42 & 43 - Joseph: The missing cup & Family reunion

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Genesis 44-46
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 55 and 56

Notes
Summarise the story so far. Many years after Jacob left the land God had promised his grandfather Abraham, he made the long journey back home. By the time he settled back in the Promised Land (the land of Canaan) Jacob had a very large family; his wife Leah had had many children, while his wife Rachel had had two. Altogether Jacob had 12 sons and one daughter. Joseph was Jacob's favourite son. Because of the love Jacob showed Joseph, his brothers hated him and sent him away to Egypt. In Egypt Joseph worked hard. He was given a good job in Potiphar's household. But Potiphar's wife treated him unfairly and after a while she persuaded her husband to put Joseph in prison. While he was in prison Joseph was called to the palace there he told the king the meaning of his dream. A little while later Joseph was put in charge of a plan to save the Egyptians from famine. Then, one day the famine reached Canaan and Joseph's brothers arrived in Egypt to buy grain. With sacks full they set off back to join their father, however they were in for a big surprise!

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 three

2. Starter question - 1 min
Do you have a precious ornament in your house? Perhaps a beautiful picture frame or a handsome clock? Joseph's home in Egypt was full of precious ornaments and expensive treasures. Among his valuable belongings was a silver cup. The cup was kept in a safe place. However when Joseph's brothers were about to leave Egypt, Joseph spoke to his servant and gave him this order: ‘Place my precious silver cup in the sack of grain belonging to Benjamin.’ 

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

  • The 12 brothers from week 1 (see Printables - ‘The names of Jacob's children and how to display them’ instructions) 
  • Bags of unpopped popcorn, uncooked lentils or rice
  • Money bags of copper coins
  • A trophy cup or a plastic cup covered in silver foil

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 -  Play hunt the cup.
You will need: a plastic cup covered in foil. 

1. Ask one or two volunteers to stand outside the room (make sure your arrangements comply with your child protection policy).
2. Meanwhile ask one of the children left in the room to hide the cup.
3. The volunteer/s should then return to the room and try and find the hidden cup. 

Option 3 -  Play a game with a cup and some coins
You will need: masking tape, the copper coins and the plastic cup covered in foil. 

1. Place a strip of masking tape on the floor and encourage the children to sit behind it.
2. Place the cup about a metre away from the tape.
3. Encourage the children to take turns rolling coins towards the cup. The child whose coin is closest to the cup at the end of the game is the winner. 

Instead of rolling the coins, the children could flick them and see if they can get them into the cup. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about how shocked Joseph's brothers must have felt when they realised he was the Governor of Egypt. We imagine their relief when they realised they had been forgiven for the cruel things they had done. Father please help us to be like Joseph and forgive those who are unkind to us or treat us unfairly. Help us not to hold grudges but to see people as you see them. 

Father we thank you that you were always at work in Joseph's life. Father help us to be aware of all that you have done and are doing, not only in our lives but the lives of those around us. Father help us not to think over and over again about the difficult times we have faced, but to look forward to all the wonderful things you have planned for our futures.  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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48 - God calls Moses

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Exodus 3–4
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 62
‘Moses and the bush’ 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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Did you know that every type of plant and every kind of flower has a name? Some plants have really long names like Acer palmatum dissectum 'purpurea'. Often a name describes a plant and some plants have more than one name. There is a bush that gardeners love: it has branches with long woody strips that look a bit like wings; it is called a winged spindle bush. The same plant is also given another name. Around October time the leaves of the winged spindle bush change colour. They turn from green to a bright red. The leaves are so red that some people think the bush looks as if it's on fire and they call it the burning bush plant. However if you looked closely you wouldn’t see any flames, just red leaves and woody branches.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A thick branch with lots of twigs attached

  • Strips of red, yellow and orange crepe paper

  • Another long thick stick

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 weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Tell the story with props and actions
Sit the children in a circle. As you talk about the burning bush place the branch in the middle and cover it in strips of crepe paper. As you talk about Moses wanting to have a closer look encourage the children to slowly shuffle forward but then quickly tell them to stop. Describe God calling to Moses, and telling him to take off his shoes. Ask the children to remove their shoes. Then as you talk about Moses being scared ask the children to kneel and cover their faces. Tell the rest of the story with the children remaining in the circle.

Option 3 - Play a game using story-actions
Explain to the children that you are going to call out phrases from the story. Every time they hear a phrase they need to do an action. Teach them the following phrases and actions: ‘Burning bush’ – wave arms about like flames; ‘Let my people go!’ – shout ‘No’ and stamp foot; ‘Shhh, God’s speaking to Moses’ – curl up on the floor and hide face; ‘Holy ground’ – shoes off and stand still; ‘Off to Egypt’ – shoes on and walk on the spot.

To play the game call out the phrases in a random order. The children need to respond with the appropriate ‘action’. As the children get better at remembering the actions, call out the phrases more quickly.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father we remember your promise to be with Moses, to work in him and through him to do the job you had called him to do. Father please help us to remember that you are always with us, comforting, helping and guiding us. 

Father we remember that Moses made excuses when you spoke to him in the desert. Please help us to live your way even when it feels like a tough thing to do. Amen.



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50 & 53 - Frogs, flies and hail... Goodbye!

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Exodus 7-10;12
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor pages 64, 65 and 67
For a printable version of the story see ‘Plagues in Egypt’ in this week's 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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Do you like biscuits? Imagine you had a huge tin of mouth watering biscuits. Then one day, when you were really hungry, you lifted the lid and peered inside. But instead of seeing rows of delicious biscuits you saw a big, fat, green frog staring right back at you.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A toy frog and a biscuit tin

  • A toy crown

  • A long stick to represent Moses’ and Aaron’s staff

  • Illustrations of the plagues from a Children's Picture Bible

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 - Frogs and flies game
You will need: The flies and frogs pictures (see Printables), scissors, glue sticks, lively music and the means to play it (if possible use ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov).

