Use Dr. Seuss’ whimsical books to set the stage for introducing biblical wisdom to children with these 6 Sunday School Lessons Based on Dr. Seuss Books. Find more great Sunday school lessons to help kids grow in their faith.
The whimsical world of Dr. Seuss has entertained and educated children and adults for the last 64 years with stories that rhyme and charismatic characters who delight their listening audience. Underneath the silliness, Dr. Seuss’ stories tend to shed light on human nature and the world we live in. They can also be used to relate the gospel and biblical wisdom in a colorful way.
So…when you find you’re in the mood to run and play, when rhyming sounds like just the plan for the day, take these lessons that can’t be beat, and let Dr. Seuss teach that the Bible is neat! You can use all these lessons for a full week of summer camp. Or use a lesson every now and then to reinforce a Sunday school lesson that has the same theme.
Dr. Seuss Lesson 1: Sharing Jesus
From The Book: “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).
Here’s the Hook: Kids will learn about sharing Jesus with others and trying something different.
- two plates of mashed potatoes — one white and one mixed with green food coloring.
Ask kids which plate of mashed potatoes they’d rather eat. Tell them you’re going to read Green Eggs and Ham, and you’ll need a volunteer during the story to take a bite of the white mashed potatoes every time the man in the book says, “I do not like them, Sam-I-am.” Every time he says, “I like green eggs and ham!” the volunteer will take a bite out of the green potatoes.
Read the book Green Eggs and Ham. After you’ve read the story, ask:
- Why do you think Sam wanted to share the green eggs and ham with his friend?
- Why didn’t his friend want to try them?
- Do you think you’d want to try green eggs and ham? Why or why not?
- When was the first time you heard about Jesus?
- Did you want to become Jesus’ friend right away?
- After you discovered that Jesus was good, did you want to tell your friends? Why or why not?”
Say: Today’s verse is Psalm 34:8. It says ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.’ Many of you have ‘tasted’ or tried out God’s way. It may have been scary at first, but once you tried it, you liked it! You may have friends who don’t know about Jesus and are scared to come to church. You need to take Jesus to them just as Sam in this story took something new to his friend!
Eat That Food!
- celery sticks,
- green apples,
- green jelly beans,
- peeled kiwi fruit,
- green M&M’s candy,
- poster board, and
- a brass brad.
Cut out a poster-board circle and draw five pie sections on the circle. Write one of the above food items in each section. Draw and cut out an arrow from a different piece of poster board, and attach the arrow to the poster-board circle with a brass brad to help it spin.
Have kids take turns spinning the wheel. Wheel-spinners must eat whatever food comes up on the wheel. Play until each person has had a turn.
Green Egg Cookies
- round sugar cookies,
- white frosting,
- plastic spoons, and
- green jelly beans.
Say: Our verse today says “Taste and see that the Lord is good…” Let’s have some yummy cookies to remind us of God’s goodness.
Have kids frost the sugar cookies and put a green jelly bean “egg yolk” on each one to remind them of how good God is!
- pencils, and
- crayons or markers.
Have kids make books about helping a friend “try” Jesus. Allow kids to work in groups; some will be better at writing words while others would rather illustrate. The books should be in a rhyming style, with lines such as, “I’ll love Jesus here or there; I’ll love Jesus everywhere!” Have groups read their books. Make enough photocopies of each book so that each child has a copy of all the books to take home.
Dr. Seuss Lesson 2: Patience Is Better
From The Book: “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride” (Ecclesiastes 7:8).
Here’s the Hook: Kids will learn the results that come from being patient and keeping their promises.
- plastic Easter eggs with chewy fruit snacks inside.
Show children the plastic eggs. Say: I have an egg that contains a surprise inside for each of you. You’ll need to be patient and listen to our story first; then you’ll get your egg.
Read the book Horton Hatches the Egg. After you’ve read the story, ask:
- Why didn’t Mayzie want to sit on her egg?
- Was it easy for Horton to sit on the egg for so long? Why or why not?
- How do you think Horton felt when the egg hatched and a flying elephant came out?
