Ages and Stages in Child Development

Knowing the developmental stages the children in your ministry will pass through, can help you plan appropriate curriculum and activities.
Feel free to copy and share the brochures linked here with your children’s ministry staff and parents in your ministry.

What Every Child Should Experience: A Guide for Teachers and Leaders of Children in United Methodist Congregations

What Every Child Should Experience – A Guide for Leaders and Teachers in United Methodist Congregations is a resource developed by Melanie C. Gordon through Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church to assist leaders and teachers of children in United Methodist Congregations in the area of faith formation. You will find this guide useful in choosing and studying scripture, selecting and writing curriculum, offering parents and guardians useful developmental information, and addressing issues facing today’s children.

  • Section 1 – A comprehensive guide to scripture significant for children as they develop cognitively and theologically.
  • Section 2 – Comprehensive charts that address the needs of children and the concepts they can understand at different stages of development around the beliefs and concepts of God, Worship, The Bible, Home and Family, Everyday Life, Community and Methodist Heritage.

The entire guide, as well as sections for each age group, can be found here.

Bible Boot Camp is a weekend (Friday night/Saturday) experience for 3rd-6th graders with a mission component. Goals of the camp are:

  • To learn how to use the Bible more effectively (including the latest apps for a family’s phone).
  • To help people who are hungry in Arkansas by making 10,000 meals!
  • To meet other United Methodist peers who are living in Arkansas.
  • To have fun!

Sample Materials and Downloads


* denotes a United Methodist resource or resource with United Methodist origins.

*Baby Steps
from GBOD (United Methodist General Board of Discipleship)

The goal of Baby Steps is to equip parents and guardians with practical tools to help them engage spiritually with their child in their first five years of life. This resource, written by Jeremy Steele, spends time developing the understanding of how children develop, discovering tools to help them grow spiritually, and finishes with a panel of veteran parents for parents and guardians to get advice on any topic. Click here for more resources.
Dios Te Acompaña
A lesson to help children consider and reflect about the children who are immigrating to the US for various reasons. Click here for the curriculum.

*The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss
During this 13-week study, children will explore several Dr. Seuss favorites to learn a lesson about following the way of Jesus Christ. This series is written for a one-room schoolhouse model with children between the 1st and 5th grade. Click here for more information.

*United Methodist History
from GBOD (United Methodist General Board of Discipleship)

The history of the Methodist Church is filled with great faith, excitement, and evangelism. There is a long history of caring for the poor and oppressed, and people with the deep desire to do whatever is necessary to share the love and good news of God with those who need it most. The lessons of Our United Methodist History are designed to help preschoolers and elementary aged children learn and celebrate the rich and vibrant history of their denomination. Perhaps, through understanding the history and passion of John Wesley and others, they might capture the desire to do God’s work and bring the good news to our world today! The lessons are short and designed to work with mixed-aged children. The activities use a minimum of supplies and include pictures of the activities to help with clarity. Click here for the curriculum.

But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I’m only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to. You must say everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of the people I send you to. I am with you. I will save you,” announces the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand. He touched my mouth and spoke to me. He said, “I have put my words in your mouth.”

–Jeremiah 1:7-9 (NIRV)

* denotes a United Methodist resource or resource with United Methodist origins.


Blog Posts and Articles

Children’s Sermons

  • Cookie Cutter (from Dollar Store Sermons) – God uses everybody-everybody has value regardless of shape etc.
  • Storypath – Uses the children’s book Not So Tall for Six to illustrate Jeremiah text
  • Worshiping with Children – Children’s sermon especially good for back to school – using text from Jeremiah
  • Worshiping with Children – Several different illustrations about how God uses you and God is with you always

Curriculum Units and Lesson Plans

  • Lessons and Activities for Vocational Awareness – from Archdiocese of Detroit (Catholic tradition) – Good selection of developmentally appropriate activities for grades K-8 – one lesson/grade level.
  • The Call – Script for 7 minute play for older elementary and teen students about God calling (literally).
  • This Is Our Time – After graduating college, 5 friends each set out to make a difference in the world for God. (Amazon)

Spiritual Gifts

Friendship Camp of Central Arkansas is a week long day camp offered for 3rd to 6th grade children to build friendships and understanding between children of diverse faiths.

Goals of the camp for upper elementary/middle school aged students are:

  1. Learn and deepen your own faith.
  2. Learn and honor others’ faith.
  3. Reduce prejudice and build relationships through fun activities.

In a time when our country is polarized because of divisive rhetoric by public leaders and the marginalization of minority religious communities, this camp was a beautiful example of interfaith collaboration and peacemaking. Eight organizations that planned and implemented this camp under the umbrella of the Interfaith Center included:

  • Bahá’í Community of Greater Little Rock
  • Congregation B’nai Israel
  • First United Methodist Church
  • Islamic Center of Little Rock
  • Raindrop Foundation
  • Second Presbyterian Church
  • St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church
  • St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Click here for an informative, inspiring video of the Interfaith Friendship Camp of Central Arkansas.

Click here to connect to the camp’s Facebook Page.

* denotes a United Methodist resource or resource with United Methodist origins.

*Including Special Needs Children in the Life of the Church is a resource developed by Elizabeth Christie through Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church to assist teachers and leaders of children in the area of faith formation. You will find this resource helpful as you provide intentional and radical hospitality to children with special needs and their families. Included is information on identifying the needs of parents and families, classroom setup and management, and also adapting curriculum and activities. Elizabeth Christie has served in local United Methodist congregations as minister to children and families. Her training, experience, and education are in Special Education, Literacy Education, Children and Families Ministry, and as the sibling of a wonderful woman with Down Syndrome. Click here to download it.

External Websites