Tuesday, May 24, 2016

OT Hero: Joshua

Our children are growing up in a world that blatantly erects walls in opposition to God and His Word.  Pray that the children you teach will come to know their God, as Joshua did, so that they may walk in confident obedience, regardless of the evil that surrounds them. Here are some great activities to help them begin to understand that our obedience, teamed up with God's power, is the key to victory.

Bible Truth: Joshua had courage to obey God.
Bible Story:  Joshua obeyed God, and marched around Jericho.  God gave Joshua the victory!
Bible Study: Joshua 6


dramatic play

I like teaching little ones the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho through dramatic play!  I have this set of cardboard blocks that I picked a couple years ago to use as our walls of Jericho. Before that, I use to save ALL my shoe boxes, specifically for this lesson, and they worked great!  I like to set the blocks up on a low table, with a table cloth under them. 

I also gather up the little people from our nativity set.  The children can each hold one as they participate in the story, making the people march, sleep and shout.  Using little figurines such as Lego people, army men, or anything else you may have, gives the children a perspective of the size of the wall around the city of Jericho.  It also gives them a greater appreciation for the incredible miracle God did when He brought the walls down.

This sun and moon visual help mark the days and nights, as we dramatize the story.

I read the story from a children's storybook Bible, or read selected verses straight from my Bible, pausing to direct the kids, as we act out each part of the story.  We march around the city walls once, without a sound, then go lay down to sleep, and repeat the process five more times, just as the Israelite's did. This activity not only burns off some energy, it also helps them to understand that Joshua won the battle because he obeyed, and did exactly what God told him to do, even though other people laughed at him, and made fun of him.  

Of course, on the seventh time that we wake up, we march around the city seven times, blow our "trumpets" and give a shout!  I pull the cloth to make the walls fall down!  This makes the point to the kids that Joshua's army didn't make walls fall down.  God is bigger and stronger than any walls, or any army, and He made walls fall flat down.  Thank You God for giving us the victory!!


  • Bigger Than Big - This is a great song to sing during worship time to support the lesson.
  • My God is So Big - This is also a great song to sing during worship time to support the lesson.
  • They Marched Around the City - This is a fun, playful song, set to a classic children's nursery rhyme, to reinforce the lesson, or to do at any time, when you need a little filler.
  • Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho - This song works best as a puppet song or as a song to listen to during craft time.


they marched around the city

Setup the blocks, or boxes, as the walls of Jericho on a table cloth or sheet.  Sing "They Marched Around the City", as you march around the walls.  At the end, pull the cloth or sheet to knock the walls down.  The kids are sure to ask you to play it again and again!


victory trumpets

Here is my version of a simple trumpet craft that makes the dramatic play suggestions even more fun!
You will need:
  • scripture labels
  • cardboard tubes (toilet paper or paper towel rolls)
  • construction paper
  • wax paper
  • rubber bands
  • hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • tape
  • crayons
To prepare, print and cut the scripture labels.  Cut construction paper sheets into fourths, and cut wax paper into approximately 3.5" by 3.5" squares.

In class, give the children the scripture labels to color.  Tape the scripture to the construction paper as shown above. and then tape the construction paper around the cardboard tube.  Place the wax paper over the shown end of the tube, and secure with a rubber band.  Apply a couple dots of hot glue to keep the rubber band in place.  DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO HANDLE THE HOT GLUE GUN, AND KEEP IT OUT OF THEIR REACH.

Make a "doo-do-it-dooo" noise into the open end of the trumpet for a great kazoo sound!

the walls fall down

This craft gives the children the opportunity to retell the story, and bring home the words to "They Marched Around the City" to sing at home with their parents.  You will need:
  • this print out
  • construction paper
  • yarn
  • drinking straws
  • brown paint
  • sponges
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • glue
  • tape
  • crayons
To prepare, print and cut the print out. Cut the solid lines around the wall.  Fold the wall along the dotted lines. Cut out the character graphics and the rhyme, on the dotted lines.  Punch two holes on opposite ends of the construction paper.  Cut drinking straws to about 3" in length, and cut yarn to approximately 24" lengths.  Thread a strand of yarn through the cut straw, and then through the holes of the paper.  Tie it securely in the back.  Cut sponges into rectangular, brick shapes.