- Can you think of a time you’ve been patient and faithful, ‘One hundred percent’?”
Read aloud Ecclesiastes 7:8. Then ask:
- What does this verse say about patience?
- Which character in the book had patience?
- Who kept a promise?
- Who was rewarded in the end?
Say: It’s not easy to be patient like Horton, but the outcome can be wonderful when we’re patient.
- 32 balloons,
- two large boxes, and
- two sets of the Bible verse written out and cut apart word by word.
Divide balloons into two sets of 16. For each set, stuff a word from the verse into each balloon. Inflate balloons and place each set in separate boxes at the far end of your room.
Form two teams. On “go,” the first person on each team runs to the balloons, picks up one, and sits on it until it pops. The runner takes the word from the balloon and runs back to tag the next person in line. Continue to play until all the balloons have been popped. Each team puts the words from the verse in order and reads the verse together as a team.
- the plastic eggs from the opening activity.
Say: You’ve done a great job of being patient today. Remember the plastic eggs I showed you earlier? They contain your snack for today.
Give an egg to each child, and have the children eat their snacks.
- one package of Quaker Oatmeal Dinosaur Eggs cereal per child.
Before kids leave, let them know you have a special surprise for them. Give each child a package of oatmeal. Tell kids that this oatmeal is special because it has egg pieces in it. Tell them that their parents will need to help them hatch their eggs by adding hot water to their cereal in a bowl. Have them report on their discoveries the following week.
Dr. Seuss Lesson 3: Unity In Christ
From The Book: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
Here’s the Hook: Kids will learn that although they each have unique qualities, they’re all one in Christ.
- peanut butter,
- powdered sugar,
- chocolate chips, and
- resealable sandwich bags.
Give each child a resealable sandwich bag. Have kids each add to their bags one spoonful of peanut butter, four spoonfuls of powdered sugar, two spoonfuls of oatmeal, and one spoonful of chocolate chips. Show kids how to seal their bags securely. Tell them not to mix the ingredients in their bags.
Say: Wow! We put all kinds of yummy things into these bags! I think these will make a wonderful snack.
- How many of you would enjoy eating the ingredients in these bags by themselves?
Say: Although some of these ingredients aren’t very tasty alone, when we mix them all together, we create yummy cookies.
Say: We’re going to read a story about some creatures who were unkind to those who looked different from them. As I read the story, mix the ingredients in your bag.
Read the story The Sneetches. After you’ve read the story, ask:
- Why do you think the Star-Belly Sneetches were mean to the Plain Bellies?
- How would it feel to be a Star Belly? a Plain Belly?
- Why did the Fix-it-Up Chappie come and try to change the Sneetches?
- What happened when the Sneetches decided it didn’t matter who had stars on their bellies?
Read aloud Galatians 3:28. Then ask:
- How is this story like or unlike this Bible verse?
Say: I named a bunch of differences — Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female — but the verse says that we’re all the same when we’re Christians. I’m glad the Sneetches learned that they can be different and still be one, aren’t you?
- double-sided tape and
- star shapes for half your group.
Form two teams. Place stars on the bellies of the Star-Belly teammates. Have the Plain Bellies try to tag the Star Bellies. When Star Bellies are tagged, they must give their stars to their taggers. After five minutes, have Star Bellies get rid of their stars by sticking them to Plain Bellies’ stomachs.
After the game, ask:
- Do you remember everyone who was on your team at the beginning of the game? Why or why not?
- What was easy or difficult about this game?
- As Christians, how can we show love to other Christians who may go to a different church or live in a different country?”
Crazy Cookie Bags
As children eat the ingredients in their cookie bags, have children share one unique quality about themselves.
- one cut-out star shape per child,
- glue, and
- an instant-print camera.
Take a photo of each child in your class. Have children glue their pictures to their stars. Then have children write their names above their pictures and something unique about themselves below. Make a banner that says “We’re All One in Christ Jesus” and place it at the top of a bulletin board. Place your classroom of “stars” below the banner so everyone can see them sparkle.
