105 & 106 - A baby for Hannah & Small boy leaves home

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
1 Samuel 1–2
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor pages 125–127

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  
Do you like to help out doing jobs around your house? Do you tidy up your bedroom or sometimes lay the table? Can you imagine helping to look after somebody else’s house?  For many years a boy called Samuel helped out in God’s house. God’s house was in Shiloh. Samuel was just a small boy when his mother took him to work alongside Eli the Priest. 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • ‘Please don’t forget me, God,’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • Two or three coats
  • A scroll made out of a piece of paper to represent God’s law

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 - A game about Samuel working in God's house

You will need: 
A small rolled-up mat (a pillow case would make a good substitute)
A battery operated tea light
A plastic bowl
A cloth
A coat (an adult sized coat would be fine)
A dust pan and brush
Four or five pieces of scrap paper spread on the floor
A digital device with a stop watch

1. Tell the story and play the following game. Explain to the children that we don’t know exactly what jobs Samuel did but we know that on some occasions he opened the doors to God’s house.
2. Explain to the children that they are going to take it in turns to complete a list of tasks. The child who completes them in the fastest time is the winner.
3.  Ask for a volunteer and tell them the order in which you would like the tasks completed i.e. unroll the mat and place it on the floor, clean the bowl with the cloth, put on the coat, sweep up the scraps, roll-up the mat, take off the coat, switch on the tea-light and open the door (the action of opening the door could simply be mimed).
4. Time the volunteer as they complete the list of jobs.
5. Encourage a second volunteer to have a go at completing the tasks in the same order. Compare how long each volunteer took to complete the challenges. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about the story. We imagine Hannah, sad and troubled. Father we picture her coming as close as she could to the covenant chest and praying with great longing that she would one day have a family of her own. Father help us to remember that we too can come close to you and tell you exactly how we feel.

Father we thank you that, after Hannah had prayed, she felt much, much better. Thank you that we can trust that you will also do what is right for us in the midst of our troubles.

Father we think about Samuel growing up in your special place. We think about how close he was to the precious covenant chest day after day. Father help us to remember that you are always with us, wherever we are, whatever we are doing. Amen. 

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



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

 
 

15 minute Story planner

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

Notes
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.



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162 & 163 - A contest on the mountain & God sends the fire

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
1 Kings 18
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, pages 186 to 188

Notes
At the time of this story Ahab was the King of Israel. Jezebel was Queen. There was a drought in the land. Elijah was a prophet; he listened to God and passed God’s messages on to the people. The nations around Israel did not worship the One true God, they worshipped Baal. The Israelites disobeyed God and began to worship Baal too.     

Extra notes
After telling the story, briefly talk about where the children might see flames. Use this opportunity to remind the children that they must not play near fires and never touch matches or lit candles.

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  
Have you ever entered a competition?… what did you do to take part? People often take part in sports competitions; we might call them races, tournaments or contests. A competition or contest is a way of finding out who is the best at doing something; who is the fastest, strongest etc. One day God's prophet Elijah held a contest on top of a mountain. People gathered to watch. But it wasn’t a sports tournament or a competition that you or I may have seen before. The contest was to show who was the One true God – the God of Israel or the god the other nations worshipped.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A dressing-up crown
  • Pieces of wood – garden twigs would be suitable
  • A jug of water
  • ‘Elijah’s prayer’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • Strips of red, orange and yellow tissue paper

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 - Build a model altar
You will need: a tray (a baking tray would be fine), some soil, some large stones and some cups of water

1. Explain to the children that today we don’t build altars to God in the way people did in Old Testament times. We no longer need them to worship God or to ask for his forgiveness; instead we can worship God whenever or wherever we are. We can however imagine what the altar looked like where Elijah worshipped God.
2. Place some soil in the tray and cover it with some large stones. Encourage the children to pour two or three cups of water over the stones.
3.  Remind the children that there was a drought in Israel at that time and water was scarce.
4. Ask the children why Elijah poured water onto the altar. Talk about how some people think it was to show that God could make even the wet wood and stones burn. Explain that others think Elijah was showing people how special God was - even though there was a drought Elijah poured water on God’s altar as a sign of God’s importance.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about the story. We picture Elijah, building an altar out of the twelve heavy stones. When we remember that the stones represented the families of Israel, we realise that Elijah wanted every part of the altar to be about you and your people. Father help us to think carefully about you in every part of our lives; help us to put you right at the centre of everything we do. 

