Lesson Objectives and Materials Needed
According to the author Anne Adams, “John the Baptist helped prepare the way for the ministry of Jesus. He baptized people in the Jordan River as a sign God was washing them of their sins." In this Sunday school lesson plan, preschoolers hear the story of John the Baptist and Jesus.
This Sunday school lesson is age appropriate for preschoolers and takes about 45 minutes to complete. It can be taught as presented here or modified to fit any church curriculum. A supply list is included for planning purposes.
The following educational objectives are met by this Sunday school lesson:
- Learning what baptism is
- Showing how baptism is performed
- Explaining the requirements for baptism
Here is a Sunday school materials list for the story of Jesus’ baptism.
- Bible or text of Matthew 3:1-7 and 13-16, and Luke 3:8-16
- Markers or crayons
- Wiggle eyes
- Tissue paper
- Tape, glue, or stapler
- Dove craft template and instruction sheet
- Plastic toy figure of a man
- Small tub of water
Teacher's note: Baptismal requirements vary from denomination to denomination, as does the preferred method. This lesson is designed around the information found in Acts 8:36-39. Briefly, a eunuch asked Phillip what he needed to do to be baptized, and Philip replied that he needed to believe in Jesus. This lesson teaches water baptism of a person who is old enough to understand and confess belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
Background Information on John the Baptist and Baptism
Here are some fun facts to help preschoolers understand the story better.
- Jesus and John were cousins.
- John was a prophet; God chose him to tell people that Jesus was coming as their savior.
- The word baptize comes from the Greek word baptizo, and most Bible scholars agree it means to dip, immerse, or submerge an object or person.
- John was eccentric – he dressed in camel hair garments and ate locusts and honey.
These facts can be written on a whiteboard or simply used conversationally during the story portion of the lesson.
Teaching About Baptism Using Jesus’ Example
Read or tell the story found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Ask the children if they have ever seen anyone baptized, and then explain the process: a person confesses their belief in Jesus, they are gently immersed in water, and carefully lifted up again. They cover or hold their nose to prevent water from entering.
Take the plastic figure and immerse it into the small tub of water, and then lift it up. Let the children take turns pretending to perform a baptism while asking them these discussion questions:
- How many of you have ever seen someone being baptized?
- How many of you have been baptized?
- Why did Jesus get baptized?
- What does a person need to do to be baptized?
- What happened when Jesus came up out of the water?
- What did the voice from heaven say?
The key point to stress is that baptism is not required for salvation, it is merely an act of obedience in honor of the example set by Jesus.
Flying Dove Bible Craft Activity
Print enough copies of the flying dove template for each student. If time permits, the teacher can let the preschoolers cut out the doves, but if time is scarce, the templates can be cut out prior to class.
Let students decorate the birds as they wish, and draw or glue an eye in the appropriate place. Follow the directions on the template sheet to finish the craft.
By the end of this Jesus is baptized preschool lesson, the children understand the concept of baptism and how it fits into the Christian life. They learned fun facts about Jesus and John the Baptist, and made a hands-on craft project. For more information on baptism from a Catholic perspective, read "A 3D Baptism," or "Baptism and Confirmation."
What Do the Scriptures Say?, “Does ‘Baptism’ mean Immersion Only?", M. Scott, accessed 05/06/2010
Who’s Who in the Bible, Frank S. Mead, [Harper & Row, Publishers, 1934]
Holy Bible KJV, Kids' Study Bible, [Zonderkidz, 1994], Matthew 3:1-7, Matthew 3:13-16, Luke 3:8-16, Acts 8:36-39
Bible Truth Organization, "What does the Bible say about Baptism," accessed 05/06/2010
Image, Wikimedia Commons/Davezelenka