Before the session print sufficient fly and frog pictures for approximately six of each per child (you may need a few more if you have a small group). Cut out the pictures and stick the fly pictures to the back of the frog pictures.

1. Divide your group into two equal teams. One team is ‘the frogs’ the other team ‘the flies’.
2. Place the glued pictures in the middle of the floor – make sure the frogs are uppermost on half the pictures and the flies are uppermost on the rest.
3. Explain that ‘the frogs’ need to try and turn the fly pictures over so that the frogs are uppermost while ‘the flies’ need to try and turn the frog pictures over so that the flies are uppermost.
4. While the children are running around turning over the pieces of paper, play the lively music.
5. After two or three minutes, stop the music and count how many flies and frogs are uppermost. The team with the most pictures showing is the winning team. If you have time play the game again. You could make the game slightly harder by allowing players to use only one hand.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about this story. We imagine the chaos and devastation as each plague struck Egypt... the frogs, the flies and the hail. We think about Moses' visiting the palace over and over again, asking Pharaoh to let your people go, and each time Pharaoh's stubborn answer: ‘No’. 

Father help us not to be like Pharaoh with his hard heart, determined to get his own way. Instead help us to be people who are willing to do what pleases you. Help us to listen to good advice and trust that you will always show us what is the good and right thing to do.  

Father, thank you that today we can be sure you will not send plagues and storms. Thank you that instead we can be certain that, because Jesus lived, died and rose again, everybody, everywhere can now know the comfort that you showed the Israelites in the midsts of difficulties. 

Father we thank you for your great love and your protection in the midst of trouble. 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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53 - Goodbye!

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Exodus 12
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 67

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Show the children the picture of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph as you explain that Abraham had a son called Isaac, Isaac had a son called Jacob and Jacob had a son called Joseph. Remind the children that Joseph was taken to Egypt and for many years Abraham’s family (the Israelites) worked as slaves for the Egyptians. But one day God sent Moses to bring His people out of slavery. Moses would lead the Israelites to the Promised Land. At first the Egyptian King said ‘no – the Israelites cannot leave’. But then disaster after disaster plagued the Egyptians.

Make sure you are happy with the story in the Children's Bible before reading it aloud to the children in your group. You might like to condense the second paragraph to 'Finally the most dreadful thing happened. It happened just as God said it would. In the middle of the night all the oldest boys in the Egyptian families died.The Israelites' sons were spared' .

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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
How do runners get ready for a race? Put on their running shoes? Do some warm-up exercises? Line up behind the start-line? When the Israelites were about to leave Egypt they needed to be ready. Again and again Pharaoh the Egyptian King had said ‘no!’ to the Israelites leaving his country. But one night the Egyptians faced a new disaster – this time surely Pharaoh would let God’s people go! 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A coat or a large piece of fabric to represent an outdoor cloak
  • A pair of shoes
  • ‘Don’t stay in my country another day!’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • A mixing bowl and tea towel
  • Necklaces and bracelets (inexpensive jewellery would be ideal) 

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 week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Getting ready to go.
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: a stopwatch, a bowl, a slice of bread, a serviette, a cloth bag, scarves, two wooden spoons, a saucepan, a teddy bear, a bucket, paper fish (see Printables) and a small bowl of paper circles made with a hole punch. 

1. Before the session place the paper fish in the bucket and put the bucket at one end of your room.
2. Next to the bucket place the bowl of paper circles.
3. In various places around your room place the following items: the bread, the scarves, a saucepan, two wooden spoons and a teddy bear.     
4. Encourage a volunteer to stand in the middle of the room.
5. Give the volunteer the bowl, the serviette and the bag.
6. Ask the volunteer to remove their shoes.
7. Explain that as fast as they can the volunteer should perform the following tasks: wrap the bread in a serviette and put it in the bowl, put the scarves in the bag, collect two spoons and a saucepan, collect the teddy bear, feed the fish (sprinkle a few paper circles in the bucket!) and put on their shoes.     
8. Encourage the children to take it in turns to perform all six of the tasks. The child who performs the six tasks in the shortest time is the winner.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father God, we think about the night the Israelites left Egypt. We think about the sadness that swept across Egypt as family after family lost what was so precious to them. Father, please help us to be kind and caring when we hear terrible news of suffering around the world.       
Father we also think of the great happiness of that night too. We think of the Israelites leaving behind a life of slavery. We think about the excitement as families picked up their belongings and followed Moses out of Egypt.

Father God we now know the Israelites were about to experience your great love and comfort as they made their way towards the Promised Land. Father help us to understand more about your love and kindness as we learn about the Israelites. Amen



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54 - God leads the way

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Exodus 13:17–22
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 68
‘The pillars of cloud and fire’ 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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Can you imagine a busy road without any road signs? How would drivers know which way to turn, when to slow down or how far it was to the next junction? Imagine that there were no signposts on footpaths either; people would have to guess the way to the shops or how to get back home again. Everybody would be confused and probably lost!

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
The following props could be used with the printable story

  • A book of road signs

  • ‘Get up’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • Mixing bowl

  • Tea towel

  • Gold and silver ornaments or costume jewellery

  • A selection of clothes

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 creative prayer
You will need: a large sheet of paper*, sticky tape and A5 sheets of red and white paper. 
*The size of the paper you need will depend on how many children you have in your group. If you have a large group you will need long strips of lining paper; if you have a small group A3 sheets will be sufficient.

1. Stick the two pieces of paper vertically to a wall.
2. Give each child a white piece of paper and a red piece of paper. 
3. Encourage the children to draw around one of their hands on each piece of paper.
4. Help the children to write a prayer on the red hand thanking God for being with them during the night, and during the day on the white hand. The prayer could simply be ‘Thank You God that you are with me during the night/day.’ 
5. Ask the children to come forward and stick their red hands to one strip of lining paper and their white hands to the other strip of lining paper. 
6. Explain to the children that they have created their own ‘pillar of cloud’ to remind them that God is with them during the day and a ‘pillar of fire’ to remind them that God is with them during the night.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Read the prayers written on the paper hands (see Option 2) or ask the children to read the prayers they have written.



