Acacia in the Desert

April 20, 2011

5 Ways to Use Resurrection Eggs

Tell the Story

When the child opens the egg, teacher tells the portion of the story relating to that symbol.

Hot Potato – Pass egg around circle to music.  When music stops, announce the next color in the sequence (pink), and the child holding that egg gets to open it.

Egg Hunt – Hide the eggs around the Sunday School room.  Call children to a circle, and announce that you are looking for the pink egg first.  Have them scatter around the room to look.  If they see another color, they are to leave it where it is.  Whoever finds the pink egg should announce it to the rest of the class, and everyone should come back to the circle to see it opened.

Review

When the child opens the egg, she tells what the symbol is, and how it reminds her of the Bible story.  This assumes she is already familiar with the Bible story from earlier in the lesson.

Relay Race – All eggs are in a basket at the end of the room.  Two kids at a time hop to the end of the room, grab an egg, then hop back.  When they get back, they open the eggs.

For Older Children

  • 1 point for getting back to your team first
  • 2 points for answering correctly
  • 1 point for a partially correct answer
  • Instead of hopping, try running backwards, or a three legged race.

Horseshoes – Arrange the eggs in a pattern.  Each child gets a turn to toss the rings over a egg.  Whichever egg the ring lands on, that’s the egg the child gets to open.

For Older Children

  • 1 point for getting an egg
  • 2  points for correctly retelling the portion of the story relating to the symbol

Bowling - Line the eggs up in a row at the other end of the room.  Children stand behind a line masking tape at the other end, and roll a ball towards the eggs.  If an egg is hit, that’s the egg the child gets to open.

For Older Children

  • 1 point for getting an egg
  • 2  points for correctly retelling the portion of the story relating to the symbol

August 25, 2010

Galilee Craft #2

Target Age
Preschool – 3rd Grade

Bible Story
Calling of the Disciples / Jesus Calms the Storm / Walking on Water

Activity
Fold paper boats (see instructions).  Use crayons to decorate.

Jazz It Up!
Some variations…

  • Use the Sunday School coloring page.  After kids have finished coloring it, turn it into a paper boat.
  • Fill a wading pool full of water outside, and sail the boats in it.  If the bottom is colored thickly with crayon, it will be more water proof.
  • Use a parachute or a section of ocean scene setter and toss the boats wildly in the air.  When the teacher says “Peace, be still” the storm must stop.

August 11, 2010

Game: Be Fishers of Men

Target Age
Preschoolers

Activity Description
Children (and teacher) form a circle, with Child A standing in the middle.  Walk around Child A and sing.

To the tune of Farmer in the Dell:
Be fishers of men
Be fishers of men
Hi ho the derry o
Be fishers of men

Child A picks a random kid to be Child B, and they both stand in the center.  Sing again.  Then Child B picks Child C, and so forth.  Continue until your arms can no longer stretch wide enough to surround the kids in the center.

Then start a new round, with the last child picked getting to stand in the center alone.

Field Report
For such a simple game, the kids loved it.  We did at least three rounds.  this game does need a minimum of about eight people  to play.

June 8, 2010

4 Tools a Preschool Sunday School Teacher Can Use to Add Zing

Parachute

Take any story that includes water, add a parachute, and presto, instant game.

  • Noah and the Ark.  Make paper arks and toss them onto the parachute.  Create a flood by shaking the chute rapidly until the arks fall off.  Do it again.  And again.  Do it until the teacher gets tired and says “Enough!”
  • Moses and the Red Sea.  Play Israelites and Egyptians.
  • Jonah and the Whale.  First make a storm by shaking the chute.  Then have the whale swallow Jonah by raising the chute up, ducking under it, and pulling it down to sit on the edge.
  • Jesus Calms the Storm.  Shake the chute wildly until they hear the words, “Peace, be still.”
  • Peter Walking on Water.  Kids take turns “being Peter” by running under the parachute (walking on water) to the other side.

Large Packing Boxes

Even more versatile than the parachute.  Packing boxes can be the…

  • Belly of the whale Jonah was in
  • Ark that Noah put the animals in
  • Lion’s den that Daniel was in
  • Pit that Jeremiah was thrown into
  • House where the angel Gabriel visited Mary
  • Stable where baby Jesus was born
  • Prison where Paul and Silas were
  • …and many more.

Putting several boxes together is better than just one.  To ensure they don’t collapse, support the sides with chairs or the table.

Picture Books

By reading books, you build…

  • attention span
  • Biblical worldview
  • memory of previous stories

If the entire class is out of control, sit ‘em down and read books.  If you need a controlled activity while kids are being dropped off, read books.  If you want to ensure kids don’t forget the Bible story you taught last Sunday, pick a book based on that story and read it for a month.