Father we imagine Elijah pouring water on the wood. We remember that water was very precious at that time and that Elijah wanted people to see how special you are. Father we imagine the onlookers faces as the wood on the altar began to crackle and burn. We imagine their surprise as the flames covered the damp wood and dried up the water in the trench. Thank you Father God that you are powerful and that you long for people to know more about your mighty power. 

Father we think of Elijah's simple prayer. Thank you that our prayers do not need to be complicated or clever but can be simple like Elijah's. Amen

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



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166 - The still, small voice

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
1 Kings 19
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 191

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Explain that when the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land, God sent judges to help them. The Israelites called their land Israel. After many years Rehoboam became King of Israel; he was a bad king. With Rehoboam in charge the people of Israel began to disagree and eventually the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. The kingdom in the North was called Israel and the kingdom in the South was called Judah. At that time God sent prophets (messengers) to his people. The prophets told the people how to live God’s way. The prophet Elijah was sent to the kingdom in the North.

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  
Have you ever felt that things were going really badly? Perhaps you’ve had a tough day at school, argued with a friend or perhaps had too much homework on a Friday night? Can you remember feeling really fed up? Elijah was fed up. A terrible thing had happened to the other prophets and now he was feeling sad and alone. Elijah turned to God. On a mountain God spoke to his prophet. He spoke in a way that was just right to comfort and encourage Elijah.  

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A cloak or large piece of fabric - don’t forget to pull part of the cloak over your head at the appropriate part in the story!
  • ‘What are you doing here?’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • ‘Elijah, you are not alone…’ speech bubble     (see Printables)

Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web. Note - there isn't a ppt for this session.

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Guess the action
You will need a large blanket and a chair.
Encourage the children to come up with four actions to represent ‘wind’, ‘earthquake’, ‘fire’ and ‘a whisper’. Briefly practise the actions together. Ask for a volunteer. Explain to the volunteer that he/she needs to sit on the chair. Encourage the remaining children to sit on the floor. Ask for two additional volunteers (it would work well if these volunteers were adults). The two additional volunteers need to hold up the blanket so as to shield the seated volunteer from the remaining children. The volunteer should then choose one of the four actions and perform it whilst sitting behind the blanket. The remaining children should then guess which action is being performed and perform it themselves. When all the children are performing an action the blanket should be lowered to reveal the volunteer. All the children performing the same action as the volunteer can remain in the game, all those performing a different action must sit to the side.

Keep playing the game until only one child remains or everyone is out. If you have time play the game again with a different volunteer sitting behind the blanket. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father God, we think about Elijah, tired and weary from speaking to your people. We remember that a dreadful thing had just happened to the other prophets and now Elijah was looking for comfort and encouragement.  Thank you that, like Elijah, we can turn to you when we feel sad and lonely; we can turn to you when we need to be comforted and encouraged.

Father we think about the earthquake, the fire and the wind and remember that although you do mighty and powerful things you speak softly to us too in a way that is just right for us. Father please help us not only to listen to you but to be changed by the things you say. Help us to be like Elijah who was changed on the mountain when he heard your still small voice all those years ago. Amen



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169 & 170 - Elijah's last journey & The fiery chariot

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
2 Kings 2
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, pages 194–196

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Explain that when the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land, God sent judges to help them. The Israelites called their land Israel. After many years Rehoboam became King of Israel; he was a bad king. With Rehoboam in charge the people of Israel began to disagree and eventually the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. The kingdom in the North was called Israel and the kingdom in the South was called Judah. At that time God sent prophets (messengers) to his people. The prophet Elijah was sent to the kingdom in the North. Elijah listened carefully to what God said. he passed on God’s message to the people. Through Elijah God did amazing things. After a while God chose a helper and a friend for Elijah; his name was Elisha.

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  
Have you ever felt sad when a special day came to an end? Often we wish good times would go on forever and ever, however even the best of times eventually draw to a close. But sometimes, when one good time finishes another is just about to begin… 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • Gilgal sign (see Printables)
  • Bethel sign (see Printables)
  • Jericho sign (see Printables)
  • The River Jordan sign (see Printables)
  • A cloak or large piece of fabric
  • ‘I should like to inherit your greatness and power…’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • ‘Great prophet of Israel, don’t leave me’ speech bubble (see Printables)

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

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Wafting waves
You will need: masking tape, two or three adult sized jumpers and ‘paper waves’ (see Printables)
Before the session print and cut out at least four paper waves. Roll the jumpers into sausage shapes and secure them with pieces of masking tape. Place a long strip of masking tape at one end of your teaching space – this will be your start line; and another strip at a distance of about three meters – this will be your finish line. Make sure the second strip is parallel to the first. Give two or three volunteers a rolled-up jumper and a paper wave. Encourage the volunteers to stand in a line along the ‘start line’. The volunteers should place their waves on the floor. When you shout ‘go’ the children should beat the floor just behind their wave with their rolled up jumper to create a draught. The wave should then move forward slowly as it is wafted along by the draught.

