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The patience jar - and glitter, of course

April 12, 2012
 |  by Julie

The patience jar - and glitter, of course

“Piper,” I said to my daughter as I stooped down to eye level, “What does ‘patience’ mean?”

This was a test. I had no idea if my three year old had any concept of the word’s meaning, but before we started our first Kids of Integrity lesson (I chose Patience, perhaps an obvious choice for toddlers!), I wanted to gauge her understanding.

She looked at me and paused. Slowly she said, “Wait.”

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “It means to wait with happiness.” (Though that is probably not the most accurate explanation of the word, I knew that she would have a deeper understanding if I also used our special “code word” for having a good attitude – happiness.) Thus began our first lesson!

I have to admit, it’s been somewhat of a challenge to figure out how to use the KOI lessons with a toddler. There’s so much great material, but as I glanced through our first lesson, I kept thinking, Nope, she wouldn’t get that . . . or that . . . or that . . . . But then I realized, even if some components of the lessons go over her head, I know she’ll still have a blast doing the activities. And as I soon discovered, she “gets” more than I expect.

Our first project was to create a Patience Jar. This activity is found in the Hands-on Options under “Drive Time / Any Time.” Together we decorated a glass jar, and each time she demonstrates patience, she gets to put a cotton ball in the jar. This is such a great idea for toddlers since it’s positive reinforcement with immediate “reward” (oh, to hang on to the days when a cotton ball seems like a reward!). I told her that if she fills up her jar, she can have a special treat; however, she didn’t seem to care very much about that (or didn’t understand me) and instead wanted to admire her cotton balls.

This jar is such a great idea, I’m thinking about renaming it our Kids of Integrity Jar. I could easily switch out the label each time we start a new lesson, and when she demonstrates the chosen character trait, she gets a cotton ball in her jar. We’ll see how it goes.

Next we created a (very glittery) patience poster that featured our memory verse, “Love is patient, love is kind . . .” (1 Cor. 13:4). For obvious reasons, I chose a short verse that she can easily repeat after me. In fact, she gets a huge grin on her face when we recite our memory verse together! It is so beautifully powerful to hear my child quoting Scripture for the first time.

Related Lesson: Patience