As many of us get ready for Easter and the events leading up to it, here’s a great craft for kids introducing them to Palm Sunday. Jesus enters Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey the week before his crucifixion. The disciples spread their cloaks on the donkey for Jesus to sit on. Many people came out to welcome Jesus. They laid their cloaks and palm branches before him and praised him.
Have fun teaching kids about “The Triumphant Entry” of Jesus entering into Jerusalem fulfilling another prophesy by making a fun balloon donkey on a stick or string to walk down halls after class. Talk with them about why he may have chosen a donkey instead of a horse. Teach them about Jesus being a servant and relating to the people. (Matthew 21:1-11)
What you’ll need: Balloon, Donkey template, scissors, tape, string (and colors if you’d like kids to color their donkey first)
Print copies of the donkey template on card stock.
Cut out donkey then color if you’d like.
Blow up balloon to desired size
Tape donkey head, legs and tail to balloon.
Tape string or stick to balloon.
Now you’ve got a donkey to walk down the halls and when asked what the donkey is for, kids should be ready to share the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey!
Easter is coming! Easter is coming! Although some denominations do not believe in celebrating the resurrection on this day each year, we can all agree that we are to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior every Lord’s Day. Whether it is Easter or any other given Sunday, the resurrection of our Savior is an incredible and selfless gift for us. And regardless, Easter is the time of year when a large number of society takes time to worship the God of heaven. This is an amazing time for outreach when people are coming to churches instead of churches going into the communities; so use this time wisely.
Of course we want to use the time wisely, but how? Start with the setting. What do people see as they are walking into your building? Flowers? Green grass? When guests come into the building, are they greeted with a smile and someone helping them find their way? If they arrive late, is there someone to help them find a seat in a possibly crowded sanctuary? And of course, are you providing them with information about your congregation, the times you meet, the topics they can learn about in individual classes, the things you are involved in, and more? We want to give them reasons to return.
Kids! They are often timid about going to a new place and they certainly are not going to beg to return if we do not give them a reason to. Perhaps offer them something special when they arrive, to your guests and members. This may be a set of colors and coloring book about Easter, Easter Egg slime or putty, Easter chalk set, a stick of gum with a note… you get the idea. It doesn’t have to be expensive. With their little gift, offer an incentive to come back to class next week or another upcoming event. Have a special service, a children’s church, just for them so it is on their level. We want them to understand why they are there and enjoy being a part.
Here are some Easter lesson ideas from some of the best. I have not used these but have been exploring my options. I do not make money for sharing these with you, just putting what I’m looking at in one place to make it easy.
Daniel is an amazing example for us in scripture, especially when teaching kids. Daniel was exiled to Babylon when he was young. He was taught all the ways of Babylon and ended up on King Nebuchadnezzar’s good side early on all thanks to Daniel’s faith in the one true God. When King Darius came along, Daniel was still highly favored by the king. Unfortunately, there were some others who were quite jealous and tried to get rid of Daniel by tricking the king into signing an order that would not allow Daniel to pray to the one true God.
How might Daniel have been feeling during this time? Help kids really think about it. All Daniel had to do was hide when he prayed for the next 30 days. That’s not very long. Surely God would understand, right? This was a scary time because the consequences were painful- he’d be fed to a den of hungry lions. But Daniel did not seem to worry. No stress! He remained faithful prayed every day to God. You know the rest of the story. Although thrown into a den of hungry lions, God sent an angel to protect him. Daniel was safe.
To get kids excited about bible class this particular Sunday, we made stress balls. Well, I made the stress ball and they drew a lions head. I was not sure how “stress-free” class would be for my teachers with a bunch of kiddo’s trying to get flour into a balloon. The kids loved their lion stress balls and it was a great time to talk to them about not worrying about the consequences. We need to do what is right all the time and let God handle the rest.
Attendance had been low. In fact, it had been so low that I began to wonder what I was doing wrong. Did I need fresh blood? My classes are small anyway with 6-8 kids per class and that is for two grade levels combined. The last several months our numbers for children’s bible classes had shrunk to sometimes as few as three kids each week. This can be discouraging for a teacher and heartbreaking when we think of our children’s souls.
