Have Theme, Will Sing

If you have a lesson and can't find a song to go with it . . . make one up! Putting words to music is easy and so much fun! All you have to do is think of a familiar nursery rhyme tune . . . and squeeze your words to fit!

Every lesson you teach has a theme - a purpose. You should be able to state it in one sentence.
Every time you go into your classroom you should know what your purpose is for that day. And
everything you do revolves around that purpose.

So when the kids leave and on the way home a parent asks, "What did you learn today?" Rather
than shrugging shoulders -- the child responds, "Abraham obeyed the Lord and I will, too." The
reason they remember that is because they've said it - they've drawn pictures about it -- they've
acted it out -- and they've sung it and sung it and sung it and sung it!

For a lesson about Abraham, you could use the tune of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" with these words: " Abraham obeyed the Lord, obeyed the Lord, obeyed the Lord. Abraham obeyed the Lord and I will, too."

Trash Detectives

Learning how to help keep the church clean -- or the playground clean -- or the neighborhood
around the church clean can be made into a fun activity. Give all children a badge to be a "Trash Detective"which will help them to remember to care for God's beautiful world.

Artwork Display

Put a dab of rubber cement on the back of children's artwork and it will adhere to glass doors and windows. When remove the item, simply rub the remaining glue off the glass. It comes right off.

Paper Cup People

Let children turn Styrofoam cups into people, by drawing face and body on sides. Place a large board or stiff cardboard at a gentle incline. Set each cup over a marble and let the paper cup people travel down the incline. Children can compete, if desired. Changing the incline of the slope adds variety.

From Here to There Game

Call out different ways people can get from here to there and children pretend to do that going from one end of the room to the other, such as swimming, tightrope walking, riding in a car, flying in an airplane, roller skating, riding a bicycle, etc.

Giant Machine

Choose outgoing child to be first! Does a movement and sound. Another child comes - touches him somewhere and does a movement and sound. Continue until all are participating and you have a giant machine.

Favorite Toys

Cut pictures of toys from catalogs. Place in a box. Have children take turns drawing out and showing. Have all children pretend to be that toy. This activity helps teach imagination.

Copy Cat

A child thinks of an animal - goes that way to the end of the room, doing both movement and sound. All other members of group "copy" how the first person went.

Grass Creature

Fill panty hose with saw dust and grass seed. Glue on eyes to make a "creature." Place in shallow container. Keep wet. Grass will grow through the hose.

Color Clean Up

For variety in cleaning up a play area, have children pick up items by color. "Let's pick up all the red toys. Now all the blue ones."


Cover a table with paper. No rules -- just draw as you want. Some children may want to trace around items such as plastic plates and cups. Others may wish to freehand.

Shoe Find

For a fun matching skills game, have children all take off their right shoe and place in a pile in middle of circle. Mix up pile. Take turns finding their own shoe. For variety, everyone takes off left shoe - everyone passes their shoe to the right three times. Each child tries to find matching shoe. When found - give to owner.

Styrofoam Creations

Ask parents to help save Styrofoam for you (including meat trays and egg cartons) and get a large box to store it all. Other materials needed: plastic knives, golf tees, straws, toothpicks, pipe cleaners.


By Betty B. Robertson

It's been over 30 years and I still have not forgotten those words.

It's been over 30 years and I have not forgotten those words because I can remember being surprised when he said them. It was new information to me.

I will never forget the words of my Christian Education professor when he said, "Put your BEST teachers in your nursery and preschool classes."

I guess I had always thought the adults needed the "best" teachers!

He continued, "Put your BEST teachers in your nursery and preschool classes -- because those years are so foundational."

When I was a CE Director, there was one quality I looked for in preschool teachers. This quality has been - is - and always will be the strongest element in Christian education. That element is EXAMPLE.

Children are led almost irresistibly by the examples they see and experience. You as teachers and educators help to mold children's lives. This is called modeling.

What is modeling? Modeling is an "example for imitation." Like it or not, children play "Follow the Leader."

Teaching is not just a classroom affair that involves instruction. Teaching should be life-sharing interaction. It is love, guidance, encouragement, modeling an example worth copying.

Children are naturally great imitators. For better or worse, they imitate actions more than words.

If you get frustrated and yell at your kids, "Shut up" -- what are you modeling?

If you gossip about another teacher -- what are you modeling?

Being Christlike is important. The more you as a teacher can reflect Christ in your life, the more likely the children you teach will reflect the Christlike qualities they see in you.

Is your example worth modeling?

Do you yell when you get uptight? Is this an example you want copied by your preschoolers?

Do you raise your voice when you get frustrated? Is this an example you want copied?

Do you have a favorite word you say when you get angry? Is this an example you want copied?

Do you forget to say please and thank you? Is this an example you want copied?

Are you so driven by trying to get all your lesson plans done, that you forget to have prayer with your boys and girls? Is this an example you want copied?

Are you so busy being critical that you forget to say, "I love you and Jesus loves you even more." Is this an example you want copied?

Every preschool teacher should have one of these CARDS posted in their rooms -- where they can read it often: "I will strengthen you. . . I will help you . . . I will uphold you. . . (so you can be the example you need to be) Your Heavenly Father." (as recorded in Isaiah 41:10).

GAMES: VBS or Anytime!

Balloon Basketball
Use laundry baskets or large waste baskets as the "goal". Divide into teams and play like regular basketball. Balloons must stay in the container for points to be scored. Minus 2 points for broken balloons. Be sure and have ample balloons blown up and ready to use, as many will be popped during play!

Behind the Back Ball Pass
Divide the children into two teams, standing facing each other. All children put their hands behind their backs, palms up. The leader gives each team a tennis ball, by placing it at the feet of the first team member. At the signal, the first players pick up the ball and pass it behind their backs, hand to hand. If a ball drops, it may be retrieved. After each round, the first child moves to the end position.

Circle Fun
Have the children form a large circle, with everyone facing right. All activities are done within the circle. Give these instructions:
1. Start walking in a circle.
2. Start hopping on one foot.
3. Walk with your hands high over your head.
4. Grasp our ankles and walk.
5. Walk without bending your knees.
6. Take giant steps.
7. March.
8. Walk with your arms flapping at your sides.
9. Run with your hand on your head.
10. Skip.
11. Hop, walk, walk; hop, walk, walk; hop, walk, walk.
12. Walk with your hands on your waist.

Crazy Soccer Using A Beach Ball
Divide the children into two teams. Write a number on each child's hand. Select the child from each who has a #1 to be goalie. Mark off a goalie "box." The goalie may not move out of this area. Call the children who have the highest number to come to the center to start the game. The
leader tosses a beach ball in the air. The object of Crazy Soceer is to bat the beach ball across the playing area to the goalie who must catch it to score a point. After the point is scored, both goalies become players. The children with #2 on their hands, now become goalies. The only rule is the ball may not be grabbed, only hit.

Heel to Toe
Draw a chalk line on the floor in front of each team. Players place the heel of one foot against the toe of the other and walk to go line and back in this manner.

Kangaroo Hop
Each team is given a tennis ball. Players hop to the goal line with the tennis ball between their knees. They can then take the ball from between their knees and run back to the team. If a child looses the ball on the way to the goal line, it may be picked up.

Stack 'Em Up!
A chair is needed for each player. Place the chairs in a large circle. The leader announces such things as: Everyone who has a pet, move 3 chairs to your left; everyone with blonde hair move 2 chairs to the right; everyone who plays a musical instrument move 3 chairs to the right; everyone who has brown eyes move 1 chair to the left; everyone wearing white socks move 3 chairs to the left; everyone who has a ring on move 5 chairs to the left; everyone who has been to Disneyland or Disney World move 2 chairs to the right; everyone who has a brother move 4 chairs to the right; everyone who is in Grade (-) move 2 chairs to the right; everyone who has a sister move 1 chair to the left; etc. The children may end up sitting on laps in a stack!

