Prayer

This week was the 1st Sunday of the month, which for us means switching it up. We take a break from our normal curriculum and format. The kids worship upstairs with their families and take communion with them. The kids sang a song from our upcoming VBS on stage, which the congregation always loves.

So we decided to talk to the kids about prayer.

Chris asked three questions and wrote their answers on the board. One interesting thing that we’ve found is that as long as you ask a lot of questions and keep it very interactive, kids don’t mind sitting still for a lesson for about 20 minutes. You don’t always have to have games and object lessons and videos, though those are all very good and have their place.

Anyway. Chris first asked the kids: Who do you like to talk to? We got lots of answers like friends, family, and a few funny ones like, “Siri” and “myself.” Then we asked the kids What do you like to talk about? We received answers like food, video games, movies, Minecraft, pizza, sports, that sort of thing.

Then we asked the kids What do you talk to God about? And we got a lot more serious answers, like asking for healing, safe travel, praying for food, help on tests, etc. So Chris asked the kids if they talk to their friends about the things they talk to God about, and most said no, because friends can’t heal someone or help you on a test. Then he asked do you talk to God about the things you talk to friends about? We got a resounding No! So we asked why? They didn’t really have an answer. I was expecting them to say that “God doesn’t care” but they just didn’t seem to know why. So we told them that you can talk to God about anything and everything, because he loves us and cares about us and cares about what we care about.

Finally, we asked the kids How do you pray? One kid said, “You have to fold your hands, close your eyes, say ‘Dear God’ at the beginning and ‘Amen’ at the end.” So we said that’s a good way to start, and read Matthew 6:5-13, talking about how God doesn’t want us to be showy, he just wants us to be honest with him. We talked about five things to do when you pray: Praise God for who he is, Read the Bible prayerfully, Ask for things we need, Confess things we have done wrong and ask for forgiveness, and Thank God for what he has given us.

At the end of class, we divided the kids into groups of 5-6 kids with a leader, and had the kids say something they were thankful for and something they want to pray to God about. Then we had each kid pray that out loud in their group. It was a good time having an intimate setting and getting kids to start praying out loud and just praying honestly.

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. 🙂

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Samuel, Kings, & Chronicles

In our Hightide (preteens) class, we took 3 weeks going through these six books, doing them in pairs: 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1& 2 Chronicles. Because there are so many great stories throughout these books, we did mini skits–I or one of the kids would read a short section of verses, or sometimes I would summarize, and the kids would act out the parts as we spoke. Again, it simply gave them something to do besides just listening.

As we got into 1 & 2 Chronicles, I realized first of all that the timing of stories in the Old Testament was going to start getting a little confusing. Most of the books up to this point are in chronological order, but Chronicles goes back over some of the same time periods of Samuel and Kings, and the prophets later are all over the place. So we made a timeline on a couple pieces of poster board to leave posted in our classroom so that we could follow along better.

Secondly, much of 2 Chronicles is about Solomon building the temple, and it’s very descriptive. To help all of us visualize it, I thought it would be fun to draw the temple, so we did just that! I would read a verse or two at a time and just let the kids draw it how they interpreted it. Here’s their representations. 🙂

We have two services with kids programs, so I teach the same lesson (or close to it) twice each week

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Welcome!

I enjoy writing and blogging, so I thought it would be fun and perhaps helpful to create a blog to record thoughts and experiences about our life as kids pastors. I’ve often spent time browsing the internet for ideas for games, crafts, object lessons and more, so I wanted to share things that we do for others to find and perhaps use!

I lead our preteen class, which is students in 4th and 5th grade, and starting in January I decided to walk through the books of the Bible with them, giving an overview of a book or two each week. That’s probably what I will write about the most, because it is not based on any sort of curriculum, unlike our other classes.

When we started through the books of the Bible, I ran the first few classes as pretty much just a lesson: I talked, wrote on the white board, and had the kids read passages to highlight parts of the book. We did this through Judges. Then when I got to Ruth, I decided to do something different. Because it’s such a short book and written as a narrative, I copy and pasted the entire 4 chapters of Ruth onto a Word document, breaking it up into speaking parts and removing a few verses here and there to chop it down, and created a “script” of sorts. In class, I had the kids read and act out the story. And they loved it. They loved getting to interact with the story and give it life. They laughed when we had more boys than girls so a boy had to play Naomi. They made fun of each other when Boaz had to “marry” Ruth. And most importantly, they remembered that story, better than they retained stories from the previous weeks. So that’s when I changed my approach and tried to get more creative each week. I’ll write posts to catch up on each of those lessons to bring this blog up to date with where we are now.

Thanks for reading!