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59 - 'Hands up, Moses!'

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Exodus 17:8–16
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 74  
‘Winning a battle’ 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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Have you ever carried something until your arms ached, or walked and walked until your legs were tired and sore?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • Toy swords

  • A large stick

  • A rolled up sheet of paper to look like a scroll

  • Stones for building an altar

  • A sign that says ‘The Lord is my Banner’

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 week’s Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Acting the story
You will need the props listed above and dressing up clothes (headdresses made out of tea towels secured with ties will do).

1. Give four children the following roles: Moses, Joshua, Aaron and Hur.
2. Ask the remaining children to be either Israelites or Amalekites. If you have less than four children allow them to choose who they would like to be.  If you don’t have suitable dressing up clothes, make everybody a simple headdress out of a tea towel secured with a tie.
3.Pair each of the Israelites with an Amalekite and give them a toy sword. Ask them to start fighting in slow motion (so that nobody gets hurt!).
4. As you tell the story describe what the characters are doing. ‘Moses’ will need to stand to the side with the stick lifted above his head. Ask ‘Moses’ to begin to lower the stick. As he does, the ‘Amalekites’ should act as if they are winning.
5. ‘Aaron’ and ‘Hur’ will then need to get ‘Moses’ a chair to sit on and each hold up one of his arms. As they do this the Israelites should act as if they are winning.
6. As you finish the story ask everybody to sit down apart from ‘Moses’ who pretends to write on a scroll before handing it to ‘Joshua’.  ‘Moses’ then needs to carefully position a pile of stones to look like an altar.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father we think about the Israelites who fought at Rephidim. We remember how they looked up to see your staff held high in the air. When we are in the middle of difficult times help us to remember that you are always with us. 

We remember that Aaron and Hur came alongside Moses to help him. Please show us how we can help each other to live your way.  Amen.



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61, 62 & 63 - God's Mountain & The ten commandments

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Exodus 19 and 20
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, pages 76, 77 and 78

Notes Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Remind the children that God sent Moses to bring his people out of slavery. Moses led the Israelites towards the Promised Land. God provided food and water for his people as they made their way through the desert. At night they camped in large groups; one day they stopped at the foot of a huge mountain. The next few weeks were a special time for the Israelites - on the mountain God gave his laws to Moses. Ten of the laws are called the Ten Commandments; they showed the Israelites how to live God’s way. After reading the story you might want to spend some time briefly talking about the Ten Commandments. Make the Ten Commandments on cardboard tablets (see Printables) and/or refer to pages 77 to 78 of 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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Did you know that some mountains are so high their tops are often covered by cloud? Can you imagine a mountain not only covered by thick cloud, but with smoke billowing from it too? As the Israelites stood at the bottom of Mount Sinai they saw the top of the mountain covered in smoke and clouds, they watched as it rumbled and shook with God’s power… then they heard another sound. The sound grew louder and louder and louder… 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • Pictures of mountain tops covered in cloud - use pictures from library books or from the internet but be aware of copyright regulations. 
  • ‘…just as a mother bird looking after her chicks.’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • A bar of soap and a small box of soap powder
  • A long piece of string to mark a boundary (lay it on the floor around your seating area). 
  • ‘God is too great and terrible for us to listen to!’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • The Ten Commandments on cardboard tablets (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 - Play a game about going up and down a mountain.
Ask for three volunteers to pretend to be ‘a mountain’. The three volunteers should stand in the middle of the room facing each other, with about 50 cm between them. The volunteers should hold hands then lift their hands to make three archways. The remaining children need to pretend to be mountain goats and weave through the archways. While the 'goats' are making their way round ‘the mountain’ intermittently call out the following two commands: ‘up the mountain’, ‘round the mountain’. Say the commands as many times as you like. After a while call out ‘down the mountain’; when the volunteers hear this command they should lower their arms catching whichever goats are standing between them. Any goat caught should then join hands with the volunteers to make a bigger mountain. Start shouting out the commands again, eventually shouting ‘down the mountain’. If you have time play the game again with three new volunteers as ‘the mountain’.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins    
Father God, we think about the Israelites watching the mountain as it shook and rumbled with your power.

Father God we thank you that you are powerful but you are loving and caring too. Thank you that you love us more than we can ever imagine.     

Father God we think about the boundary line that the Israelites were told they must not cross. Father we thank you that because Jesus lived, died and rose again there no longer needs to be a ‘boundary line’ that keeps us apart from you; instead everybody everywhere can become close friends with you. Amen



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61, (63, 64) & 65 - God's mountain, The Ten Commandments & The Agreement

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Exodus 19, 20 and 24
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor pages 76, (77, 78, 80) and 81
Read story number 61, the final paragraphs of 63 and 64, before reading story number 65 starting at the second paragraph. Explain to the children that a covenant is an agreement.

‘The blue pavement’ see Printables

Notes
The craft suggested for this story relates to the ‘blue (sapphire) pavement’ described in Exodus 24: 10. As this is not mentioned in The Children's Bible in 365 stories ask one of the older children to find the verse and read it aloud. 

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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Have you ever climbed a mountain or a very steep hill? What do you think climbers see when they reach the top of high mountains? Rocks? More mountains? Perhaps a beautiful view?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • Pictures of mountains possibly from a library book or the internet (beware of copyright regulations)

  • The Ten Commandments text boxes (see Printables)

  • Cardboard ‘stone tablets’ (see Printables)

If you are telling the story from the Printables you will also need:

  • ‘Sin’ word graphic (see Printables)

  • A large piece of blue fabric

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 week’s Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Create a different setting for telling the story
You will need: a gazebo, pieces of fabric, cushions, large sheets of paper, thick pens and the props listed above

1. Set up a gazebo in your teaching space. Make it feel like a tent by hanging material around two of its sides. Put cushions and blankets inside the gazebo to make it a comfortable place to sit. 
2. Stick a large piece of paper vertically to the wall of your teaching space. On the paper draw a high mountain. On a second piece of paper draw a large cloud and stick it next to the ‘mountain’.
3. Sit under the gazebo and place the props on a piece of fabric. Before you tell the story talk through the different props explaining what each represents in the story. Discuss with the children any experiences they may have had of climbing mountains or hill walking.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God thank you that all those years ago you gave your law to Moses. Thank you that today your Commandments still teach us about your way of living.  

