Use this Bible lesson to show kids the real meaning of Thanksgiving.
1. Hit or Miss-(Supplies: a “soft” ball) Point out a physical feature that almost all your kids have in common, such as wearing sneakers. Tell kids that it’s against the law in your class for anyone to have that feature. Then say: “I’m going to throw this ball at anyone who dares to break that law in my classroom. If you’re hit with the ball, you have to go stand in my jail in that corner. Another rule is that after I throw the ball, you have to give it back to me. You better run!”
Throw the ball at children until almost every “offender” is out. Then bring children back together.
Ask: “How did you feel during this game? Did you feel that my rules were fair? Why or why not?”
Read aloud Matthew 5:10-12.
Ask: What do these verses say about persecution? What is persecution?
Say: “Religious persecution is when someone mistreats you because of what you believe.”
Say: “A long time ago, the Pilgrims were persecuted in England for their faith in Christ. They chose to leave their country and come to America so they could worship God freely-without persecution. What do you know about the Pilgrims’ story?”
Say:” This month, we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims and their American Indian friends had the very first Thanksgiving dinner. What do you think the Pilgrims were most thankful for?”
Say: “The first Thanksgiving was a special celebration so the Pilgrims could thank God for the way he had watched over them.”
2. W.W.J.D.?-(Supplies: Con-Tact paper, scissors, and permanent markers.) Guide children in making “What Would Jesus Do?” (W.W.J.D.?) stickers. Have kids cut the Con-Tact paper into shapes and then write W.W.J.D.? on the stickers. Tell children that when someone makes fun of them for being a Christian, they can look at their stickers and remember how Jesus would respond.
Allergy Alert: Some children have food allergies that can be dangerous. Know your children, and consult with parents about allergies their children may have.
3. Snack: Plain popped corn, salt, butter-flavored salt, sugar, cinnamon, Parmesan cheese, and bowls.
Directions: Give each child a bowl of plain popcorn. Tell children that the American Indians and Pilgrims ate corn in many different ways, such as corn-on-the-cob, soup, bread, and even popcorn! Have children put their choice of seasoning on their popcorn, or eat this Thanksgiving snack plain.
Kenn Gorman is a children’s minister in Wenatchee, Washington.