Textures and textural sensations are often overlooked as one of
the best ways to grab kids' attention and get them thinking.
Imagine what preteens would learn about the clothes Jesus and his
disciples wore when challenged to make their own clothing using
muslin scraps, thread, and sewing needles. Kids could try to
fashion their own sandals using leather and leather laces.
Kids' experiences in your classroom are influenced by what they
touch. If you only have them touch a desk top, pencil, and paper,
you're missing out on a great opportunity. Leave kids with a
powerful impression when they hold nails like those that may've
held Jesus to the cross, or a rope like the one that Joseph may've
used to lead the donkey Mary rode on.
Textures can be more than just props -- you can incorporate them
completely into your lessons.
• Feelings -- Blindfold kids and recount a biblical event
using only textures.
• Special Because -- Challenge kids to find or bring
items that have personal meaning.
• Hot or Not -- Use temperature control, fans,
humidifiers, and more to create an environment similar to the one
you're studying so kids can feel on their skin what you're talking
• Without -- Invite kids to remove their shoes for one
class to imagine what it might feel like to be poor or
Sounds, much like smells, instantly grab kids' interest and
attention. Whether you want to spark enthusiasm, get kids moving,
or create a somber mood, sound can help create an experience that
fills kids with awe.
One of my most memorable classroom experiences was centered around
the anxiety we felt due to a sound. Our preteen class crawled into
a black "cave" (a black tarp thrown over chairs in a darkened room)
to imagine what it might've been like to be Daniel in the lion's
den. In the darkness, our teacher retold the story in hushed tones
and then said, "Imagine what it would be like to sit in the
dungeon, waiting for the lions to eat you, all alone as the seconds
tick by. Let's imagine it." Then we heard the sounds of a timer --
tick, tick, tick, tick. We sat in silence, easily able to imagine
how it would've felt and what we would've done. It changed our
Give your classroom experiences the wow factor by capitalizing on
the power of sound.
• Get Moody -- Use music to involve kids in the lesson. Play
snippets of a variety of songs to introduce different moods.
• Play Along -- Let kids become part of the atmosphere -- by using
their voices to sing, provide sound effects, and enhance
• Shhh -- Silence is powerful, too. It can incite kids'
curiosity and establish authority.
• Snap Along -- Musical instruments can be elaborate or simple.
Kids snapping their fingers or tapping on the table with a pencil
is as effective as a mini-ensemble and just as fun.
Jennifer Hooks is managing editor for Children's Ministry