Thank you that with your love and forgiveness and the powerful help of the Holy Spirit we can learn and grow to live your way; thank you that with your help we can learn and grow to follow your commandments.  Amen.



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66 - God's special tent

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Exodus 25-31
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 82

Notes
Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. They set off for the Promised Land - the land God had promised Abraham. At that time the Promised Land was called Canaan. On their journey to Canaan the Israelites built a special tent for God. The Tent was made of wood and gold and other rich material. Inside were beautiful curtains made with blue, purple and scarlet thread. 

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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min
What materials were used to build your house? Bricks? Cement? Is all the furniture in your home made out of hard materials like wood or metal or do you have furniture made from soft materials too? 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • ‘Inside the Tabernacle’ templates (see Printables)
  • Pictures of the Tabernacle from the internet (be aware of copyright regulations)

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 - Make a model Tabernacle
You will need: ‘How to make a model Tabernacle’ instructions (see Printables), a cardboard box, ‘Inside the Tabernacle’ templates (see Printables), foldback clips, scissors, sticky tape or double-sided sticky tape, blue J-cloths, red and purple felt tip pens, four towels or pieces of fabric large enough to cover the model. 

 
God's special tent.jpg
 

Tell the story then follow the instructions to make a model Tabernacle.

Option 2 - An activity to show how big the Tabernacle was
You will need: two pieces of string, one measuring 4.5 m and the other measuring 67.5 cm

Try and work out how big the Tabernacle actually was. Explain that there were twenty frames standing side by side along the sides of the Tabernacle and six along the back. Each frame was 10 cubits high and 1.5 cubits wide. A cubit is about 45 cm, based on the length of someone’s forearm from their elbow to their middle finger. Show the children the pieces of string. Explain that the long piece represents how high the frames were and the short piece how wide the frames were.  Use the pieces of string to try and give the children an idea of the size of the Tabernacle – work out how many frames could stand side by side in your teaching area.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about your very special tent. We think about the fine details that were carefully crafted to make it such a wonderful place - the embroidered curtains and beautifully ornate silver and gold furnishings. We think about how each part showed something of you and how you wanted to live among your people. 

Father when we think about the most Holy part of the tent, where the ordinary people were not allowed to go, and the thick curtain that covered the entrance, we remember how privileged we are to have a close relationship with you. We thank you that because Jesus lived died and rose again everybody everywhere can now say ‘Yes’ to your love and forgiveness and become your friends. Thank You that each one of us can talk with you as friends talk with one another. Thank You too that your Holy Spirit can live inside us, working in our lives in such wonderful ways.  

Father we thank you that there is so much we can still learn as we think about your special tent - thank you that just as you wanted to be among people all those thousands of years ago you still love to be with people today. Amen.



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67 & 68 - The calf made of gold & Putting things right

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Exodus 32, 33 and 34
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, pages 83 and 84

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Remind the children that God sent Moses to bring his people out of slavery. Moses led the Israelites towards the Promised Land. One day they stopped at the foot of a huge mountain. The next few weeks were a special time for the Israelites – on the mountain God gave his laws to Moses. Ten of the laws are called the Ten Commandments; they showed the Israelites how to live God’s way. As this story talks about sin you might like to talk briefly about ‘what the Bible calls sin’ (see Printables) by referring to the info-graphic and/or using the summary sheet.  

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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
What do you do if you’re feeling a little bored? Speak to a friend… help your Mum or Dad… watch TV… play a game? One day, when the Israelites were bored waiting for Moses to come down the mountain, they began to follow their own plans. However their plans were not good plans, in fact while Moses spoke to God, the Israelites did something they would regret for a long, long time. 

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. 

  • Inexpensive golden jewellery or trinkets
  • ‘Here is our god!’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • ‘Go back down the mountain, the people have broken my law already.’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • The Ten Commandments on cardboard tablets (see Printables)
  • Large stones or a piece of fabric to represent an altar
  • Some pearl barley to represent grain
  • ‘I will still be with you,’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • A blanket to roll up when you talk about packing up their belongings 

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 week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Discovering God's promise  
You will need: six envelopes, scissors, a pen and ‘a promise’ textboxes (see Printables).   

Before the session print and cut out the textboxes. Place one textbox in each of the envelopes. Write the word ‘sorry’ on each of the envelopes. Hide the envelopes around the room.  After reading the story, ask no more than six children to each find an envelope. If you have fewer than six children ask some of the children to find more than one.

When all the envelopes have been retrieved talk to the children about Moses saying sorry to God. Explain that by worshipping the golden calf the Israelites had disobeyed God. Moses asked God to forgive the people. God told Moses what he must do to make things right once more. Moses was worried that God would no longer look after his people but God made a promise to the Israelites. Encourage the children to open the envelopes and sort the words into the correct order to read the promise God made to his people. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father God, we think about the sad day when the Israelites disobeyed you. We remember that at that time you made a way for them to be right with you once more. 

Father God, we thank you that through Jesus you have made an even better way. Thank you that everybody, everywhere can now say ‘Yes’ to your love and forgiveness and become close friends with you.

Father we understand that your rules show us what pleases you. With your love, forgiveness and the help of the Holy Spirit help us to keep on living your way day after day.  Amen



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69 & 70 - The Promised Land in sight & 'We can't do it!'

