10 Commandments

Our preschool class has been learning about Moses and the 10 Commandments the past few weeks, so my mom (who happens to teach that class) and I came up with a review craft for them this past Sunday.

The teachers helped trace the children’s hands onto a piece of paper.

Then, they cut out these images I made and glued one on each finger.

10 fingers… 10 commandments.

The visuals really helped the kids remember the commandments, even though they can’t read yet!

Feel free to use the file for your own classes.

10 commandments

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Acts

This week in Hightide we talked about the book of Acts! I was trying to come up with something new to do with the kiddos, and a friend suggested making a comic strip. So I went with that!

I took 14 of the more major stories in the book of Acts, and created a comic strip template that I printed on 11×17 paper for the kids. In class, we either read the story or I summarized it, depending on its length, and the kids drew their representation of that story in each box. We got some pretty fun interpretations… The first class of kids seemed to enjoy it more than the second, maybe I just had more creative kids in one group, but it went over well in general. As they drew, I explained more parts of the story, or the characters, or other information I thought of, or they just chatted.

Here’s the stories I used:

  1. Jesus taken into heaven – Acts 1:1-11
  2. Holy Spirit comes – Acts 2
  3. Peter heals the beggar – Acts 3:1-10
  4. Stoning of Stephen – Acts 6-7
  5. Saul’s conversion – Acts 9:1-20
  6. Peter brings Dorcas back to life – Acts 9:32-43
  7. Peter in prison and released by angel – Acts 12
  8. First missionaries – Acts 13:1-14:7
  9. Paul and Silas arrested – Acts 16:16-40
  10. Paul arrested by the mob – Acts 21:27-36
  11. Paul on trial – Acts 24-26
  12. Paul shipwrecked – Acts 27
  13. Paul bitten by viper – Acts 28:1-10
  14. Paul in prison for life – Acts 28:11-31

And of course, here’s some lovely examples of their artwork! 4th and 5th graders are the best. 😉

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The Fruit of the Spirit

This past week was the first Sunday of the month, which gives us a shorter time with the kids than usual at our church. Kids worship and observe communion with their parents, then come downstairs, usually after singing a song on stage. We also have our “Pier Dollar Store” where the kids get to spend the “Pier Bucks” they get for bringing their Bible, knowing the memory verse, and answering questions. Between all that, we usually have about 20 minutes with the kids to do a short lesson.

This week we picked to talk about the Fruit of the Spirit. I asked the kids what that meant, and they named all of them as we wrote them on the board. But then I asked what it meant, why it’s called “fruit of the Spirit” and none of them could give me an answer. So I asked, “how do you know a tree is an apple tree?” (“because there’s apples on it.) I briefly talked about fruit being what shows in our life, so we should show these things in our life. However, none of us are perfect, and it’s really hard to always be loving, joyful, patient, kind… and that’s where the “Spirit” part comes in. God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us make the right choices and do the right things. We also sang a Fruit of the Spirit song that we learned last year, to help solidify what the “fruits” are in their minds.

Then we played a game. It’s basically the game Fruit Basket Upset, which has many variations and names. We had all the kids sit in a circle, each with a carpet circle. One child was in the middle. Each kid picked a fruit–we just used love, joy, peace, and patience for the sake of not being too complicated. The child in the middle would call out a fruit and whoever picked that fruit had to get up and find a new seat. The middle kid also tries to find a seat, leaving a different child without a carpet circle, so they are now in the middle. Play continues. At any point, the kid in the middle can shout “Fruit of the Spirit” and everyone has to find a new seat. The kids really had fun with it, and surprisingly no one fought over a carpet or bumped heads. 😉

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The Gospels

We spent two weeks talking about The Gospels in our Hightide class–the first week we went through the story of Jesus, hitting all the major events and using all 4 gospels. I wanted the kids to just have a really good grasp on the life of Jesus. I taught them a few big “churchy” words, like Ascension and Transfiguration.
The following week, I talked (in brief) about how and why the gospels are  different. I gave a brief overview of who each author was and why that helped shape their perspective, along with who their audience was and what their main point was. Matthew, one of the disciples and a Jew, emphasizes Jesus as the Messiah, as the long awaited King of the Jews. Mark, a young follower of Jesus, talks about all the things Jesus did and how he was a servant to all. Luke, the Greek doctor and historian, emphasizes Jesus as the perfect man — yes, the Son of God, but he was fully human. And John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, explains that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, emphasizing his deity.
I also taught them the phrase “Synoptic Gospels”–that Matthew, Mark, and Luke are very similar in stories and teachings of Jesus, but John has many differences. We didn’t get too deep into the differences, just talked about having different points of view.
Finally, we played another game of Jeopardy, since the kids had so much fun with it last time. There were 4 categories (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and like last time each question had a Scripture reference to help them find the answer. I tried to pick stories and teachings that were unique to each gospel for the questions, though I had trouble with Mark. Because the kids are generally more familiar with the Gospels than they were with the Major Prophets, there were a few questions they could answer without looking in the Bible.

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Here’s a list of my questions, if you’re interested in what I used.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday, so I’ve been working on coming up with some simple crafts to do in our classes here. I love the idea of handprint/footprint crafts and cards, but I am very hesitant about getting paint involved–I feel like it just extends the time of the craft by so much between set up and clean up. Then you get kids getting paint on their clothes and on the carpet… If it were a smaller group of kids, I like paint, but not for a big group!