Oops! That's Okay
Divide children into sides. No net is needed. A beach ball or heavy-duty balloon can be used. The
object is for each team to keep the ball from touching the ground by batting to the other team. When the ball touches the ground, everyone hollers "Oops! That's okay!" The opposing team gets 10
points and the ball continues where dropped. 100 points is a game.

Shoebox Shuffle
Each team has two shoe boxes. On signal, the first player places both feet in the boxes and shuffles to the goal line and back.

Speed Ball
Divide the group into 2 equal circles. Give each group 3 balls (same size and type). The object is to pass the balls around the circle at the highest speed possible. Whenever someone drops a ball, they leave the circle. At the allotted time, the team with the most players left wins.

Tennis Ball Toss
Children line up in two straight lines, parallel to one another. To start, each layer should be able to reach across and touch his/her teammate. At signal, players toss a tennis ball to their partners. With each catch, players move back one baby step. The winners are the team who never drop their ball.

Water Balloon Toss
Fill up enough small balloons with water, so every two pupils has a balloon. The children line up in two parallel lines, facing toe-to-toe with their partner. Every time the leader says "Back up", both children take one foot step backwards. Pretty soon the teams will be far apart. The object is to see which two are the last with a balloon still full of water!


Each group of children needs an adult leader, armed with a cell phone or camera.

A time limit is given.

Sounds to try and find could include: dog barking; toilet flushing; horn honking; garbage disposal disposing; car blinker blinking; bowling pins falling down; TV commercial; slurping through a straw at McDonald’s; telephone ringing; piano playing; truck driving by; door closing; ball bouncing; someone whistling, “God Bless America”; something of your choice.


Do your church grounds and surrounding areas need to be cleaned?

Divide children into teams for a gigantic scavenger hunt.

Put rubber gloves on the hands of all the children.

The one coming back with the most trash receives a prize.

All should receive something for being involved, with the winners getting something extra.

Boys and girls can be challenged to continue being "Trash Detectives" to help care for God's beautiful world.


The children meet at a central location with their bicycles and all needed safety gear.

Divide into teams, with an adult sponsoring each group.

Hand out sheets with scavenger hunt locations and questions.

Each team rides to the places listed, records answers, and then returns to the original meeting place.

Teams should be sent in different directions, but covering the same

Examples: Ride to Fremont Elementary School (6600 Ralston Road). How many links are in the swing chain? Bike to the Cycle and Hobby Shop (6925 Ralston Road). How many bells are hanging over the door? Ride to the Hallmark Store (7546 Oak). How many owls are on display in the front window? Go to the Smith Construction Company (7944 Oak). What two credit cards are displayed on their front window?


Bring Home the Pumpkin
The object is take the pumpkin back to your own side without being caught. Divide the children into two teams, who form two opposing lines with the pumpkin between them. Number the children (example: 1-10 for Team A and 10-1 for Team B). The teacher calls out a number. The players on each side with that number try to get the pumpkin first and take it back to the team. Once a child has touched the pumpkin, it may not be stolen by the opposing player. 5,000 points are awarded each time a player brings home the pumpkin. The teacher should keep track of the numbers, to be sure all children get a chance to play before going a second round.

Candy Corn Toss
Each person gets 4 candy corn. Stand on goal line and toss into a plastic pumpkin. Count how many candies each team has in the plastic pumpkins.

Grab the Pumpkin
Put pumpkins, that the children and teachers brought, on the floor in a large circle. Everyone stands behind a pumpkin. Remove a pumpkin, so there is one less than the number of people in the outer circle. As music plays, walk to the right. When music stops, grab for a pumpkin. Whoever doesn’t have one, gets 100 points. Object of game is to have the least number of points at the end.

Jump the Pumpkins
Pumpkins are on the floor, spread apart an equal distance for all teams. The first person on each team, jumps each pumpkin going to goal line and back.

Over and Under Pumpkin Pass
Use real or plastic pumpkins. Each team is given a pumpkin. The first person in the line passes the pumpkin over the his/her head. The second person passes it between his/her legs. This pattern continues going down the line and back up.

Pass the Pumpkins
Children sit in a circle, with an arms length distance between them. Two pumpkins are placed in the circle. As music plays, the pumpkins are passed. When the music stops, whoever is holding them is awarded 500 points. Object of the game is to have the least amount of points at the end.

Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin
Draw a huge pumpkin on a piece of poster paper and add everything to it but the nose. Make a nose for each child, that already has masking tape doubled on the back. Play like "Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”

Pumpkin Bowling
Line up 2-liter soda bottles as the bowling “pins” and use a small pumpkin as the bowling ball! Put a cup of sand in each bottle and put the lid on tightly. The bottles can be spray painted, if desired.

Pumpkin Candy Spoon Relay
Each team is given 3 candy corn and a spoon. Place candy in spoon. Go to goal line and back. If any drops, pick up and continue. First team to complete, wins.

Pumpkin Draw Relay
Draw a large pumpkin on the chalkboard for each team. The first person in each team is blindfolded, given a piece of chalk, and 10 seconds to draw a face on the pumpkin. Give 300 points for the one who does the best; 200 for next best; 100 for last place. Each person on the team plays and the points are all added up.

Pumpkin Race Relay
Paper pumpkins which were made ahead of time are given to the first person in each team. Each child places the pumpkin between the knees, hops to goal line, and back.

Pumpkin Surprise Relay
Place pumpkin candy in each plastic pumpkin for each team. The team members run to the pumpkin, get one piece, go back to their line, sit down, and eat their candy! Kids enjoy playing this one several times!


This is so much fun for a Sunday School class or small group of children who can all ride in the same van or bus.

Great quality time together -- and a different event the kids will take about forever!

Decide on several fast-food restaurants.

Eat French fries at one, hamburgers at another, drink somewhere else, and top it all off with a

PEANUT HUNT - Activity

Toss peanuts into a grassy area. Give everyone a paper sack. At a signal, start to hunt for the peanuts, dropping them Into the sack as found. See who gets the most. The one who got the last amount can scatter the peanuts for everyone to find again. Play several times.

A Peanut Carry Game can be played. Divide your group into teams. Give each team a bucket of peanuts with shells. Place an empty bucket at the goal line. At the signal, the first person in each team, reaches into the bucket of peanuts and places as many as possible on the back of his/her hand. The free hand is then put behind the back. At signal, team members head to the goal line and drop the peanuts into the bucket. If peanuts are dropped on the way to the goal line, they are not retrieved. The team who ends up with the most peanuts in their bucket wins!

If you have checked with parents that no children have peanut allergies, the peanuts could then be divided up and eaten.


I do not know the source of this story but I encourage every Sunday School teacher, VBS teacher, mid-week volunteer to have your pupils do this same exercise. It could make a lasting difference in their lives.

One day a public schoolteacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much," were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed inVietNam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes." Then he said: "Mark talked about you a lot."

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."

Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."

"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary"

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists"


Boys and girls of all ages love airplanes and enjoy making them!

Provide materials for kids to make paper airplanes. Let them test and then have a contest.

Line up the children with their paper airplanes and aim at a target or a finish point. Have someone record the following:
- who throws the closest to the target
- best nose dive
- highest paper airplane flight
- best landing
- shortest paper airplane flight
- longest paper airplane flight

Next, have the children throw with their eyes closed and have someone record the same items!