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Number 13; Deuteronomy 1; Numbers 13–14
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, pages 85 and 86

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards to remind the children of the events leading up to today’s story. Show the children the picture of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Remind the children that one day God sent Moses to bring his people out of slavery. Moses led the Israelites towards the Promised Land. God’s people stopped at the foot of a huge mountain. On the mountain God gave his laws to Moses; the laws showed the Israelites how to live. But while they camped by the mountain, the Israelites disobeyed God. Moses begged God for his forgiveness and God made a way to put things right. God was with the Israelites as they moved on towards the Promised Land.

If you have only a short time to read the story, begin reading at the fourth paragraph of ‘The Promised Land in Sight’; the paragraph begins ‘At long last they arrived…’

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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Have you ever tried to tell a friend some news… ‘Guess what just happened to me’ you might say. Imagine if they wouldn’t listen. Imagine if your friend chose to listen to someone else instead. Joshua and Caleb had some news. They tried to tell the Israelites, but they wouldn’t listen. Again and again Joshua and Caleb tried to speak. God’s people listened to others but they refused to listen to Joshua and Caleb.  

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

  • ‘Canaan check list’ (see Printables)
  • Figs, pomegranates and grapes
  • ‘We should never have left Egypt’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • ‘Of course God can give us the land’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • ‘We’ll never do it...’ speech bubble (see Printables) 
  • ‘40 years’ textbox (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 week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Grape fun!
You will need: masking tape, four paper plates and two bunches of grapes.
Before the session, stick a strip of masking tape to the floor – this will be your ‘start line’. At a distance of approximately four metres (more if your space allows) stick a second strip of tape parallel to the first – this will be your ‘pick-up point’. Divide the grapes between two paper plates. Place the plates at the ‘pick-up point’, either on the floor or on a low table. Place two empty plates at the ‘start line’. Divide your group into two teams and encourage the teams to line up behind the start line. Explain that each group needs to bring the grapes from the ‘pick-up point’ to the empty plate. However they must do this by tucking one grape under their chin and carefully ‘carrying’ it back to the empty plate. When one team member returns with a grape the next team member can set off to collect the next grape. Either set a time limit, after which the children should stop collecting grapes, or continue play until all the grapes have been moved. The team with more grapes or the team to finish collecting all the grapes first is the winning team. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins    
Father God, we think about the spies returning from Canaan. We remember that even when the other Israelites didn't trust you, Joshua and Caleb did. 

Thank you Father God that you are always good, always wise and always powerful. Even when people around us don't trust in you, help us to keep believing that your ways are good and right and what you say is true.  Amen



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74 - Moses says Goodbye

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Deuteronomy
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 90
‘Deuteronomy 8’ see Printables 

Notes
If telling the story using The Children's Bible in 365 stories, show the picture on page 87. Explain that God told Moses to speak to the rock and that he would bring water out from it . But Moses was cross with the Israelites and hit the rock. Because Moses disobeyed God he was not allowed to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.

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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min
There are lots of things we need to remember: to do our homework, wish a friend happy birthday, change our socks! How do you remember important things? Some people tie a knot in the corner of a handkerchief or write a message on a piece of paper or put a reminder on their phone.

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

  • Handkerchief

  • Post-it notes

  • Mobile phone

  • Do not forget the Lord your God’ speech bubble (see Printables )

  • 'Remember…' speech bubbles (see Printables )

  • Torn up pieces of white bread to look like manna

  • Clothes and shoes

  • A large jug of water

  • A bag of flour

  • A bunch of grapes

  • A pomegranate

  • Figs

  • A bottle of olive oil

  • A jar of honey

  • A loaf of bread

  • Dinner knife and fork

  • Small money bags full of coins.

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 week’s Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 -
You will need the props listed above plus two small tables, fabric table-coverings and a clear bowl of water with a small rock in it (to remind the children that, on two occasions, water came from a rock in the desert).

1. Before the session, set up one table on one side of the room and the other on the other side of the room. Cover the tables with the fabric. Place all the objects relating to the desert on one table and those relating to the Promised Land on the other.
2. Tell the story drawing the children’s attention to the relevant table as you talk about the different items.
3. After you have told the story explain that you are going to take a vote to find out if the children would rather live in the Promised Land or spend 40 years in the desert.
4. Ask the children the four questions (see Printables). You could allow the children to discuss their views with their neighbour before voting.
5. To vote the children need to place their hands in the air then lean either to their left or their right. If the children want to vote for the Promised Land and the ‘Promised Land’ table is on the left hand side of the room they need to lean to the left. If they want to vote for the desert and the ‘desert table’ is on the right hand side of the room they need to lean to the right.          

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father we think about Moses' final words urging the Israelites not to forget you.

Father help us to remember all you have done for us and to remember that it is because of your great love that we are surrounded by so many good and wonderful things.   Amen.



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79 & 80 - Strange orders & The walls fall down

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Joshua 5 - 6
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor pages 95 and 97
‘The fall of Jericho’ 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 four

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Have you ever visited an old castle? Some castles are so old that their walls have crumbled and fallen down. Sometimes all that is left are the ruins, parts of towers and underground cellars. The wall around a castle was very important; it kept out enemy soldiers and protected the people inside. A castle wall would not only have been tall but thick too. It would have been made with heavy stones carefully placed one on top of the other.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • Pictures of castles perhaps from a library book or the internet (beware of copyright regulations)

  • A map of the Promised Land showing Jericho - if you are using the Old Testament flashcards, show flashcard six. Jericho was on the west of the River Jordan, just north of where the river flows into the Dead Sea

  • A picture of a ‘trumpet’ (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 week’s Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Acting the story
You will need party blowers enough for one per child and a piece of fabric (or folded blanket) 130 cm x 80 cm.  
Tell the story using the props then encourage the children to act out the story.

