Hands-on activities effectively convey Bible
stories and concepts, so try these fun, safe ideas to enhance your
Building-For Bible stories that involve building, such as the
ark, the temple, Joseph the carpenter, and the parable of the wise
builder, use small or varied sizes of cardboard boxes with lids
securely taped, beanbags, plastic bowls with lids securely
fastened, paper cups (not Styrofoam), and graham crackers on a
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Travel-Loose sand is messy, and children tend to get it in their
eyes, hair, and mouths. For travel stories involving sand, such as
Abraham, Moses and the Israelites, Joseph and Mary, Jesus, the
disciples, and Paul, try these alternative ideas.
- Place a scoop of sand (or salt, sugar, or flour) inside a
plastic resealable baggie. Close the bag securely and then tape it
shut with packing tape. Children can still enjoy squeezing,
pounding, and shaking the sand without the mess. Closely supervise
children as they play.
- Place a scoop of sand inside a plastic jar and secure the lid.
Give each toddler a jar to shake while you tell the story or review
- Give each toddler a piece of sandpaper, plus finger puppets or
story figures from the lesson. Help children “walk” their puppets
or figures across the sand.
- Place a long strip of brown paper on the floor. Walk with
children across the “desert.”
Water-For lessons dealing with boats, such as Noah’s ark, the
fishermen’s great catch, Jesus quieting the storm, Jesus walking on
water, and Paul’s shipwreck, use these safer activities.
- “Float” boats on blue paper or cookie sheets dampened with
- Give each child a “mast and sail” (a paper towel tube with a
paper sail that’s taped on). Have toddlers hold their boats high as
they “sail” around the room.
- Place a rug in the center of the room and call it a boat. Help
toddlers climb into the boat and pretend to sail, dipping hands
into pretend water.
- Use a spray bottle to spray a mist of water into the air. Have
children pretend they’re in a boat and try to catch the
For other Bible stories focusing on water, such as the Creation,
the Flood, and Moses parting the Red Sea, try these ideas.
- Provide safe spray bottles for toddlers to spray water onto
plastic or real plants or flowers.
- Fill a plastic jar halfway with water. Add a plastic flower or
other item and secure the lid. Toddlers will enjoy shaking the jars
and watching the items inside float.
- Provide white butcher paper and water tinted with food
coloring. Let toddlers-wearing smocks, of course-fingerpaint the
This article is excerpted from Children’s Ministry
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