In class, provide small rectangular sponges and brown paint for the children to stamp brown bricks onto the wall. Allow the walls to dry for a few minutes while you continue working on the craft.  Provide crayons for them to color Joshua and the Israelite's.  Tape the characters to the straw.  Glue the lyrics to the rhyme onto the construction paper.

When the walls are mostly dry, tape the bottom tabs to construction paper as shown below.  

Show children how to manipulate the people to march, and make the walls to fall, as you sing the rhyme.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

OT Hero: Joseph

Children can absolutely glean lessons from Joseph's story about keeping a good attitude when they are treated unfairly, and forgiving those who don't deserve it, but the ultimate goal of every Biblical account of someone's life is to teach us something of God, and His character.  Through the twists and turns of Joseph's life, we see God's goodness, God's faithfulness, and His ability to work all things out for our good (Romans 8:28).  As you teach the story of Joseph, point your children towards God and His goodness.  Here are some ways to help you do just that!

Bible Truth: Joseph shared God's goodness.
Bible Story:  Joseph's brothers were mean to him, but God was good to him.  Joseph forgave his brothers and helped his family.
Bible Study: Genesis 37-45



As with most Bible stories, I will use a Children's Bible Storybook, or flannel graph for visuals, but I always try to add another tangible element to bring the story alive!  There are a lot of details in the story of Joseph, but since we are teaching this lesson to young children in one service, I focus on the big picture of Joseph's life, emphasizing that God was watching over Joseph wherever he went.  No matter where Joseph was, or how he felt, he trusted and obeyed God.  These items help me stay on track, and illustrate each of these points in the story.

  • colorful scarf / cloth - Joseph had eleven brothers.  Can you count to eleven?  Joseph was his father's favorite son. His father, Jacob, gave him a very special, beautiful, colorful coat.  This made Joseph's brothers jealous, because they didn't get a special coat.  Joseph also had special dreams like that the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to Joseph.  The dreams seemed to mean that Joseph's father, mother and eleven brothers would bow down to him.  Dreams like this made Joseph's brothers mad at him.
  •  rope - One day Joseph's brothers stole his coat and threw him into a pit, a dark hole in the ground.  They were trying decide what to do with him, when some travelers who sold expensive spices and oils passed by.  They sold Joseph to the travelers, so that they could sell Joseph as a slave.  How do you think Joseph felt when his brothers treated him this way?
  • hand towel and money - The travelers sold Joseph to the captain of the army in Egypt.  Joseph took very good care of the captain's house.  God was with Joseph, and He became the one in charge of everything in the captain' house, even all of his money.  How do you think Joseph felt now?
  • handcuffs - One day, the captain's wife told a lie about Joseph.  She told her husband that Joseph tried to hurt her.  The captain believed his wife's lie and threw Joseph into prison.  How do you think Joseph felt in prison?  Even in prison, God was with Joseph, and he became the one in charge of all the prisoners.  Sometimes the prisoners had strange dreams, and God helped Joseph explain the meaning of their dreams.
  • Egyptian headdress (Follow the link for a template.  This could also be a craft for the kids to make!) - One day, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had a strange dream.  He called Joseph out of prison, and God helped Joseph explain the meaning of Pharaoh's dream.  Pharaoh listened to Joseph and made him ruler over the land of Egypt.  How do you think Joseph felt now?  
  • bag of rice, oats or any other grain - After seven years there was a terrible famine.  There was no food in all the land, and people were very hungry.  But as the ruler of Egypt, Joseph had stored up lots of grain, so people all over the land came to Joseph to get grain to eat.  One day, Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to ask for grain.  They came before Joseph and bowed down to him.  Joseph recognized them, but they didn't know that it was Joseph.  Joseph's dream came true!  His brothers were bowing down to him!  Joseph had lots of power.  He could throw them into prison, or even kill them, if he wanted to get back at them for the horrible way that they treated him.  But Joseph didn't do that.  He started to cry, and said to them, "Brothers, it's me Joseph.  You tried to hurt me, but God was taking care of me.  He brought me here, and made me the ruler so that I can help you.  I forgive you for the way that you treated me."  He hugged them, gave them all the food that they needed.  Then all of Joseph's family came to live with him Egypt.  How do you think Joseph felt now?
  • binoculars - God was watching Joseph everywhere that he went.  He saw Joseph proudly wear his colorful, handsome coat.  He saw Joseph when his brothers stole his coat, threw him in a pit, and sold him as a slave.  He saw Joseph take good care of the captain's house, and he saw him get thrown into prison when he didn't deserve it.  He saw him become the ruler of Egypt, and forgive his brothers.  God was always watching Joseph.  Joseph kept a happy heart, and kept believing and trusting God.  God took care of Joseph.  He made the bad things in his life turn out to be good things.  God is always watching and taking care of you too!


