You'll help your child grasp the fact that our sin separates us from God.
What you need:
It's creative construction time! Gather materials to create a miniature Garden of Eden with your child. It can be whatever size you like. The goal is to have fun and make your model as awesome as you can.
Depending on your child's interests and the materials on hand, you might use any of the following:
If your climate and setting permit, try this project outside. Don't rush; enjoy working on it together, using the time to recall some things you've learned so far about God's good creation.
When you've created your Eden, choose a figure (or model one from clay or foil) to represent each of you. Put the figures in the "Garden."
Model one more thing — a snake — out of clay or dough. Put that in the Garden, too.
Read Genesis 3 from a child-friendly translation or children's Bible, or retell the account in language your child will understand. As you tell the story, have your child act it out with the figures in your Garden.
Check your child's understanding by having him or her summarize the story for you, using the Garden and figures as props.
If you think your child will see making a model Garden of Eden as a "baby" activity, try doing some "kid on the street" interviews instead. In person or via phone or instant messaging, help your child ask friends and family questions like the following:
Then help your child check people's answers against the Genesis 3 account. If your interviews are in person, you may want to document them with camcorder or sound recorder and share them with the rest of the family later.
Read Romans 3:23. Explain that we, like Adam and Eve, have disobeyed God. This is called sin, and it separates us from God just as the sin of Adam and Eve did.
Ask your child to name things that kids and moms and dads do wrong. Be as specific as possible. Here are suggestions to prompt your thinking:
As your child names each sin, write it on a separate craft stick (or draw a symbol, for pre-readers), push the stick into a bit of clay or dough, and use the sticks to build a fence separating the figures from the Garden.
When you've built a sizable fence, talk a little about how our sins are like a wall between us and God. Ask how it feels to be shut out of a place your child would really like to be — a party, a theme park, a movie, a toy store.
Assure your child that God is just as eager as we are to knock down the fence and bring us close to Him. You'll be talking more about that in a future Family Time.
If you didn't make a Garden of Eden model and don't want to build a fence of craft sticks, here's another way to introduce the idea of being "shut out" by sin. Have your child write kinds of disobedience on strips of crepe paper and tape them over the entrance to his or her room. Announce, tongue in cheek, that he or she will be sleeping in the bathroom from now on. Discuss the kinds of lifestyle changes such an "exile" would require.
Want to wrap up with refreshments? Try "garden sundaes." Give your child a bowl of ice cream. Let him or her crush chocolate cookies or chocolate graham crackers in a plastic bag and pour the resulting "dirt" on the ice cream. Add gummy worms as desired.