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“Have you ever heard the tale about Jonah and the whale, way down in the middle of the ocean?”
It is a familiar Bible story to most- even to many outside of the Christian faith and can be used to teach various spiritual truths such as: obedience, repentance, trust and humility.
So, doing a unit study on Jonah and the Whale might be exactly what you are looking for right now.
Jonah and the Whale Unit Study
This Jonah and the Whale unit study is perfect for kids in grades K-3. It’s designed for use in the classroom, Sunday School, and homeschool.
Opening your Bible lesson with a song is always fun. There are so many songs about Jonah and the whale out there, but here are three of them that might be fun to use for Bible time depending on your child’s age and their taste in music:
Using the graphics from this Jonah and the Whale printable, you can tell the story of Jonah using your own words or read it from the Bible.
If you want to spread the unit study out over an entire week, you could tell the story of Jonah in a different way each day:
- Day 1: You tell it to your children using the graphics.
- Day 2: Have your children be the various characters in the story and have them reenact it while you are telling it.
- Day 3: Have your children reenact the story telling it themselves from memory.
- Day 4: Watch a cartoon on Jonah and the whale. Make sure you talk with them about any possible differences between the cartoon and the Bible.
- Day 5: Have them tell you the story using the graphics.
An excellent memory verse to learn during this unit would be 1st Sam. 15:22:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
During your Jonah and the Whale unit study, you can focus on bigger/ smaller, size sequencing, and graphs with the following activities.
This Jonah and the Whale packet comes with several Bigger/Smaller cards for grades K-1st graders. It also comes with a game which teaches children about graphs for 2nd-3rd graders. These are excellent math resources.
If you need help explaining graphs to your child, here is a fun YouTube video for that:
This Jonah and the Whale packet offers several worksheets with which your child can practice retelling (sequencing) the story of Jonah.
If you feel like your 3rd grader needs more grammar, you may want to supplement with this fun Jonah Mad-Lib worksheet.
The Jonah and the Whale packet has some wonderful handwriting worksheets.
If you are teaching your child phonics, this would be the perfect time to teach the WH sound. Here is a fun YouTube video for that:
This free Jonah and the Whale pack comes with a map of Nineveh, Tarshish and Joppa which is particularly useful for teaching some history and geography on the ancient Assyrian civilization.
This website has some great facts about Assyria for kids.
This 5-minute video is an interesting historical overview of Assyria for children.
If you do science with your children, doing a study of whales during this unit would be just the thing.
Here is the link to a wonderful resource that teaches all about the differences between whales and dolphins.
If you do musical appreciation with your children, here is a song that you might want to use:
If you are stretching the unit over a 5- day period you may want to simply have your children do the following:
- Day 1: Clap along with the song on the first day. This song has a 4/4-time signature. If your children have not learned what that means here is a short explanation.
- Day 2: Play some percussion instrument such as a triangle, drumsticks, or tambourine on the second day.
- Day 3-4: Do the actions the third and fourth days.
- Day 5: Sing while doing the actions on the fifth day.
If your child plays an instrument, here is beginner level sheet music for the song “A Sailor Went to Sea”
Making a Piñata might be a fun art activity to do over the course of 4-5 days.
Here is a YouTube tutorial on how to make a fish (Nemo) shaped piñata which you could easily turn into a whale by simply painting it differently.
For some extra fun, mom could secretly put “Jonah” in the whale while stuffing it with candy, and the one that finds him after breaking the piñata open could get an extra prize!
Learning from the perspective God’s Word is such a wonderful, rich experience. Let us know what your favorite part of this unit study was.
BOOKS ABOUT JONAH AND THE WHALE
Picture books are a great way to introduce young children to Biblical stories. The story of Jonah and the Whale is a popular one that has been retold in many different ways.
Here are some picture book versions of the story that your child is sure to enjoy.
Jonah and the Whale – Enjoy this traditional retelling of the classic Biblical story about Jonah and the Whale with beautiful illustrations!
Jonah’s Big Fish Adventure – Uh-oh! Jonah didn’t listen to God, and now he’s in the belly of a big fish! What will happen to Jonah next?
The Hard to Swallow Tale of Jonah and the Whale – The story of Jonah is full of ingredients that children love: a dangerous mission; a man on the run; danger at sea; an incredible whale rescue; and a grand finale about forgiveness.