Posted in childrens church

Sorting through advice…

Items needed:

  • 2 large bags of skittles
  • 10 clear plastic cups
  • 2 paper plates

Instructions:

  • Set up a table with two plates filled with skittles & 10 clear plastic cups (1 plate & 5 cups on each end)
  • Divide kids into 2 teams, lined up on opposite side of room
  • On call of “Go!”, the first person from each team runs to their teams respective plate & sorts 1 of each color skittle into a plastic cup. Once they have separated the colors, they run back to their line & tag the next kid in line who then runs to the plate and follows suit.
  • The team who can empty their plate & get all of their skittles sorted by color into the right cups first wins!

Application:

In 2 Chronicles 10, King Rehoboam seeks advice from different sources on how he should handle a matter. He ended up listening to the wrong advice…and it caused big problems for him!

We often gets lots of advice & opinions on things we should or shouldn’t do. The skittles represent all the advice & opinions we hear each day. We hear it from friends, teachers, & preachers…we see it on tv…we read it in books…how are we supposed to sort through all the opinions and find what GOD wants us to do? How do we make the WISE choice?

The Bible tells us that if “any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all men generously…and it will be given to you” James 1:5

We must sort through the advice we are given & ASK GOD what is the wise choice & what is the foolish choice!

He promises to help us find the wise choice when we take the time to ask Him!

Posted in children’s church, Kidsmin

Nebuchadnezzar says…

Today we played a variation of “Simon Says” in preparation for our lesson on Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego in the fiery furnace.

Items needed:

None

Instructions:

  • Explain that you are King Nebuchadnezzar & you will call out various commands for the kids to follow
  • Tell the kids when you give a command, you expect it to be followed immediately! …after all, you are the KING!
  • Warn them that you might throw in a few commands that they should NOT obey…even though the king says to do it! Tell the kids you’ll be watching closely who can figure out which commands God would not want them to obey!
  • Begin giving basic commands similar to Simon Says
  • Some examples:

-Nebuchadnezzar says touch your nose!

-Nebuchadnezzar says hop on one foot!

-Nebuchadnezzar says cluck like a chicken

– Nebuchadnezzar says waddle like a duck

-Nebuchadnezzar says nod your head

-Nebuchadnezzar says jump up & down

….and so on

***Unlike Simon Says, where some commands begin w/ “Simon Says” & some don’t….in this game, begin EVERY command with “Nebuchadnezzar says….”

  • After several routine “Nebuchadnezzar says” commands…add in a command that says: “Nebuchadnezzar says bow down & worship my statue!” (Hopefully the kids will catch themselves & remember they’re only supposed to bow down & worship God!)…if not…be sure to catch them & remind them of Gods command!
  • Go back to a few more regular/silly commands & then add: “Nebuchadnezzar says eat the King’s food!” (Again, use this as a teaching moment to share how Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego & Daniel handled that situation!)
  • Do a few more silly commands & finish w/ “Nebuchadnezzar says bow down & worship GOD!” (Share with the kids that after Nebuchadnezzar saw God rescue Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego from the fiery furnace, he decreed that no one should speak against their God!)
Posted in children’s church, Sunday School, Kidsmin

The house on the sand went SPLAT!

Lots of laughter today in children’s church as we played a game to help introduce the story of Elijah & the false prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel (1 Kings 18)…

Items needed:

  • Table
  • Plastic tablecloths or disposable drop cloth
  • 2 large bowls
  • Tall kitchen trash bags (1 per child)
  • Headbands or plastic shower caps
  • Trashcan
  • Approx 1 egg/child sitting in an egg crate (approx 1/4 of the eggs should be hard boiled & the rest should be raw)…these should be mixed up so that the kids don’t know which eggs are raw & which are hard boiled.

Instructions & Application:

