Life Lessons


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

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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

------------------------------------------- | Kids love our Sunday School resources! | -------------------------------------

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

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

Say, “On go, everyone try to get untangled as quickly as

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
• 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
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

(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
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

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

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

Help get kids excited about learning with these unique

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.


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