When our daughter was about four or five years old, we decided we wanted to make sermon time more relevant and not just a quiet play time. Realistically, she was not old enough to listen to or understand an entire sermon. We wanted her to learn however, that the preacher was trying to teach Bible lessons during sermon time.
I went to the school supply store (I believe you can find them in office supply stores also) and found a spiral notebook that has story paper in it. The top of the page is just white space and then there are a few lines in the last third to use for writing.
During sermon time, whoever was helping her “take notes” would draw pictures about the story or theme of the sermon. My daughter could then spend the rest of the sermon coloring and adding to the drawings if she knew the story.
As she got a little older, we encouraged her to draw a picture and write a few words about the main theme or Bible lesson in the sermon. We stopped it when she was old enough to be expected to just listen to the sermon.
I was curious whether this made her more attentive to sermons than I was in my tween years. Recently, I asked her if she listens to the sermons now. She says she does some of the time when she finds them interesting or relevant to her life. I asked her what she does when she doesn’t “get” the sermon (she sits with the youth group now). I guess the practice of introducing the idea of sermon time as Bible study time must have sunk in as she now reads her Bible during “those” sermons.
A word of warning about this activity. Some sermons definitely do not lend themselves to this idea. We went through a spell where the sermons had absolutely nothing that you could think of to draw for them. Sometimes the subject matter was just too advanced for a young child. On those weeks, I would just draw her a picture of a Bible story. After worship, I would see if she could figure out what story she was decorating. Or have your child draw a Bible story and let you guess what it is after worship.
The important thing is to teach your child that sermon time can be interesting, fun and spiritually educational. I found it also made me more attentive to the sermons!