For a great listing of Paper Airplane Party Game Ideas, visit this site:


Many unchurched Baby Boomer and Generation X parents are looking for churches that have quality children's programs. They may have attended church as children and have vague recollections of Sunday School. Kid's Club is their re-entry point in the life of the church. They might first attend worship when their children sing. Recently, new members in several denominations have indicated they joined congregations because of their contact with Kid's Clubs.

Children in the program will bring their friends to the Kid's Club and these friends may invite others to come with them. Get information (name, address, telephone number) on these families and contact them after the program. Pass this information on to the pastor or evangelism task force of your congregation. Even if your congregation does not now have a large number of children, it will experience renewed ministry with many new children because of your work in promoting and planning your Kid's Club.

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Three Rivers, Michigan, began its Kids Club program in the fall of 1994. In this town of 8,000 residents, the congregation wanted to reach out into a neighborhood in transition. St. John's, a 125-year-old aging congregation, found itself in the midst of a growing African American population (about 17%) of primarily lower-income and single parent families. The congregation hoped that this ministry would help support these struggling single-parent families.

From its humble beginnings of 8 children, it has grown to an average weekly attendance of between 25-30 youth (many of whom are from the immediate neighborhood.). It meets throughout the school year on Wednesday afternoons from 4-5:30 p.m.

The participating children are divided into 2 groups: kindergarten through 2nd grade, and 3rd through 5th grades. At present, 4 adults and 3 high school age youth see that the program runs smoothly each week.


by Lucinda Norman

Used by permission of Pray!. Copyright © (1998), The Navigators. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. To subscribe, visit or call (800) 877-1811.

These eight tips can be used in praying for your children, no matter how old they are:

Tell your children that you pray for them. Children who know their parents pray for them will face their day and their problems with greater confidence. They know that God is hearing their circumstances and their names.

Take requests. Keep a pocket-sized prayer notebook. Ask your children about their concerns. Write them down, noting when they feel they need your prayers most. They'll see your seriousness in taking their concerns before God.

Ask God for insight. When your children give you a prayer request, be aware that things may not be what they seem. Ask God for wisdom to see into the core cause of a problem. Surrender your will for your children's lives to God. Pray for God's perspective on the problem and His appropriate answer.

Pray for your children at the same time each day. Not only will you be praying at a time your children can expect, but the routine helps you stay constant. My 70-year-old parents still pray for my siblings and me and our families at lunchtime each day. Pray with your children over the phone. If they phone home with a crisis, pray with them right then. This is a "soul touch" when physical touch is impossible. Its calming effect will help them hear God through their emotional static.

Pray universal topics. When your children have given no specific requests, pick two or three topics from the list below. Keep this list on the inside cover of your prayer notebook for reference:
Christian mentors
Guidance and decision making
Problem-solving and coping skills
Healthy perspective
Sense of accomplishment
Growth in knowledge
Goals and priorities
Financial provision
Spiritual growth
Confidence in God and themselves
Joy and contentment
Leisure and relaxation

Write a personalized book of prayers. Using the universal topics above, write some personal prayers for each of your children. Put them in books and give the books to your children. Your words of faith will continue to comfort and encourage them as they journey through life.

Ask the Lord to reveal what you have missed. Ruth Ikerman advises this in her book, Let Prayer Help You: "It is surprising how often even the most obvious prayer overlooks some human element, which can be corrected by changing course. I ask myself, have I taken time to . . . think about the situation for which I am praying? Have I asked God to help me discover the apparent, which I may have been overlooking?"?

Give your children a priceless gift that money can't buy. Both you and your children will experience a lifetime of benefits from your prayers.


Calendar Relay

Make two sets of 3” x 5” cards on which are written the names of the months. Divide the children into 2 teams. For this relay, give all cards, mixed up, to the first person in each team. He passes them, one at a time, down the line to the last person. This player arranges them in order on the floor in front of him. When this has been done correctly, he passes the cards back to the first player, who also arranges them correctly on the floor. The team to do this first wins.

Days-of-the-Month Scramble

The leader says, “Get into groups of three.” The children scramble around to form groups of three and sit down. The leader says, “Get into groups of five,” and so on.

Gift Exchange

Have the children sit in a circle. Give each child a gift. While music is being played, each child hands his gift to the next person. This continues while the music plays. When the music stops, the passing stops. Continue for several rounds and then say, “Happy Birthday” to everybody! Each one opens the gift he has.

Month Exchange

Form a circle and give each child the name of a month. “It” calls out two months. The children with these months exchange places before “It” can get one of their places.

Month Scramble

Make two sets of 3” x 5” cards on which are written the names of the months. Divide the children into 2 teams. Give each child a card. At a signal, the team members scramble and arrange themselves in the correct order from January to December.

Put the Candle on the Cake

Make cakes from poster board. Attach to the wall with masking tape. Give each child a paper candle or a small birthday candle. Play as “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” by giving each child a chance to put his candle on the cake.

Toy Tag

Designate one wall as one goal, the other wall as the opposite goal. Someone is chosen to be “It” and stands in the center. Whisper the name of some toy to each child. Supply a duplicate list of these toys to the one who is to be the caller. As the game gets underway, the caller says the name of a toy. The child who hears his toy called must attempt to run to the opposite goal line. If he is caught, then he and “It” exchange places and “It” takes the name of that toy.

"HOP DAY" - Activity

HOP stands for “Help Other People.”

The event might include mowing lawns, washing cars, washing windows, writing a letter for an elderly person, cleaning the toys at your church nursery, or volunteering to help the church custodian.

HIGH FIVE CLUB - 5th Grade Activity

Designed especially to meet the needs unique to 5th graders.

Meetings are held monthly for various fellowship activities and focus on outreach.

The High 5 Club has 5 standards which are: faith, family, 5th grade, friends, and fun.


Bible Land

Unchurched families are open to coming to your church at this time of year because they want a safe alternative to trick-or-treating. What an opportunity! This year, along with the repertoire of booths and games at your fall festival, add this living museum that brings 3 Bible heroes to life right before people’s eyes.

Hallelujah Holiday

A costume carnival planned as an alternative for Halloween.


Action-packed, interactive, thrilling, spookless Halloween event for kids in kindergarten to 6th grade.

Walk through the Bible (Submitted by Shelley Mullins)

We turned out church into a Walk-through-the-Bible. Everyone came dressed as Bible characters. Each room was set up as a Bible story scene, beginning with Adam and Eve in the garden. The rooms were manned with the Bible characters corresponding to their room and a game booth activity was in the room.

For instance, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, dressed in sheepskin of course, directed a game where the kids threw a dart at a giant tree covered with red balloons. Under the balloon was a piece of candy they got if they popped it. We even had a snake puppet behind the tree antagonizing the kids as they threw the dart.

Other rooms were Noah's Ark, with a fishing booth over the side of the ark, manned by Mr. and Mrs. Noah. We had the wall of Jericho with boxes set up in a circle for the kids to march around. After 7 marches someone inside the circle knocked the walls down. This was actually a cake walk so someone won a cake! We had David and Goliath, and the kids got to sling a rock at a Goliath (a ladder with a big robe on it and a head made from hose and cotton setting on top for them to knock off).


Frisbee golf is a great activity which elementary children enjoy so much!

Each child needs a frisbee.

Set up a “golf course”, using carpet squares for greens.

Play as regular golf, each toss counting as one stroke until the Frisbee makes it to the green.

FRIDAY FUN: Activities

Daily Devotional Lock In
Today's 6th graders receive a daily barrage of input from secular sources: peers, teachers, magazines, radio, TV, etc. That's why the time they spend "in the world" needs to be offset by the time they spend "in the Word:" Daily Devotional Lock In is a 4-hour, Friday night, lock in for 6th graders full of heart touching lessons and messages that also reach the mind. Devotion time cultivates right attitudes and shows how Christian faith functions in daily living. Parents and children who use devotions early in life are planting the seeds of faith that will enrich them all the years to come.

