Use these 14 playful ideas to reinforce your lessons
about the Word of God.
It's been a long week, and Saturday night has you scrambling
through your lesson plan. Quickly skimming through the lesson, you
frown. Hmm... not a particularly interesting one this week. How
could you pep it up a few notches?
How about words? Big words, wacky words, foreign words, cheering
words, staccato words? Use all kinds of words to drive home the big
idea of your lesson. Let's slip and slide through a multitude of
words to arrive at our destination -- meaningful and memorable
1. MATH WORDS
I once taught a lesson about Jonah. My central point was God's
readiness to forgive over and over again. Throughout the lesson,
the class and I said, "God forgives us googol times." A googol is
the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.
By the end of our class, the kids said, between giggles, "God
"Five times?" I'd ask.
"No! Googol times!"
The lesson was fun and memorable because the kids loved saying
the word "googol." They won't soon forget how much God forgives
2. SCIENCE WORDS
To illustrate the way the Holy Spirit works in hearts, talk
about xylem. Xylem is the part of a plant's root system that moves
materials upward from the roots to the leaves by way of the stems.
Explain that just as xylem moves water through a plant, the Holy
Spirit moves God's Word through our lives. The Spirit moves God's
truth from our minds to our hearts so we can actually live out
truth. The Holy Spirit is the xylem in our lives.
To make your lesson even more memorable, bring in a white
carnation in a vase. Add food coloring to the water. After several
days, the dye will travel up the stem and into the carnation,
thereby coloring it. The following Sunday, show children the
changed carnation. Discuss how the xylem carried the dye just as
the Holy Spirit carries God's truth.
3. MAKE-BELIEVE WORDS
Let your class get really creative. Perhaps your lesson is about
the names of God. Have your class make a huge poster of their names
for God. Encourage kids to combine words and thoughts based on
their knowledge and experience of God. Some examples are
heart-fixer-upper, happily-dappily-loveful, sunny-joy-rageous.
4. FOREIGN WORDS
Dust off your old Spanish book and give your main point in
Español. Or if you're first language is Spanish, try this with
German! Teach your class the foreign words. For example, have kids
say "Mi amigo Jesus" (my friend Jesus) whenever you say Jesus' name
during class. Have kids continually repeat the words with you as
you go through the lesson.
5. SIGN LANGUAGE WORDS
Children love to learn and use sign language, so use it to
reinforce and teach your lesson. Perhaps your lesson is on Christ's
healing of the deaf man. Check out a book about sign language from
the library. Find out how to sign "Jesus is our healer." Have kids
periodically sign that sentence with you until they have it down.
Challenge kids to sign this to their parents on the way home from
6. THEOLOGICAL WORDS
With one class of fourth-graders, I went through some of the
doctrines of the Bible. Sound too deep? They loved it. They felt so
smart knowing what Christology and angelology meant. Of course, we
had to review the words frequently to help kids remember them.
7. ONOMATOPOEIC WORDS
"What?" you ask. Onomatopoeias are words such as buzz and
tinkle. They're words that sound like the concepts they stand for.
For instance, if your lesson is about Joshua and the battle of
Jericho, your repetitive onomatopoeic teaching phrase could be
"Boom! Boom! Boom! If God is for us, who can be against us?"
8. ALLITERATIVE WORDS
Use a phrase that contains the frequent usage of the same
initial sound. If your lesson is on Satan, try the phrase, "When
Satan slithers secretly, scram!"
9. RHYMING WORDS
Rhymes are a great memory technique. Just think of all the
nursery rhymes you still remember. Rhymes are easy to create and
help facilitate memory. If your lesson is on loneliness, repeat
frequently as a class: "When you're lonely or you're blue, turn to
God -- see what he'll do."
You may be surprised to learn one day how that simple little
phrase helped a child all through life. Or you may be surprised how
the phrase comes back to you.
10. WORD PICTURES
Use word pictures to verbally illustrate a truth. For example,
if you're teaching a lesson about the importance of a clean thought
life, choose 2 Corinthians 10:5 as your theme: "We take captive
every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
The word picture I'd use with this verse is a lasso. (It would
be great to bring one in.) Explain how lassos are used to bring
cows into captivity. Tell your kids to close their eyes and imagine
a cowpoke lassoing a steer. Then have kids imagine what it's like
to lasso a bad thought. You may even want to have kids draw
cartoons of themselves lassoing bad thoughts.
11. COMMERCIAL JINGLES
Think of all the commercial jingles you know. Why do you
remember them? The repetition and the song make them unforgettable.
So transfer those principles to your class.
If your lesson is about experiencing and enjoying the Lord, your
key verse could be Psalm 34:8: "Taste and see that the Lord is
good." What jingle could you create with the famous Campbell's Soup
Commercial ideas are endless. Just pay attention when you watch
television. You'll be amazed at the ideas you'll get for teaching
12. THE PERFECT CHEER
Make your key point into a cheer. Kids will absolutely love it.
The key is to keep the cheer short with easy-to-remember motions. A
cheer is a great wiggle tamer and teaching method. For a lesson
about Moses parting the Red Sea, teach your kids this cheer:
Give me an M! (M!)
Give me an O! (O!)
Give me an S! (S!)
Give me an E! (E!)
Give me another S! (S!)
What's that spell? (Moses!)
Moses, Moses, standing at the sea!
First come the signs!
Then comes the chase!
Then splits the Red Sea...
Everybody race! Go-o-o-o, Moses!
13. INTERACTIVE SONGS OR PHRASES
Reinforce your main point by using a song or phrase with parts.
For instance, use an interactive song to the tune of "London
Bridge." You sing the first part, and kids sing the part in
Jesus Christ forgives my sin,
(Forgives your sin, forgives our sin.)
Jesus Christ forgives my sin.
(He's my Savior!)
Have fun teaching your lesson on the great forgiver of all time
-- Jesus Christ. Then sing this song often throughout the class.
Help the kids learn both parts of the song. Enjoy using your
creativity as you experiment with a variety of words.
14. STACCATO WORDS
Also keep in mind that when using words, you have different ways
of delivering them. Say some words short, or staccato, and others
drawn out. You can also vary the volume. These simple changes will
keep your words interesting and just plain fun.
Lisa Cowman ministers to children in Norwalk, Ohio. Please
keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and prices are subject