Group Publishing
CMM0514
Subscribe Button

Life Lessons

As kids begin a new school year, give them lessons in the best subject of all -- God's love

Every new school year brings with it excitement and anticipation -- as much from the students as the teachers. This year, help your kids prepare for the upcoming school year and for tests they'll face in life with lessons about God's amazing love.

Featured in this special back-to-school section are fun ways for kids to break the ice, build cooperation, sprout friendships, learn compassion, and -- best of all -- reach for God.

We wish you a tremendous year filled with the blessings of teaching and learning -- and may God's gifts be equally bestowed upon you and your students. Read on for great ideas to start your new school year off right!

(Chain Gang Relay)
Theme: Teamwork
Scripture: Acts 16:16-31
Age Level: 6 to 12
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Activity Time: 20 minutes
Materials: Crepe paper streamer rolls, obstacle course items, Bible

Use this cooperative relay to build teamwork and coordination in your class. Beforehand, set up an obstacle course using classroom items such as chairs, trash cans, and other items kids will have to maneuver around.

Form relay lines. Give the first person in each line a crepe paper streamer roll. Have the kids on each team tie themselves together by their left ankles. Say, "On go, your team must run through the obstacle course together without breaking your bond. That means you'll have to work together. If you break the streamer, your team is out of the race."
Once the race is over, ask, "What was difficult about the race? Were you able to work together? Why or why not? What made it easier to maneuver the obstacle course? What made it more difficult?"

Read aloud the Scripture. Ask, "How do you think Paul and Silas felt when they were forced into the jail? How do you think their bond with God helped them through this ordeal? How is that like or unlike the bond you experienced today?"
Geoffrey Allan
Miami, Florida


(Spider Web Game)
Theme: Breaking free from sin
Scripture: Hebrews 12:1
Age Level: 6 to 12
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Activity Time: 20 minutes
Materials: Ball of yarn, Bible

Use this entangling exercise as a thought-provoking icebreaker.

Have your class form a circle, then read aloud the Scripture. Starting with yourself, pass the ball of yarn to each person in the circle. When kids catch the ball of yarn, they must wrap it around themselves and name something that keeps people from living for Jesus.

Say, "On go, everyone try to get untangled as quickly as possible."

After everyone is finally untangled, ask, "Why was it so hard to get untangled? How is being tangled in the yarn like or unlike what this Scripture said?"

Reread the Scripture. Ask kids to talk about ways we can keep from getting tangled up in sin and distractions when it comes to our relationship with God.
Tara Sanchez
Grapevine, Texas


(Holy Mole-y)
Theme: Getting acquainted
Scripture: 1 Timothy 5:24-25
Age Level: 10 to 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Activity Time: Played over several weeks
Materials: Flashlight, class list, score card

Play this version of the popular TV show with your class as a way to help them get to know each other and to build a strong sense of community over four weeks.

Secretly select one child as the "mole." Explain to the mole that the only way the game works is if he or she keeps the role an absolute secret.

Introduce the game in a dark, mysterious room, and use only a flashlight during the meeting to maintain an atmosphere of mystery. Say, "There's a mole among us. Over the next four weeks, we're going to try to figure out who the mole is, based on the clues it leaves behind. A mole usually lives and works in hiding. But it leaves behind evidence of what it's doing -- molehills. During every class, I'll give you a hint about the mole. Look for the molehills the mole leaves behind, too."

The mole will leave behind good deeds -- or "molehills" -- such as leaving candy anonymously outside the door or writing encouraging notes to the class.

All the kids, including the mole, can choose whether to guess the mole's identity at the beginning of each class. They can write their guess on a piece of paper and give it to the teacher. But if they guess incorrectly, they can't guess for the remaining weeks. At the end of each meeting, give a hint about the identity of the mole. If someone guesses correctly, tell that person secretly, and encourage him or her to continue playing along.

Invite an "informant" for two visits. Only let kids see the informant's shadow profile, and have this person alter his or her voice. The informant can repeat the information from the previous weeks along with some new hints.

Establish these rules for the game.
• Honesty is most important, so no one is allowed to ask anyone else if he or she is the mole. Any questions about the mole must be answered honestly by you.
• At the end of the game, the mole must prove that it left a molehill (good deed) every week.
• Other kids can throw off their classmates by leaving molehills.
• Guesses about the mole's identity can only be given at the beginning of class, not at any other time.
• Hints about the mole's identity are given only at the end of class and never outside of class.
• Kids' guesses must be kept secret, and if they guess correctly, they can't tell their classmates.
• The person to guess the mole's identity first wins the game but must keep quiet until the four weeks are up.
• If no one guesses the mole's identity, the mole wins the game.
Andreas Dyck
Espelkamp, Germany

(Edible Ornaments)
Theme: Good judgment
Scripture: Proverbs 3:21-22
Age Level: 6 to 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Activity Time: 20 minutes
Materials: Large and small gumdrops, assorted gummy candies, large and small marshmallows, red licorice whips, toothpicks, wooden shish kebab spears, Bible

Kids love to sink their teeth into this lesson.

Read aloud the Scripture. Then ask, "What is good judgment? How do we know if we're making good decisions?"