The first child to waft their wave over the finish line is the winner. If you have time, allow other children to have a go at wafting the wave. Explain that when Elijah and Elisha struck the River Jordan the river was immediately parted by God’s power.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father we think about Elisha following Elijah from place to place because he wanted to spend time with the great prophet. Father God please help us to be people who love learning about you. Help us to understand the importance of spending time with people who love you too.     

Father God, we imagine Elisha’s sadness when his time with Elijah was about to end. Father God we thank you that although something was about to come to an end something wonderful was about to start. Father God help us to trust in you and wait patiently for all the wonderful things you have planned for our lives. Amen



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174 - Elisha: One problem solved

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
2 Kings 4
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 200

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Explain that when the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land, they called their land Israel. After many years Rehoboam became King of Israel; he was a bad king. With Rehoboam in charge the people of Israel began to disagree and eventually the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. The kingdom in the North was called Israel and the kingdom in the South was called Judah. At that time God sent prophets (messengers) to his people. The prophets told the people how to live God’s way. The prophet Elijah was sent to the kingdom in the North. He passed on God’s message to the people of Israel. After a while God chose a helper and a friend for Elijah; his name was Elisha. When God took Elijah up to heaven, Elisha carried on being God’s prophet to the Northern Kingdom.

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  
Do you ever help your mum or dad in the kitchen? Do you wash vegetables, stir puddings or help ice cakes? There are many jobs that need to be done in a kitchen; some are hard work while others are simple and take no time at all. Hundreds of years ago a mum asked her sons to help her in the kitchen – willingly the boys waited to be told what to do…

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • ‘Please will you help me?’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • A small jar of oil

  • Lots of empty jars

  • ‘There aren’t any left’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • A bag of copper coins

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

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Make an Elisha Comic and enjoy colouring in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Jars of water
You will need: a measuring jug, masking tape, two water pistols, two buckets of water, ten empty jars and lots of towels. Before the session place two towels on the floor a couple of meters apart. Place five jars on each towel. At a distance of one meter from each towel stick strips of masking tape to the floor. Stick one strip at a distance of one meter from the first towel and another strip at a similar distance from the second towel.

Divide your group into two teams and ask for a volunteer from each. Allocate one set of jars to one team and the other set to the other. The volunteers should stand with their feet just behind their team’s strip of tape. Give the volunteers water pistols and explain that they need to fill the jars in front of them by squirting them with water – however they must not step over their line of tape. When their water pistol is empty the volunteer will need to refill it with water from the bucket then hand the full pistol to a new player in their team. When the children understand how to play the game, shout ‘go’ and encourage the first two volunteers to start squirting. When all the children have had a go, use the jug to measure the amount of water in the jars. Pour the water back into the buckets.

The team with the most water in their jars is the winning team.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father God thank you that you care about families. Thank you that, just as the mother in the story wanted her sons to stay at home you wanted this family to stay together too. Father thank you that nothing is impossible for you, and that you took what the family had and did something amazing with it.

Father help us to turn to you when our families face problems. Help us to listen carefully to you, trusting that you will help us find a solution.

Father we think about the families around us that are facing trouble today. Show us how we can help them to have the things they need; show us how we can help them to turn to you. Amen.



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175 - Elisha: A room of his own

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
2 Kings 4
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 201

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Explain that when the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land, they called their land Israel. After many years Rehoboam became King of Israel; he was a bad king. With Rehoboam in charge the people of Israel began to disagree and eventually the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. The kingdom in the North was called Israel and the kingdom in the South was called Judah. At that time God sent prophets (messengers) to his people. The prophets told the people how to live God’s way. The prophet Elijah was sent to the kingdom in the North. He passed on God’s message to the people of Israel. After a while God chose a helper and a friend for Elijah; his name was Elisha. When God took Elijah up to Heaven, Elisha carried on being God’s prophet to the Northern Kingdom.

