Zacchaeus Meets Jesus Bible Story & Lesson

BIBLE STORY: The Short Man In A Tree (Luke 19:1-10)

Preparation: Have the children stand an arm’s length from each other, if possible. Explain they are to move about in their own personal space and make any motions which fit the action of the story as they listen to it being told.

Story: Zacchaeus was sitting at his tax collector’s table counting money when he heard people around him say, “Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming here to Jericho.”

Zacchaeus pushed back his chair and jumped up! He wanted to see Jesus.

He started running in the direction the people were pointing. He ran and ran and ran until he came to a crowd of people. Zacchaeus was a short man and he could not see over the heads of the people in front of him.

So he stood on his tiptoes. He still could not see.

He stretched his neck up as high as he could while standing on his tiptoes. He still could not see Jesus.

Zacchaeus shrugged his shoulders and thought to himself: “What am I going to do? The people in front of me are bigger and taller than I am and I REALLY, REALLY want to see Jesus.”

Then -- over the heads of the people he saw a sycamore-fig tree. He didn’t take his eyes off that tree as he made his way around the crowd. He climbed up on a branch, sat down and waited for Jesus to come by.

When Jesus arrived at the tree, He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down. I want to be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus’ eyes got big! Jesus was talking to HIM!

Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree. He skinned his knee getting down but he didn’t care. He was so happy Jesus wanted to go to his home! Zacchaeus could not stop smiling.

Zacchaeus’ life changed that day. Before he met Jesus, Zacchaeus was one of the biggest sinners in town. He took more money from the people than he should have. He ended up being rich because he cheated others.

Zacchaeus looked at Jesus and said: “I will give half of my wealth to the poor. I will also give back four times as much to those I have cheated.”

Jesus smiled at Zacchaeus and said, “You have been saved today. I have come to seek and save people who are lost.”

SONG: “Zacchaeus” (ABC’s of Praise album by Mary Rice Hopkins)

BIBLE VERSE: “The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10, NLT). Explain that “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for Himself.


Explain that you are the leader and everyone is to follow what you do. Walk to a corner of the room and say the verse together. Walk to another area of the room, sit on the floor and quote the verse together. If possible, go out in the hallway and other areas. At each new location, say the verse. Continue as time allows.

MAKE ‘N TAKE CREATIVE ACTIVITY: Zacchaeus In Sycamore Tree

Materials Needed for Each Child: Two pieces white cover stock paper, scissors, crayons, washable markers.

Activity: The children fold one sheet of the paper in half the long way, cut out a tree, and then color it. On the other sheet of paper they can draw and cut out Zacchaeus. He will need a slit between his legs so he will be able to sit in the tree. Encourage the boys and girls to take their project home and re-tell the Bible story to their families.

SNACK: Sycamore Tree

Needed for Each Child: Graham crackers broken into 1“ x 2 ½” pieces , white icing, green fruit loops, plastic knife, one sheet construction paper.

Activity: The children create trees from the graham crackers on a piece of construction paper. Icing is spread on the crackers and then green fruit loops placed to make leaves.

Christmas Joy - New Song by Mary Rice Hopkins

"Mary Rice Hopkins & Puppets with A Heart" are featured weekly on TBN's "Smile of a Child." The program schedule on Saturdays: 8:30 a.m. (PST), 9:30 a.m. (MT), 10:30 a.m. (CT), and 11:30 a.m. (EST).

The complete segment of CHRISTMAS JOY can be found on YouTube.

The First Christmas Day - Children's Lesson

BIBLE STORY: A Special Baby Is Born

Preparation: Make a sheep stick puppet. Pattern.
Story (Told by the sheep puppet): I was all tucked in for a good night’s sleep on the fields outside Bethlehem. The sky was really dark but I wasn’t afraid because our shepherds were watching over us. It was quite -- really, really quiet.

I was just about asleep, when I heard one of the shepherds say: “Do you see what I see?”

Another shepherd said, “Yes, and I’m scared.”

By now I was wide awake. So were my mommy and daddy and aunts and uncles and cousins. We were all looking up at the light in the sky!

An angel said: “Do not be afraid. I have good news! A Baby has been born tonight.”

I was thinking, “You woke me up to say a baby has been born?”

The angel continued talking: “This is a very SPECIAL baby -- a Savior. His name is Jesus.”

And now the shepherds were talking: “A Savior? Can this be true?”