Anyway. So here’s a few crafts/cards that I have found online that I will probably use this Sunday.

This questionnaire is really cute, and good for any age–you can ask younger kids the questions and write for them, and older kids can fill it in themselves. Would be cute for kids to do each year and see how their answers change. 🙂

This cute DAD card–you can order the craft kit, but it would be fairly easy to make yourself! Although I wish they made 11×17 heavier paper…

This popsicle stick frame–you could use various objects to glue on top to represent things dads typically are into. Have the kids write a note to dad to put inside.

This cute tie craft with a sweet poem–easy for young kids to to color and decorate with stickers. Found this template online for the tie.

And finally, here’s some printable Father’s Day cards. Free and cute!

 

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Major Prophets

After finishing the books of Poetry in the Old Testament, I decided to continue to do several books a week through the Prophets. When you’re 10, books like Ezekiel and Habakkuk just don’t seem as exciting. And though they of course hold lots of value to Christians, since my purpose with my Hightide class of preteens is to give them an overview of the Bible this year, I want to do just that.

So this week we covered the Major Prophets, sans Daniel. I decided to save that one for it’s own week, because it’s got such cool stories in it. 🙂

I began working on my lesson and talking points like I always do, starting out with all the basic information and hoping to add a fun aspect by the time I reach the end. I found this lesson online which gave me a lot of good info in a nice, summarized way. I wrote it all out and included lots of Scripture to look up through Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel, and realized I had a lesson that mostly included me talking. I didn’t even have a ton of questions and discussion. And if you know 10 year olds, that is not their preferred way to spend 45 minutes of their morning.

Then I decided to play Jeopardy. I’m not exactly sure how or why I came up with the idea, but I’m glad I did.

I created questions from the three major books we were covering: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. I ended up doing 8 for each. I set it up Jeopardy style on our white board, with good old fashioned paper and tape, like so:

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Before we got started, I gave a basic overview on the books and what their main topics were and some information about the authors. Then we got to our game.

I divided the kids into teams (I had 6 kids both services that I taught this lesson, and divided them into 3 teams of 2 the first time and 2 teams of 3 the second time and it worked both ways). Each team would take a turn choosing a category, and then anyone could answer the question.

For example: One team would choose, “Jeremiah for 600” and their question might say, “What kind of love does God have for us? (31:3)” The kids then had to race to look up Jeremiah 31:3 to find out that God has an “everlasting” love for us.

Or they might choose “Ezekiel for 400” and get the question, “Ezekiel had a vision about some cherubim–what were their bodies covered in? (10:12)” So the kids quickly flipped to Ezekiel 10:12 to find that these strange creatures were covered in eyes.

Because it was all new material, not a review on previous information, it was a great idea to just have them look up verses to find the answers. Basically it was a Sword Drill without them knowing. We had a couple kids who were really good at finding the verses, and some who struggled, but all of them had a blast. My husband hung out in class for some of our second service and was looking up verses on his phone, and we still had one of our kids find the verses faster in his Bible than Chris on his phone! I was impressed.

It was really a great lesson, and the kids requested to do something like that again. I definitely will! Maybe I’ll figure out a different game show to impersonate next time. 🙂

If you’d like, you can check out my list of questions here, but don’t hesitate to read through these books and find some of your own!

 

Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs

This week I combined Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs into one lesson for our Hightide kids. Since all these books were primarily written by Solomon, I talked about the importance of wisdom.

I asked the kids what wisdom is and why it’s important: I got a lot of answers about “being smart” but my favorite was “knowing to do the right thing.”

We read Proverbs 1:1-6 and talked about why Solomon wrote Proverbs. We made a list of Bible characters we might call wise, and discussed what made them wise (Noah, David, Solomon, Moses, Esther, Job, Ruth, Nehemiah, Elijah, Daniel, and Jesus were a few they came up with).

We also read Proverbs 2:1-15 and talked about the benefits of wisdom. We focused in on verses 3-6 where it calls wisdom a “hidden treasure.” There are a lot of action words in this section, like “seek,” “call,” “search,” and “find,” which means that wisdom doesn’t just come to us, we need to look for it. And where do we look for it? In the Bible.

I got an idea from this website to make “treasure chests” for wisdom, but altered the idea a little bit. Instead of making it so much of a craft, I bought little storage boxes from Walmart. They were about 88¢ each, and measure about 3″ by 2″ by 2″. I gave each kid a box and let them decorate it with Sharpies, and encouraged them to fill the boxes with “wisdom”–with Bible verses they learn from church or at home. I gave them a few to start out with.

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As they were decorating, we wrapped up our discussion on Proverbs and moved on to briefly talk about Ecclesiastes. Because it can be kind of a deep and complex book, I summed it up by saying that Solomon had everything he could want in life (Ecc 2:4-11) but nothing truly made him happy apart from God (Ecc 12:1, 13). I asked the kids to look at their own families and think about what life might be like if their families didn’t believe in God, didn’t bring them to church. We had some good discussions about how they would probably fight more, or be mean to each other, and not have the friends they currently have. Without God, life is meaningless.

Then, because these kids are 10 and 11, I did a very brief overview of Song of Songs. Basically I just talked about how this book is a love song written between Solomon and his wife, and that God invented a very special kind of love that makes marriage work–and that they don’t have to worry about it for a few years. 😉 We did however read Song of Songs 8:4, and I encouraged all the girls in particular to write it down and put it in their wisdom box. 🙂