  • Before you begin, place a clean trash bag (cut out a neck hole & arm holes) over each participant’s clothes.
  • Explain to the kids that the people of Elijah’s time were worshipping false gods, instead of the One True God. Elijah told the people they could not keep wavering between what they believed/who they believed in! They had to decide who they were going to follow: God or Baal!
  • Today many people we know do the same thing! While they may not bow down to statues, many people SAY they believe in God…but they really put their trust in other things like money, jobs or even other people, rather than the One True God! Sometimes when you’re looking at people on the outside, it’s hard to tell the difference between different religions. People may look good on the outside & they may even be a nice person…but unless they put their faith in The One True God who sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, & believe He died, was buried & resurrected from the dead to pay for our sins…their religion is worthless. Jesus is the Way, the Truth & the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him!
  • Say: “Remember the song you probably learned in church as a preschooler about the wise man who built his house upon the rock? When the storms came…his house stood firm! Those who put their trust in the One True God will experience the same thing! When hard times come in life…they’ll stand firm! The opposite is true as well! The song also talked about a foolish man who built his house on the sand…like the people of Elijah’s day, he was placing his confidence in the wrong things! And when the storms of life came…the house on the sand went SPLAT! “
  • These eggs on the table represent people who put their trust in God & those who don’t. Some will stay firm when they’re cracked…others will go splat!
  • We’re going to have a friendly competition between the boys & the girls to see which team can find the most hard boiled eggs!
  • Invite 1 boy & 1 girl from ea team to come to the front. Allow them to choose any egg from the crate. (Pull back any bangs from face w/ a headband or shower cap!)
  • You cannot shake or hold the eggs to try to figure out which are raw & which are cooked.
  • Once you touch an egg…it’s yours! Pick up that egg & crack it on your forehead (over the bowl) & if it’s a hard boiled egg,it’ll stay firm & your team gets a point! If you don’t choose wisely…you may have a mess to clean up!
  • One by one, allow the boys & girls who want to participate to come to the front & take a turn until the eggs are all cracked.
  • Team with the most hard boiled eggs wins!
  • Have wipes available for clean up!! Remind kids not to let the raw eggs get in their mouths! (Disclaimer: Be mindful of any food allergies in your group!)
  • Have fun, laugh a lot…and remember to choose wisely…in eggs & in life! 😊
Posted in children’s church, Kidsmin

Gideon’s army

Judges 6-8

Items needed:

Index cards

Instructions:

Before class, prepare 2 batches of index cards. In the first set, make enough so that there will be one for each student. Approximately 2/3 of the cards should say “trembled with fear” and 1/3 should say “not afraid.”

The second set of index cards should match the same number of “not afraid” cards above. The majority should read “got on knees to drink” and approximately 2-3 cards should read “drank from cupped hands, lapping like a dog.” (The actual ratio is .03, but our group was too small to calculate that number, so we improvised a little to make the point!)

Application:

Ask all the kids to stand up. Hand each kid a card (facedown) from the first set. Instruct them not to look at the card until you tell them to!

Read Judges 7:2-3 aloud. Instruct the kids to look at their cards. Anyone whose card reads “trembled w/ fear” should sit down.

Pass out the second set of cards to the remaining kids. Again, the cards should stay facedown & no one is to look until you give the “okay.” Read aloud Judges 7:4-8. Invite the kids to look at their cards. Those who have “knelt down to drink” cards should be seated. The few remaining are the “chosen ones.” The lives of everyone in the room will depend on them! 😜

This activity was a great way to help the kids picture the Judges 7 account!

 

 

 

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Samson, Delilah, Lion

Here’s a cute spin off of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to accompany a lesson on Samson from teachingthem.com

Basically, the kids pair up & on the count of 3 choose to make a muscle pose (Samson), “girlie”pose (Delilah) or lion pose (roar & show claws).

Following the rules of the traditional game: Samson beats the lion, the lion beats Delilah & Delilah beats Samson…”you tie, you die”

Eliminate the losers each round & form new pairs.

Find the full instructions here:

Samson, Delilah, Lion Game

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What is Missing

Use clip art and cardstock to create an easy game for preschoolers. Show them the cards, one by one, and see if they can guess what important thing is missing in each picture.

Ask the kids if they’ve ever lost anything that was special to them.

This is a great way to introduce the Parable of the Lost Sheep, The Prodigal Son…or perhaps Jesus as a young boy missing on the way home from the temple…or even Jesus’ body missing from the tomb! So many uses!

Tech talented folks could even make a video version!

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Gospel in a Nutshell for Preschoolers

Use this easy finger play to teach preschoolers the Gospel message:

God made me (Hands forming something)

God loves me (hands cross over heart)

God wants me to follow Him (walk to the right)

But I want to go my own way (cross arms & walk to the left)

That’s called sin! (Whisper with hand to mouth)

And that’s a problem! (Tap chin)

Because God hates sin! (Mad face)

but He loves me! (Hug yourself)

But God had a plan! (Finger up)

He gave His only Son, Jesus (hands extended)

To make a way for us (widen hands)

He came as a baby (squat and suck thumb)

And grew into a man (rise to stand-hands on hips)

He died on a cross (arms out-as on a cross)

Was buried (arms crossed-squat)

And rose 1-2-3 days later (rise on 3rd count)

He’s alive! He came to our rescue! (Hands up-celebrate!)

