Sunbeam Lesson #13 "I Am Thankful for Birds and Insects"

***Note: Please read the post called “10 Lesson Helps” found under “Primary Lesson Listings” before reviewing any of my Sunbeam lesson plan ideas.

“Children need and appreciate rules and limits. Work with the children you teach to establish a few simple, clear rules (no more than three or four). This will help them govern themselves. Explain that following the rules helps everyone enjoy learning together. Also discuss what will happen when rules are broken. You may want to decide together on a signal for restoring order, such as the teaching standing with folded arms.” Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 80, 81.

Materials needed: cheese and crackers (or just crackers), pictures of insects (if possible), 5 pictures of the stages of caterpillar-to-butterfly metamorphosis (print off from any internet site with simple graphics), toilet roll tubes (2 per each child taped together with a string tied in a loop to each one), dress ups for “Elijah” (perhaps a scarf and tie to wrap around the head), color markers and/or stickers, Gospel art pictures 1-31 and 1-32.

Show picture 1-31, asking the children what they see. Tell them the man in the picture is prophet named Elijah. The black birds are called “ravens.” Notice what is in their mouths and how he is looking at them with his hand out. Tell story of Elijah being fed by the ravens. God has power over everything on earth and created all the animals.  So He can make the animals on Noah’s ark to be friends and He can tell the birds to get food to feed Elijah. All the animals obey Heavenly  Father. We should too.

Show picture 1-32, asking the children what they see in this picture. What is in this picture that is the same as Elijah and the ravens? Point out that these white birds are called “seagulls.” The people in the picture are pioneers. Tell the story of the pioneers and the crickets and seagulls. How did the seagulls save the pioneers? Did these birds also obey God? Should we be like these birds and obey Heavenly Father? Why?

Dress us one student as the prophet Elijah. Tell the story again and have him hide in a “cave” (under the table). Other children can be the “birds.” Give them “bread and meat” (crackers and cheese) to fly over and feed Elijah. Take turns.

Sing a song about birds:

Five little birds. Five little birds. (hold up 5 fingers)

Five little birdies sitting on a fence. (put wrist with fingers [5 birds] spread out on top of other arm held out horizontally [the fence])

Oh no! One has flown a-way. (Hold up one finger and put it behind back)

Isn’t that a shame! 

4 Little Birdies…(Keep going until there are no birds left)

No little birds. No little birds.

No little birdies sitting on a fence.

Oh look! One of them has re-turned. (Bring one finger out from behind back)

Let us all re-joice! Yeah!!!!! (clap)

One little bird….(Keep going until they are all returned).

Heavenly Father also created insects.  What is an insect? They are another name for a “bug.” They crawl on the ground or fly in the air. What is your favorite insect? (Allow discussion). If you have pictures of insects, show them and discuss their names and what they do. Be sure you are positive in nature about insects. If you show signs of fear or are “grossed out,” the children will read your negative messages and body language.

I’m going to give you a clue to a special insect. Listen and then guess what it is:

It used to be a caterpillar.

It has two beautiful wings.

It likes to rest on flowers.

Show the pictures of metamorphosis. Discuss the life cycle of a butterfly. Put the pictures on the floor in random order. Invite the children to come and sit on the floor. Have children put the pictures in order. Mix them up again and repeat.

Sitting in a circle on the floor, show the children how to make a “butterfly” with their hands: hands side by side, palms down, cross thumbs and lock together and flap extended hands for the “wings.” One child makes the butterfly hands as they walk around the outside of the circle of children, and have it land on a person’s shoulder at the end of the song. Everyone sings while they go around the circle:

One Little Butterfly (sing to tune “One Little Elephant”)

One little butterfly flew far away

On a very bright sunny day

It flew into the sky so blue

And when it was tired it landed on you!

(Take turns until everyone has had a chance to be the butterfly.)

There are many people who love Heavenly Father’s creations and want to go into nature to look at them. There are bird watchers and insect collectors. We will make pretend binoculars like bird watchers use. Binoculars help you to see things that are far away. 

Give each child their “binoculars” and let them color with markers and/or put on stickers. Show them how to put the string around their neck to keep them on. They look though the two tubes to see birds and insects close up. If the weather is nice, you can go outside an look for insects and birds. If it is not, you can tape up pictures around the room and let them go around and see them through their binoculars.

Bear your testimony of how birds and insects are part of God’s beautiful creations. Tell them to notice different kinds of birds and insects the following week and thank Heavenly Father for them in their prayers this week.

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