Use this list of 19 time-fillers to make that extra class time positive learning time from your toddler room to your preteen ministry.
Time-Fillers for Ages 2 and 3
Ring Around the Rosie
Play the usual way but sing, “With kindness, with kindness, we love one another. Others first, others first. We don’t make others frown.” Have the children fall down. Afterward, discuss ways to be kind to others.
Doh-Review today’s Bible story by asking questions with answers that can be molded in Play-Doh. When a child answers correctly, everyone molds their Play-Doh like the answer.
Make up stories about children who either do or don’t apply today’s Bible lesson. If the child’s actions make Jesus smile, have kids smile. If the child’s actions make Jesus frown, have them frown.
Puppet Time Filler
Pull out a puppet who didn’t get to hear today’s story. Have the children tell the puppet what happened so he can learn God’s Word too.
Jesus Loves You
Have children play according to the rules of Duck, Duck, Goose but have them say “Jesus loves” as they walk around the circle and “you” as they tag others.
Have children pantomime different animals while other children try to guess the right answer.
Record the children singing, saying a verse, answering review questions, or telling how they’ll apply today’s lesson. Kids will be eager to hear their voices.
Keep simple homemade instruments in your classroom. March around the room playing instruments and singing or chanting the lesson’s main point.
Time-Fillers for Ages 4 and 5
Play as usual but say, “Jesus Christ was nailed down, nailed down, nailed down. Jesus Christ was nailed down to a rugged cross. Take Jesus into your heart, to your heart, to your heart, take Jesus into your heart. He wants to be your Savior.”
Play like Simon Says but say “teacher says.” Use this to apply Bible lessons. For example, say, “Teacher says to tell Jesus one thing you’re thankful for.”
Who Am I?
Choose a secret Bible character and give hints about his or her life until someone guesses correctly.
Act it Out Time-Filler
Have children re-enact the Bible story by staging a simple play.
How Do You Feel?
Assign each child a character from the Bible story. Reread the story. Ask children how their characters would’ve felt at different times in the story.
Time-Fillers for Grades 1 Through 6
Creative Writing Time-Filler
Have children write an article for The Jerusalem Journal. Have them pretend to be reporters at the scene of your Bible story.
Have someone volunteer to be the character from today’s Bible story. Have the other children write questions to ask the character. Then enjoy the press conference as kids interview the character.
Make a Time Line
Keep a clothesline, clothespins, and construction paper in your room. Have children write out and illustrate today’s story on pieces of construction paper. Using the clothespins, have children place all the stories you’ve covered in chronological order on the clothesline.
Play with words from the Bible lesson. Kids can also draw pictures that show ways to apply the lesson.
In my School?
Have children imagine that the Bible character from the lesson is in their school. What would he or she be like? Who would the character’s friends be? What would the character do on a rowdy school bus?
Have the class throw out ideas for a future service project that would apply the main point of today’s lesson. Discuss the pros and cons of each idea based on feasibility, finances, and work involved. Choose one idea to actually do. Then set a time to go for it.
Lisa Cowman is a children’s director in Norwalk, Ohio.
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