Use this Bible lesson for elementary-age kids to learn about independence.
1. I’ll Protect You Form a circle with two volunteers in the middle. Using paper wads, play Dodge Ball with one child as a stationary target and the other child as the protector of the target. Change players every two minutes or when the target is hit. Play until every child has been in the middle.
Ask: What made it easy or difficult to protect the target? What made you want to do your best to protect the target? If you were a “target,” what was it like to have to rely on your protector?
2. Free Indeed Form two teams and have teams stand on opposite sides of the room. Give one team a stack of white paper and the other team a stack of colored paper. Have teams make paper wads. On “go,” have teams throw the paper wads at each other. The team with the most paper wads on the other team’s side after three minutes wins.
Afterward, ask: How’d it feel to have a war? How’d it feel to win? to lose? What do you think about real war? If you were asked to fight for your country, what would you do?
Say: People in the Bible had to fight for their country often. But one time, the Israelites fought in a war and lost.
Have kids act out the story as you read aloud Jeremiah 52:1-30.
After the story, ask: What would it have been like to live in Jerusalem during this time? What would you have done if you had been captured?
3. Thanks a Ton! Ask: What freedoms do we enjoy in our country? What freedoms are you most grateful for? What would life be like without these freedoms?
Say: Many people have fought for our country to give us freedom. For Independence Day, let’s say thank you to these people.
Give children card stock and markers. Have them create thank-you cards to give to veterans. Deliver the cards to a veterans’ hospital or a veterans’ administration.
4. Snack: Food For Thought
You’ll need: A 1-ounce package of instant pudding mix, a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups milk, 8 cups crushed ice, 3/4 cup rock salt, a 13-ounce coffee can with a lid, a 39-ounce coffee can with a lid, spoons, and bowls. (Makes enough for five.)
Directions: Mix the first three ingredients in the small coffee can. Cover tightly and place in the large can. Alternately pack ice and rock salt around the small can. Cover tightly.
Have kids form a circle and roll the can back and forth for 15 minutes. Talk about how people have had to work together to make our country strong. Then stir the contents of the small can. Roll again for 15 minutes and talk about God’s role in the formation of our country.
Enjoy the ice cream and then close in prayer.
Carolyn Caufman is a children’s minister in Minnesota.