End of Week Celebration
Fifth and sixth graders celebrate the end of the week with crafts, games, and pizza! Themed parties occur one Friday a month with such events as: World’s Record Party; Creative Crafting; Sports Night; Movie and Games Night; Toilet Tube Mania; It’s a Mystery Party; Maze Craze; Putt Putt.

Friday Fun Days
Friday Fun Days are Friday afternoon parties just for preschoolers – those at least 3 years old but not yet in Kindergarten. Each Fun Day features its own theme and excitement, such as: Un-Birthday party; Duckie Party; Wet Camp; Wild Party; Kings and Queens Party; Elephant Party (where large gray beasts ruled); Color Party; and Bunny Party.

Kid Knight Out
An event like this will help develop a bond and deeper relationship between you and the children you are ministering to.

Phenominal Phridays
Friday afternoon parties just for older kids. The children are divided into 2 groups: early elementary (kindergarten to grade 2) and upper elementary (grades 3-6) for age-appropriate games and activities.


Candy Cane Relay - Divide the children into 2 teams. Give each team 5 small candy canes. On signal, the team members pass their canes to the end of the line and then back again.

Christmas Charades - Divide children into groups. Each team acts out something which relates to Christmas. The others try to guess what the group is acting out.

Christmas Package - Wrap a small gift in several layers of paper. The children sit in a circle. When music begins, the gift is passed to the right. When music stops, the child who has the package begins to unwrap it. When the music begins, the gift is passed. This continues until the gift has been completely unwrapped. Whoever has the gift, when it is finally unwrapped, gets to keep it. If you have a larger group, use 2 or more gifts.

Christmas Stocking Hang - Put a piece of masking tape on the wall to represent a fireplace mantel. Give each child a paper stocking. One at a time, blindfold each child. Play as “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”

Christmas Story Draw - When the leader says “Go”, the first person in each line goes to the paper taped on the wall and starts to draw something from the scene of Jesus’ birth in the manger. When the leader says “Change” the next person goes and draws. This
continues until the leader says, “Stop.” Have the children sit, as the leader reads the
Christmas story from Luke 2.

Gift Exchange - Form a circle and give each the name of something relating to Christmas - star, tree, manger, angel, etc. “It” calls out two such names. The children with these names try to exchange places before “It” can get one of their places.

Name That Tune - Pianist plays a few measures of a Christmas song on the piano. Two contestants are up front. The first to raise his hand and give the correct answer wins. Alternate the contestants.

Singing Carols - Sing favorite carols together.

Snowball Relay - Make circles on the floor with masking tape. Put 12 cotton balls inside each circle. Each team lines up facing their circle. The first person runs to the circle, picks up the snowballs and puts them outside the circle. The next team member runs to the circle and puts cotton balls all back inside the circle. Continue until all have played.

Tree Ornament Relay - Paper trees are taped to the wall. Each child has an ornament made of paper. One at a time, each team member runs to the tree, attaches an ornament, and returns to their team. The first group getting all the ornaments attached to their tree wins!

CHRISTIAN KIDS CREW - Outreach Activity

A lady who attends the Palm Street Presbyterian Church started an afterschool neighborhood Bible study for kids in her subdivision. Eight children showed up the first session. It has now been moved to the church because 140 children attend on a regular basis and the ministry has spawned another Bible study in a nearby community. Kindergartners through 5th graders enjoy 90 minutes of Bible study, snacks, sports, crafts, and music. They also have special events such as an annual carnival and a birthday party for everyone. The program costs nothing. The church funds the program along with donations from parents and friends. Volunteers staff the weekly Bible study


Balloon pieces can be chocking hazards for younger children. Always be watchful when using balloons with kids.

Balloon Ball
Divide the children into groups of two. The object of this game is to keep the balloon ball in the air by hitting it with hands. When the balloon hits the floor, that group sits down. Balloons are given to the pair who keep their ball in the air the longest.

Balloon Burst Relay
Divide into teams. Each person blows up his balloon ahead of time and knots it. Place chairs, 1 for each team, about 25-30 feet from a designated line. One person, from each team, stands behind the line, runs to the chair, and bursts the balloon by sitting on it.

Balloon-Cup Relay
Each player blows up his balloon. At the signal, he puts the balloon in the mouth of a paper cup and begin walking toward the goal line. If the balloon drops, he picks it up and replaces it into cup before proceeding.

Balloon Stomp
Give each child a piece of string about 2 feet long. Have them tie one end of the string to their balloon and the other around their right ankle. Ask all children to take their shoes off. The purpose of the game is to stomp other boys and girls balloons while trying to save their own.
The child who still has his balloon at the end of the game wins.

Balloon Volleyball
Tie a string from one side of the room to the other at about chin height. Play volleyball, using a round balloon.

Basket Balloon
Stand 5 feet from the wall. The idea is to hit the wall with the balloon first and have it drop into a basket by the wall. 100 points is awarded each time the balloon goes into the basket.

Balloon Break
Have the children go to an area of the room where balloons are hanging from the ceiling. The children get to choose which balloon they want to break, using a pin. They receive whatever treat is listed on the paper inside their balloon.

Foot Balloon
Divide the children into 2 teams at opposite sides of the room. Have them lay down on the floor. The purpose of the game is to keep the balloon ball in the air by kicking it back and forth with their feet. Each time the balloon hits the floor, a minus point is given to that team.

Hot Balloon
Use a large round balloon, already inflated. This game is played like “Hot Potato”. The children sit in a circle on the floor. While music is playing, the balloon is passed from one to the other. Whoever is holding the balloon when the music stops is out for that round. Variation: Send two balloons around.

BACK-T0-SCHOOL BLAST - Children's Activity

Airplane Derby
Have the children make paper airplanes. See whose stays in flight the longest. Play several times.

Alphabet Relay Find
Prior to the party, letters of the alphabet are taped around the room. There should be one set, with different colors, for each team. At the whistle, team members run to find their colored letters. These letters, then, must be put in the correct order.

Bubble Gum Blow
One person from each team is chosen to receive a piece of bubble gum. At a signal, each chews their gum. The first to blow a bubble is the winner. Continue until all have had a chance to participate in this game.

“Let’s Make A Deal”
Play this TV-style game - using items donated or found at garage sales. Be sure each child goes home with something.

Line Up According to Age
At a signal, each team lines up according to age.

Line Up According to Height
At a signal, each team lines up according to height.

Lunch Bag Burst
One child is chosen from each team and given a brown lunch sack. At a signal, the first to blow into the sack and make it burst, by hitting it, is the winner. Continue until all have had a chance to play.

Pencil Relay
Six pencils, in a can, are placed at the front of each relay line. The pencils are passed back, one at a time. The end person must collect all six and then start them forward, one at a time. The winning team is the one with all pencils back in the can first.

Steal the Eraser
Play like “Steal the Bacon” - with a chalk eraser in the middle of the two teams.

Straw Throw
Each child is given a plastic straw to see who can throw it the greatest distance.


This is a simple, yet almost untapped, area of outreach. Someone who works with the children and is known by them (and their parents) lets some of the children in the area know they will be available one afternoon a week to play touch-football, basketball, softball, etc. The children are encouraged to gather their friends. Two workers show up on that day and play sports with the children. When the game is over, serve refreshments and follow-up with the parents by sharing about your church's children's programs.


Goals of the program are to provide homework assistance and fun activities for children to choose from such as: reading, recreation, board games, and computer.

An amazing number of children can be reached through this program. Many of them will become involved in Sunday School and other activities which your church sponsors.


