My Blog Posts

Let’s Dance!

Dancing.sm

After crossing the Red Sea and being delivered from your enemies, what would YOU want to do?  A seven year old in my Bible class answered, “I would do this!” and then proceeded to dance around our classroom clearly demonstrating pure joy.

Sometimes the illustrations I’ve selected and the scripts from which I read simply pale in comparison to the spontaneous responses of children who hear about what God has done.

Over a span of about a month we had journeyed along with Moses and the Hebrews and felt the pain of their suffering in Egyptian bondage.  We had seen God at work through the ten plagues.  We  worked our way through the emotional experience of the night when the angel of death passed over.  We trembled as we crossed through the Red sea on dry land with great walls of water on either side of us and the enemy right on our heels.

Now, after reviewing these events one more time, I asked the children in our Bible class to imagine being a Hebrew that day and looking back over the water of the Red Sea.  I asked them to imagine the feeling of knowing that God was so strong and loved us so much that he had conquered our enemies and gotten us out of Egypt.  My question “What would you feel like doing?” was a rhetorical question so I was simply floored when this seven year old spontaneously responded in exactly the way the Hebrews did!

Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them:  ‘Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.  Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.’”  Exodus 15:20-21, NIV

At that point I put other activities aside and we all did just what the Hebrews had done.  We danced in praise to God for what he had done. Never mind that we were in an upstairs room and the adults in the Bible class below us thought I had possibly lost control of my class.  (Never mind that I probably DID lose control over them for just a few moments).  Never mind that the kids danced much better than the teacher.

The fact is that we participated together in some of the most “Biblical moments” I had experienced in quite some time.

The children went on the demonstrate dance moves depicting the plagues and the Passover and the crossing through the sea.  Then, after what turned out to be a rather morbid rendition of the annihilation of Pharaoh and his army, I drew the children back in together and we participated in some quieter activities.

Once again, I thank God that I have the honour of sharing His Word with children and that so often the children become my teachers.

More ideas for teaching using movement and dance

Movement and Dance

Marble Painting a Burning Bush

Marble Painting Complete

The children in our mixed-aged Bible class last Sunday created some awesome pictures using marbles and paints.  The lesson for the day was about when the Lord spoke to Moses from a Burning Bush 

We talked about how God was concerned about the suffering of his people and was giving Moses the important job of rescuing them.  After the lesson we gathered our supplies and made these lovely pictures.  Younger children needed more help and the older ones were able to do each step on their own.  Of course, the best part was being able to chat about the story as we worked on the craft!

Supplies

  • A baking pan or shallow box with sides (one for each child or take turns)
  • A large paper cut to the size of the bottom of the pan or box
  • Crayons
  • Paints in fire colours like red, yellow, orange, brown and black (tempera or acrylic works well)
  • Marbles (heavy ones work better and we had 3 per child)
  • Tape
  • Damp paper towels or items of choice for clean-up

Method

  1. Children draw a free-style bush on the paper using the crayons.  This is the best time to write names or titles on the drawings, too.
  2. Place the paper in the tray and secure the edges with a few pieces of tape.
  3. Sparingly dot the paper with various colours of paint (thick globs don’t work).
  4. Place the marbles on the surface of the paper and move the trays around slowly in a rolling or gentle wave-like motion.  As the marbles roll around they will pick up paint and distribute it over the paper.
  5. Remove the marbles and hang the pictures to dry.

Other Stories for this Craft

Use this same method and different colours of paint to create effects.  Generally, the student will draw the main picture and then use the paints to create the effect.  Alternatively, you could provide a printed colour sheet and then have the children create the paint effect over it.

  • Wind using white and a little black on gray paper.
    • Sermon at Pentecost  (Draw the people or steps of the colonnade and then create the wind with paint)
  • Mood or Feeling using multi-colours on coloured or black paper.  This is more abstract but can be very effective.
  • Plants using green and a few dots for flowers.
  • Light using white or light yellow on black paper.  Fill the page with the colours of light.  Add some glow in the dark paint for fun.
  • Fire and Brimstone using red, yellow, orange or just use yellow and white with a little red to highlight the brimstone.  Draw the city first and then create fire and brimstone with paint.
  • Hair using brown or black.  Draw Samson’s face first and then create the hair with paint.

How to Use on Any Story

Create a frame around any verse or picture by taping a paper over the centre of the paper (where the words are written) and only leave a blank space around the edges of the paper exposed.  Once the painting is complete then remove the paper.

Marble Painting Pin

 

Website Update

Next time you open http://www.missionbibleclass.org you’ll notice a few changes to the look and feel.

Since I have two great interns working with me right now, we’re using the opportunity to update the look of the site. There are quite a few details to take care of so please let me know right away if you notice something is not quite right.

As always, may God bless you as you share His Word with children!

Mary

mary@missionbibleclass.org

I Think I’ll Just Hum…

2018 Tower of Babel Jengasm

Sometimes I prepare what I think is a great class and yet my students struggle to think past the surface level of the Bible story.  But sometimes, often when I least expect it, the kids run ahead of the teacher and want to go deeper.