Two things changed and over the past two weeks, attendance changed. I now have my 7-10 kids per class each week. Back on track. What happened? First, we hired a new preacher after a year long search. I do not believe the preacher should make this much of a difference in bible class and worship attendance, but the reality is, it does. People want stability. They want to know what they are getting each week. They want to see passion and energy from the pulpit. Our preacher is excited about God and it’s getting people back through the doors and excited too.
What was the second thing? I started emailing every parent and grandparent of an elementary student at my congregation on a weekly basis. I send them the scripture reference for our lesson, an overview of the bible story and some things to think about. I invite them to attend the adult bible class that is learning the same story on a deeper level. This has shocked me. We have had several people come because of this consistent email. I have had a couple of people tell me that when they could not make it to class or worship on a given Sunday, they printed my email and their family read the story together and discussed. Of course we want to see them, but if they cannot make it, then I am thrilled they are dedicated enough to God and their family to worship at home that week and if I can help, I am glad! We are a church and their to help one another.
If you already have a preacher/pulpit minister, then you are in great shape when it comes to stability. Now it’s time to work on communicating to families and inviting them every week. Get them excited about the topic. Show them in your communications that scripture applies to them today. If I can show families how Hezekiah, Jeremiah and Daniel apply, then you can show them too with whatever you are studying.
And finally, what should be first but often is not, PRAY! You can never underestimate the power of prayer. I am constantly shown God’s amazing power and involvement in our daily lives through prayer. There are days I even think to myself, “Wow! God is hearing me.” When my husband’s adult class shrunk it discouraged him. I prayed each week for his class to grow and gain new energy. Over the next few weeks, it happened! I did not do anything special. I let God take care of His church. (And I know it was not only my prayers, but others too. God heard us.)
Coming soon I will introduce a new course on “The Effective Children’s Bible Class” that will walk you through, step-by-step, how you can grow a bible class where kids learn who God is, grow a love for God and a desire to share him with others. I will share methods I have used to double our attendance and involvement. More on this later though!
Trying to come up with ideas for kids that they will share with friends is not an easy task. I remembered a few kids running around with cootie catchers, aka Fortune Tellers, not too long ago. They went from friend to friend playing this simple handmade game. Why recreate the wheel? If they love it, let’s find a way to use it!
After some trial and error with upside down teeth and such, I finally got it! Take a look at the video to see how you can make Bible Cootie Catchers of Jonah or Daniel in your bible classes. Inside the big fish is a praying Jonah and inside the lion is the angel that shut the lions mouth. These are perfect when you need a quick lesson and activity. I’ve prepared the bible story with printables, all ready to go when you need something in a hurry!
How do you get yours free to download with bible stories too? It’s easy! If you are a subscriber, it will be in your email box. Not a part of the RaiseKidForChrist.com family yet? No problem, subscribe here and you’ll receive your templates.
There’s always that one kid. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that distracts the rest of the class and just does not want to focus. You expect this. You prepare for this every week. But for some reason, today this child just does not seem to respond. You don’t want to yell at him/her; but you do want the kids to learn about God. What’s a teacher to do?
This happened to me last Sunday while teaching my second and third graders about the crazy prophet Ezekiel, the prophet who had to cook his bread over poop (they loved that). I had one child that decided he was going to stand up on his chair during the lesson. I’m not sure what possessed me but rather than fight it, I decided to go with it.
I said, “Alright class, who wants to stand on their chair?” Of course they all shouted out, “Me! Me! Me!” I told them they could all stand on their chairs, but they had to stay on the seat, no one could put their feet on the backs or this game was over for everyone. (The chairs are short but I still did not want them tipping over.) Now how to tie this into the lesson and make sure they were paying attention….
I instructed them to listen carefully. I was going to read a few sentences then ask them a question. If they answered correctly, they could stay standing and if wrong, they would sit until they next question. It worked amazingly well. They focused because they were doing something in bible class they thought they would never be allowed to do. They listened and they learned! What’s more, we were able to tie it back to Ezekiel. God had Ezekiel do some strange things to get people’s attention and here we were standing on chairs to help us pay attention.
Being a teacher can be hard sometimes when kids don’t fit into a little box of listening quietly, raising their hands to answer questions, and staying seated to do an activity. As teachers, we need to think outside the box. Don’t always fight what’s going on, but roll with it. You will have kids that love being in your class and they will learn more than ever.