Opportunity to Make A Difference With World Hunger

You and children at your church can help end world hunger 
by providing rice to hungry people for free.

GOD SAYS - Encouragement

A word of encouragement for those involved in children's ministry.
(Source Unknown)

You say: "It's impossible"
God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

You say: "I'm too tired"
God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: "Nobody really loves me"
God says: I love you (John 3:16 & John 3:34)

You say: "I can't go on"
God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: "I can't figure things out"
God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

You say: "I can't do it"
God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

You say: "I'm not able"
God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: "It's not worth it"
God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28)

You say: "I can't forgive myself"
God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: "I can't manage"
God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

You say: "I'm afraid"
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)

You say: "I don't have enough faith"
God says: I've given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)

You say: "I'm not smart enough"
God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: "I feel all alone"
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)


Bible Bookmarks

Bible bookmarks motivates children ages 1-6 to discover the treasures of God's Word for themselves.

Each week, children receive a new, creatively designed bookmark!

· The Bible Bookmarks encourage children to actually open their own Bible and read it for themselves or with a parent. Developing the discipline of reading the Bible at a young age can go a long way to helping children for a lifetime.

· The Bible Bookmarks are topical, helping children read what the Bible says about a topic for a whole week. This keeps them focused and helps them retain the Truth in their hearts.

· The Bible Bookmarks are attractive, and in today’s world children will not even glance at something that does not look good. Of course, the real beauty is in the detail, but you have to get them to read the detail.

What People Are Saying About Bible Bookmarks:

"My kids love the bookmarks. I give them out in Children’s Church and have them bring them back the next week. It is the most successful take home project I've done. Thanks.”
(Jennifer, North Carolina Church)

"The bookmarks were a big hit with both parents and children alike. One of our fathers even began reading the Bible daily with his son. He does not attend church with his family, so you can imagine the joy his family felt to see the father become interested in reading God’s Word.”
(Karen, California Church)

"The interest in this program far exceeded my expectations. What a great product!”(Beth,
Florida Church)

"Parents love them. Kids love them. Parents are already telling me how happy they are about them. My own daughter has diligently read the scripture passages each night before bed without any prompting from me. I am so excited about that. Thank you for making a wonderful, growth-inspiring product for kids.”(Myra, Florida Church)


Fruit Pizza
Recipe by Betty Benson Robertson

If you are having a teacher appreciation event, this fruit pizza will be a huge hit! It is both delicious and low-fat.

l l/4 cups All-purpose flour
l teaspoon Baking powder
3/4 cup Kellogg's French Vanilla Almond Temptations cereal or
any flakes cereal, crushed in blender or by hand
2 tablespoons Honey
1 teaspoon Almond extract
2/3 cup Skim milk
l/4 cup Vegetable oil
1 container Low-fat cream cheese (plain, strawberry or
pineapple flavored)
Top with whatever fruit you desire (pineapple tidbits, Kiwi,
strawberries, blueberries, grapes, Mandarin oranges)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together flour, baking powder, cereal, 1 tablespoon
honey and almond extract.
3. Add milk and oil.
4. Stir.
5. Spray 14-inch pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray or oil
6. With floured hands, press dough into 14-inch pizza pan.
7. Shape edge to form slight rim.
8. Bake about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Cool.
10. Mix 1 tablespoon honey into cream cheese. Spread evenly
over crust.
11. Arrange fruit in any desired pattern.
12. Cut into 8 pieces.
13. Eat and enjoy!


By Betty B. Robertson

You may wonder why a post on eliminating unnecessary baggage is on the Children's Ministry Ideas Unlimited Blog! Children's leaders cannot be effective in ministry if carrying around baggage! We need to forgive before we can serve. 

Unnecessary Weight

Excitement charged the room as the teenagers planned their overnight camping trip. My pastor-husband outlined what everyone needed to take, stressing the importance of not carrying a single
unnecessary item.

"Keep the weight to the lowest possible level," he admonished, "because it's a strenuous 3-miles to the camp site. Buy light-weight food items such as Top Ramen, beef jerky and Fruit Roll-ups."

The long-awaited day finally arrived! As the teens assembled, my husband took mental
inventory of what one girl unloaded: sleeping bag; bulging backpack with heavy, canned food items; large hand-mirror; huge make-up bag; hair dryer; three changes of clothing and her teddy bear!

High on enthusiasm and short on experience, the young lady ignored all questions by survivors of this annual event: "Are you sure you want to carry all that weight? How are you going to feel after walking two hours carrying all that stuff?"

After intense persuasion, this stranger to back packing finally consented to lighten her load. She left behind the hair dryer and teddy bear! Thirty minutes into the hike, the bogged-down young lady began pondering the issue of laying aside every unnecessary weight and stripping off the excess.

Excess Baggage

Forty-year-old Cathie grew up in a home filled with guilt, shame, constant terror and years of learning to "walk the chalk line." Encouragement to excel was pitted against punishment for less than excellence.

At age three, Cathie's father declared: "If you had been born in China, we would have thrown you in the river." This toddler began carrying rejection.

By age twelve, Cathie's responsibilities included baby-sitting four younger brothers, cleaning the house, ironing and preparing meals. If performance did not measure her father's expectations, his wrath was unleashed at the end of a long-handled clothes brush. Cathie began carrying resentment.

From seventh grade until the end of high school, she was regularly, sexually abused by her church-going, Bible-toting father. Each time he concluded by saying: "I'll beat you to within an inch of your life if you say anything."

Cathie spent her junior and senior high school years avoiding close friendships, fearing her friends would discover what was happening while her mother worked. She began carrying around anger, bitterness, resentment, and guilt.

Following high school graduation, Cathie married - not consciously aware of the heavy baggage she carried in her inner life. She was confused as to why she constantly felt guilty; had difficulty establishing relationships; could never let anyone close; kept her emotions shut off; and could go only so far in her spiritual walk.

Looking Within

Are you carrying excess baggage?

* Resentment toward the man who has broken up a home

* Bitterness against the person who has ruined a career.

* Hardness toward God for allowing hypocrisy in the church

* Guilt over an abortion or giving an unwanted child up for adoption

* Despair that a mate will ever change

Who hasn't carried unnecessary weight?

I have.

For five years, we cared for my elderly parents in our home. I had never been as close to mother as I had Daddy. It was nothing more than little irritants which I just tried to bury.

The interaction of daily caregiving caused the feelings to rise with volcanic intensity. The excess baggage of resentment and anger began weighing heavy -- causing tension, stress and physical problems.

I knew the barrier between mother and I needed to be broken. I knew the conflict had to be resolved. Simple! I just was going to change my mother! When that didn't work, God said: "How about doing it MY way?"

The outline for His way is found in Matthew 6:14-15: "If you forgive other people their failures, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you will NOT forgive - but if you will NOT forgive - but if you will NOT forgive...neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your failure."

So - now the question looming on the horizon was: To forgive...or not to forgive?

Often we live with one foot on the road of wanting to forgive - and the other on the road to wanting revenge. We are immobilized.

Giving up resentments may also involve our giving up:

1. Having someone to blame for the predicament or situation we're in.

2. Feeling sorry for ourselves.

3. Talking so much about the other person or the past.

To forgive...or not forgive -- that is the question.

Sometimes we say, "Here, God. You can have the teddy bear." We expect the load we carry around to be lighter.

Do I want to stay in bondage to resentments and hurts - past and present?

Do I want to keep carrying excess baggage?

Or do I choose to forgive and experience freedom?

The pain is unbearable, you say. It's too hard.

Forgiveness IS hard work.
Forgiveness is emotionally tiring.
Forgiveness takes all the power of God's
compassion within you.
Forgiveness takes all cooperation on your
part of His healing touch.
Forgiveness takes time.
Forgiveness is a process.