The angel said to the shepherds: “It's true. Baby Jesus is in Bethlehem. He's in a stable - all wrapped up in strips of cloth -- tucked in -- lying in a manger.”

And then suddenly the sky was FULL of angels! Angels everywhere! I looked up at my mommy and said: “Do you hear what I hear? The angels are all praising God!”

They were saying: "Glory to God in the highest.” Would you boys and girls say that with me: “Glory to God in the highest.” Let’s say it together again: “Glory to God in the highest.”

The shepherds fell on their knees to the ground in worship.

Then the angels in the sky left. The light disappeared. It was dark again. And quiet.
Then one of the shepherds said: “I wonder if what we just heard is true?”

Another responded: “It MUST be true! An angel told us! There's only one way to be sure. We must go to Bethlehem and find out.”

I scampered along with the shepherds as they hurriedly walked to Bethlehem and sure enough -- just as the angel had said -- there was Mary and Joseph. I quietly walked over to the manger and peeked in. And there was baby Jesus all wrapped up warm and sleeping.

After seeing baby Jesus, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about the Child. Then we all went back to our hillside. The shepherds were praising God and saying wonderful things about Him.

SONG: “The First Christmas Day” (by Mary Rice Hopkins - Mary Christmas album)

BIBLE VERSE: “A Savior has been born.” (Luke 2:11, NIV)


The teacher quotes the scripture and reference and tags a child who then repeats the verse with the teacher. The tagged pupil tags someone else and all three say the verse. Continue until all have been tagged.

MAKE ‘N TAKE CREATIVE ACTIVITY: Sheep Stick Puppet (See Picture)

Materials Needed for Each Child: Sheep pattern found at:; white cover paper; cotton balls; crayons; masking tape or glue; scissors; tongue depressor.

Activity: The children cut out the sheep pattern, glue on cotton balls and color as desired. The tongue depressor can be attached to the back side with masking tape or glue. Encourage the boys and girls to tell the Bible story to their families using their puppets.


Allow children to re-create the Bible story using Play-Doh. They can make sheep, a star, the manger with Baby Jesus, sheep, etc. Homemade Play-Doh recipes can be found at:

SNACK: Sheep Sugar Cookies

Needed for Each Child: A sheep-shaped sugar cookie; white icing, white miniature marshmallows, one M & M candy; plastic spoon

Activity: The children spread icing on the sheep with the back of a plastic spoon and then add marshmallows for the wool and an M & M candy for the eye.


Use whatever you have around your home to make the story come alive. The shepherd took the sheep to eat grass (green towel) - each night he counted the sheep (Fisher Price animals)as they went into sheepfold (fence from a playset) - one sheep was missing so the shepherd went to look and found it in a bush (made from sticks stuck in a piece of styrofoam with tissue paper green leaves).

Crossing the Red Sea - Interactive Bible Story - Exodus 14:13-31

Color one side of a sheet of white construction paper brown for dirt. Color both sides of another piece of white construction paper blue to represent water and then cut in half to form two 4 ¼” x 11” pieces. These two pieces are taped to the brown sheet.

At the place in the story when the wind began to blow and blow and blow until the water piled up and up and up - the child lifts back the 2 strips of blue paper and then march the Israelites (Little People figures or any people you want to use)through the path to the other side.

Create mountains on both sides, because the Israelites were trapped with the Red Sea in front of them and mountains on both sides and the Egyptians behind them.

The children's song "What Seems Impossible" is perfect for this lesson (from the newly released album DANCING IN THE DESERT by Mary Rice Hopkins.

A Dad Like You - Father's Day Song

"A Dad Like You" from the GOOD BUDDIES album is perfect for Father's Day and can be made extra special when you create your own slide or video presentation to accompany this Mary Rice Hopkins classic song. Order album from: 818-790-5805.


Print words to favorite songs and place in a decorative bag. Children can take turns drawing out a card and singing the song together. This can be done in a classroom setting and/or for family devotions.


