Children sit in a circle and pass a small object (bean bag, soft toy, etc.) from each person to the next around the circle. You (or one of the students) turn your back to the group. Wait a few moments, then clap your hands (or ring a bell). The child holding the object when you clap your hand must answer a Bible question.
Print a picture from each story you have recently covered and let the children put them in chronological order.
Bible Verse Drill:
Have “bible drills” where you call out a scripture reference (book, chapter, verse), and the children race to find it in their own bible and read it aloud. The first child to correctly read the verse wins. Keep in mind that some children in your class have never been taught how to look up a verse in the Bible. Take the time to show them the table of contents, names of the books, chapters (big numbers) and verse numbers (little numbers). Even very young children like to look up Genesis 1:1.
Everyone can come dressed as a character from the stories you have covered.
Describe the Character (with Cards):
Make up character cards with the names (or pictures for younger children) of each character. On each card, include a description of the character and perhaps a little of what happened in the story. Let the children take turns drawing the cards and reading the description out loud. Other children guess who they are. Don’t forget the obscure “characters” for unusual discussion: innkeeper, donkey, man asking Jesus the questions.
Dress up as one of the story characters and tell the story from that character’s point of view. Your costume might be as simple as a towel or pillowcase on your head with a man’s tie for a headband. You could also let the children take turns being the characters.
Finger Puppet Review:
Use a pen to draw a simple face on your finger. Use this as a puppet to tell the story or ask the children review questions. You could also “dress up” the character with a small cloth for a veil or a man’s headdress. You could use a rubber band as a headband. You have ten fingers, so you could be ten characters if you have the talent!
Before class, write various bible or application scenes on pieces of paper. A child reads what their assigned scene is. When you say “go”, the child starts acting out the scene. When you say “freeze”, they should stop where they are and hold the position. At this time, everyone can guess which scene they are acting out.
Guess the Character (blindfolded):
Write the names of the main characters in today’s story on slips of paper (or show their pictures if the children are too young to read). Blindfold one child. Hold up the name of one of the characters so that the other children know which one it is. Let the children give hints to the blindfolded person so they can guess which character it is.
Play hangman using words from the story. For a change, you can sometimes use different pictures that relate to the story instead of a gallows. For example, when studying manna and quail, you could add parts to a quail (head, body, wings, beak) when an incorrect letter is chosen.
X and O Review Game:
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. Instructions here.
Invite parents or other adult guests to join the class for games. In addition, children can demonstrate what they have learned. Children love to have competitions with adults, too.
Memory Game Match-Up:
Print pairs of pictures depicting words or pictures from the story you have covered and cut them into equal sizes like playing cards. Make sure the paper you have used is thick enough that the word or picture cannot be seen through the paper. Lay all the cards on a flat surface, such as a table. The card faces should be faced down. Children take turns turning over two cards at a time. If the cards do not match, then they turn them back over. The next child then takes a turn, turning over two cards. If any child turns over two cards that match, then they take that pair of cards off the board and get to have another turn. The player who has gathered the most pairs of cards by the end of the game wins.
Variation: Write a question on one card and the answer on another. This becomes a pair, and children have to turn over matching pairs of questions and answers.
Before class, think of actions or activities that go along with whatever you are reviewing. Assign a number 1-6 to each activity. Children can take turns rolling dice to see which activity to perform. Here is an example of activities for reviewing the parable of the lost sheep:
- Roll a 1-Recite one of the memory verses.
- Roll a 2-Name one thing people in this story might have smelled.
- Roll a 3-Say something you have learned from this parable.
- Roll a 4-Choose two people to help you sing “Baa Baa Black Sheep”
- Roll a 5-Baa like the lost sheep
- Roll a 6-Ask the teacher to say the memory verse.
Another way to do this is to let the children think of the six activities before you start.
Use a hand puppet to tell or review the story from a different point of view. Try telling it from the point of view of Daniel, Belshazzar or even – with great imagination – one of the cups.
Conduct a “Press Conference” with one or more children acting the parts of the main characters in the story. The rest of the students can be reporters asking questions you have prepared. For fun, provide impromptu microphones or costumes.
Before class, colour a picture depicting the story and cut it into jigsaw puzzle-type pieces. Hide the pieces around the room. At a suitable time during class have the children hunt for the picture and put the puzzle together. You could do the same thing by writing letters of a word or parts of a phrase and hiding them. Children find them and then put them together.
Create your own game by drawing a circle on a piece of paper and drawing lines to divide it into wedges (like a pizza). Write a question on each wedge. Hold a paper clip down in the centre of the circle and spin the clip around. Whichever wedge the paper clip lands in is the question the children answer. Click here for complete instructions.
Story with Sound Effects:
Let one of the children retell the story while the other children provide sound effects.
Children take turns “teaching” the class. They can take your place and ask the class review questions.
What’s in the Bag?
Write a list of review questions. For this example, write 20 questions and number them 1 to 20. Collect 20 bags, boxes or any other containers (they don’t need to match). Put a little prize in each container. The prizes don’t need to be elaborate (I always throw in some “special” ones and some silly ones). Attach a number (from 1-20) on each container. Question number 1 will correspond to container 1; question 2 will correspond to container 2, etc. One at a time, each child gets a chance to choose one bag. If they choose bag number “5”, then read question number 5. If they get it right, they get to keep what is in the bag. If they get it wrong, then it goes back into the pile. Other children will choose the same bag (and the same question) later. This allows you to throw in some tough questions.
Win, Lose or Draw:
Write simple phrases from the story on small pieces of paper and fold the papers. For example, if you were studying the parables of Jesus, you would write phrases like The Lost Sheep, Wise Man, Salt of the Earth or Treasure. Children draw one of the papers and look at the phrase. They have one minute (or longer if you wish) to draw the phrase and get everyone to guess what it is. They may not talk or signal with their hands while drawing. They may also not write words on the board.
Scramble phrases or words from verses and write them on paper before class starts. Let the children work in teams to unscramble the phrases. For Example: “het slot eehps” is “The Lost Sheep”.
True or False Toss:
In this activity, children determine whether a statement is true or false and then toss an object into a container to score a point. Complete instructions for this game here.