  • Watching Over You - God was watching over Joseph everywhere that he went, and God is watching over you too!  Here is a video to see suggested actions for this song.
  • When I'm Sad - God was with Joseph when he felt sad, hurt, scared and mad.  Joseph believed that God was with him, and knew that God was helping him.  
Here's a great visual to go with this song!  If you have ever attended one of my seminars, you've likely seen me do this song.  I suggest printing on card stock for durability.  Print page three on the back of page one.  Print page four on the back of page two.  Then cut each page lengthwise, fold and attach each pair of faces to a file folder as shown below.  Add a small bandage to the hurt red face.  Lift each flap as you sing each part of the song.  

I'm telling you, this song is anointed!  The kids loooove it, and it has a very applicable message for their lives.


i spy

Play the classic game of "I Spy" with your class to imagine all the beautiful colors that were on Joseph's coat!  Use your binoculars to spy an object in the room.  Say, "I spy with my little eye something that is ___________ (color of object)".  Give the children three guesses to find your object.  Let the children take turns to spy objects too.


coat of many colors

You will need:
To prepare, print the activity page, and use wire cutters to cut chenille stems the length of Joseph's coat.

In class, provide crayons for the children to color.  Help the children apply glue, and choose chenille stems to press onto Joseph's coat.

God is watching binoculars

If you use binoculars, as suggested to wrap up the story, your kids will want to look through the binoculars as well.  They will love having their own pair to take home that will help them remember both the story of Joseph, and that God is always watching over them!  You will need:
To prepare, print and cut the binocular cover print out.  Place two cardboard tubes side by side, and wrap colored tape around the top and the bottom to connect them, and give them a finished look.  Cut yarn, or lacing, to approximately thirty inch lengths.

In class, provide crayons for the children to color their binocular covers.  Use clear tape to secure the covers around each pair of cardboard rolls.  Punch a hole on either side of the binoculars.  Tie yarn or lacing through each hole to complete the binoculars.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a special and different type of day in my classroom.  We keep the generally same routine, but we make Mom the star of the show, and focus on things that will be a blessing to her!

Bible Truth: Thank God for my mommy.
Bible Story:  God's Word says to obey and bring joy to my mother.
Bible Study: Proverbs 23:25; Ephesians 6:1-3


When it comes to prayer time, we forego the normal prayer requests.  We talk about all the things our mothers do for us, and how blessed we are because God gave us a mommy to take care of us.  We thank God for her, and pray especially for her.  Praying for our mommies is one of the best ways that we can show our love for her!


Today's goal is to be a blessing to our mothers, so instead of a lesson, we put our love into action, allowing for a longer craft time to make something extra special for her!  Since most children are in my class for two years, I try to never repeat the same Mother's Day craft two years in a row.  Thankfully, Pinterest helps to keep the creative juices flowing!  I've rounded up a few different craft ideas from other sites to share with you.

Mother's Day Pieces Card - This is a very simple card that requires minimal materials and prep, but I think it is absolutely adorable!


Because Bouquet - Younger children, you will need to write the reason that they love their mom for them, but the reasons that little ones give are always charming, and they make a great keepsake for Mom!

Satin Hands Sugar Scrub - This was the Mother's Day gift that I made with my class last year.  I used small plastic containers, which also come in a pack of ten at Dollar Tree.  Children mixed their ingredients in a cup.  I poured the mixture into the container, and they chose a pretty flower decal to attach to the lid.  We labelled them with these labels (which will fit on an Avery 5160 address label if you would like to print them onto an adhesive label).  It was a sweet, and useful gift that the kids really enjoyed making, since it was different than the crafts that we usually do.

Mary Kay's Satin Hands Copycat Recipe