1. Choose four children to pick up the fabric by the corners and pretend they are carrying the Ark.
2. If you have fewer than fifteen children divide the rest of the children into two groups. Give one group the party blowers and explain that the other children are going to be the Israelites. If you have more than fourteen children give  party blowers to seven of them and explain that the remaining children are to be the Israelites. 
3. Explain to the children that they are going to act out the final day of the battle. Discuss with the children what they think the Israelites shouted. Listen to their answers and choose what to shout out during the re-enactment.  
4. Arrange the children so that two or three lead the procession - these are the armed soldiers and should place one arm across their chest as if carrying a shield.
5. Behind the 'soldiers' position the children with the party blowers; behind them position the children holding the ‘Ark’ and behind them the rest of the Israelites.
6. Tell the children where you would like them to process. As they march, those with party blowers should blow them constantly while the 'Israelites' remain silent. Encourage the children to march around the room seven times. On the seventh time the children should stop so that they are spaced out around the room. The priests should then sound a blast on their ‘trumpets’ and everyone should shout out the agreed ‘shout’.

If the children have already made a ram’s horn trumpet they should use their horn instead of a party blower. Children who have not yet made a ram’s horn should keep their party blower and use it for the craft activity.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father we think about the Priests leading the Israelites round and round the walls of Jericho. 

We imagine the silence as each day they quietly returned to the camp. We imagine the tremendous noise on the seventh day  as the trumpets sounded, the people shouted and the walls tumbled to the ground.      

Father thank you that day after day Joshua kept on trusting you. Father help us to trust you as Joshua did. To remember that you are always with us; loving us and caring for us each day.   Amen.



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86 - Deborah and Barak

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Judges 4–5
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 103

Notes
After Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land they began to forget about God. They lived as the other nations around them lived and things started to go wrong. In the middle of their troubles the Israelites cried out. God heard their cries and sent rulers to help His people. The rulers were called Judges. Over a number of years God sent twelve judges; eleven men and one woman. Ehud was one of the Judges, he was left-handed. The female judge was called Deborah. Deborah was a prophetess, she listened to God and passed His 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 five

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Do you know what a palm-tree looks like? A tall trunk, big leaves and perhaps ripening coconuts tucked under it's branches. But did you know that some palm-trees are so tall they can be seen for miles around? Many, many years ago a lady called Deborah sat beneath a palm-tree, perhaps she chose the tree because everybody knew exactly where to find her. 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • Twelve judges (see Printables)
  • A dressing-up crown
  • A picture of an iron chariot (see Printables or find suitable pictures on the Internet – beware of copyright regulations)
  • ‘Go!’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • A tray of sand and a jug of water

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 out the story
‘You will need: the role slips (see Printables), an A4 envelope, a low table that is safe for a child to stand on.

1. Before the session print and cut out the role slips. Place the role slips in the envelope. Make sure you have the same number of slips as you have children in your group. If you need to remove some of the role slips do not remove ‘Deborah’, ‘Barak’ or ‘Sisera’.
2. At the beginning of the session allow the children to select a role slip from the envelope. Explain that later they will be acting out their roles. Encourage the children to place their slip somewhere safe while they listen to the story.
3. Read the story or tell it to the children in your own words. Ask the children to specifically listen out for the role of their character in the story.
4. Act out the story with the children. If it is safe to do so, allow ‘Barak’ to stand on the small table to illustrate the Israelites climbing the hill. Encourage the ‘Israelite soldiers’ to stand on the floor behind him. ‘Sisera’ should stand in front of the table with the ‘enemy soldiers’.
5. When you talk about the enemy soldiers getting stuck in the mud encourage the soldiers to pretend to run away slowly through the mud. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about the story. We imagine Barak and his men running down the hill towards the enemy. We remember that they trusted you would give them the victory that day. Father we imagine their surprise when it started to rain. We imagine the rain pouring down on both Barak and the enemy army. We picture the earth quickly turning to mud and the chariots' wheels sinking deeper and deeper into the soft ground. Father we thank you that when Barak's men reached the enemy soldiers the victory was theirs as each of the heavy chariots were stuck in the mud.

Father we think of Deborah's part in the battle that day. We thank you that she was able to listen carefully to you then pass on wise advice to Barak. Father help us to be both like Deborah and Barak. Help us to be people that listen carefully to you and people that pay attention to the wise and godly words of others. Amen.  



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96 - Samson: A special baby

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Judges 13
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 114

Notes
Use the Old Testament flashcards and ‘The story so far…’ (see Printables) to remind the children of the events leading up to the time of the Judges. 

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  
Did you know that your hair grows about 1 cm every month? Some people love to grow their hair really, really long but, even if they never had it cut, their hair would eventually stop growing. Have a look around you: who has the longest hair in the room? …Is it you?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Introduce a ‘story bag’. After telling the story place the props in the bag ready to show the children again next week. 

  • A Bible opened at the book of Judges 
  • Names of the twelve judges (see Printables)
  • A doll
  • A small pair of scissors 
  • ‘You must never cut his hair’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • A Nazirite name badge (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 - Finding the judges' swords
You will need: The judges' swords (see Printables), names of the twelve judges (see Printables), sticky tac, some lively music and the means to play it optional. 

1. Before the session print and cut out the judges’ swords and the twelve names.
2. Use the sticky tac to stick the swords around your teaching space. Either make the swords visible or conceal them around the room.
3. When you have told the story spend some time talking about the twelve judges. Remind the children that there were eleven male judges and one female. The female judge was called Deborah. For 150 years the judges helped God’s people. Today we might see a judge in a courtroom or on TV, but the judges in the Bible would probably be found on a battle-field as they helped the Israelites fight against their enemies.
4. Give each of the children at least one textbox with the name of a judge written on it.
5. Ask the children to find the sword that matches their judge. Either encourage all the children to look at once for their swords or allow the children to take turns.
6. Play some lively music while the children are hunting for the judges’ swords.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins      
Father we think about the Israelites calling out to you in the midst of their troubles. We remember that you heard their cries and sent leaders to help them. Father we thank you that with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit the judges set the Israelites free from their enemies over and over again.

Father we thank you that you hear our prayers. Thank you that we can trust you during our troubled times. Thank you that you sent your Holy Spirit to be with us not just during our troubles but to be with us always - helping, comforting and guiding us day after day after day. Amen. 