When you reach the end of today’s story read the first paragraph of next weeks story – ‘One dreadful day’ (number 176 in The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories).

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  
Do you have your own bedroom or do you share with your brother or sister? Perhaps you have a big room with lots of things in it or a small room with everything tidied neatly away. Can you name four things in your room? Did you include a bed, a table, a chair or a lamp?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A dinner plate, knife and fork

  • A table lamp that you can turn on at the appropriate part of the story

  • A doll wrapped in a blanket

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

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - ‘Roof top!’
Encourage the children to get into pairs.

Explain that you are going to call out the words ‘chair’, ‘table’ and ‘bed’. Explain that when you call out ‘chair’ one child in each pair should crouch down on the floor while their partner perches on their back. When you call out ‘table’ the pair should both kneel on the floor facing each other, link arms then tuck their heads down to make a table shape. When you call out ‘bed’ each child should lie in a space on the floor so that they are not touching any of the other players. Explain that you are going to keep saying ‘chair’, ‘table’ and ‘bed’, however occasionally you will shout out ‘roof top’. When you call out ‘roof top’ all the children should line up in two rows facing each other – one child from a pair standing in one row and the other child standing opposite. The pairs should then hold their arms in the air and link hands to make an archway.

The last pair to join the rows and form part of the arch should sit out for the remainder of the game. The pair remaining when all the other children are ‘out’ is the winning pair.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father God, we remember the generosity of this kind woman. We remember that she and her husband were willing to invite Elisha to stay in their home. Father we think about the furniture she carefully placed in room – the bed, the chair, the table and the lamp. We see that this woman had thought carefully about how she could care for the prophet.

Father God please help us to be thoughtful towards the people around us – help us to think about what they need and be generous towards them.

Father we think about Elisha wanting to help the woman in return. Father help us to always respond in kindness when others are kind towards us. Amen.



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176 & 177 - Elisha: One dreadful day & Alive again

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
2 Kings 4
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 202 - 203

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Explain that when the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land, they called their land Israel. After many years Rehoboam became King of Israel; he was a bad king. With Rehoboam in charge the people of Israel began to disagree and eventually the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. The kingdom in the North was called Israel and the kingdom in the South was called Judah. At that time God sent prophets (messengers) to his people. The prophets told the people how to live God’s way. The prophet Elijah was sent to the kingdom in the North. He passed on God’s message to the people of Israel. After a while God chose a helper and a friend for Elijah; his name was Elisha. When God took Elijah up to Heaven, Elisha carried on being God’s prophet to the Northern Kingdom.


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 many children say their first word around the age of one? About the same time they might take their first steps too. It’s a proud time for parents as they are excited that their child is growing up and starting to do new things. Do you know what your first words were or when you took your first steps?


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

  • A handful of pearl barley

  • A pillow

  • A large stick

  • ‘Atishoo!’ speech bubble (see Printables)

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


4. Story activity - 6 mins

Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - ‘A, a, a, tishoo!’
You will need four cheap boxes of tissues.

Stand in the middle of your teaching space and encourage the children to gather around you. Explain that when they hear you sneeze (‘A, a, a, tishoo!’ or ‘A, a, a, choo!’) they should run to two of the tissue boxes (it doesn’t matter which two) and collect a tissue from each. Each child must then bring two tissues back to you as quickly as possible. The first child to bring you their tissues wins the round. However explain that you will sometimes ‘trick’ the children by saying something that sounds a bit like a sneeze such as ‘A, a, a, chewing gum’ or ‘A, a, a Tuesday!’ If you don’t make a proper sneezing sound then the children must not run. You could introduce the rule that if a child starts to run when they are not supposed to, they are out. Other trick words you could use include: ‘A, a, a chutney!’, ‘A, a, a champion!’, ‘A, a, a cherry tree!’, ‘A, a, a tulip!’, ‘A, a, a Chewbacca!’, ‘A, a, a, chilli pepper!’, ‘A, a, a tutu!’, ‘A, a, a church!’, ‘A, a, a chips!’ You don’t need to think of a new word each time – you could repeat the same few words over and over again.


5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins

Father we thank you that this story has a happy ending and that you brought the young boy back to life. Father we thank you that you care for each one of us just as you cared for the boy and his mother. Thank you that each one of us is important and special to you.