Talk about a time you made a bad decision and what the consequences were. Ask, "Did any of you make a bad decision last week? How about a good decision? Explain. Are there ways we can remember to make good decisions? How do you learn to make good decisions? What role does God play in our decision making?"

Say, "We're going to make a fun snack that'll help us remember this Scripture and the value of good, Christlike decisions."

Give kids an assortment of marshmallows and gummy candies, as well as toothpicks and wooden shish kebab spears. Have kids decorate the toothpicks and spears with the candies to create edible sculptures.

(Hangin' on a Prayer)
Theme: Answered prayer
Scripture: Psalm 17:6-9
Age Level: 6 to 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Activity Time: 30 minutes or longer
Materials: Small, spiral-bound notebooks; assorted fabric scraps; construction paper; ribbon; scissors; self-adhesive vinyl covering; clothespins; clothesline; pens and pencils

Kids can track God's responses to their prayers throughout the year with these personalized prayer journals.

Give each child two pieces of clear adhesive vinyl 1 inch larger in length and width than the covers of their notebooks. Have kids peel the backing off each piece and lay them sticky-side up on a work surface. They can place fabric and construction paper cutouts on the plastic to create colorful and unique covers. Have kids leave a ½-inch border without decoration so it will stick to the inside of the notebook covers.

Carefully place each piece of decorated clear self-adhesive vinyl covering on the desired cover. Arrange them so one side of the ½-inch vertical border sticks to the area along the spiral binding. Then fold the remaining three sides around the back of the cover to secure them in place. For a final touch, have kids tie a ribbon around the top three rings of the spiral binding in a loop.

String clothesline in an area within kids' reach. Distribute clothespins along the line.

Have kids keep track of their prayers by recording the date and their prayer request and leaving a space below each request to record God's response.
Make a point during each class to have kids revisit their journals and add any prayer requests or responses. At the end of each class, have kids hang their journals by the ribbons along the clothesline.
Marlene Zumach
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

(Tote-Ally Indispensable)
Theme: God's creation
Scripture: Ephesians 2:8-10
Age Level: 6 to 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Activity Time: 45 minutes
Materials: For each child, you'll need a small, undecorated canvas tote bag (available at craft stores). You'll also need fabric paints, paintbrushes, sponges, scissors, clear self-adhesive vinyl covering (available at craft stores), and newspapers. Before class, make copies of Christian symbols such as a cross, dove, fish, heart, or silhouette of Jesus on regular paper. Make sure the symbol is large on the page.

Showcase your students' flair for art with these original tote bags.

Let kids choose a symbol and cut it out. Give each child a 9X11-inch sheet of clear self-adhesive vinyl covering. Have them create a stencil by tracing the outline of the symbol onto the clear self-adhesive vinyl covering and then cutting out the symbol. Kids can then carefully peel the backing off the stencil and stick it to the front of the canvas tote bag.

Insert a folded sheet of newspaper inside the tote bag to act as a barrier between the fabric layers, then place their tote bags flat on a work surface.

Have kids paint the symbol using several different colors and the textures of sponges and paintbrushes. Don't dilute the fabric paint. Allow the paint to dry completely before removing the stencils.

Kids will find they've created an abstract and wonderful image. Have them sign and date their bags.

(Noah's Box)
Theme: The story of Noah
Scripture: Genesis 6:9-8:17
Age Level: 10 to 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Activity Time: 30 minutes or longer
Materials: Animal crackers, craft paint, decoupage, adhesive magnetic strips, paintbrushes, undecorated cardboard pencil boxes, 5X7-inch pieces of tin (available at hardware stores), permanent markers, and hot glue

This craft is perfect for older kids to make as a gift for younger siblings or friends.

Have kids choose three pairs of animal crackers. Have them paint each pair of crackers with dry brushes, and don't dilute the paint with water. Have kids apply one coat of decoupage once the animal crackers are dry.

Have an adult apply a 5X7-inch piece of tin to the lids of the cardboard pencil boxes. Then outline the pieces of tin with a line of hot glue to cover any raw edges.
Have kids draw a scene of the ark on their tin using permanent markers. Have kids paint the rest of the pencil box.

Once the box and the crackers are dry, have kids apply ¼-inch magnetic adhesive strips to the backs of the crackers. They can then stick the animal cracker magnets to the lid, and present the box to a special young person.
Pat Hooks
Amarillo, Texas

(Wired to Learn)
Theme: Learning
Scripture: Psalm 119:66
Age Level: 10 to 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Activity Time: 30 minutes
Materials: Lead-free tin soldering wire (available at craft and hardware stores), 20-gauge copper wire, assorted glass beads, hammers, outdoor work area, tin snips, needle-nosed pliers.

Help get kids excited about learning with these unique bookmarks.

Give each child a 12-inch length of lead-free tin soldering wire. Have them form a one-dimensional shape, word, or design that'll work as a bookmark. Have them decorate the shape with copper wire and string beads. Then have kids carefully tap the wire with a hammer to flatten it. Once the wire is flattened, it won't allow the beads to move.

Kids can create all kinds of designs and symbols. Once complete, tell kids to be sure to keep their bookmarks in a book because the wire is soft and will bend if not properly cared for.

  • Page 1
Print Article Print Article
 
Childrensministry.com Blog network
 
Copyright © 2014 by Group Publishing, Inc.