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97 - Samson: A wedding is arranged

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Judges 14
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 115

Notes
Remind the children that for six weeks we are learning about Samson. Samson was a judge. Use the Old Testament flashcards and ‘The story so far…’ (see Printables) to remind the children of the events leading up to the time of the judges. 

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 the taste of honey? Did you know that honey looks, smells and tastes different depending on the flowers visited by the honey bees? One day Samson dipped his fingers in some honey. He tasted it – umm delicious!  But where had Samson found the honey? …In a very strange place indeed.


3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Hold up the story bag and reveal the previous weeks’ props. Encourage the children to talk about them and, if possible, describe their relevance to Samson’s story so far. After telling the story place the props in the bag ready to use next week. 

  • ‘Don’t marry a Philistine’ speech bubble (see Printables)  
  • A toy lion
  • A jar of honey 

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 - Spin the lion's tail
You will need: A pair of tights, a squash ball or a tennis ball, ‘How to make a lion’s tail’ instructions (see Printables) and a stopwatch (optional). 

1. Before the session follow the instructions to make a ‘lion’s tail’.  
2. Encourage the children to stand in a circle.
3. Ask for a volunteer. Explain that the volunteer is the lion and give them their tail.
4. Ask the remaining children to take a step backwards.
5. Ask the ‘lion’  to crouch or kneel in the centre of the circle. Encourage the lion to practise swinging their tail in a circle, around their body and close to the ground. So that the lion doesn’t get too dizzy they should try and pass the tail behind their back swapping it from hand to hand. The tail should spin around the lion no more than a centimetre or two from the ground. If a lion spins their tail any higher a new lion should be chosen.
6. Ask the lion to stop spinning their tail while the children take a step closer.  When they are ready they should start slowly spinning their tail.
7. Encourage the children to jump to avoid their ankles being hit. Monitor the speed at which the lion's tail is spun so that nobody gets hurt.
8. Introduce a new lion after thirty seconds of play or allow each lion to spin their tail ten times only. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father we think about Samson’s amazing strength. We remember that it was through the power of your Holy Spirit that Samson was stronger than anybody else. 

Father we thank you that over two thousand years ago you sent your Holy Spirit to be with people in a new way - thank you that when Jesus went up, the Holy Spirit came down. Father we thank you that the Holy Spirit is now with us every day, helping, guiding and comforting us – helping us learn and grow to live the way you created us to live.  Amen.



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98 - Samson: Answer my riddle

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Judges 14
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 116

Notes
Remind the children that for six weeks we are learning about Samson. Samson was a judge. Use the Old Testament flashcards and ‘The story so far…’ (see Printables) to remind the children of the events leading up to the time of the judges. 

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 know what a riddle is? A riddle is a puzzling question. People often need to think hard to work out the answer to a riddle. Can you work out the answer to this one? ‘What gets wetter as it dries?’ The answer is ‘a towel’ – when you dry your hands on a towel the towel gets wetter, but it still dries your hands. Thousands of years ago Samson told the Philistines a riddle… do you think they worked out the answer?


3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Hold up the story bag and reveal the previous weeks’ props. Encourage the children to talk about them and, if possible, describe their relevance to Samson’s story so far. After telling the story, place the props in the bag ready to use next week. 

Beware of allergies – make sure it is safe for the children to handle the food used in this activity. 

  • A book of riddles or a couple of riddles printed from the internet (beware of copyright)
  • ‘Out of the eater…’ riddle (see Printables)
  • The jar of honey and the toy lion from last week’s props

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 of 'buzz splat'
You will need: a  blindfold.

1. Encourage the children to stand in a circle.  Ask for a volunteer and explain that they will be blindfolded.
2. Explain that during the game one person in the circle will say ‘splat’ while everybody else says ‘buzz’.  The blindfolded volunteer will need to listen carefully then make their way towards the child they think said ‘splat’. 
3. Encourage the blindfolded volunteer to stand in the middle of the circle.
4. Choose the player to say 'splat' by silently pointing to someone in the circle.
5. Count to three with the children. Everyone should then clap their hands and say ‘buzz’ except for the nominated child who will say ‘splat’.
6. The volunteer can ask the children to say ‘buzz/splat’ as many times as they like.
7. When a volunteer has correctly identified who said ‘splat’, ask for another volunteer and repeat the game.
8. Praise the children for their attempts. Congratulate those who were particularly good at identifying who said ‘splat’. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father we think about Samson. We think about the great things he did for you, but we also think about the mistakes he made too. Father we remember that Samson was strong enough to fight with a lion but not always strong enough to do the right thing. 
  
Father we think about the times we need to make good choices. Thank you that you sent your Holy Spirit to be with us. Thank you that the Holy Spirit is with us every day, helping, guiding and comforting us – helping us learn and grow to live the way you created us to live. Amen.



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99 - Samson and Delilah

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Judges 16
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 116

Notes
Remind the children that for six weeks we are learning about Samson. Samson was a judge. Use the Old Testament flashcards and ‘The story so far…’ (see Printables) to remind the children of the events leading up to the time of the judges. 

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  
Did you know that every year there is a ‘world’s strongest man competition’? During the event the competitors pull trucks or even aeroplanes along the ground. They place enormous round stones on high platforms, then they lift, carry and drag heavy objects to a finish line. Each competitor tries to lift a heavier weight then carry it further or hold it for longer than anybody else. Do you think that, thousands of years ago, Samson was the strongest man in the world?


3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Hold up the story bag and reveal the previous weeks’ props. Encourage the children to talk about them and, if possible, describe their relevance to Samson’s story so far. After telling the story, place the props in the bag ready to use next week. 

  • A handful of silver coins
  • Seven pieces of thin string or wool
  • ‘The Philistines are coming, Samson!’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • A short length of rope 
  • Brown or black wool cut to 30 cm lengths and held together with an elastic hair band

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 week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Take the test of strength challenge.
You will need: a broom handle. 