Father we thank you that the child’s mother knew to go in search of Elisha on that dreadful day. Thank you that she knew that through your prophet you would do a wonderful work.

Thank you that we too can turn to you when we are having a difficult day. Thank you that the Bible teaches us to trust you in our troubles and pray through our problems. Father thank you that you always hear our prayers and long to give us good things that will help us live your way. Amen.



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178 & 179 - Elisha: The girl prisoner & Cure for Naaman

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
2 Kings 5
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 204 - 206

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Explain that when the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land, they called their land Israel. After many years Rehoboam became King of Israel; he was a bad king. With Rehoboam in charge the people of Israel began to disagree and eventually the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. The kingdom in the North was called Israel and the kingdom in the South was called Judah. At that time God sent prophets (messengers) to his people. The prophets told the people how to live God’s way. The prophet Elijah was sent to the kingdom in the North. He passed on God’s message to the people of Israel. After a while God chose a helper and a friend for Elijah; his name was Elisha. When God took Elijah up to Heaven, Elisha carried on being God’s prophet to the Northern Kingdom. Before reading today’s story remind the children that next to Israel, on its northern border, was the country of Syria. The Syrians were an old enemy of the Israelites; for a time there was peace but the peace did not last for long.

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  

Do you live near a river? Is it a big river, busy with ships and boats, or is it a small river with wooden bridges and muddy banks. River water is often a dirty, muddy brown colour – sometimes rubbish even floats along on its surface. But did you know that even the dirtiest river sparkles when the sun shines on it.


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

  • A message from Elisha to the king (see Printables)

  • A message from Elisha to Naaman (see Printables)

  • Soap and a flannel

  • ‘Your God is the only true God,’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • A bag of pennies and some luxurious scarves and/or waistcoats

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


4. Story activity - 6 mins

Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - ‘To the river!’
Beware of allergies - make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle the items used in this activity
You will need: Two dice, ‘numbers 1–6’ textboxes (see Printables), the ‘River Jordan’ sign (see Printables), sticky tac, ‘How to set up your room’ instructions (see Printables) and two each of the following items: bars of soap, sponges, rubber ducks, goggles, towels and arm bands.

Before the session print and cut out the ‘1–6’ textboxes. Set up your room as described in the instructions.

Divide your group into two teams. Give each team a dice. Explain to the children that they need to gather six items (one of each type) from the middle of the room. However, they may only collect an item if they throw the corresponding number – for example if they throw a ‘two’ they can collect a rubber duck, if they throw a ‘one’ they can collect a bar of soap. When they have collected all six items, a team member should put on the arm bands, wrap the towel around their head, pick up the remaining objects and run to ‘the river Jordan’ i.e. the wall with the sign stuck to it. When the children understand how to play the game shout ‘go’ and the players should start taking it in turns to throw the dice. The first team to send a player with all their items to ‘the river’ is the winning team.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father we think about the young servant girl far from home. We remember that, although she was in an unfamiliar place she was willing to talk boldly about your wonderful miracles. Father God help us to be people that love to talk about you.

We think about Naaman rushing to Israel to be cured of his illness but then too proud to do as Elisha told him. Father thank you that it was not long before Naaman changed his mind.

Help us to be people that not only long for you to work in our lives but are willing to trust you even when living your way seems hard to do. Amen.


 
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180 - Elisha: Eyes to see

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
2 Kings 6
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 206

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Explain that when the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land, they called their land Israel. After many years Rehoboam became King of Israel; he was a bad king. With Rehoboam in charge the people of Israel began to disagree and eventually the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. The kingdom in the North was called Israel and the kingdom in the South was called Judah. At that time God sent prophets (messengers) to his people. The prophets told the people how to live God’s way. The prophet Elijah was sent to the kingdom in the North. He passed on God’s message to the people of Israel. After a while God chose a helper and a friend for Elijah; his name was Elisha. When God took Elijah up to Heaven, Elisha carried on being God’s prophet to the Northern Kingdom. Before reading today’s story remind the children that next to Israel, on its northern border, was the country of Syria. The Syrians were an old enemy of the Israelites; for a time there was peace but the peace did not last for long.

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  

What do you think a guest might eat at a royal banquet? Sandwiches? Iced cakes? Or perhaps a delicious hot meal with a fancy dessert? Did you know that it takes hours and hours to prepare for a banquet at the royal palace in London? The glasses are polished, plates and dishes carefully placed side by side and flower arrangements set in the centre of long tables.


