Invite children and families to experience this exciting Exodus Event as they explore the Old Testament (perfect as a Halloween alternative).
Ignite kids’ and families’ love for learning and for God with this unique fall festival, designed to educate, entertain, and enlighten. People will join you on a journey unlike anything they’ve experienced as Moses leads them on a walk of faith through the devastating plagues, the perils of the desert, and finally to the Promised Land.
Children’s Ministry Halloween Alternative: Exodus Event
Kids and adults will learn about the Exodus, the Israelites’ experience, and God’s amazing glory as they embark on this multisensory — and multi-fun — trip back in time.
Preparing for Exodus
You’ll need preplanning and plenty of adult volunteers to make this event a success. Here are some ideas to get you started.
This event can be held outdoors or indoors. If you choose to keep it outside, you’ll need a path to follow where stations are out of sight of each other. For example, follow a meandering path around your church property rather than setting up all the stations in the parking lot. If you stay indoors, consider setting up stations throughout your church building that’ll lead people on a pathway through most of the building.
You’ll need plenty of volunteers to help guide people, to oversee crafts and games, to decorate, and to greet people. Depending on the number of people, you should aim for one volunteer per eight to 10 children. One volunteer per group will need to dress as Moses.
Decorate, gather craft materials, and recruit extra help.
Publicity can make or break your event. Recent statistics indicate that more and more families are abandoning trick-or-treating for contained events such as the Exodus Event — so use this trend to your advantage. Publicize the event well in advance throughout your church and community. Fliers, posters, and mailers are great ways to get the word out.
Each of these groups will need a guide dressed as Moses to walk through the journey you’ve prepared and to enthusiastically narrate what happened.
Station 1: Who Were They?
- old sheets thrown over chairs for tents;
- images of pyramids, Moses, Aaron, the Red Sea, the tabernacle, maps, Israelites, Pharaoh, and other figures; and
- costume-making materials such as paper bags, fake fur, old sheets, twine, scissors, and tape.
You’ll also need someone dressed as Aaron who can tell the group about the Israelites in a narrative style.
How It Works
This beginning activity is designed to help people understand who the Israelites were and how they may’ve lived, and it also gives groups something to do as they wait for their turn to begin the journey. Groups will spend about 10 minutes learning about the Israelites’ daily lives and making Israelite costumes.
Station 2: The 10 Plagues
For each plague, you’ll need to gather the appropriate supplies. This portion of the journey can take place in a wide open activity area and works best indoors. Have Moses introduce each plague as he retells the events that led to the Exodus. Consider having “Pharaoh” and Moses act out their parts. You’ll also need volunteers to help with the plagues.
Plague 1: Blood
Each participant receives a paper cup. Have volunteers distribute water with red food coloring from pitchers labeled “Nile Water.” Create “dead fish” using Jell-O Jigglers gelatin mix (made according to package instructions) and fish-shaped cookie cutters, or provide Swedish or gummy fish.
Plague 2: Frogs
Play the Sticky Frog Game. Give each participant three sticky frogs (available at www.oriental trading.com). On “go,” people race to stick their frogs to other people. After three minutes, have people count the number of frogs stuck to them.
ALERT: Some sticky frogs stain clothing and other surfaces, so you may want to encourage people to wear old clothing or choose frogs that won’t leave stains.
Plague 3: Gnats
Give each participant a Gnat Sack — a paper bag with “Gnat Sack” printed on it to hold goodies throughout the journey. Also, have people play Guessing Gnats by guessing how many M&M’s candies or jelly beans are in a glass jar. Give each participant a snack-size package of the candy after you reveal whose guess is closest.
Plague 4: Flies
Play a game of Shoo, Fly! Place chairs for all but one participant in a circle. Have the person without a chair stand in the center and yell “Shoo, fly!” Remove a chair as people scramble to find a new seat. Anyone left without a chair goes to the center. With each round, remove another chair.
Plague 5: Dead Animals
Play a game of Deadly Tag, where those tagged must lie on the floor with feet and hands raised in the air until everyone is tagged. You can also hand out animal-wrapped lollipops or animal stickers (both available at www.orientaltrading.com) to represent the dead animals.
Plague 6: Boils
Boils can be symbolically made using calamine lotion and cotton balls. Give people “boil” dots and a bandage to emulate the skin disorder.
Plague 7: Hail and Lightning
Give each participant three hard neon bouncy balls (available at www.oriental trading.com). Have people toss their balls into the air all at once. As the “hail” falls to the ground, have everyone run to pick it up and throw it into the air again. Have a volunteer flip the lights on and off for lightning effect, and if possible, play sounds of thunder (available at www.sounddog.com). After a couple of minutes, have kids pick up three balls and place them in their Gnat Sacks.
Plague 8: Locusts
Explain that locusts are veggie eaters. Pass around images of grasshoppers and locusts along with snack-size portions of bananas, apples, grapes, and raw vegetables.
Plague 9: Darkness
Give each participant a mini flashlight. Form two groups and have the first group hide in your activity area with the lights off. The second group should close their eyes. On “go,” the second group opens their eyes and tries to shine the light on those hiding. If a child is hit by a flashlight beam, he or she is caught. Have teams switch roles and play again.
Plague 10: Death of Firstborn
Mix 2/3 white marbles to 1/3 red marbles in a cloth bag. Have kids each choose a marble from the bag. Those who choose a red marble symbolize the firstborn. Play again. Ask people to describe what it felt like to choose a red marble.
End the 10 Plagues section by giving people several chocolate coins to symbolize the Israelites taking riches from the Egyptians as they left Egypt.
Station 3: Exodus!