Forgiveness must go as deep as the pain. Some people say, "Sure, I've forgiven." But they have not forgiven in the citadel of their soul...where the pain is lodged. Forgiveness must go as deep as the pain.

You say, "If forgiveness is a process...tell me how."

Step # 1: Survey the damage

In the second chapter of Nehemiah we find that he viewed the devastation of Jerusalem before designing plans to rebuild. Survey the injury in your life so needed repairs can occur. Identify what damage has been done. Is there bitterness, depression, difficulty in loving others, exaggerated attempts for acceptance, fear of rejection, feelings of inferiority, hurt feelings, low self-image, pain, perfectionism, inability to trust God, withdrawal from others?

Who caused the damage in your life?

List those with whom you have, or have had, conflict: mother, father, stepparent, church
member, friend, yourself.

You may say, "I could never forgive myself for something I did." Your name should be
on the list.

Step # 2: Acknowledge the pain from the damage

Our hurts from the past are like abscesses - raw, hemorrhaging wounds that become covered by scabs. But from time to time the scabs peel off. Unfortunately, what is uncovered is not the complete growth of restored life, but the same bleeding sore.

Much of the suffering in our lives comes from memories. These memories emerge as feelings of loneliness, insecurity, fear, anxiety, suspiciousness.

The more painful these memories are, the more hidden and repressed they become. They hide in a corner of the deepest cavern of our minds.

What do you do with a painful memory? You may try to forget it or you may act as though it did not occur. Trying to forget the pain of the past gives these memories power and control over our lives.

We proceed through life dragging the weight. We become walking emotional cripples. We miss out on the opportunity to grow emotionally -- and spiritually.

A painful memory can become a healed gift instead of a searing reminder -- if we will just
acknowledge it and continue through the process.

Step # 3: Write to release the feelings

The purpose of writing is to recount incidents and experience feelings so the poison can be released. This is vital in the releasing process of genuine, lasting forgiveness.

Describe in detail in letter form what you are feeling. This is NOT given to the offender.
It is only a method for deep expression, to help the releasing process.

Example: "Mother, I feel resentment because you never attended any ball games when I was in Little League. You had the time. You just always said, 'I don't like baseball.' It made me feel insignificant and worthless. It was humiliating never having any parental support like the other kids

In my situation, I grabbed a box of Kleenex, a large legal pad, and a pencil. My head had forgiven my mother -- we all know we're supposed to forgive -- so in a brief moment of prayer we bow our heads and say, "God, help me to forgive." Nothing changes. We get frustrated. We don't understand that often forgiveness takes work -- takes time -- takes a resounding YES, LORD...I will let down the walls...I will get in touch with the pain so you can come in and heal.

I spent three intense hours writing my letter to my mother. It started out generic. As I
continued writing, I gave myself permission in this safe setting (just God and I) to go
back and relive that pain.

Sometimes I scrawled a gigantic WHY across the page? Or my heart screamed, "If only you had not." Sometimes my heart yelled, "If only you had..." My sobs were so gut-wrenching I had to stop writing, as pain gushed forth in geyser force.

I continued writing page after page, until I could think of nothing else to say. Then I
said, "Okay, God, if I'm carrying any other baggage...if I've crammed anything else inside that needs to be released -- now is the time to let me know about it. I'd rather not go through this again!

I told my stack of paper, folded it, placed it into an envelope, and sealed the envelope.
Then I took the letter and start tearing it up. I shred it into little, itty, bitty pieces. Each
tear brought a new sense of freedom...each tear brought peace...each tear lifted some of the excess baggage I had been carrying for years.

I prayed, "Redeemer-God, you have promised beauty for ashes (Isa. 61:3). Please make creative use of this..." Then I took the torn-paper and brushed it into the trash can. I picked up the Kleenex-mountain and dumped it into the waste basket.

I was emotionally exhausted -- but I had never felt so free inside. I was excited because I thought this journey to forgiveness was over.

I learned that forgiveness is a process - not to be rushed for the sake of saying, "I've
forgiven." Long-lasting forgiveness costs. It cost Jesus His life.

Ladies I have counseled thought they were going to die before they were done. Without
exception, they would all say today: "It was worth it. The biblical process of forgiveness
makes a difference. Hang in there."

If your name is on the list in Step 1, for whatever reasons -- write a letter to yourself.
It works!

You may have carried pent-up pain for years. Releasing this emotion on paper will bring a
renewed sense of God's forgiveness. Those who have written letters to themselves say they are able to finally, truly forgive themselves. Writing is a vehicle for allowing the forgiveness to go as deep as the pain.

Step # 4: List personal rights that were violated

Webster defines a personal right as "something to which one has a just claim." A "right" could be expressed: "I deserve proper nurturing;" "I deserve praise instead of continual criticism;" I deserve a husband who is faithful;" "I deserve a spouse who will communicate with me;" "I deserve not being robbed of my virginity on a date-rape;" "I deserve having my child rather than him die from infant death syndrome;" "I deserve the right to maintain purity instead of incest;" or "I deserve the right to have a mother longer than 14 years." do deserve, but clutching to our rights causes bitterness, anger, resentment,
and pain.

Step # 5: Yield those rights to God

Scripture encourages yielding of rights.

Romans 6:13: "Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and
your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

A major decision of the will surfaces in this step. The glass ceiling must be broken.

Ask yourself, "Do I WANT to let go of these feelings? Do I want to say, 'Yes...Lord -- I
yield my rights to You?'"

If so, a prayer can be, "God, I thought this was a basic right I had. I have clutched
tightly. I now surrender and release it to You."

By the time I had completed this step, I was feelin' great! I thought I was D-O-N-E!

My relationship with my mother was certainly improved. Then one day, God spoke clearly to me again. I was writing my book, CHANGING PLACES: A CHRISTIAN CAREGIVERS GUIDE TO CARING FOR AGING PARENTS. I happened to read what I had just written in chapter one, about following the scriptural mandate of honoring our father and mother.

I looked at the computer screen and read: We honor our parents because we have received so much from them, including life itself. Our gratitude often is mixed with resentment about their perceived short- comings and imperfections. Honoring our parents has nothing to do with whether or not we LIKE them. It means, rather, not shaming them verbally or minimizing the investment they have made in our lives.

God said, "Betty, you cannot go on writing this book until you take care of one more thing. Make a list of YOUR offenses toward your mother."

Step # 6: List your wrongs

Acts 24:16 -- "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man."

1 Pet. 3:16 -- "Keep a clear conscience"

In my situation, my list of offenses toward my mother read: insensitivity - intolerance -
ungratefulness - slander (I had often shared her faults with others).

I bowed my head in prayer: "God, forgive me."

My mother was now incapable of verbally responding. I was not even sure if she received my verbal messages correctly. I went to her bedside, picked up her bony hard, covered it with both of mine and said, "Mother, I have not always been patient with you. Please forgive me. Mom, I was not always grateful for all the things you did for me through the years. Please forgive me."

I wrote letters to my brothers, and others I knew I had shared her faults with, and said:
"I was wrong. Please forgive me."

Step # 7: Forgive

Forgiving seems to be the hardest step. When challenged to forgive, responses often are: "I would like to forgive, but..."' or "I know I should forgive, but..."

Mark 11:25 admonishes: "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

Col. 3:13, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against
one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Is there something blocking your ability to love? What is keeping you from forgiving:
anger, fear, hurt feelings, insecurity, pride or stubborn will?

On a sheet of paper write: "My ______________ is keeping me from forgiving __________________(name of offender).

Spend time in prayer with God until you can declare, "I forgive," and there are no "buts"

Step # 8: Desire reconciliation

Hebrews 12:14 says, "Make every effort to live in peace with all men."