Thank you, Jesus! I’ll follow you! (Kneel-pray)

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Salvation is a free gift

This is one of my favorite object lessons for preschoolers when sharing the Gospel message.

Instructions:

  • Wrap a large box with a lid
  • Glue or draw a cross on top
  • Create a false bottom in the lid & cover it with the wrapping paper
  • Cut a narrow slit in the top of the lid
  • Cut medium sized heart shapes out of black construction paper (1 for each child in your class)…and then cut the same number & size hearts out of white paper. (Alternative: cut 1 very large black heart & 1 identical white heart)

Application:

  • Explain plan of salvation
  • When explaining the concept of sin, hand everyone a black heart to signify “…all have sinned…” (or just demonstrate with 1 large black heart if you have too large a group to use individual hearts)
  • Explain that salvation is a free gift
  • Explain what Jesus did for us on the cross & that not only does He have power over death…He also has the power to change our dirty, sinful hearts! He can cleanse us & give us a new heart!
  • Invite the kids to place their “sinful heart” in the slit at the top of the box. Once everyone has put in their black heart, open the lid to reveal white hearts in their place (placed there before the lesson unbeknownst to the audience)
  • Troubleshooting tip: don’t let the kids gather around & linger when putting the black hearts in, so they won’t see the false bottom of the lid; if you can keep the lid slightly above eye level, that works best! Also be very careful when you remove the lid in the “reveal” because the kids may hear the “black hearts” sliding around in the lid if you aren’t careful!

**if you have a large group, just use one large black heart that only you put in the lid as a demonstration & reveal an identical large white heart in the box.

Either way, preschoolers never fail to be amazed by it!

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Jesus Wept

I used this cute idea from The Fantastic Five blog when teaching my VBS lesson on Lazarus this morning!

Simply take an eye dropper and some water & place “tears” on the cheeks of the “mourners.” Then have a good cry over Lazarus’ death. The kindergarteners loved it!

Check out her entire lesson here:

http://thefantasticfive-hockmana.blogspot.com/2011/04/bible-alive-tuesday-lazarus-come-out.html?m=1

I was also able to find a free printable version of the story of Lazarus here:

Lamb Songs New Testament Stories

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Quick Tip Tuesday

Use a “surprise box” to introduce your lesson! Place objects or pictures in it that will build interest in the Bible story. It’s a great tool that can help you be a more effective storyteller! (…Not to mention, preschoolers love the anticipation of what’s inside!!) Try it! You’ll have their full attention!

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A Sure Foundation

Ephesians 2:20 “…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”

Items needed:

  • Large blocks, preferably ones with slanted or odd shapes included
  • Timer
  • Yardstick or tape measure
  • Fun music to play in background

Instructions:

  • Divide kids into teams of 4-5 per team
  • Competition will be to see which team can build the highest tower in 50 seconds.
  • Rules are as follows:
  1. Each child must take turns putting the blocks into place. Once you have put a block on the tower, you must let everyone else on the team go before you get a turn again.

2. When the timer sounds, everyone must take their hands off the blocks & step away from the tower.

3. Judges (or other teams) may blow on the tower without touching it to see if it will hold.

4.If the tower tumbles after the timer & before the measurement is recorded, Team is disqualified.

5. Judges will measure the tower & record the score.

6. After all teams have had a turn, the highest recorded measurement wins!

Application:

Notice that the tallest, sturdiest towers were built on a strong foundation. Make sure you build your life on the solid foundation of Jesus & God’s Word!

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Dancing Sheep

Preschool Bible teachers seem to have many opportunities to talk about sheep! Bible stories for kids are filled with lessons about them! From Easter to Christmas…and everything in between…sheep and shepherds are a common biblical theme.

The following is a fun finger play for preschoolers written by Susan M. Dailey that would be a great complement to any lesson involving sheep.

I will be utilizing it this week as I teach the Parable of the Lost Sheep to kindergarteners. I think it will be one that will be recycled in many future lessons!

Please follow the link below to find the original fingerplay and accompanying song.

