Jan 2023 Preschool leader article
Missions Discipleship

Interest Areas in Mission Friends: Books and Homeliving

What motivates you to teach Mission Friends? When I see smiles on the faces of Luke, Asher, Tyler, and Paisley, and the excitement of Lucas, Max, and Timmy as they run into the classroom — that’s what motivates me!

Interest Areas make preschoolers smile and become excited. Interest Areas are new and different each week. Does it take planning? Yes, but it’s worth it!

Using Interest Areas allows for teachable moments as preschoolers move from one activity to another.

Interest Areas can, no doubt, feel chaotic at times. Don’t be afraid of messes, noise, or raised voices. Learning through play should be exciting during your time together.

The Interest Areas employed in Mission Friends are Art, Blocks, Books, Homeliving, Music and Movement, Nature, and Puzzles and Manipulatives.

In this blog we’ll cover Books and Homeliving.


The interest area for Books will reinforce the unit of study as preschoolers discover this appealing learning area.

Display four or five age-appropriate books suggested in Mission Friends Leader or books related to the missions area or Christian concept area.

Remove all other books and place them in a storage area. Be sure to return them when your class is over. Make the Books area inviting and fun and your preschoolers will be encouraged to engage in this area.

Tip 1: Visit wmu.com/preschool to find several free downloadable Missions Storybooks for preschoolers. Print out a copy of each storybook. For classroom use, print on card stock and cover with clear self-adhesive plastic.

Tip 2: Create a space for books.

    • Books do not always have to be on a bookshelf. Use the back of stationary pieces of furniture in the room to display pictures from the Mission Friends Leader Kit or pictures related to the missions area or Christian concept area.
    • Provide pillows of assorted sizes for preschoolers to recline on, read books, and look at pictures.
    • Use painters’ tape to make an X or O to mark spots on the floor where preschoolers may sit and read.
    • Cover a card table with a sheet to make a reading tent. Place a soft blanket and books pertaining to the unit inside the tent.
    • Wash blankets and pillows so they are ready for the next use.


Use the Homeliving interest area weekly to encourage the growth of creativity, problem-solving, and social skills. Preschoolers enjoy dramatic play focused on the missionaries or missions area.

Provide toys relating to the activity, such as dolls, dishes, school supplies, or suitcases. Spend time pretending with preschoolers and sharing information about the work missionaries do in their communities.

Tip 1: Clean, choose, and organize materials in the Homeliving area.

    • Clean and sanitize the materials after use.
    • Remove all items that do not relate to the unit of study before adding items suggested in Mission Friends Leader.
    • Provide only two dolls at a time to encourage sharing.
    • Limit the number of children in the homeliving area to three or four at a time.
    • Use age-appropriate items.
    • Ask groups in your church to save clean, empty food boxes. Store until needed.

Tip 2: When preparing and/or tasting food, always wash hands before and after the activity. Provide disposable gloves for each child. Before the session, post the Allergy Alert Chart available as a free download at wmu.com/preschool.

by Beth Campbell