Children Need to Move
As a teacher of children it is unrealistic to think that your students will be able to sit completely still for half an hour or more without a change in activity or movement of some kind. The younger the child the more this is true.
God never intended that children learn about him only in lecture type situations. Many, many years ago as the Israelites journeyed to the Promised Land God gave these instructions…
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates”. Deuteronomy 6:4-9, NIV
Do Something Different to Refocus
A simple shift in pace or activity will help children refocus and re-charge their attitude.
- Move over to another part of the room to have a prayer.
- Have everyone move to a different seat for a “fresh start”
- Play a game.
- Try a different way to pray
- Stand up and stretch and then sing a song
- Very young children can benefit from a quick activity that allows them to expend a little energy and then refocus. One moment can change the mood of the class. Try simple activities like “Everyone clap if they love God” or “Let’s all do 10 hops and then sit down” or “Wiggle while I count to 10”.
Mimic the Actions and Sounds in Bible Stories
As you tell a Bible story allow the children to re-enact whatever is happening in the Bible story you are covering.
- Encourage the children to make some sound effects for the story.
- Snap fingers or tap lightly on the table for the sound of rain during the flood.
- Whistle and blow for the wind when Jesus calms the storm.
- Baah like the sheep when talking about the lost sheep.
- Dramatise emotions felt by the characters (happy, sad, angry, etc)
- As review act out “scenes” from the story
- Play charades using events from recent Bible lessons
- Ask the children to perform an action every time they hear a particular word in the story. For example, “laugh every time you hear the word “laugh” as I tell the story of Abraham and Sarah.
Form Words Using “Body Letters”
Just as in the songs J-O-Y and the J-E-S-U-S Cheer encourage children to group together to form words using their arms, legs, etc. If you have a dark room this can be done in front of a light to form fun shadows on the wall.
And Don’t Forget to Dance
Just as the Hebrews did when God delivered them from Egypt, remember to allow the children to dance in celebration. Many children enjoy cheering, clapping and even dancing to express joy.
- Play previously recorded praise songs or just sing together and dance.
- Have a “dance off” where the teacher calls out various events from the story and the children take turns showing a “dance move” that depicts that event.
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