          To You: The Director
            What is VBS?
            Values of Vacation Bible School
 Administrative Planning
            Define Your Purpose
            Choose What Kind of VBS You’re Going to Hold 
            Select A Date
            Establish a Time Line
            Preview Curriculum Options
            Develop a Workable Budget
            Write Job Descriptions
            Enlist Staff
            Staff Dedication
            Organize Prayer Emphasis
            Effective Advertising
            Increasing Enrollment
            Staff Appreciation
            Considerations for Closing Program
 Training Teachers
          Avoiding  Discipline Problems Rather than Being Forced to Deal With Them
            Leading Children to Christ
            Effectively Telling Bible Stories
            Making Bible Memorization Meaningful
            Using Puppetry
            Guidelines for Using Bible Learning Games
            How to Use Music in the Classroom
            Rooms Teach, Too
            Principles for Playing Games during Recreation
            How Teachers Can Show Their Love
            The Art of Praising Children
            Special Needs Children
            Teacher’s Prayer   

Juggling Mom - Songs for Mother's Day

Songs on this album are perfect for Mother's Day! This also makes a meaningful gift for moms and grandmothers on Mother's Day!

Order from or call 818-790-5805

Baby Moses in Basket Surprise Picture - Art Project

Needed for Each Child: 8 ½” x 11 white construction paper; scissors; markers or crayons.

Activity: Help the children make 2 ½” folds on the 8 ½” sides of the construction paper. Then show them how to cut away 2” x 4” pieces on both sides to make the surprise picture. Print “God protected Moses” (Exodus 2:1-20) on the inside top. The boys and girls can draw tall grass on the front flaps, with baby Moses on the river inside.

Baby Moses in Basket - Craft

Needed for Each Child: 7 x 8 ½” piece of sturdy brown construction paper; 40 toothpicks; glue; clear tape; white construction paper; 3 ½” x 4” piece of cloth; crayons or makers; sticker on which has been written: “God Protected Moses” - Exodus 2:1-20.

Activity: On each corner of the brown construction paper cut away a 2” x 2” square. Fold and tape to create a basket. Place sticker on inside of basket. Glue toothpicks on outside of basket. Children draw and cut out a baby Moses, wrap him in a blanket and place him in the basket. Encourage the children to share this Bible story with their families.

Jesus Quiets the Bad Storm - Bible Story & Lesson: Luke 8:22-25

Lesson by Betty Benson Robertson

BIBLE STORY: Based on Luke 8:22-25

Preparation: If possible, designate an area large enough where all children can sit and pretend to be disciples in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.

Instructions: When the boys and girls hear you say “the disciples rowed and rowed and rowed”, they are to make rowing motions. (Demonstrate.)

One day Jesus and his disciples got in a boat. Jesus was tired and laid down. They were all going to cross the lake, so the disciples rowed and rowed and rowed.

Soon Jesus fell asleep. The disciples rowed and rowed and rowed.

Suddenly, clouds covered the sky until it was dark. The disciples rowed and rowed and rowed.

It started to rain. The disciples rowed and rowed and rowed.

The storm got worse. Lightening flashed in the sky. Loud thunder boomed. The disciples rowed and rowed and rowed.

The boat rocked back and forth. The waves rose higher and higher. Water splashed into the boat. They rowed and rowed and rowed.

The disciples were really scared. More water came into the boat. They were afraid the boat would tip over and they would all end up in the water.

They woke Jesus and said: “Master! Save us! We’re going to drown!”

When Jesus sat up, He saw the dark clouds and lightning. He heard the thunder. He felt the boat rocking, and He saw how afraid His disciples were.

Jesus told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down.”

Immediately, the wind stopped blowing. All the dark clouds disappeared. The sea became quiet and still again.

Jesus looked at His friends. “Why were you so afraid?” He asked them. “Didn’t you know I would take care of you?”

The disciples talked among themselves. “Who is this Man?” they asked each other. “Even the winds and the waves obey Him. He must be the Son of God.”

SONG: “Jesus Can” by Mary Rice Hopkins from Miracle Mud album.

BIBLE VERSE: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7, New Living Translation).

BIBLE MEMORY ACTIVITY: “Say It Loud, Say It Quiet”

Have the boys and girls quote the verse together in unision. Then ask the children to say the verse loud; quiet; loud with their eyes closed; quiet with their hands on their hands; loud with their hands behind their backs; quiet with hands touching their toes.


Needed for Each Child: Shoebox; 1 sheet brown construction paper; 3 sheets white construction paper; 14 craft sticks; 13 circles; clear tape.

Preparation: Cut 1 slit in the shoe box lid at the front of the boat where Jesus will stand; 1 slit at the back of the boat where the rain/lighting stick will be insert; 12 slits for the disciples.

Activity: Children draw and cut out a brown boat shape and glue to the side of the box.
Faces are drawn on the circles and the circles attached to the 13 sticks with tape. Children draw lighting/rain and attach to a stick with tape.