You’ll need to decorate and prepare each station separately and out of view of other stations. Consider posting signs along the journey, such as “Thanks for visiting Egypt,” “This way to the Promised Land,” “Only 10 miles to the Red Sea,” and so on.
Moses leads groups of eight to 10 on a journey from station to station, representing the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.
Place items for kids to carry on the journey, such as small suitcases, stuffed animals, walking sticks, and dolls. They can return these items once they’ve completed the journey.
Have Moses lead groups away from the 10 Plagues activity area. Once groups are about halfway to the next station, have Pharaoh surprise groups by demanding that they return to the starting place — not once, but twice!
Have a volunteer carry a large flashlight and a pillow, representing the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud the Israelites followed. This person can walk ahead of Moses.
Have “Pharaoh’s Army” ambush the group and make them run until they reach the Red Sea.
The Red Sea
Moses explains that he was sent by God to lead the group to a land flowing with milk and honey. To recreate the Red Sea, set up sprinklers shooting water back and forth or have hiding volunteers ready with water guns. As Moses strikes the ground with his staff, the Red Sea parts (shooting water stops, allowing the group to walk through dry). Pharaoh’s Army is overcome as the Red Sea overtakes them.
Bitter Springs of Marah
The next obstacle is the bitter water of Marah. Have your volunteers begin to complain loudly about how thirsty they are as you walk to the next obstacle, and encourage the rest of the group to do the same. When you reach the “springs,” have coolers filled with diluted vinegar water and paper cups. Have everyone taste the bitter water.
Manna From Heaven
The next obstacle in the journey is hunger. Have your volunteers complain about how hungry they are. Moses prays to God for a solution. As you reach the third station, have extra-large bowls of popcorn and small paper cups available for everyone to taste “manna from heaven.”
Beforehand, create a “mountain” using a ladder and brown paper. Tape the paper in the shape of a mountainside on each side of the ladder and have Moses ascend the mountain. On the way to Mount Sinai, have volunteers complain loudly about their frustration.
While Moses climbs the ladder, have volunteers rally the group into a rebellion. Moses will come down the mountain, dismayed by the group’s behavior and carrying the 10 Commandments (written on cardboard), which he shares with the group.
The Promised Land
Create the Promised Land using colorful decorations such as palm trees, plants, fruit, animals, and a background of joyful singing. Give people milk and Bit-O-Honey candies (milk and honey).
Station 4: Exodus Museum
Invite families to create crafts and play games to learn more about Moses and the Exodus. You may wish to have children in your children’s ministry prepare special projects covering different details related to the Exodus, such as profiles of Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh; information about ancient Egypt and the time period; related Scripture; why the Exodus happened; and so on. Your children will need at least three weeks to complete their projects. Display their projects around the station area along with the following multisensory activities.
- Loom: Have people practice weaving on a loom to experience what it might’ve been like to make clothing.
- Dig: Set up an archeological dig. Bury pottery in a large, shallow tub filled with sand. Give people old paintbrushes and trowels to use.
- Grinding: Create a wheat-grinding station using a rock on an old tile or another rock.
- Writing: Using parchment paper, sticks, and ink, create a hieroglyphics writing station.
- Stayin’ Alive: Provide snacks that represent what the Israelites may’ve eaten to stay alive, such as Swedish fish, gummy worms, gummy insects, grain, dandelion leaves, and gummy rats.
- Artwork: On stones, have families paint a symbol of the toughest obstacle the Israelites faced.
- Mount Sinai Experiment: Have kids build a miniature Mount Sinai using aluminum foil, tempera paint, cotton balls, and glue. Kids can shape a mountain out of tin foil and then glue cotton balls around the top of the mountain to represent the clouds that descended when God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses.
- Exodopoly: Use a Monopoly game board labeled with the various obstacles the Israelites faced. Have kids write their names on plastic frog jump-up toys (available at www.oriental trading.com) for markers. Create cards with instructions from Pharaoh, Moses, and the Israelites, and replace the Monopoly money with food, clothing, and shelter vouchers.
- 3-D Creations: Have kids illustrate the plagues or the journey using a variety of craft materials.
- Moses’ Rod: Have kids turn Moses’ rod into a snake by reshaping modeling clay.
Station 5: Journey’s End
This miniature disguise party, based on Hebrews 11 and 12, is a fun way to end your event. Provide plenty of disguise-making materials, shaped paper masks, glue, and tape.
Say: Early Christians and Old Testament saints who were tormented and persecuted used to disguise themselves as other people and sometimes even as animals. Read aloud Hebrews 11:37.
Have people create disguise masks for themselves — either as people or as animals. Once the masks are complete, give groups handouts with Hebrews 11:32-35, Hebrews 11:36-40, and Hebrews 12:1-3 written on them. For each Scripture, provide the following questions.
- Do these kinds of things happen today? Why or why not?
- When has God helped you out of a tight situation?
- Do you know of an example when God delivered someone from a bad situation, such as a fire or flood? Explain.
- Why were these people willing to suffer for their faith?
- How were they like or unlike the Israelites who left Egypt?
- How do you think these people remained faithful, even when they didn’t see everything that was promised?
- Why do you think they went so far as to use a sheep’s skin or goat’s skin to hide? Would you be willing to do that? Why or why not?
- Do you think people are suffering for their faith today? Why or why not?
- Do you think you might be required to suffer for your faith in your lifetime? Explain.
- What does this passage challenge us to do?
- How did Jesus remain faithful, even when he was being tortured?
- How was the Israelites’ suffering like or unlike Jesus’ suffering?
- What does this passage tell us about responding to pressure that conflicts with our faith?
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