschen or Haman Hats
Haman wore a three-corned hat, and it is a tradition at Purim to make and eat cookies shaped like his hat. Explain to the class that Purim is the Jewish festival in celebration of the queen's bravery. Today, Jews still celebrate the holiday. Jewish children dress up in costumes and shake noisemakers whenever Haman's name is said.
To make the hamantaschen, cut the sugar cookie dough into circles, and let the children flatten the circle with the heel of their hands. Help them to take the triangle-shaped cookie cutter and cut the circle into a triangle. Save the scraps for another use, and place the triangles on a cookie sheet. Invite the children to sprinkle their cookie with sugar or other decorations. Bake the cookies and let the kids eat them for their snack.
If time permits, conclude this lesson by letting the children watch the Veggie Tales movie "Madame Blueberry/Esther, The Girl Who Became Queen." This is a double feature DVD, and the run-time for the portion about Esther is approximately thirty-three minutes. For other activities and stories about brave Christians, read the story of Daniel.
Read books on the theme of Esther and the King of Persia to extend the lesson and reinforce learning:
The Queen's Feast: A puzzle book about Esther, Ros Woodman, [CF4K, 2010
The Persian Plot; A Tale About Courage, [Faith Kidz, 2000]
By the end of this lesson on Queen Esther, the students will be able to comprehend the story and have participated in a Bible craft activity and made a themed snack, all while gaining an appreciation for God and the Scripture.
- Author's classroom experience as a Christian educator and lay children's minister
- Image: Queen Esther Crown art project, D. Cosmato/2010