Dancing Sheep Finger Play by Susan M. Dailey

Dancing Sheep 

Shhh!  It’s time to go to sleep
(put finger to mouth, pretend to sleep)
But into my bedroom one sheep creeps.
(creep fingers)

“Don’t go to bed,” the one sheep said.
“I would rather dance instead!”

Soon he was…  (draw these words out)
Dancing on the ceiling!
(move hands above head in “dancing” motion)
He was dancing on the floor!
(move hands on floor as mentioned above)
He was dancing on the window!
(move hands to one side)
He was dancing on the door!
(move hands to other side)

He kept on…

Dancing on the ceiling!
(sing faster)
He was dancing on the floor!
He was dancing on the window!
He was dancing on the door!
(repeat several times getting faster each time through)

“Stop that dancing, silly sheep.
It is time to go to sleep!”

Soon the sheep lay on the floor.
Soon the sheep began to snore.

So I started …  (draw these words out)
Dancing on the ceiling!
I was dancing on the floor!
I was dancing on the window!
I was dancing on the door!

-written by Susan M. Bailey

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Where is the Green Sheep?

Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox is a great companion book when teaching The Parable of the Lost Sheep to preschoolers. Although Ms. Fox’s book is not based on the biblical lesson, it is a fun rhyming book about a lost sheep (that is found in the end) that would complement the parable in a way that preschoolers would enjoy.

Below is a link to a You Tube storyteller reading the book:

Where is the Green Sheep

You can find the book online at various retailers.

I made a large version to read to my class from coloring pages based on the book purchased here:

Where is the Green Sheep Coloring pages

We can remind the children that just like we looked for the green sheep in the story…Jesus searches for us when we are lost.

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A “Tail” of Two Balloons

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick tempered displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29

Items needed:

  • 2 balloons

Instructions:

  • Blow up balloons before class, knot one at the bottom but keep the other one unknotted (but keep this fact hidden from the kids)
  • Arrange for a helper to hold the balloons until you are ready for them…keeping the air in the unknotted balloon by pinching it tightly at the bottom
  • Draw a happy face on the knotted one & an angry face on the other, if desired
  • Divide kids into two teams
  • Ask first team to come to front & form a circle while other team remains seated
  • Say: “We are going to have a friendly competition between teams to see which team can keep their balloon up in the air the longest. The following rules apply:
  1. No one may catch & hold the balloon
  2. No one may hit the balloon 2x in a row
  3. If it hits the ground or comes to rest on any surface, the round is over

We have 2 balloons. One is ‘Penelope Patient’ & the other is ‘Quentin Quick Temper.’ Team 1 will go first & see how long they can keep ‘Ms Patient’ up in the air. We will then give Team 2 a turn to try to beat their score with ‘Mr Q.'”

  • On the call of “GO,” have your helper throw the knotted balloon into the middle of Team 1’s circle.
  • Begin counting each time the balloon is hit according to the rules
  • Once one of the conditions listed above is not met, their round is over & the number of hits is their score
  • Team 1 sits & Team 2 forms a circle at the front
  • Explain that the same rules apply, except they will be playing with ‘Mr Quick Temper” (the unknotted balloon)
  • Ask if they think they can beat Team 1’s score!!??
  • At “GO,” helper throws filled, unknotted balloon into center of circle (as you can imagine, the unknotted balloon deflates quickly & sporadically once the helper lets go of the tail)
  • After explaining application (see below!)…be sure to give Team 2 another chance w/ the knotted balloon!

Application:

This game was a picture of what it is like to be around a patient person & a quick tempered person!

When someone “loses their cool” easily, like “Mr Quick Temper,” it’s difficult for everyone around them! Even though Team 2 was trying to work together…that balloon was unpredictable & frustrating to everyone around it! Nothing was able to get accomplished!!

The team that was working with “Ms Patient” wasn’t completely free of problems…but it made their job MUCH easier & they were able to be much more successful!

It’s true in real life as well! Doesn’t your family run more smoothly when everyone is patient? Doesn’t it make even difficult tasks more enjoyable when everyone is calm, steady, peaceful & kind?

On the other hand, when someone in your family or friend group constantly “explodes” with anger…no matter how hard everyone around them is trying to work together & do the right thing…it makes it almost impossible to be successful !!

Have you ever been around someone who loses their cool & explodes with anger at the littlest thing? (Don’t say their name!!! Just raise your hand if you know someone like that!)

Do you enjoy being around people like that??? (No! I don’t either!!)

The Bible says that a quick tempered person (someone who is easily angered) displays folly. (In other words…they show everyone how foolish they are!)

