111, 112 & 113 - The lost donkeys, The astonishing secret & Saul, the reluctant king


15 minute Story planner

1 Samuel 9–11
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor,  pages 132–134

You may find you don’t have enough time to read all three stories. If so, only read part of ‘The Astonishing Secret’; read from the beginning of the story to the end of the fourth paragraph. Read the whole of ‘The Lost Donkeys’ and ‘Saul, the reluctant King’. Remind the children that last week we heard about a boy called Samuel working along side Eli. This week we hear how Samuel passed on God’s message to Saul.

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the Old Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about 'The Old Testament FlashCards' cards one to five

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Have you ever played hide and seek? Can you imagine finding such a great hiding place that nobody could find you for ages and ages? Eventually you would have to call out ‘Here I am!’ or stand up so that everybody could see you. Thousands of years ago a king hid where he thought nobody would find him.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Beware of allergies – make sure it is safe for the children to handle the food used in this activity.

  • A picture of a donkey or cuddly toy donkey
  • A packet of sliced beef
  • A dressing-up crown

Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Hunt for 'Saul' game
You will need a little Lego figure or another small toy figure.

1. Explain to the children that the toy figure will represent Saul in the game.
2. During this game ask a volunteer to step outside the room (make sure your arrangements comply with the Policies and Procedures for your setting).
3. While the volunteer is outside ask the remaining children to find somewhere in your teaching space to hide ‘Saul’.
4. When a place has been found ask the volunteer back into the room.
5. Explain to the children that they need to make a quiet but constant buzzing/humming noise. As the volunteer gets closer to the hidden Saul the children should buzz/hum more loudly.
6. By using the noise level as an indicator the volunteer should try and find Saul.
7. Play the game again with a different volunteer and a new place to hide Saul.

Note  - If your room doesn’t have many places to hide a toy figure you could place items around the room for ‘Saul’ to hide in or behind such as up-turned cups, scrunched up fabric, bags and/or boxes. Alternatively, ask the children to sit in a circle with their hands behind their backs. The children should pass ‘Saul’ behind their backs from person to person. The volunteer should stand in the middle of the circle and try and guess who is holding the figure. To make the game harder the children who are not currently holding ‘Saul’ should try and make it look as if they are, by pretending to pass something to their neighbour. Keep playing the game until the volunteer guesses where the figure is. If you have time play the game again with a different volunteer.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about the story. We imagine Saul, sent out to look for his Father's missing donkeys. We imagine his surprise when he met Samuel and heard the prophet's words: ‘You are a very special person in Israel’. Father we thank you that you planned for Samuel and Saul to meet that day. Thank you that you have good plans for our lives too.

Father we imagine the people waiting and watching to see Saul crowned as their king. We imagine their disappointment when Saul did not step forward but had to be brought out from behind the supplies. Father we think about the things you've asked us to do: to love you and love others. We think about times when we need to step forward and show your love and kindness. Father please help us to be people that live your way willingly rather than having to be persuaded to do the right thing. Amen 

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.

Alongside this story, make the craft...

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