Instead of just appreciating the facts or even the drama of the story they may ask questions about the characters or wonder why the characters did what they did.  They might want to discuss motivations and causes.  They may even ponder over what God was up to or discuss how he interacted with the characters.

Sometimes the Biblical truths become personal.  They dig deep into a child’s heart and convict them to act upon these truths.

And them sometimes, like this past Sunday, a child takes one more step and actually makes a plan.  It is at times like these that a teacher knows she has truly passed on the message.

Earlier in the week a young woman and I had prepared a lesson together on the Tower of Babel using the Lesson Template.  This time I stood back and she did the teaching.

  • First she had the letters of the words “proud” and “humble” written on cards.  She mixed the letters up and showed how to unscramble them to form the words.
  • Then she drew the face of a girl on a balloon and spoke as if she was the girl on the balloon.  She began “bragging” about everything from her good looks to her amazing skills at sports.  Every time she bragged she would blow some more hot air into the balloon.  The bragging continued until the balloon finally popped.
  • Using a simple flip chart she then told the story of how people began building a tower thinking only of how they would make a great name for themselves.  God was not pleased and mixed up their language so it must have sounded like they were just babbling to one another.  Not being able to communicate led to the people going their separate ways.
  • After this, two towers were built in class…
    • One was built out of large Lego blocks.  As each block was stacked the young teacher talked about how great God was.
    • The other tower was built from wooden Jenga blocks.  As we had planned, I built this tower making a point to blatently brag about my own abilities at each level.  As expected, my tower crashed and the first one held.
  • As we gathered back together we looked once more at the word “humble” and talked about what it meant.

One boy had taken in the facts and had been convicted that he should be humble.  But now, he was ready to put it into ACTION.   At his own instigation he devised a way to go deeper!

And here is a seven year old boy’s simple plan of action…

“Every time I start being too proud I think I’m going to just hum.”  In answer to the perplexed expressions on our faces he went on to explain, “I’m going to hum because that will help me stop being proud and remember to be HUM-ble.”

Yes, that little boy really understood the message.  He has a plan of action and now, so do I.  Next time I start thinking that teachers have all the answers…I’m going to start humming.

2018 Tower of Babel Lesson2

 

 

 

Teaching Children About the Church

How important is it to teach children to love the church?  Basically, the church should be as important to all of us as it it to Jesus.

In the middle of a conversation about submitting to one another in situations such as marriage the Apostle Paul writes…

Christ died for the church to make it belong to God. Christ used the word to make the church clean by washing it with water. Christ died so that he could give the church to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be pure and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other wrong thing in it.  Ephesians 5:25b-27 (International Children’s Bible)

Jesus loved the church completely and was willing to die for it.  Not because it is perfect but so it could be perfect.

So, how do children learn to love the church?

A good beginning is to understand that the church is personal.  It is made up of living and breathing people and is not simply an organisation or a building.

To make this point I used two large white poster boards.  One would represent “family” and the other “church”.

 

My Family

On the family poster I drew a large outline of a house. My drawing lines went right to the edge of the paper.  I then set one group of children to work drawing their families inside that house.  Families come in all shapes and sizes so the picture was quite an interesting collection of faces.

Knowing my intentions with this picture I encouraged the children to be careful to keep all of the drawing inside the outline of the house.

 

My Church

Meanwhile, on the other poster I had drawn an outline of a church building.  While the first group was working on drawing family members I asked the second group to think about who is in their church and to draw those people inside the outline of the church building.  I loved hearing the children name people from their own perspectives.  Soon the building was filled with people of all ages and various backgrounds.

Again I encouraged the children to draw only inside the walls of the church building.  This would be important later on in the next step.

 

What is a Family?

Now it was time for part two of the lesson.  After we spent some time talking about the families drawn inside of that house I took my scissors and began to cut away the outside edges.  There were gasps because this was not what the children expected.  Basically, I cut away the house and left the pictures of the family inside.

Then we talked about how our family is still a family even if there is no house.  When we go to the park are we still a family?  Yes.  When we get in a car and drive to another place are we still a family?  Yes.  One little girl even offered up that her family was still a family even though they had moved far far away from their home country to be missionaries.

 

What is the Church?

Now it was time to talk about the church.  I know many adults who struggle to separate worship from formal buildings but I was a bit unprepared for the initial reaction these children had when I began to cut away the edges of the church picture.  You would have thought I was committing sacrilege when I cut off the outline of the building.  I even heard an accusation of “church cutter” thrown my way.

But then the children began to see that only the building was missing and that the Christians were left inside.  We talked about how it is the saved people who are the church…not the building.  If the church decides to meet at the park instead of a church building are they still the church?  Yes.  If the church travels across town to deliver food to a family in need are they still the church?  Yes.

We concluded with a reminder that every person in the church is loved.  Christ was willing to give up his life for the church and we all agreed that he did not die for buildings.

 

How to Use this Lesson

The earlier quote is from the International Children’s Bible (ICB)
The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.