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

  • A dressing-up crown

  • ‘Send the army’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • A glass or pottery jar for collecting water

  • Toy swords

  • ‘O God, please open this young man’s eyes,’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • ‘O God, please close these men’s eyes,’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • A bowl of fresh and dried fruit for a royal feast

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


4. Story activity - 6 mins

Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Play a game where a volunteer needs to retrace their steps
You will need: blindfolds, masking tape and a pen.

Before the session stick two short strips of masking tape to the floor in the shape of a cross. Ask for two volunteers. Explain that one of the volunteers will wear a blindfold, the other will be the ‘caller’. Ask the child willing to wear the blindfold, to stand on the cross and cover their eyes with the blindfold. Explain that the caller will now call out commands such as ‘one step forwards’, ‘two side-steps to the right’, ‘three side-steps to the left’, ‘three steps forward’, ‘one step back’. The caller should only give four or five commands in total. When the blindfolded player has followed the caller’s commands he/she should try to retrace his/her steps back to the cross. When a player thinks they have arrived back where they started they should remove their blindfold and stick a small strip of tape to the floor where they finished. Write the player’s name on the strip.

Encourage the other children to take turns being blindfolded or being the ‘caller’. The player who finishes closest to the masking tape cross is the winner.

See Printables for an alternative game for younger children.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father we thank you that when Elisha was in trouble you sent your angels to look after him. We remember how horrified the servant was when he saw the soldiers surrounding the town and yet Elisha was unafraid. Thank you that Elisha believed with all his heart that you were with him. Father we think about the servant who needed to see before he believed. Thank you that you showed him the horses and chariots of fire covering the hillside.

Father help us to trust you in the way Elisha trusted you; help us to believe with all our heart that you are always with us, guiding, helping and protecting us. Amen.



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181 & 182 - Elisha: Hunger in the city & Good News!

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
2 Kings 7
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 208 and 209

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Explain that when the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land, they called their land Israel. After many years Rehoboam became King of Israel; he was a bad king. With Rehoboam in charge the people of Israel began to disagree and eventually the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. The kingdom in the North was called Israel and the kingdom in the South was called Judah. At that time God sent prophets (messengers) to his people. The prophets told the people how to live God’s way. The prophet Elijah was sent to the kingdom in the North. He passed on God’s message to the people of Israel. After a while God chose a helper and a friend for Elijah; his name was Elisha. When God took Elijah up to Heaven, Elisha carried on being God’s prophet to the Northern Kingdom. Before reading today’s story remind the children that next to Israel, on its northern border, was the country of Syria. The Syrians were an old enemy of the Israelites; for a time there was peace but the peace did not last for long.

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  

Have you ever heard a story so extraordinary that you’ve wondered if it was really true? One day the King of Israel was woken to be told some marvellous news, but the news was so great he thought it was a trick. ‘Could it really be true?’ he thought; ‘Could this wonderful thing really have happened?’


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

  • Wooden toy bricks to build a city wall

  • Play-figures to represent the Syrian army and the four men outside the city wall.

  • A couple of food tents (see Craft instructions) to represent the Syrian camp.

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


4. Story activity - 6 mins

Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Catapults and popcorn
Beware of allergies - make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle the food used in this activity

You will need: pre-popped popcorn. To make a simple catapult you will need: instructions (see Printables), plastic spoons, large craft lollipop sticks and elastic bands.

Make the catapults before the session so the children can use them straight away. Show the children how they can flick popcorn using the spoons or catapults. Set up the Syrian camp with one or two food tents (see craft activity) and at a distance of about two meters position a few bricks to represent the city of Samaria. Encourage the children to take it in turns seeing if they can flick the popcorn from ‘the camp’ all the way to ‘the city’. Explain that the Israelites probably carried the food back to the city of Samaria from the Syrian camp rather than using catapults!

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father, we think about the Israelites, desperate for food. Thank you that you heard their hungry cries and provided them with food to eat. Father, we remember the four men who went in search of a meal. Thank you that the most unlikely people in the story played the most important part in your plan.

Father we think about the angry King blaming Elisha for the problems in the city; help us to be patient when we are the middle of difficult times – help us to turn to you in our troubles rather than blame the people around us.

Father thank you for the wonderful outcome, that, just as you had promised, there was plenty of food for everyone to eat. Thank you for your wonderful promise to us; thank you that you will always love and care for us. Amen.



