Lesson 11

I Am Thankful for Fish

“Lesson 11: I Am Thankful for Fish,” Primary 1 (2000), 31–34


To help each child feel gratitude to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for fish and water animals.


  1. Prayerfully study Genesis 1:20–23; Jonah 1–3; Matthew 14:15–21; and Luke 5:1–11.

  2. Materials needed:

    1. A Bible.

    2. Paper fish (see pattern at the end of the lesson).

    3. “Fishing pole”—a stick with a string tied to it and a paper clip, piece of tape, or magnet attached to the end of the string. (Save this pole for use in future lessons.)

    4. Container to hold paper fish.

    5. If possible, obtain pictures of fish or other animals that live in the water.

    6. Cutout 1-5, fish (a similar cutout can also be found in Primary Visual Aids Cutouts set 4).

    7. Picture 1-1, The World (62196); picture 1-24, Jesus and the Fishermen (Gospel Art Picture Kit 210; 62138); picture 1-25, Fish; picture 1-26, Frog; picture 1-27, Turtle.

  3. Make the necessary preparations for any Enrichment Activities you want to use.

Learning Activities

Invite a child to give the opening prayer.

Attention Activity

Have the children pretend they are standing on a bridge overlooking a river or lake.

  • What do you see when you look in the water?

Have the children stand and pretend they are swimming in the water like a fish.

Heavenly Father asked Jesus Christ to create fish and other water animals

Show picture 1-1, The World, and review some of the things that Heavenly Father asked Jesus to create that have been discussed in past lessons. Tell the children that Jesus also created fish (see Genesis 1:20–23). Fish are a part of Heavenly Father’s plan for the earth. Show picture 1-25, Fish, and talk about where fish live.

  • Have you ever seen a fish?

Let the children talk about fish they have seen.

Show cutout 1-5 and any other pictures of fish you obtained. Talk about different kinds of fish, such as goldfish, trout, tuna, sharks, or whatever fish might be familiar to the children in the class.

  • What other animals live in water besides fish?

Show picture 1-26, Frog, and picture 1-27, Turtle. Talk about frogs and turtles and where they live. Also talk about whales, crabs, seals, and other water animals. Explain that some water animals live in the ocean, some in lakes, and some in rivers.


Help each child think of a water animal and pretend to walk, hop, or swim as it does.


Hold up the Bible and explain that we can read about fish in the scriptures. Tell the story of Jonah, as found in Jonah 1–3. Explain that Jesus prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah so Jonah would not drown. Jesus had work for Jonah to do. You may want to read aloud a verse or two, such as Jonah 1:17 or Jonah 2:1, as you tell the story. (If you read a verse aloud, explain that Jesus is sometimes called “the Lord.”)

  • Who sent the big fish to swallow Jonah? (See Jonah 1:17.)

  • What did Jonah do when the fish swallowed him? (See Jonah 2:1.)

  • What did Jonah do when he got out of the fish? (See Jonah 3:1–3.)

  • Did the people believe Jonah and repent? (See Jonah 3:5, 10.)

Tell the children that some fish are very large, like the fish that swallowed Jonah, and some are very small and can even live in a bowl.


Help the children do the following finger play:

The Goldfish

My darling little goldfish hasn’t any toes (touch toes).

He swims around without a sound and bumps his hungry nose (point to nose).

He can’t get out to play with me, nor I get in to swim (make swimming motions).

And when I say, “Come out and play,”

He seems to say, “Come in” (motion “come in” with hand).


Show the Bible again as you tell the story of Simon Peter found in Luke 5:1–11.

Show picture 1-24, Jesus and the Fishermen, at an appropriate time.

  • Why did Jesus get into Simon Peter’s ship? (See Luke 5:3.)

  • What did Jesus tell Simon Peter to do? (See Luke 5:4.)

  • What did Simon Peter catch in his net? (See Luke 5:6.)

Heavenly Father had Jesus Christ create fish and water animals for our use

Explain that Heavenly Father had Jesus create fish and water animals for us to use for food and other purposes.


Referring to the Bible again, tell the story found in Matthew 14:15–21. You may want to read aloud one or two verses, such as Matthew 14:16–17, as you tell the story.


Show the class the fishing pole you have prepared, and invite one of the children to come up and fish. Put some cutout fish in the container, and when the child dangles the string over the container, attach a fish to the paper clip, tape, or magnet and let the child pull it out. Let each child have a turn fishing.

Let the children talk about times they have been fishing or have eaten fish.


Express your appreciation for fish and water animals.

Enrichment Activities

Choose some of these activities to use during the lesson.

  1. Let the children color the paper fish they caught in the fishing activity (repeat the activity if desired). Write I am thankful for fish on the back of each child’s fish.

  2. Have the children sit in a semicircle. Place the fish the children colored on the floor in front of them. Say the following verse together:

    Little fish in the brook,

    I can catch you with no hook.

    Point to a child and have the child choose his or her own fish by using the fishing pole or by pointing at the fish. The child says, “I caught a one,” saying the color of the fish. The child then keeps the fish to take home. Continue until each child has had a turn.

  3. Sing with the children “Thanks to Our Father” (Children’s Songbook, p. 20).

  4. Help the children do the following finger play. Explain that a minnow is a tiny fish.

    The Little Turtle

    I have a little turtle.

    It lives in a box (cup hands).

    It swims in the river (make swimming motions),

    And climbs on the rocks (move fingers upward in a climbing motion).

    It snapped at a minnow (clap hands).

    It snapped at a flea (clap hands).

    It snapped at a mosquito (clap hands),

    And it snapped at me (clap hands)!

    It caught the minnow (clap hands);

    It caught the flea (clap hands);

    It caught the mosquito (clap hands);

    But it didn’t catch me!

    (Vachel Lindsay, from Collected Poems of Vachel Lindsay. © 1920 by Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., renewed 1948 by Elizabeth C. Lindsay. Used by permission.)

  5. Help the children say the words to the following activity. Explain that a brook is a little river and a nook is a place to hide.

    Five Little Fishes

    Have five children stand in front of the class, each holding a paper fish.

    Five little fishes were swimming in the brook.

    One swam away to a secret nook (one child “swims” back to his or her seat).

    Little fishes, little fishes, happy at play,

    Little fishes, little fishes, swim all day.

    Sing another verse with four fish, then three, then two. One child swims away each verse. When only one child remains, use the following verse:

    One little fishie was swimming in the brook;

    He [or she] swam away to a secret nook.

    Little fishie, little fishie, happy at play,

    Little fishie, little fishie, swim all day.

Additional Activities for Younger Children

  1. Show picture 1-25, Fish; picture 1-26, Frog; and picture 1-27, Turtle. In your own words, tell the story of the creation of fish and water animals (see Genesis 1:20–23). Express your gratitude for fish and other water animals.

  2. Tell the children that many animals live in or near the water. Have them guess what animal you are thinking of as you give the following clues:

    1. My skin is green and smooth and slick. I hop. I live near lakes, streams, or ponds. Can you guess what I am?

      (When the children have guessed “frog,” show picture 1-26, Frog, or draw a frog on the chalkboard.)

    1. I am very slow. I carry a hard shell on my back. When I am frightened, I pull my head, arms, and legs inside my shell. What am I?

      (When the children have guessed “turtle,” show picture 1-27, Turtle, or draw a turtle on the chalkboard.)

      After the children have guessed both animals, have them hop around like frogs; then have them crawl around slowly like turtles.

  3. Sing with the children “Oh, What Do You Do in the Summertime?” (Children’s Songbook, p. 245).