The books Lifeway provides its teachers are junk with a capital J.  Zero plot, no conflict, no character development, and no climax.  Children deserve better.  Look on Amazon for books that are highly rated.

Scratch Art Paper

A craft with instant zing and zero mess.  Experiment by using not just wooden sticks, but pennies and fingernails to draw on the paper.  Although scratch art paper can be used with any story, it is best suited for stories with darkness and light, like the:

  • Countless stars that Abraham saw
  • Midianite camp that Gideon surrounded with trumpets and torches
  • Angels that appeared to the shepherds
  • Burning bush that Moses faced
  • Column of fire that settled over the tabernacle in the Israelite camp

I guarantee the finished result won’t look like the picture to the right, but who cares?

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May 17, 2010

Parachute Game for Moses and the Red Sea

Age
Preschool-Kindergarten

Learning Statement
God parted the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites, but when the Egyptians tried to cross, they drowned.

Game
Ask, “Child, do you want to be an Egyptian or Israelite?”  The chosen child states his preference, then runs underneath parachute.  If Egyptian, the kids drop the parachute down to the ground.  Hysterical giggling ensues as the child wriggles out.  If Israelite, the kids raise the parachute up.

Field Report

  • I was worried kids would only pick “Egyptian” but they alternated pretty evenly.
  • Tristan called out “Israelite” then ran into the middle, and stopped, waiting for the parachute to descend.  We steadfastly kept it up, and reminded him that God didn’t let the sea cover the Israelites.
  • Levi would call out “Egyptian,” then attempt get to the other side before the parachute caught him.  He’d do this flying-dive that was hilarious.  Picture a movie hero rolling under the blast door as it descends.

April 12, 2010

Act Like an Animal Game

Target Age
Preschoolers

Learning Statement
God created the world and everything in it.

Activity Description
When I say “God created [animal name],” you act like that animal.

God created…

  • Monkeys – hands under armpits, say eee, eee, eee
  • Fish – suck in cheeks, put hands together and “swim” with them
  • Crab – walk sideways, or walk on your hands and feet with the stomach facing upwards
  • Snake – slither along on your belly with your arms by the sides
  • Dog – get on all fours, and don’t forget to wag your “tail”
  • Frog – leapfrog jumping
  • Caterpillar – first lie down on your stomach, then bunch up so your hands and feet are close together
  • Bird – flap your arms
  • Elephant – hold your arms together like a trunk
  • Dinosour – take big stomping steps, and roar

I threw in a few crazy ones, like:

  • Ladybug
  • Shark

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April 9, 2010

Game: God Created…

Learning Statement
God created the world and everything in it

Target Age
Preschoolers

Activity Description
Stand kids with their backs against the wall.  Give each one an auditory direction sequence in turn.

  • Salute, clap hands, and tell me something God created.
  • Jump, turn around, and tell me something God created.
  • Pat tummy, touch nose, and tell me something God created.
  • Wiggle fingers, cross your arms, and tell me something God created.

Note I use the word “created” instead of saying “tell me something God made.”  Children pick up the meaning of vocabulary words quickly when they are used in an appropriate context.

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March 19, 2010

Animals vs. People Game

Learning Statement
Man is made in the image of God

Age
Preschoolers

Setup
Take two pieces of paper.  Draw a stick figure of a human on one, and several animals on the other.  Tape them to opposite sides of the room, at kid height.

Rules
“I will ask a question.  If the answer is people, run to that side of the room.  If the answer is animals, run to this side of the room.”

People
Who enjoys coloring pictures?
Who makes music and writes songs?
Who knows how to talk?
Who wears clothes?
Who plants food in gardens and farms?
Who does God love more?
Who did Jesus die on the cross for?

Animals
Who growls like this–roooar?
Who lives in a nest in the treetop?
Who eats grass?
Who has fur on their skin?
Who has a tail?
Who can live underwater in the ocean without ever coming out?
Who can be pets?

Rationale
If the game is used with an older group of kids, have them think of questions. This can lead to divided results and good discussion.  I had a kid who asked, “Who likes to swim?”  Well, fish and people both do.

When writing the people questions, I used the Australian Aboriginal culture as my litmus test.  Thus, I didn’t include a question like, “Who eats with a fork?”  I had hoped to use severely mentally retarded people as another litmus test, but that became too nuanced for the cognitive level of preschoolers.

These questions are an oversimplification of what made in the image of God means.  But for preschoolers, it’s good enough.

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