Reconciliation does not mean acceptance of what the violator did. It does not mean what
happened has to be denied. Reconciliation means the biblical guideline of seeking peace
is being obeyed. It is following the scriptural admonition of rebuilding relationships
through unconditional love and acceptance.

John 13:34-35 reads: "Love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one
another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The process of rebuilding is difficult. Old patterns of relating and communicating
hinder the ability to start anew. Sometimes the offender is not interested in rebuilding
the relationship.

The first thing which needs to be done is to demonstrate love. Tangible expressions
should be presented to the violator, such as prayer, showing appreciation, giving
presents, or giving attention. Scripture indicates we are commanded to act in spite
of the emotion we may feel.

STORYTELLING: How to Eliminate "Ho-Hum"


a. Choose Your Story

(1) Does the story have a strong point, idea or theme?

(2) Do the characters appeal to the age group?

(3) Is the vocabulary appropriate for your age level?

(4) Is the length suited to the age? (Rule of thumb: attention span is about one minute more than the age)

(5) Is the story sprinkled with quotation marks, indicating back and forth dialogue?

(6) Does it hold your interest? If so, it will probably hold the pupils attention!

Constantly be on the lookout for stories which you enjoy. If you enjoy them, the boys and girls in your class will enjoy them! Collect them. Categorize them.

b. Begin with a bang!

Which of these stories is most effective and why?

# 1: Our missionary work among the Indians was started in 1887. Since then, hundreds of Indian boys who wanted an education have been helped. Last year's graduating class numbered 81.

#2: Young Swift-As-Lightening ran to meet his father. It had been 3 days since Chief Flying Hawk had left the reservation on his important errand. "What did you find? the boy called as he came within shouting distance. "What did they say?

Beginning # 1: Lulls to sleep - gives no picture - has not aroused any hope

Beginning # 2: Captures interest by immediacy - hooks listener - presents picture/promise. Appeals to emotion rather than intellect

Examples of beginnings-with-a-bang:

"Daniel stood alone in the dark. He could hear the lions moving around him, swishing their tails. He could see their eyes glowing like coals in the darkness. They came closer and closer" (Daniel in the lion's den)

"Nobody could stop him! He dashed into the courtyard, past the guards, up the steps and into the throne room - right up to the king himself." (Ahab telling the king it would not rain)

"The princess was by the river's edge bathing when she first saw it - a basket that had been smeared with tar to keep it from leaking - and it was bobbing up and down in the water - kept in one spot by the tall bulrushes that were growing around it. Whatever could it be?" (Baby Moses)

"He could see the blue of the lake, smell its salty scent, hear the voices of the fishermen drifting across the water as they made their way in from their long night's labor. The little boy turned the corner and saw a huge crowd of people." (Boy who gave his lunch to Jesus)

"Nothing! Nothing at all! Nothing to see. Nothing to hear. Nothing to feel. Can you imagine a world where there was nothing?" (Creation story)

Many stories would be great to tell -- if the beginning were all right. You may not have to toss out the entire story - just rework the beginning.


a. Read the story over and over (spend TIME with it!)

The purpose is to absorb the story until it become second nature to you - so you can tell it from your HEART, not just by rote. Read the story as a whole. Read it from different Bible translations. Lose yourself in it. Think as you read - picture the story; set the scenes clearly in your mind.

b. Think about the characters

(1) What do they look like?

(2) What are their respective traits?

(3) Why do they say what they do?

c. Tell the story aloud to yourself over and over IN FRONT OF A MIRROR!

Do not concentrate on memorizing word for word -- although you should always know your first and last lines by heart for a comfortable start and finish. Become familiar with it so you can tell the story the story from your HEART, rather than read it.


a. Let your nervousness be a plus.

Breath deeply before starting. A certain amount of tension will help make your story telling come alive.

b. Have everyone's attention before starting.

Wait quietly. Never raise your voice to speak above the noise.

c. Be natural.

Stand or sit in a natural position. Do not force or overdo gestures. Meaningless gestures only distract.

d. Look directly at the children, including all members of the group.

Don't look over the heads or out the window! Take in the whole group.

e. Hold your Bible when telling a Bible story.

f. Banish backtracking.

If you leave out a vital point, find a way to work it in. Saying, "Oh, I forgot" and backtracking interrupts the flow. You don't want to interrupt the flow of the story in any way.

If you loose someone's attention, pause and wait.

Eyeball the pupil distracting. Communicate non-verbally.

h. When you come to the end of the story, STOP.


1. Determine the biblical emphasis, theme, Scripture reference, or central point you wish to deliver.

2. Be on the lookout for idea starters. Arch books are an excellent source of story ideas. Sunday School papers often have short stories which can spark an idea, as are object lessons. Having a character come upon a prop or wanting to understand the meaning of a word is also a great way to introduce your central theme.

3. Consider your limitations before you begin writing a script: number of puppeteers available and their skill level; puppets you have; stage size and time constraints. Check to see if any of these obstacles have a creative solution, such as developing a tiered effect for the stage to provide more performance space or adapting existing puppets into new roles by adding wigs, beards, or changing costumes.

4. Limit the script to one main point or idea in conjunction with your determined central theme. Consider how the central idea can be made memorable to the audience. Would a prop(s) make the script more memorable? Remember that repetition is the key to remembrance.

5. One to three characters is usually ample. Too many characters makes it difficult to stage the positioning and movement and it also becomes a challenge to keep all puppets involved in the conversation.

6. Decide on what style you will use:

a. Melodrama
b. Serious
c. Fairy tale with biblical twist
d. Parable parallel
e. Different time frame
f. Scriptural
g. Interactive - puppet dialogues with the teacher standing in front of the puppet area and/or with the children

7. Develop each character before you begin writing: physical description; likes; dislikes; age; mannerisms; idiosyncrasies. Dialogue is easier to write once you have established solid, multi-dimensional characters with specific personalities.

Examples of puppets with specific personalities are:

a. El Biblio - whose sole purpose is to read and digest Scripture so he can explain and teach it to children

b. Pumperdilly - a purple puppet from the land of Pumperdorf who eats nothing but purple plums and hibernates all year. During VBS, the children call, "1-2-3 Hey Pumperdilly" to awaken him to present a special feature. Unique to his character is that he always starts snoring and falls asleep just before the last few words of his speech.

c. Rob the Rob - a hand-made robot puppet who talks like a robot

d. Zippy - a hand puppet with a zipper on his mouth who never speaks, but is used to give out surprises

8. Note specific movements for any puppet characters in your scripting.

9. Define relationships between characters before you begin writing dialogue. A relationship is the glue that holds a scene together. Are the puppets friends, siblings, strangers, etc.? All action should have a reason for happening and ring true to the characters.

10. The length of your puppet script depends upon the age of your audience. One rule of thumb is to never go beyond one minute in length for each year of age.

11. Consider the age and cultural experience of your audience and also their spiritual maturity.

12. Vocabulary should be appropriate to the age level of your audience.

13. Use humor in good taste. Scripts will be deadly dull without some humor, but choose it carefully. Clever jokes are appropriate if they challenge children's thinking and maintain Christian principles. Puppets are to be used for the glory of God and to teach spiritual concepts.

14. Develop messages with positive attitudes. Boys and girls are quick to repeat what they hear, so don't revert to ridiculing or criticizing - even in a funny way.

15. Will the script incorporate lighting changes, background music, or special effects? If so, provide detailed instructions. For special effects, consider the skill-level of your puppeteers. Pyrotechnics, sparklers, etc. should be left to the professionals, and a fire extinguisher needs always to be nearby.



a. Teacher says verse - class echoes
b. All odd #'s say - Even's echo
c. All blue eyes say - others echo


The children pass the ball around a circle until the teacher says "Stop." Whoever is holding the ball - and the persons to the right and left say verse.