(“Crazy Cookie Bags” excerpted from “Show Me!” Devotions for Leaders to Teach Kids by Susan L. Lingo, Group Publishing.)
Dr. Seuss Lesson 4: Teamwork Time
From The Book: The story of the Tower of Babel from Genesis 11:1-9.
Here’s the Hook: Kids will learn that they need to work together for the right reasons.
- a real turtle or a picture of a turtle,
- a small plastic turtle, and
- nine small wooden blocks.
Note: Live turtles carry salmonella. Have kids wash hands thoroughly after handling the turtle.
Show the real turtle or picture of the turtle to kids and ask, “Where does a turtle belong? What would happen if a turtle didn’t want to be in the water and thought he should be more than a turtle?”
Read the book Yertle the Turtle. As you tell the story, create a block tower by placing three more blocks under the plastic turtle every time Yertle’s tower gets higher. Knock down the block tower when Yertle falls into the water.
After you’ve read the story, ask:
- Why did Yertle build a high tower?
- What did Yertle think of himself?
- How did Yertle feel after he fell in the water?
Say: In Genesis, there’s a story about people who thought they could build a tower to heaven.
Read aloud Genesis 11:1-9. Then ask:
- Why did the people want to build a tower?
- How were the people in the Bible like or unlike Yertle?
Say: The good thing in our Bible story is that the people worked together. But they worked together for the wrong reasons.
- What are the right reasons to work together?
- What are ways we can work together?
- various stackable items found in your classroom or church such as books, erasers, or plastic tubs.
Form groups of six. Have each group work together to build a structure that only touches the ground in four places (like the four legs of a turtle). The structure should be about 5 feet high, using only supplies found in your classroom. Designate items that are off-limits for safety reasons, and encourage kids to work together.
After they’re finished, ask:
- How are your towers like or unlike the ones we read about today?
- Why does God like it when we work together?
- six round crackers per child,
- plastic knives,
- paper plates,
- plastic bowls,
- marshmallow cream, and
- one green jelly bean per child.
For each group of four, fill a bowl with marshmallow cream. Give each child a plate, a plastic knife, and six crackers. Have kids build towers on their plates using the crackers and marshmallow cream. When kids are finished constructing their cracker towers, have them place their green jelly beans on top to remind them of Yertle; then they can eat their towers.
- a bowl, and
- green food coloring.
Before class, color one marshmallow green per child by dipping marshmallows into a bowl of green food coloring. Give each child a green marshmallow. Set out toothpicks and plain marshmallows to share.
Say: You’re going to build a tower out of toothpicks and marshmallows to take home to eat. The green marshmallow represents Yertle; place it on top of your tower. You’ll have to share toothpicks and marshmallows to build your tower.
(“Tumble Towers” adapted from Forget-Me-Not Bible Story Activities by Christine Yount Jones, Group Publishing.)
Dr. Seuss Lesson 5: God Protects Us
From The Book: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
Here’s the Hook: Kids will learn that God protects them when they’re scared.
- a television, DVD player, and
- the VeggieTales DVD, Where’s God When I’m S-scared?
Cue the video at 9:30. Play the video to 11:07. Then say: Today we’re going to hear a silly story about being afraid. In the video, Junior learned that “God is bigger than the boogeyman.” Let’s see if God is bigger than what scares the character in our story.
Read the story What Was I Scared Of? After you’ve read the story, ask:
- What would you do if you saw a pair of pale green pants floating in the air?
- What are some things you’re afraid of?
- Is there anything that helps you when you’re afraid?
Say: In the Bible, a man named David wrote about being afraid at night.
Read aloud Psalm 4:8.
Say: David wrote that he could sleep through the night because he knew God would keep him safe. God is always with us, even when we’re afraid.
Surrounded by a Big God
- a nylon parachute,
- four adults, and
- a large area to do this activity.
Have kids and adults circle around the parachute and grab edges of it to hold for the activity. Position the adults at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock on the parachute. Tell kids to move the parachute up and down; then have them let go while the adults continue moving the parachute up and down.
