This Zacchaeus Theme page is based on Luke 19:1-10. Jesus loves all of His people and encourages all of us who seek Him to meet Him where we are at! Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. He was, based on the reaction of the people in Jericho that day, despised. He was in an undesirable and dishonest occupation, as tax collectors were notorious for charging people more than was due for their share of taxes. In addition, he was a Jew who chose to work for the Romans and therefore considered somewhat of a traitor by his fellow Jews.
He was curious to meet the Lord he had heard so much about. He did not let his small stature stop him! He climbed a tree to hear him speak. Jesus called him by name to meet with him!
His response was one of immediate transformation! He not only met with Jesus, but repented of his sin and made amends to those he had cheated......with interest.
This passage serves as the opportunity to teach our children much about the nature of God. He loves all his children. He knows us all by name and loves us all. He knows in our humanity that we make mistakes; we sin. He is there for us to come to him where we are at and confess and repent of our sin and live our lives in a way honorable to Him.
To read my Statement of Faith, click here.
This page includes preschool lesson plans, activities and Interest Learning Center ideas for your Preschool Classroom!
Let the Theme planning begin!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Provide many magazines, scissors, glue, paper plates and crayons.
Have the children color their paper plates. Tell them it is the world.
The children find and cut out people from the magazines and glue them all over the paper plate.
Remind the children that Jesus loves ALL His children! Perhaps have a small pre-printed note for them to glue on that reads: Jesus Loves Us All
Provide either paper plates or white circle papers (or paper with circles drawn on them for the children to cut out on their own and practice those cutting skills!); yarn, crayons, googly eyes, glue, large craft sticks, strong tape
The children make a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other side. They should use the yarn for hair, crayons to color the face, googly eyes, etc.
Tape the large craft stick on.
Use these when retelling the story or to ask questions at an end of the day circle time: How did Zacchaeus feel when he couldn't see through the crowd? When the people seemed angry that Jesus was going to meet with him? When Jesus called him by name?
Provide small, plastic trees, people and houses to your block area for this theme.
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
Make flannel board pieces for this story and give pieces to the children to add on as you read the story. You may need to read the story more than once so everyone gets a turn.
Jesus knew our story character by name though he had never met Jesus before! Jesus knows us all by name!
Play a name game! Clap out the syllables of each child's name together with the group. Include our character's name, Jesus' name and your own name as well!
Where Are You?
This is a variation of the Little Mouse, Little Mouse Where is Your House game that I love so much!
In advance, create trees that are each a different color and laminate them.
Create a little man that will fit under the tree without being seen and laminate.
Place all the trees on the floor at Circle time. Hide the little man under one of the trees without the children seeing.
Let each child have a turn guessing where he is. You could use this chant:
Zacchaeus, where are you?
The child says "the red tree".
The group says "Are you under the red tree?"
Lift up the red tree.
Continue until found. Continue playing until all children have had a turn.
EXTENSION: Place this game in your math center for use during center time!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Wee Little Fruit
Do you have a dehydrator?! Have the children help you to slice fruit such as strawberries and bananas with plastic knives and dehydrate them.
Have the children measure the size when they cut them.
The next day, compare the size and have a treat!
Celery Tree Snack
Why not?!! Have the children help you to spread either cream cheese or other spread into celery for a snack!
Welcome to My House
Set up your dramatic play area to represent the Bible times. Place pillows and place mats on the floor and remove the tables and chairs. Provide play food in a basket. Provide large shirts and fabric for headpieces for the children to wear.
Create (or have your children help to create) a tree to hang "outside" the dramatic play area out of brown paper and add leaves.
EXTENSION: Have a leaf cutting station in your classroom for the children to cut out leaves and glue on the tree!
More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
My Sycamore-Fig Tree
Provide a variety of brown and green shades of paint for the children to create their own tree.
that help build their muscles while they have fun together
A Wee, Little Man!
The song says he was a "wee, little man". We are all different heights. Let's measure!
Provide rulers, tape measures, etc. for the children to measure their friends!
A child lays down on the floor and another child measures. "You are 10 blocks long!" "You are 3 rulers tall!"
List their results on a chart with each child's name!
Outside, provide a low step stool next to a tree or next to the climbing structure as a place for them to act out this story outside!
Book Suggestions for the Library
Multiple versions of children's and toddler's Bibles.
Multiple versions of the story of Zacchaeus.
If Jesus Came To My House by Joan Gale Thomas
to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands as well as their math skills!
Climbing the Tree
Materials needed: brown and green paper, white paper and markers, scissors, yarn, tape, hole punch
Provide green and brown paper and scissors for the children to cut out a tree with leaves on it. Tape the leaves to the trunk.
Provide markers and a small piece of white paper for the children to draw a person as best they can.
Hole punch a hole in the greenery of the tree.
Lace a long piece of yarn through the hole and tie a knot on the back side so the yarn does not fit through the hole but can slide easily.
Tape the other piece of yarn to the back of their person.
They can now lift him into the tree by pulling the yarn!
Story Matching Game
Color copy scenes from one of the books. Make two copies of each scene. Laminate.
Children use this at the math/manipulatives station. It could be used as a concentration/memory game; matching game or story retelling game.
to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!
The Song, of Course!
Zacchaeus was a wee, little man and a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a Sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see.
And when the Savior passed that way, He looked up in the tree.
And said, "Zacchaeus! You come down! For I'm going to your house today! I'm going to your house today!"
Zacchaeus was a wee, little man but a happy man was he.
For he had seen the Lord that day and a happy mane was he;
A very happy man was he.
Materials Needed: Small paper plates (2 for each child), markers or crayons, coins, stapler, CD of song (optional)
Have the children decorate the bottoms of 2 small paper plates while you teach them or play the songs.
As they finish, staple the plates around the edges leaving a small opening.
Have each child count a specific number of coins into the plates and staple the opening.
Have the dance using their paper maracas while singing or playing the song.
VARIATION: Use plastic eggs to place coins in!
Add plastic trees or twigs/branches from outside, people, houses, etc. to your sand table. The children may want to build roads and create stories. They may also reenact the Bible story.
for your Preschool Scientists in Training!
If you can, plant a geographically appropriate tree in your yard!
If not, purchase some started plants and help the children to plant one to take home.
He Knows Us By Name
Create a name recognition and practice center. Print each child's name on a piece of paper. Add a photo of them. Laminate.
Provide dry erase markers for them to practice tracing their names. Not only will they begin to recognize and print their own names, but their friends' names as well!