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196 - Jeremiah at the pottery

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Jeremiah 18–19
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 224

Notes
Jeremiah was a prophet to the people living in Judah; he was one of God’s messengers. He listened to God and passed God’s messages on to the people. 

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  
Have you ever dropped a plate? I hope it was a plastic one!
Sometimes we accidentally drop breakable things. It’s sad to see a dish smash into tiny pieces, especially if it’s new or one of our favourites. But imagine dropping a dish on purpose. Imagine buying a new pot then throwing it to the ground so that it broke into hundreds of pieces… who would do a thing like that?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A piece of soft clay
  • A clay jar or something similar 
  • ‘You have grown hard and disobedient…’ speech bubble (see Printables)

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 -A Broken pot jigsaw puzzle
You will need: ‘Broken pots jigsaw’ (see Printables), scissors and envelopes.

1. Before the session print off enough pots for one per child.
2. Cut each of the pots into five pieces. They do not have to be cut up in the same way but the pieces for each puzzle should be kept together in separate envelopes - one puzzle per envelope. On the front of each envelope write a number. Each number needs to be different. One at a time take the pieces out of the envelopes and write the corresponding number on the back of each piece - i.e. if an envelope has a number ‘1’ on it - write the number ‘1’ on the back of all five puzzle pieces.
3. Encourage the children to sit in a circle. Give each child an envelope. Ask them to remove the pieces from the envelope and hand them to you. The children should keep their envelope. Mix up the pieces then hand five back to each child - they should have various pieces from different puzzles. The aim of the game is for each child to collect their original puzzle pieces (i.e. the pieces should match their envelope).
4. To start the game, the children should look at the back of the puzzle pieces you have just given them. If any belong to them they should be placed number side down in front of them.
5. They should then pass a puzzle piece they do not want to the person on their left, at the same time receiving a new piece from the person on their right.
6. If the new piece belongs to them they should place it on the floor number side down. Eventually everybody should be able to put their puzzle pieces together to make a pot.

To prevent any cheating children may need to conceal from one another which ‘numbers’ they are trying to collect.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about this story. We imagine Jeremiah watching the potter who carefully and patiently worked with the clay to make a beautiful pot.  We think about Jeremiah's first message: ‘If only people were willing to say sorry and change their ways’. Father please help us to be willing to say sorry when we have done something wrong, help us to keep saying ‘Yes’ to your love and forgiveness day after day. Father help us to be people that are prepared to change - who are willing, with the help of your Holy Spirit, to learn and grow to be more like Jesus and live the way you created us to live.

Father we think about Jeremiah's second message. We imagine the dreadful mess as the pot broke into many pieces. Father we think about the mess we can sometimes make when we get things wrong and make poor choices. Father help us to turn to you; to remember that we can pray through our problems and trust you in our troubles. Father we thank you that whatever mess or muddle we find ourselves in you love us more that we can ever imagine and you will keep helping us through our difficult times. Amen  

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



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215 - Silent sermons

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Ezekiel 3 - 5
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 247
‘Ezekiel and the Judeans’ see Printables 

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 eight

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Can you remember the last time you had your hair cut? What do you think hairdressers do with the hair that lands on the floor?  Do you think they burn it in a fire? Or perhaps throw it up into the air and let the wind blow it away? Or do you think they take little handfuls and tuck it into their pockets?

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

  • A historical map showing Israel, Judea and Babylon
  • A piece of air-drying clay rolled flat, or a polystyrene plate
  • A blunt pencil for scratching a picture on the clay or plate
  • A storage jar full of beans and pulses
  • A set of kitchen scales
  • A cup and a jug of water
  • Black or brown wool cut into 7 cm lengths
  • A toy sword

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 part of the story
You will need: The props listed above

1. Invite volunteers to demonstrate Ezekiel’s dramatic prophecies.
2. Choose one person for the first part of the message, a second person for the second part etc.
3. After each part has been demonstrated encourage the remaining children to call out the following rhyme: 

Is Ezekiel crazy?
Is Ezekiel mad?
He’s telling us God’s cross with us
He’s making us feel bad!

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we remember Ezekiel's message to the Israelites that one day the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt and your people would return home to worship you in their own land once more. Father we imagine what it felt like to hear such good news.  

Father thank you there is good news for each of us today too. Thank you that because Jesus lived, died and rose again everybody, everywhere can say 'Yes' to your love and forgiveness and become close friends with you. Amen.



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233-236 - Jonah's story

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
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. 



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