Have kids run under the parachute. Then have the adults bring the parachute edges to the ground, creating a bubble over the kids.
After the activity ask:
- What was it like to be surrounded by the parachute?
- Did you feel safe inside the parachute? Explain.
- How is God like a parachute when we’re afraid?
Say: When we’re afraid, God is like a parachute, surrounding us with his love and protection. We don’t need to feel afraid because God is always with us.
Sleepin’ in Graham Comfort
- graham crackers,
- food coloring,
- cake decorating tubes with various tips (one for every four to five kids),
- plastic knives,
- several small bowls,
- mixing spoons, and
- paper plates.
Say: We’re going to decorate graham crackers with frosting and make them look like kids in sleeping bags. The only rule in decorating the crackers is that you have to put a smile on your cracker kid’s face to show that he or she can ‘Lie down and sleep in peace,’ for God alone holds you in safety.
Have kids frost their crackers, making smiling faces with the decorating tubes. When kids are finished say: Before we eat our snacks, let’s thank God that we can have smiles on our faces at night knowing that God will hold us in safety.
- black construction paper,
- glow-in-the-dark crayons, and
- glow-in-the-dark face paint.
Give each child a sheet of black construction paper. Have kids write Psalm 4:8 on their sheets of paper with the glow-in-the-dark crayons. When kids are finished, draw a cross on each child’s cheek with glow-in-the-dark face paint. Turn off the lights to see how everyone glows. Tell kids to hang the verse in their bedrooms to remind them that God helps them when they’re afraid.
Dr. Seuss Lesson 6: The Earth Is The Lord’s
From The Book: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1).
Here’s the Hook: Kids will learn to care for God’s earth.
- tape, and
Give each child a whole newspaper section. Demonstrate how to unfold it and open it up wide, with an equal number of pages on each side. Starting at one side, roll up the newspaper into a long tube and use a small piece of tape to hold the roll together. Cut strips approximately 5 inches long and ½ inch wide around one end of the tube. Gently twist and pull out the middle strips to make the tube taller and fuller.
Say: You’ve just made a Truffula Tree. The cool thing is that you recycled newspaper to create your tree rather than using new materials. Some of you may not know what a Truffula Tree is, so listen as I read the story of the Lorax and the Truffula Trees.
Read the story The Lorax. After you’ve read the story, ask:
- Why did the Lorax have to speak for the trees?
- Did people really need the Thneeds?
- What happens to animals when trees are chopped down in a forest?
- How does pollution affect the environment?
- What are some ways we can take care of God’s creation?
Say: The Bible says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
- If you’d created a cool art project and someone came along and wanted to ruin it, how would you feel?
- Do you suppose that’s the same way God feels about his creation? Why or why not?
Say: People will continue to pollute unless we help care for God’s creation.
- scrap paper,
- trash bags with handles, and
- a paper-recycle bin.
Form pairs. Throw newspaper and paper scraps all over the floor. Place the recycle bin at one end of the room. Have each pair do a “wheelbarrow” race to the other end of the room with the trash bag. The person walking on his or her hands picks up as much paper as possible and puts it in the recycle bin. Let kids know that when we recycle, everyone wins!
- one tortilla for each child,
- cream cheese,
- plastic knives,
- blue decorating sugar,
- green decorating sugar,
- tape, and
- a picture of the earth.
Tape the picture of the earth so it can be seen by everyone. Tell kids to spread cream cheese over their entire tortillas. Have kids sprinkle blue and green decorating sugar over their tortillas so they look like the earth.
- trash bags.
Say: We’ve made a snack for later, so let’s spend some time caring for God’s creation by picking up trash around the church. Get into groups of four and take one trash bag for your group.
If you have enough adults, you can form more groups to cover more territory. Otherwise, stick together, and make sure groups take their bags to the trash container when they’re finished. When you return to your room, have kids wash up. Then eat your snack together, and thank God for his creation.
Courtney Wilson is a children’s and family pastor in Vancouver, Washington.
For more great ideas like this in each issue, subscribe to Children’s Ministry Magazine today!