1. Explain to the children that this is a test of strength, but even a really strong person may fail this test.
2. Hold the broom horizontally in front of you using both hands. Your hands need to be close together near the middle of the broom handle.
3. Ask a child or helper to stand opposite you and also hold the broom handle by placing their hands either side of yours.
4. Challenge the child/helper to push hard against the broom in an attempt to push you backwards.
5. However as they begin to push, gently lift up the broom. The person pushing should find it impossible to push you backwards if you are gently lifting the handle.
6. Allow the children to take turns holding the broom handle.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins    
Father we think about Samson. We remember again that Samson was strong enough to fight with a lion but not always strong enough to do the right thing. We think about Delilah asking Samson over and over again to tell her the reason for his great strength. We know that Delilah was greedy and wanted money from Samson’s enemies, but Samson listened and eventually did as she asked. 

Father we think about times we need to listen to the right people. We think about times when we need to make good and wise choices. Thank you that over 2000 years ago you sent your Holy Spirit to be with us in a new way. Thank you that your Holy Spirit is with us every day, helping, guiding and comforting us - helping us to learn and grow to live the way you created us to live.  Amen.



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100 - Samson: Defeat of the Champion

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Judges 16
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 118

Notes
Remind the children that for six weeks we are learning about Samson. Samson was a judge. Use the Old Testament flashcards and ‘The story so far…’ (see Printables) to remind the children of the events leading up to the time of the judges. 

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  
Can you imagine being called a champion? Why are some people called champions? What sort of things have they done to deserve their title? Samson, the Israelite judge, was a champion. Over and over again he won battles against the Philistines, the enemies of the Israelite people. 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Hold up the story bag and reveal the previous weeks’ props. Encourage the children to talk about them and, if possible, describe their relevance to Samson’s story so far. After telling the story, place the props in the bag ready to use next week.

Beware of allergies – make sure it is safe for the children to handle the food used in this activity. 

  • A handful of silver coins and a pair of scissors
  • ‘All right...’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • Brown or black wool held together with an elastic hair band (see last week’s props)
  • ‘Get up, Samson!’ speech bubble (see Printables) 
  • A short length of chain from a garden centre 
  • Pearl barley to represent grain 

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 - Wake up sleepy Samson and play a game of tag.
You will need: a long piece of string.

1. Use the string to make a circle on the floor approx. 2.5 meters in diameter.
2. Ask for a volunteer to be Samson.
3. Ask ‘Samson’ to sit in the circle.
4. Choose areas in your teaching space to be ‘safe zones’.
5. Encourage the remaining children to stand at the edge of the circle and then take 5 steps backwards (more if your space allows).
6. Ask ‘Samson’ to close his eyes as if asleep.
7. While Samson ‘sleeps’ the children should call out ‘Get up, Samson! The Philistines are here!’ as they take small steps forwards.
8. Samson may remain asleep a little longer or, at any moment he could wake up and try and ‘tag’ someone!
9. If a child is ‘tagged’ before they reach a safe zone, Samson remains the champion and can go back to sleep.
10. If a child manages to reach Samson’s circle before he wakes, or Samson doesn’t manage to tag one of the children, the judge is defeated and a new Samson should be picked. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father we think about Samson. We think about how he was a great judge and yet one day he made a bad, bad choice. We think about the disappointment Samson must have felt when he realised what he had done, and the dreadful sadness when he understood that you were no longer with him in the way you had once been. 

Father we thank you that today your Holy Spirit works in the lives of Christians. Thank you that, even though we make mistakes and poor choices, you will never leave us on our own. Thank you that with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit we can learn and grow to be more like Jesus - we can learn and grow to live the way you created us to live.  Amen



Alongside this story, make the craft...

 
 
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101 - Samson: Strong in death

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Judges 16
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 119

Notes
Remind the children that for six weeks we are learning about Samson. Samson was a judge. Use the Old Testament flashcards and ‘The story so far…’ (see Printables) to remind the children of the events leading up to the time of the judges. 

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 a story with a happy ending, one where everything turns out just fine? Many stories have both happy and sad parts. Today we are going to hear the last of Samson’s story. Can you think back and remember one happy event and one sad event in Samson’s story so far? 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Hold up the story bag and reveal the previous weeks’ props. Encourage the children to talk about them and, if possible, describe their relevance to Samson’s story so far. After telling the story, place the props in the bag.

  • A short length of chain, either plastic or metal, from a garden centre (see last week’s props)
  • A picture from the internet of a hall with pillars (beware of copyright regulations) 
  • ‘O God, please give me back my strength’ 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 - Knock down the 'pillars' with the bean-bags.
You will need:  masking tape, a bean-bag, a score sheet (see Printables), six empty two litre drinks bottles and the list of Samson’s story questions (see Printables). 

1. Before the session place a strip of masking tape on the floor.
2. At a distance of approximately three meters from the tape arrange the bottles in a triangle – stand one bottle in the front row, two in the second row and three in the third row.
3. Divide your group into two teams. Name the teams ‘A’ and ‘B’. 
4. Ask the teams to stand behind the strip of tape.
5. Explain that the bottles represent pillars and each team needs to try and knock down as many pillars as they can. However they must knock them over with bean-bags.
6. Encourage the teams to choose a ‘thrower’.
7. Ask team ‘A’ a question from the list. If the team answers correctly their thrower can attempt to knock over the pillars. Record his/her score on the score sheet.
8. Now ask team ‘B’ a question. If team ‘B’ answers correctly, their thrower can attempt to knock over the pillars. Record his/her score on the score sheet.
9. Alternate between asking team ‘A’ then team ‘B’ questions. Encourage the children to take turns throwing the bean-bags.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father we think about the life of Samson. We remember the good choices and the bad choices he made. Father we thank you that you didn’t stop loving Samson when he made his poor and unwise choices. 

Thank you that in the same way you never ever stop loving us. Thank you that nothing we do will make you love us less and there is nothing we can do to make you love us more. Thank you that day after day we are able to keep saying ‘Yes’ to your love and forgiveness and know that you have promised to be with us always. Amen.



Alongside this story, make the craft...

 
 
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