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