This simple game is a great way to review a Bible Story. Children list words and ideas and then play a game similar to “tic-tac-toe” or “noughts and crosses”. Each child can prepare their own game-board to take home later or, alternatively, the game can be done as a group. This game can be played over and over and adapted to any Bible story.
Thanks to Debbie, from Phoenix, Arizona, USA for this idea! When she emailed me to tell me about the game she used the Bible Story: Conquering the Land and Fighting Giants as an example. You can watch the 3-minute video below or read the written instructions that follow.
- Pen, crayon or marker
- 2 pieces of paper or card for each child.
- Paper or card of two additional colours (far game markers)
- Small bag, bowl or basket
- The teacher presents a Bible Lesson to children.
- Preparing a word grid:
- Following the lesson each child is given a blank sheet of paper and pen.
- Each child draws a 3×3 grid on their paper. The grid should contain 9 squares as in tic-tac-toe or noughts and crosses.
- Each child fills in the the grid with 9 words or thoughts from the Bible story they have just heard. The teacher may encourage them to use their Bibles for this.
- Preparing the word list:
- Using a second piece of paper the child writes a list of the 9 words from the grid.
- The child cuts these 9 words into 9 separate pieces of paper.
- The child folds these 9 papers and places them in a bag or bowl.
- Preparing the game markers:
- The two coloured papers should be cut into squares large enough to cover the individual squares on the grid.
- Playing the game:
- Children pair up to challenge each other one-to-one.
- Each child chooses one set of coloured paper game markers.
- Choose one grid to begin a game.
- Children take turns drawing words from the bag or bowl they have prepared.
- Once a child has read the word drawn from the bag then they place a game marker over that word in the grid.
- Play continues back and forth between the children until someone has covered 3 words in a row on the grid. Note that, just as in tic-tac-toe, the game sometimes ends in a draw or tie.
- The words can be returned to the bag and the game played again and again.
- Bring it together at the end:
Have children share their words with the class and talk about why those words are important to the story.
- Group Game: Play this as a group game instead of individuals.
- Prepare Ahead: If you have limited time in class then prepare the grid(s) ahead of time.
- Use It For Any Lesson: Just create a new grid with new words that relate to the story you are teaching.
- Use Pictures Instead of Words: If your students are not able to read (or if your class is multi-lingual) then have them draw pictures into the grid instead of writing words. Alternatively, you could provide 9 different pictures that they could cut out and glue into the grid.
- Challenge Older Children: Write questions on the papers in the bag and matching answers on the grid.
- Encourage Bible Study and Stimulate Thinking: Provide an open Bible so children will want to look for the answers in God’s Word. If children need help thinking of words or phrases to write in the grid then get them thinking with ideas such as:
- Characters from the Bible story
- Town or location of the Bible story (such as house, boat, marketplace)
- The weather or environment if it is mentioned in the Bible story (such as storm or draught)
- Emotions (sorrow, joy, repentance, jealousy)
- Physical conditions (blind, deaf, sick)
- Social standing (wealthy, poor, ruler, slave)
- Book of the Bible where the story is found
- Our own response to the lesson (be kind, help others, don’t lie)
- Make the game 3 dimensional. Instead of two different colours of paper for the game markers use items that relate to the story:
- David and Goliath– One child uses small stones (like David used in the sling) to place on the grid while the other uses cotton wool (like the sheep David cared for).
- Zacchaeus, the Tax Collector- Use two different types of coins as the game markers.
- Parable of the Treasure and Pearl– Use toy jewels and pearls as game markers.
- Feeding of the 5,000– Use 2 different types of crackers (fish crackers if you have them).
- Big Group? No Supplies? No problem! You could draw a grid in the sand with a stick, on a chalkboard or whiteboard or any scrap paper on hand. How about just dividing the group into teams (perhaps boys and girls?) and letting them take turns telling about the story? One group says something about the story or answers a question and then draws an “X” or “O” wherever they choose in the grid.