Before taking their “Story In A Box” home, allow children to practice re-telling by following your lead. The 12 disciples get in the boat (place sticks). Jesus gets in the boat and lays down. The disciples row the boat. A storm suddenly comes up (insert lightening/rain picture). The disciples are afraid and wake up Jesus. (Insert Jesus in slot at front of boat.) Jesus says: “Peace be still.” The winds and waves are quiet (remove storm picture).

EXTENDED ACTIVITY: Learn names of the disciples using the “12 Disciples Song” from: This song uses the “10 Little Indians” tune which makes memorizing easy.

SNACK 'N YAK: If at all possible, go to the area of your room where you told the Bible story in the “boat”. The children pretend to be the disciples, eating a snack of crackers, cheese, and grapes. While eating, ask: Have any of you ever been outside in a bad storm? How did you feel? Have there been any others times you been really scared? When we are afraid, what can we do?


Jesus Heals A Paralyzed Man - Bible Story & Lesson

BIBLE STORY: based on Mark 2:1-12

Instructions: Make a New Testament home from a box (see picture). Cut open a door and cut out a hole in the roof. Make one mat of cloth and craft sticks. Create a second mat with four pieces of yarn attached to each corner. Gather together play people. Use these props for telling the story.

Everyone wanted to see Jesus! There were lots and lots and lots of people around the house.

At the edge of the crowd was a man who could not walk. He was lying on a stretcher.
His friends had taken him to see Jesus.

They looked and looked and looked around. There were SO many people! HOW were they going to get their friend close to Jesus?

Suddenly one of them had an idea! They got their heads together in a huddle and talked.

Finally one said: “Okay! Let’s try it!”

They climbed up the steps on the outside of the house, removed some of the tiles from the roof, placed the paralyzed man on a mat, and lowered him down through the roof into the house where Jesus was.

Jesus said to the paralyzed man: “Get up. Take your mat and go home.”

The man was so excited that Jesus had healed him! He got up and all the way home he said: “Glory to God. I’m healed. Glory to God!”

SONG: “Jesus Cares for Me” by Mary Rice Hopkins from Come Meet Jesus album.

BIBLE VERSE: “(Jesus) healed all the sick.” (Matthew 8:16b).


Have the children stand in a circle. Say the Bible verse in unison 3 times. The teacher throws a nerf ball to a child. That child and the person standing to his/her right, say the verse together with the teacher. The ball is thrown back to the teacher. Continue until all have had a chance to catch the ball and quote the verse.


Needed for Each Child: 3” x 4” piece of material; 4 craft sticks; glue; construction paper; crayons; scissors.

Activity: Each child creates a stretcher like the one used in the Bible story, by gluing the cloth between 4 craft sticks. The children then draw, color and cut out a paralyzed man.


Allow the children to re-tell the story, using the props.


Have the children cover a graham cracker with frosting and place a small gingerbread man on top. As they review the story, have them think of ways they can bring their friends to Jesus.


Dear Heavenly Father: Just like the men carried their friend to Jesus for healing, we want to bring our friends to Jesus, too. We can do this by telling our friends about Jesus and bringing them to Him in prayer. Thank you so much for hearing and anwering our prayers.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER - Good Samaritan Bible Story Lesson

BIBLE STORY: “Loving By Helping” (based on Luke 10:30-37)

Instructions: Every time the children hear the word “walking” in the story, they stand when you signal by raising your hand and walk in place. Boys and girls are to be seated by watching your hand go down.

A man was walking from Jerusalem to Jericho. Suddenly, robbers attacked him. They beat him up, took his clothes, and left him there.

A priest came walking down the same road. The man thought, “Great! Someone will help me.” But the priest was in a hurry and didn’t take the time to stop and help the injured man.

A Levite came walking down the same road. The man thought, “Great! I hope this person will help me.” But this teacher in the temple did not stop and help the injured man either.

A Samaritan came walking down the same road. The injured man probably thought, “The first two people who came by didn’t help me. This person probably won’t either.”

But when the Samaritan saw the man lying there all beaten and bloody, he wanted to help him. He gave him first aid and placed bandages on the wounded man’s body. Then he carefully helped the injured man get on his donkey, took him to a place to stay for the night and continued to take care of him.

(Open your Bible to Luke and show the children.) This is a story Jesus told which is found in Luke in the Bible to tell us the importance of showing our love by caring and helping when we can.

