Choose one teaching idea from each section of the drop-down menu to build your own dynamic 5-part Bible lesson.
- Story basket Put items or pictures of items mentioned in the story into a large basket. Bring the items out as you introduce the story. e.g. water (water to wine), rock (house on rock), shoe (Moses removes shoes), branch (I am the vine), star (Abraham, wise men), etc.
- Listening key Ask students to listen for a key word or phrase as you read the story. Invite them to raise their hands whenever they hear the word.
- Sensory experience Eat something mentioned in the story (e.g. puffed cereals for ‘manna’ or honey), pour water (any story mentioning water) or put hands into sand (Abraham’s descendants will be as the sand of the sea) and invite the children to talk about the taste, texture, etc.
- Show a picture for any story. Many are available online. Make it more interesting by showing only part of the picture and having students guess what it might be. Slowly reveal more and more until the entire picture can be seen.
- Hide something in a box Put something from the story into a box. Pass the box around. Let the children feel and shake the box to guess what’s inside. Open and discover contents e.g. new truth from heaven (book), rubber snake (Aaron’s rod), etc.
- Visualize the setting Have students close their eyes and describe the setting, customs or events that they will hear about in the story.
- Reenact miracles as you read Look for miracles in the story that you might re-enact as you read. Build interest and suspense as the story progresses e.g. turn water to “wine” by pouring water into a non see-through pitcher with grape juice concentrate at the bottom. When you pour from the pitcher at the end of the story, it will have turned into “wine”. It is wise to let children know they have witnessed an enactment and not a genuine miracle! Only the Lord can really do miracles.
- Use pictures Bring focus and understanding to the lesson by showing a series of pictures as the story develops, or add details to a felt board or suede graph as you read.
- Use props Gather a few props to show the children as the story progresses e.g. a staff, piece of clothing, pitcher, oil, etc. to bring understanding to the story. Choose between sparking interest by showing the props ahead of time, or keeping them hidden to retain interest later in the reading.
- Storytelling Read the story over several times to become familiar with the details. Tell the children the story simply and accurately—using good eye contact, and vocal and facial expression. Memorize key phrases or choose important details read aloud. Use props or pictures to bring it to life.
- Acting with no preparation Read the story aloud while the children sit and listen and then discuss it. Brainstorm acting and set-up. Read the story again while the children move around, showing what is going on. Choose whether everyone will do all of the parts, or whether one group of children will act out one part, while another group of children act out a different part.
- Build a felt board Invite children to add characters and simple setting pieces to a felt board as you read the story.
- Call and response When a phrase is use repeatedly in a story, engage the children by inviting them to finish it when they hear it e.g. And God saw…that it was good (creation story in Genesis).
- Happy or sad? Give each child a two-sided face. One face should be happy—the other should be sad. As you read the story aloud, have the children hold up the face that shows if the action or people in the story is happy/sad or good/bad.
- Water Play Experience “cleansing” from leprosy by having the children dip their hands into flour. Discuss what life was like for lepers—and then have the children wash seven times in the “Jordan” (water) like Naaman. Part the Red Sea by filling a shallow tray with water and “parting” it with a hair dryer. Use blue food dye for special effect!
- Draw Illustrate one scene of the story.
- Terrain box Create the terrain of the story in a box using sand, rocks or clay. Use figures to show the action. Invite children to re-create the story using clothespin dolls or puppets.
- Felt board Invite children to add figures to a felt board to re-create the story.
- Puppets Review the story using simple puppets.
- Sequencing Put pictures or story cards with people or events in the order they appear in the story.
- Use your setting Use the outdoors to measure out the Tabernacle of Israel, set up a tent or re-create the burning bush by tying colored fabric strips to a bush.
- Sing Familiarize children with stories from the Word by singing songs. A variety of Bible Songs are ready for you to watch and sing along.
- Make an illustrated book Students create their own miniature book on a theme e.g. Elisha’s miracles. Depending on how you design the project, this may continue on from week to week.
- Class Book Each student makes a page to be collaged into a class book. Use the book later to review the story.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Glue a picture on to lightweight cardboard. Cut the picture apart to create jigsaw pieces. The child reassembles the picture. Send home in an envelope or Ziploc bag.
- Banners may be made for permanent display, or in simple form to provide a learning experience. Divide up the characters in a story, give each child a piece of felt and have them cut out figures. Use alphabet templates to cut lettering. Assemble as a class. Banners may be arranged in sections to show a sequence of events, or depict one central theme or scene.
- Art Projects The sky is the limit! Here are a few tips to help you :
Glitter—put the project to be glittered on a large rectangular baking tray or low-sided cardboard box. The tray will catch the extra glitter. Tap it in to one corner and pour back into the container.
Paints—for young children, use one brush per color to slow down “color mixing”.
Use a Paper Cutter—to reduce preparation time—stack the paper and cut out multiples.
Buy a Rotary Fabric Cutter—layer the fabric and cut once.
Memorable experiences help create life-long learners of the stories in the Word. Review what children have learned as you conclude lessons weekly and periodically throughout the year. Use the wall space in your building to display project samples and turn your space into a learning environment. Take home follow-up activities provide additional opportunities to discuss what has been learned with parents and other family members. Many activities that are listed above may be used as teaching or review tools. Here are a few more to add to your teaching “bank”.
- Story Basket Review stories learned through taking objects out of a story basket and recounting the relevant stories.
- Pictures Show a series of pictures and recounting the stories.
- Adapt a commercial game Look for games that are fun for children, but which could lend themselves to Bible stories e.g. Pictionary. Students will illustrate stories or characters from the Word while others guess what they are drawing. Teams advance with correct guesses.
- Songs Singing songs that tell the stories from the Word is a great way to review. The powerful pairing of words and music may stay with a person for a lifetime.