Hands-on lessons and ideas to help children deal with grief.
1. Barnyard Bonanza-Bring to class wind up
barnyard animals, such as a cow, dog, cat, or pig. Bring enough so
children can take turns playing with them as they arrive. After
kids have had a chance to wind up the animals and watch them move,
collect the animals. Then form a circle.
Say: We’ve had such a good time playing with these
toys! When you wind them up, they become alive and move. (Wind up a
toy as an example.) What happens to the toy after it has wound
down? What happens to real animals after they stop breathing? What
happens to people after their bodies wear out and they stop
2. Bag-o-Feelings-Draw a different face on
three paper plates: a happy face, a sad face, and a mad face. Put
the paper plates in a paper sack.
Say: When someone we know dies, we may feel lots of
different feelings. There are times we feel sad (pull out the sad
face) because we really miss that person. Sometimes we feel mad
(pull out the mad face) because we wish that person would come
back! Other times we feel happy (pull out the happy face) because
we have good memories of that person. It’s okay to have all of
Ask: Have you ever known an animal or person who died?
Tell us about it.
3. Joy From Jesus-Have kids wrap themselves up
in a comforter or blanket you’ve brought from home.
Say: Jesus was sad when people died. But Jesus said if
we’re sad, he’ll comfort us or help us feel better. In Matthew 5:4, Jesus says, “Blessed are those
who are sad, for they shall be comforted” (paraphrase). When we
feel sad because someone has died, Jesus comforts us. That means he
helps us feel better just like this blanket makes us feel warm and
4. Comforter Collage-Set out a large sheet of
butcher paper and various supplies such as yarn, construction
paper, cotton balls, and markers.
Ask: What are some of your favorite things or people
that help you feel better when you’re sad?
Say: We’re going to make our own “comforter” with this
sheet of paper! You can use any of these supplies to draw a picture
of your favorite things or people that help you feel better when
5. Snack-Let the children put together the
snack in “Food for Thought.” While the bread is baking, have the
children each tell about their creation on the comforter. Remind
them of Jesus being our comforter when we feel sad because someone
we love has died. Close in prayer asking God to be our comforter
when we’re sad.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
You’ll need: Heat-and-serve bread sticks, no-stick
cooking spray, sugar, cinnamon, a knife, and cookie sheets.
Directions: Say: When we’re sad, we can remember that
Jesus is always with us! The cross helps us think about him when
we’re sad because someone has died. Give each child one and a half
bread sticks. Have children pinch the long and the short pieces
together to form a cross. Have the children sprinkle the top of the
cross with sugar and cinnamon. Spray a cookie sheet with no-stick
spray. Place crosses on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Then
For children in grades:
Elaine Friedrich is a director of elementary ministries in