OH, THE LESSONS THEY’LL LEARN!
Additional Story Ideas
Using Dr. Suess Books to Teach Bible Truths
HAPPY WITH WHAT WE HAVE
From the Book-“You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your
neighbor” (Exodus 20:17).
Here’s the Hook — Kids will learn that God wants us to be happy
with what we have and that it’s wrong to be envious of what others
You’ll need a variety of candy bars (one for each child), paper
lunch bags, and small pieces of paper numbered from one to the
total number of kids in your class.
Place one candy bar in each bag and set them on a table (make sure
you have a variety). Let each child draw a number. The child who
draws #1 chooses a bag, opens it, and pulls out a candy bar. The
child who draws #2 may either select a new bag or take the first
child’s candy bar. If he or she chooses #1’s candy, then the child
who drew #1 can pick a new bag. The child who draws #3 gets the
same choices, and so on. Each child must give up his or her candy
if someone asks for it. When every child has a candy bar, the game
Afterward ask, “How did you feel when you saw a candy bar you
wanted? What do you wish you could do to get it? Say, “Sometimes
all of us want something that belongs to someone else. This is
called coveting. But that greedy feeling we get when we want
something someone else has breaks one of the Ten Commandments, ‘You
shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor,’ or anyone
else for that matter. The Bible teaches us to be happy with what we
have. You can munch on those candy bars while I read this story
about a bird who wanted something her friend had.”
(Activity from Kids’ Travel Guide to the Ten Commandments by Carol
Mader, Group Publishing)
Read Gertrude McFuzz from the book Yertle the Turtle and Other
Gertrude’s Trouble — After you read the story ask, “Did Gertrude
really need a tail like Lolla-Lee-Lou? How did it make her feel to
see Lolla-Lee-Lou’s beautiful tail? Have you ever felt like
Gertrude felt? Would you have stopped after eating just one berry?
Why do you think Gertrude kept eating berries? Was it nice of her
to want to show off to Lolla-Lee-Lou? What lesson do you think
Gertrude learned? Can you think of a time you wanted something a
friend at school had? Did you want it so bad you thought you would
do anything to get it?”
Say, “Remember we talked about Exodus 20:17, the tenth
commandment, “You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your
neighbor.” What Gertrude did certainly was coveting! How can you be
happy with what you have?”
Hot Potato — You’ll need enough balls for each team of
Form groups of three and have each group choose one person to be
Say, “We’re going to play a game of Hot Potato. The person you
chose as It will try to get the ball while the other two toss it
back and forth to each other and try to keep it away from It.
Imagine that the ball represents an all-expense paid trip to an
exotic place and each of the tossers will be able to take the trip
unless It takes the ball away.”
Have kids play Hot Potato for three minutes, changing players who
are It if It gets the ball. Then stop the game and bring all the
Ask, “What was it like to be It? Did knowing what the ball
represented make you want the ball more? How did the passers feel,
knowing they already had the ball and trip? What did it feel like
when — and if — you lost the ball and the prize to It?
Say, “When we want something desperately, we often act differently
and can go to extreme measures to get it. Sometimes that’s a good
way to reach a goal, but when it’s out of envy for what someone
else has, our motivation is wrong.
Birds of a Feather- You’ll need: colored feathers and
Give each child a ball of clay and several feathers. Give some
children more feathers than others. Have teach child make a bird
out of the clay and use the feathers for tail feathers. Kids will
start to notice that some kids have more feathers than they do and
some may start to complain. Tell them, “Some of you do have less
feathers than others. You decide how you can handle having fewer
feathers without breaking the commandment; ‘You shall not covet.’
You can ask someone else for a few feathers, or you may choose to
have a bird with less feathers; it’s your choice how you handle
Have the kids take their birds home as a reminder that God gave
them what they have and they need to be happy with what they have
WHO’S THE BEST?
From the Book — “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain
conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
Here’s the Hook — Kids will learn that God loves a heart
that loves other people and isn’t proud or boastful. Read the story
as kids act it out. Choose a narrator, a rabbit, a bear, and a
worm. By acting it out, you give the kids a reason to listen to the
story. You may even want to videotape it and play it for the kids
as their parents arrive, they could even act it out a few
Read the story The Big Brag from the book Yertle the Turtle
and Other Stories.
Too Much Talent — After reading the story, ask, “What is
one thing you’re really good at? What was the rabbit really good
at? the bear? the worm? Do you ever talk about the things you’re
really good at? Do you talk about them because you’re really
excited about them, or do you talk about them to make other people
feel jealous? Was the rabbit talking about himself to make the
other animals jealous?”
Say, “Jesus was really good at a lot of things. He could walk on
water and heal people. He was especially good at miracles, and he
was a great teacher! Do you remember any time in the Bible when
Jesus bragged about all of the things he could do or about who his
father was? I don’t remember any times when Jesus was boastful or
proud in the Bible. Why wasn’t Jesus proud? Do you think that we
should be boastful or proud about what we’re good at? Why or why
Say, “Our verse for today is Philippians 2:3. It says, “Do nothing
out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider
others better than yourselves.” Let’s think about that. It’s saying
we shouldn’t do things because we’re only thinking of ourselves and
what we’ll get as a reward. It’s also saying we should be humble,
and that means exactly what it says in the verse — consider others
better than ourselves.
Stuck on You — You’ll need a sheet of poster board for each
child, pads of sticky notes, and markers.
Give each child a sheet of poster board, and have them each write
their name in big letters on the poster board. Distribute sticky
notes, and have kids write on each note two things they like about
themselves. Then have them stick the notes to their poster
Say, “Identifying something good about yourself is easy but we’re
going to try something different. On the sticky notes, write at
least one positive thing about each person in our class and place
it on each person’s poster. It might be a talent, something about
the person’s personality that you like, or maybe it’s someone’s
smile. Make sure you write at least one thing for each
Allow time for kids to write an affirming note for each person and
place the notes on the posters. When they’re finished, have kids
silently read the notes on their posterboard.
Ask, “What was different about what you wrote about yourself and
what others wrote about you? How does it make you feel to know what
people think about you? What would it be like if you were to write
all those things that others wrote about you and then tell the
class about yourself?”
Service With a Smile — You’ll need peanut butter, jelly,
bread, paper plates, and plastic knives.
Have the kids wash their hands. Then give each child a plate, a
knife, and two slices of bread. Have each child make a sandwich for
the person on his or her left and serve it to the person. As kids
serve their friends, have them say something nice about that
person. Afterward, say, “You guys have done a great job of serving
each other! Serving others is one of the best ways we can show
humility, and all of you thought of someone else before yourselves
for this snack! Great job!”
Good For… — You’ll need: 3×5 cards, markers, and pencils.
Give each child a 3×5 card, a pencil, and a marker.
Say, “All of you have special talents that you can use to serve
others. Just like the rabbit in the story who could use his hearing
to help people who can’t hear, you can use your special gift to ‘do
nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility
consider others better than yourselves.’
On your card, make a coupon for someone, using the talents that
God has given you to serve someone else. This isn’t a time to show
off your talents, but instead a time to do something for someone
else and think of the other person first. If you have big muscles,
you might carry groceries in for your mother this week. If you’re a
really good reader, you could read to someone younger than you.
Maybe you’re just really good at telling stories and talking, and
you could go to a nursing home and talk to some people who might be
Allow the children to decorate their coupons and take them home to
give to someone.
Courtney Wilson is a director of children’s and family
ministries in Phoenix, Arizona.
This article is excerpted from Children’s Ministry Magazine.
Copyright © Group Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.