Don’t be a quick tempered person!!

Be patient!! …it will make you a much better & more enjoyable person to be around, and most importantly, it’s pleasing to God!!

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Quick Tip Tuesday

Turn any storybook or Bible story into a large visual to read to your class by cutting large simple shapes out of poster board, gluing enlarged pictures or clip art illustrations to the front & the story to be read on the back! The kids love it because they are able to see the pictures & teachers love it because it’s easy to read!

A Bible Story on Noah’s Ark could be in the shape of an ark…a Christmas story in the shape of a star, manger or angel…the story of Moses in the shape of a basket…the possibilities are endless!

Make sure you laminate your story so that it can be re-used year after year!

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Lies are hard to cover up

2 Kings 5

Gehazi lies to Elisha

Bible Verse: “Anyone who lives without blame walks safely. But anyone who takes a crooked path will get caught.” Proverbs 10:9

**I came across this great object lesson at the Corner on Character blog. Since we handle the large group activities that introduce the lesson, we are adapting it to a “game” that will teach a lesson. Breaking into smaller groups will allow our kids to have a better vantage point.

See link below for original post:

http://corneroncharacter.blogspot.com/2011/09/water-you-covering-up.html?m=1

Object Lesson/Activity

Items needed:

  • Bucket filled halfway with water (1 per team)
  • Quarter (1 per team)
  • Several pennies (3 per child per team)

Instructions:

  • Divide kids into teams
  • Give each team a bucket partially filled (approx halfway) with water
  • Place 1 quarter in the center of each water filled bucket
  • Give each child 3 pennies
  • Challenge teams to drop their pennies into the bucket one at a time
  • Make sure they drop from ABOVE the bucket!
  • Whichever team is able to completely cover their quarter w/ pennies wins!

[Spoiler Alert: Few if any pennies will cover the quarters!]

Application: Tell kids the quarters represent lies. The smaller pennies represent smaller lies one has to tell to cover up their original lie. Often when we tell one lie…we end up having to tell more, smaller lies to try to cover them. It rarely works. (Even if some pennies landed on the quarters…point out that parts of the quarter are still noticeable!)  Most of the time our lies are eventually found out. Even if we can fool others…we can never fool God! Honesty is always best policy!

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Happy Face, Happy Face…

Happy Face Jingle:

“Happy Face, Happy Face what do you see?

I see a silly face looking at me! 🤪

Silly face, silly face what do you see?

I see a sad face looking at me!😢

Sad face, sad face what do you see?

I see a mad face looking at me! 😡

Mad face, mad face what do you see?

I see a surprised face looking at me! 😳

Surprised face, surprised face what do you see?

I see a sleepy face looking at me!😴

Sleepy face, sleepy face what do you see?

I see happy face looking at me! 😊

Happy Face, Happy Face what do you see?

I see another happy face looking back at me!” 😃

~author unknown

Items needed:

  • Construction paper cardstock
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Paint sticks
  • Packaging tape
  • Happy Face Jingle

Instructions:

  • Draw each of the faces mentioned in the Happy Face Jingle on a piece of construction paper cardstock
  • Cut face out into a large circle shape
  • Write words to each line of Jingle on back of corresponding face circles, as well as any songs, prompts or fingerplays you may like to sing when you are finished on the last circle
  • Begin w/ Happy Face #1…work through the corresponding faces individually & end with Happy Face #2 looking at Happy Face #1
  • Laminate circles to help them last longer!
  • Tape paint sticks to back of circles

Tips & Tricks:

  • Be as animated as possible!
  • As you say the Jingle, show the circle face that corresponds with each line
  • Make the faces yourself as shown on the circles & encourage the kids to show you their best “happy face, silly face, etc” along with you!
  • This is a great transition activity to get kids ready to sit & listen to a story!
  • I usually tell them how GLAD I am to see their sweet happy faces in my class!
  • We’ve made smaller versions w/ craft sticks instead of paint sticks for the kids to hold & they love that option too at times for small classes!
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My faves!

If you have a large group setting (ie Children’s Church, VBS, etc) and tech capabilities, be sure to check out crowdcontrolgames.com!

I just returned from a kidsmin conference in Atlanta, GA. This was my 2nd year to attend the Crowd Control Games breakout session, and they are awesome!!

Their countdown timers and scorekeepers will add so much to our game time! …and their interactive games are FUN!

Check them out for yourself!

I’m a big fan!