Use this Sunday school lesson to help elementary-age kids make a joyful noise to God!
1. Musical Feelings — Have children sit in a circle around you.
Say: Today we’re going to learn about different ways of telling God how we feel through music. First, let’s sing a song that asks God to be with us.
Teach children “Kumbaya” or another song that talks about singing and praying. Draw simple faces on a sheet of newsprint to represent happy, sad, excited, prayerful, angry and other emotions.
Ask: How did the song we sang make you feel?
Have children each go to the newsprint and point to the face that best describes their feeling. Then play brief portions of different musical styles — hymns, popular music, country, rock, jazz or marching band. Or use an electronic keyboard with a percussion option and play different rhythms using the percussion button. After each selection, have the children use the newsprint faces to tell how they feel. As the music plays, encourage children to clap, move or dance to the rhythm of the song.
2. Make and Shake — Play music in the background. Give each child two paper plates and crayons. Have children decorate the bottoms of their paper plates with pictures of musical instruments. After the children have decorated their plates, help them each put eight to 10 dried beans between the two plates. Have kids each press their plates together with the decorated sides facing out. Then staple closely around the edges of the plates to keep the beans from falling out to make a tambourine.
3. Dance to the Lord — Choose a fast-paced contemporary Christian song such as “Great Is the Lord” to play as the children move and shake their tambourines. Ask the children how the music makes them feel, and have them each point to the appropriate face on the newsprint from activity 1.
4. Praising — Repeat the song from activity 3 softly in the background as you read aloud Psalm 150. Remind children that music is a gift and that it can be used to give praise to God.
Pray: Great God, thank you for giving us music and musicians. Thank you for the gift of your Word. Help us give you praise through our music and our lives. Amen.
Share a snack with the children that makes them happy, such as “joy juice” (orange juice) or something “a-peeling” like bananas.
Authors: Margaret Hinchey is a children’s choir director in Colorado. Jane Wilke is an early childhood educator in Missouri.