3. HIDE and SEEK

On Styrofoam cups, write one word of the Bible verse on each cup. Select half of the class to hide the cups. The other class members find the cups and place them in the correct order.


The same Styrofoam cups used in "Hide and Seek" may be used. Choose a child to come and take away one cup. The class says the verse. Choose another child to take away another cup, until all the words are gone and the verse has been memorized.


Use a puppet who says the verse incorrectly and then asks the class, "Is that right?" They tell the puppet the correct way to say the verse. He tries a second time, but says something wrong again. The children repeat it back to him correctly. Continue several times.


Use paper plates. Write one or more words of the verse on each plate. Write the beginning reference in RED - everything else in black. Arrange the plates in a circle - like a "cakewalk" at a fair - with the words in order. When the music plays, each child walks around the circle. When music stops, whoever is standing behind the red circle starts. Each child reads the word he is standing behind, thus reading the verse around the circle.


Do exercises while saying verse.


Scatters number sheets on the floor. Play music (or simply say "walk, walk, walk") as children step from one number to another, trying not to touch the floor. When music stops, each child freezes on a number. Teacher draws a number from a bag and reads it. The child standing on that number, and the child standing on preceding two numbers say the verse together.


This can often be done by using simple nursery rhyme tunes and piggy-backing the new words to the familiar music.

"Love One Another" (Tune: Three Blind Mice)

"Honor your father and mother: (Tune: Happy Birthday)
Honor your father
Honor your mother
Honor your father and mother
Exodus 20:12

Colossians 3:23 (Tune: Happy Birthday)
Whatever you do,
Work at it with all your heart
As working for the Lord,
And not for men.

Psalm 136:1 (Tune: God Is So Good)
Give thanks to the Lord
Give thanks to the Lord
Give thanks to the Lord
For He is good.


1. Explain the significance of the verse.

2. Be sure the class understands the meaning of difficult words.

Otherwise, it's going to be like trying to build a model airplane without glue. Nothing will really stick for they are trying to remember things they don't even understand. And they may develop wrong concepts.

3. Have the children look up the verse in their Bibles.

4. Help children make visual associations, when the verse lends itself to that.

What mental image comes to your mind when you hear the word "Nike"? It's that celebrated swoosh emblem -- and when you see it your mind conjures up a vast line of athletic products. It's because the company has visually associated that emblem. Visual associations will help God's Word STICK in the hearts of boys and girls.

Helpful resource: Heart Hider Bookmarks ( or call 800-294-2397).

5. Weave the verse into every aspect of the lesson.

6. Be prepared as a teacher.

Know the scriptures you are teaching by memory. Be sure the scripture is posted in the room for everyone to see.

7. Recognize accomplishments through verbal praise or awards.

Psychologists remind us that memorization is achieved with maximum efficiency only when there is some external reward given to the learner: praise, approval, certificate, trophy, prize.

Children are different. No one else can turn on your internal motivation button except you. We can't reach inside children and turn ON their motivation buttons.

It's out job to find whatever to get kids motivated to learn God's Word. There are some who we can just challenge them with the importance of hiding God's Word in their hearts. Others, this will not phase. Their internal motivation will be accelerated only through tangible rewards.

8. To lock in the reference, say it before and after the verse.

9. For all age groups, the key to memorization is repetition.

Make it fun! Be creative! Verses studied once are easily forgotten. Review helps children retain what they have learned and helps make the verse a part of the child's life

10. Be selective. It's better to learn a few verses and remember them, than try to memorize a lot and not learn them well.

11. Do not undermine self-esteem or contribute to a sense of failure in slow learners.

12. Send the verse home in printed form. If possible, something the child has made.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21: So keep these commandments carefully in mind. Tie them to your hand to remind you to obey them, and tie them to your forehead between your eyes! Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting at home, when you are out walking, at bedtime, and before breakfast! Write them upon the doors of your houses and upon your gates so that as long as there is sky above the earth, you and your children will enjoy the good life awaiting you
in the land the Lord has promised you.

13. Be creative!

All that happens week after week in Bible memorization is sequencing -- putting words in the right order. Have fun - use your imagination. The key to teaching memory verses to boys and girls is found in the one word VARIETY. The effective teacher will use many ways to teach pupils the Word of God.


 by Andrea Callison

Lesson date: Any given Sunday. Time: T-minus 10 minutes until the first child casts a shadow on the door. My mission: To make certain all is prepared for this week’s Sunday School lesson. Commence consulting mental checklist now. Has the lesson been read thoroughly? Check. Are all materials needed for each craft, recipe, and other activity gathered? Check. Has each story piece been meticulously punched out and protected against the inevitable wear and tear it will face? Check. The checklist is complete. Mission accomplished.

Or is it?

While the teacher in the above illustration seems to be armed and ready to tackle the challenge at hand, one vital measure has not been taken. The teacher has neglected to bathe his or her efforts, the lesson to be taught, and the class in prayer. Without prayer, it doesn’t matter how cool the craft is or if the story figures are water-resistant. A Sunday School teacher is not fully prepared until he or she has fervently prayed over the words that will be said and each ear that those words will fall upon.

Praying for the pupils in your class should be a never-ending effort. First Thessalonians 5:17 says, "never stop praying." (CEV) However, continual prayer does not have to confine a teacher
physically to the knees 24/7. Before another Bible verse is taught or another game is played, consider preparing for the lesson by weaving non-stop prayer into common, everyday life, using one or more of these creative options.

Picture Perfect

Take a 3.5" x 5" (8.75 x 12.5 cm.) photo of each child in your class. Laminate the photo using clear Con-Tact paper, and punch a single hole in the upper left-hand corner. Place all of the pictures on a book ring. Hang the pictures on a peg or a nail near where you brush your teeth. Each week, pray for the child whose picture is on top every time you brush your teeth. Praise God for the child. At the end of the week, move to the next picture. Option: send a postcard to each child as you pray for that child during the week.

Information, Please

Create an index card for each child in your class. Print the child’s name at the top. Under the
name, print the child’s address, telephone number, birthday, age, family members’ names, and any other information. Leave space to add and change information as needed. When you know of a
need that the child has, add it to the card. Pray for the need when it’s added. Place the index cards in a card file. Place the file somewhere it will be seen often. Each month, rotate through the cards, praying for each child’s needs at least once.

Red Light, Green Light

When stopped at red lights, whisper a prayer for the next class session. Pray that God will help you to stop and listen to what He would have you to do.

No, Thanks

Think of something that has too much power over you. Perhaps it’s chocolate, the daily trip to the Coke machine, or television. Commit to giving up that item for a set amount of time (for example, throughout the next unit or quarter). Every time you are tempted to break your commitment, say "no, thanks" and pray for those who help you in the classroom. Option: Commit to do this with those who assist you and be accountable to one another.

Evenly Odd

Pray for the boys in your class on odd dates and the girls on the even dates. Ask God to help them through the times that go smoothly as well as those that cause them worry or fear.

A Familiar Ring

Each time the phone rings, ask God to help you as you teach. Pray that you’ll be able to find time to call each child and remind that child of God’s love.

What a Chore!

Choose a household chore that is hard to motivate yourself to do. Meditate on the next Sunday's lesson while you complete the task. Pray that preschoolers and kindergartners will feel that
serving God is a pleasure and not a chore.

Over the Rainbow

Each morning as you get dressed, take note of what you’re wearing. If you are wearing your favorite color, pray for the next Sunday’s lesson. Pray that God will clothe your class with His