233-236 - Jonah's story


15 minute Story planner

The book of Jonah
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories pages 266–270

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 seven

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Did you know that there are more than 20,000 different types of fish?  The largest fish are as big as buses whilst the smallest are about the size of your thumb nail. The people who study fish are called ichthyologists. Ichthyologists spend hours and hours and hours looking at fish. A long time ago there was a man who spent a long time looking at one particular fish. The man’s name was Jonah. Jonah hadn’t meant to spend time studying a fish; he had hoped to go to the city of Tarshish but things hadn’t turned out as he had expected.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A children’s book about fish
  • A historic map showing the location of Nineveh
  • A blanket and a pillow
  • A plant
  • A picture of a worm
  • A 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 - Acting the story using large props and actions
You will need: A small rug or mat, a small table, a blanket and an umbrella

1. Cut out the ‘role slips’ (see Printables), fold them a couple of times then place the folded pieces of paper into a bowl. 
2. Before the session set up your room: place the blanket over the table to make a hidden area underneath (this will be the fish’s tummy) and place the rug in the middle of the floor (this will be the ship).  
3. After you have told the story using the props, encourage the children to act out the events. Either select children to play the different roles or allow each child to pick a ‘role slip’ from the bowl to determine which part they play.
4. Encourage the children who are the ‘waves’ to link arms and stand in a circle around the ‘ship’. As you talk about the storm the children need to rush towards the ship and then out again.
5. As you talk about Jonah being swallowed by the fish direct ‘Jonah’ to crawl under the table. Lift the blanket so that he/she can be seen inside the fish’s tummy.
6. When you talk about the plant growing to shade Jonah give the person playing the ‘plant’ the umbrella to hold over Jonah.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about the story. We imagine Jonah desperately trying to run away. We imagine the sailors throwing him into the sea and the storm quickly dying down around them. We imagine the sailors kneeling and worshipping as they realised you are the One True God. 

Father thank you that you were watching over Jonah as he sank into the deep water. Thank you that you did not leave him on his own but had a plan to save him. Father we thank you that you are always watching over us. Thank you that you never ever leave us on our own.

Father we picture Jonah inside the enormous fish. We imagine him relieved to be alive but unsure what would happen next. Father we remember that three days later Jonah found himself on the beach, this time ready to do as you asked. Father we pray that we will always be willing to live your way. That we will always turn to you and trust that your way is the best way to live. 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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