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

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. ­čÖé

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┬ácovered 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. ­čÖé

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┬áto 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┬ó each, and measure about 3″ by 2″ by 2″. I gave each kid a box and let them decorate it with Sharpies, and encouraged┬áthem 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.┬áWithout 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. ­čśë 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. ­čÖé

 

 

David & Goliath

This Sunday was the 1st Sunday of the month, and in our kids’ ministry this week is a little different from the rest of the month. Our church does communion on the 1st Sunday, and we like to have families participate in that experience together. So all of the kids (kindergarten and up) stay upstairs through worship and communion with their parents before coming downstairs to kids’ church. Our middle school service┬áthat usually meets on Sundays even takes a break on this week, so that families can be together.

Once the kids come downstairs, we have about 45 minutes, compared to our usual 1 hour and 15 minutes, so we switch up our downstairs experience. We do a short lesson and game or activity, usually unrelated to our curriculum, then at the end of the service we have our “Pier Dollar Store.” Every week when they come, kids get the chance to earn “Pier Dollars” by bringing their Bible, knowing the memory verse, bringing a friend, and participating in class. Then, once a month, we have a store where they can spend their “dollars.” It’s a lot of fun and really encourages the kids to be actively involved in class!

This week, we decided to talk about David and Goliath, and how through God we can do anything (no matter what our age)! Chris summarized the story while he had two helpers “act” it out. “Goliath” got to stand on a chair and hold a “spear” and a sword, while “David” got to throw a “rock” and kill him. The kids had fun with it. ­čÖé

Then we took them outside to an area we had roped off and played a version of Sharks and Minnows that we called “Goliath is Hungry.” The kids all lined up on one end of the field as the Israelites. Chris stood in the middle as a giant. When he said, “Goliath is hungry!” all the kids ran from one end to the other, trying not to get tagged by Chris. When you got tagged, you became a Philistine and had to go in the middle and help tag. The game continued until all the kids had been tagged. It was a beautiful day so it was great to be able to get outside and enjoy it!

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Job

This past Sunday, we talked about the book of Job in our Hightide class. I found this great script online that presented the story in a brief, yet somewhat modern way, and the kids definitely had fun with it. It might just be the group of kids we have at our church, but they love acting out these skits. They are always clamoring to be the main character, we even have one kid who likes to play the bad guy.

Following the skit, we talked about why bad things happen in the world. Satan caused Job’s suffering (because God allowed him to), so does that mean Satan causes all suffering? One kid answered me with exactly where I was going with it–no, because sometimes we do something or make a choice that causes bad things to happen. But God always works everything out for good, and allows us to learn and grow in our faith in these experiences.

For the ending, I created a “code” for our memory verse for the week. They love the codes where each letter is substituted with a number, and you have to figure out what it says. We talked through Job chapters 37-41, and I had the kids find lines that stood out to them about how great and powerful God is:

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Job 38:4

Who shut up the sea behind doors? 38:8

Have you entered the storehouses of snow? 38:22

Does the rain have a father? 38:28

Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? 38:35

Esther

I decided to do a whole week on Esther in our Hightide (preteens) class because it’s another narrative book and lends itself to be acted out.

We did this book as another skit, where I read/summarized parts of the story and the kids acted out as I spoke. I decided to grab a few “costumes” this time to make it more interesting, so the king had a crown and a scepter, Haman had a pair of glasses with a big nose and mustache attached, and Esther wore a purple wig–after all, she did undergo a year of beauty treatments.

The kids really enjoyed this story with all of it’s set-ups and payoffs. Most of them weren’t familiar with it, so they laughed when Mordecai was honored when Haman thought it would be him, and cheered when Haman was hanged on his own gallows.

Because that’s just how 10-year-olds are (boys are gross and vice versa), it’s always funny when a story involves someone getting married: in this case, the king chose Esther as the most beautiful woman in the land to be his queen. The girl who was excited to volunteer as Esther immediately regretted her decision, as did the boy who played the king, because now they were “a couple.” That’s one of the things I love about this age–not only are they not interested in pursuing the opposite gender, they’re completely the opposite. Everything we do is boys vs girls, and it’s “gross” when they talk about marriage.

Ezra & Nehemiah

We combined the books of Ezra and Nehemiah into one week in Hightide, because they focus on pretty much a similar theme: Israel beginning to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their culture. We read excerpts that I picked out ahead of time from Ezra and discussed how the people returned and began to rebuild the temple, but were already failing in following God when Ezra himself showed up.

Then, I brought out graham crackers and icing and we “rebuilt” the temple. We talked about how this rebuilt temple was nowhere near the glory of Solomon’s temple, which we had just talked about.

Moving on to Nehemiah, we again read several verses from the chapters to summarize the story. Nehemiah’s goal was to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so we discussed the importance of a wall to a city back then, as well as how Ezra and Nehemiah worked together to help the people follow the law.

So then we “rebuilt” the wall–using marshmallows and more icing.

The kids definitely enjoyed being creative and playing with food, and whether or not they remembered all the details, at least they knew that someone built a temple and a wall somewhere. ­čÖé

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