DISCUSSION: What are some ways we can show our love to others by caring and helping?

SONG: “Love with the Love of Jesus” by Mary Rice Hopkins from Miracle Mud album.

BIBLE VERSE: “A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17).

Directions: Cut a large red heart from construction paper. Write the verse on the heart.

Clap ‘N Pass Activity: Show the heart and have the class repeat it 3 times together. Ask the children to sit in a circle. As you clap, boys and girls pass the heart to their right from person to person. When you stop clapping, that child and the ones sitting to the right and left of that child, all stand and say the verse with the teacher.


Needed for Each Child: Construction paper of assorted colors, including red, pink and green; scissors; glue; pens or fine-tipped markers.

Activity: Have children make as many heart flowers as time allows, by cutting out heart shapes and attaching stems and leaves. On each flower they can write a message, such as : “I love you”, “Thank you for being my friend”, etc. Encourage them to give to family members, relatives, friends and neighbors.

SNACK: Heart Cookies

Needed for Each Child: Large heart-shaped sugar cookie; various colors of icing; sprinkles and M&M’s®; plastic knives

Activity: Allow the boys and girls to decorate their cookies.


JESUS IS BORN - Children's Bible Lesson

BIBLE STORY (based on Luke 2:8-18)

Instructions: Ask the children to copy your gestures throughout the story.

Imagine in your mind that it's the middle of the night.

You are a shepherd - a person taking care of sheep - outside the city of Bethlehem.

It's dark. It's quiet except for an occasional "Baaaaa".

(Warp arms around yourself.) It's a little chilly. You are sitting around a campfire with the other shepherds, keeping warm.

Then suddenly, you see an unusual light in the sky.

(Put one hand above eyes, looking up) "Do you see what I see?"

(Point up) "Yes! Look at the light", another shepherd replies looking at the sky. "I wonder what it is?"

The light was an angel sent by God who said: "Don't be afraid. I have good news! A Baby has been born tonight. A very special Baby whose name is Jesus. He is in the town of Bethlehem right now in a stable -- all wrapped up and tucked in a manger.

Suddenly, the sky was full of angels all praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest."

Let's say that together boys and girls: "Glory to God in the highest."

Let's say it again: "Glory to God in the highest."

(On knees showing worship with hands together) The shepherds got on their knees on the ground in worship.

Then the angels disappeared and the sky was dark again.

The shepherds talked to one another and decided they would quickly go to Bethlehem and see for themselves what the angel had just told them about.

(Walk in place) They walked as fast as they could! They walked and walked and walked until they reached the town of Bethlehem and found the stable.

Jesus' mother, Mary, and Mary's husband, Joseph, greeted the shepherds. When they saw baby Jesus wrapped in a blanket and sleeping in the manger, the shepherds (on knees showing worship with hands together) got on their knees and celebrated the birth of Jesus by worshipping Him.

SONG: "Manger of My Heart" by Mary Rice Hopkins (from A Very Mary Christmas album)

Following the song, you may want to take an opportunity to share with your class that the reason God sent Jesus to earth as a baby was so He could die on the cross for our sins. If there are boys and girls in your group who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, this could be a great opportunity if you sense the Holy Spirit leading in that direction.

BIBLE VERSE: "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).

Directions: Cut out 10 yellow stars. Write one word from the verse and reference on each star. Attach the stars to a wall or bulletin board.

Activity: Say the verse together 3 times. Ask children to remove one star at a time, reciting the verse each time a star is removed.


Needed for Each Child: A heavy piece of paper 5" x 81/2"; 2 pieces of white construction paper 21/2" x 3" for the ends of the manger; straw (if available) or brown paper which has been shredded or cut into small pieces for hay; clear tape; crayons; small pieces of material for a blanket.

Activity: Color the manger. Fold the 5" x 81/2" piece into thirds. Tape on the manger sides. Drop in the hay or shredded brown paper. Draw, color and cut out baby Jesus. Wrap the baby in cloth and place in manger.

SNACK: Star-Shaped Sugar Cookies

Needed: A star-shaped sugar cookie for each child; yellow icing; sprinkles.

Activity: Allow the children to ice and decorate their own cookies.

EXTENDED ACTIVITY: Allow children to re-create the Bible story using Play-Doh. They can make sheep, a star, the manger with baby Jesus, sheep, etc. (There are numerous easy-to-make recipes for making various colors of modeling compound online.)