5 Object Lessons for Teaching 5 Classic Old Testament Bible Stories to Kids
Teaching the Bible to children and youth can be a challenge. People of this generation are inundated with intense images and boisterous environments almost constantly. This makes it hard to get to a place mentally where a young person can read plain black words on a white page. Using an object lesson at the beginning of a bible teaching is an excellent way to not only pique the interest of your students but also give them something tangible to relate to when it comes time for good old fashioned black (or red) letters on white paper.
The Story of Noah
This amazing story is one of the most interesting for children. Almost all will have heard this story prior to coming to your class. This story, however, is also one of the Biblical stories that will be used most often in debates to discredit the Bible. Questions like, how did all of the animals get where Noah was, where did all of the different kinds animals come from, what did everything eat, etc. Now I can’t answer all of these questions but it is important for students to understand there are logical answers for some questions and supernatural answers for others. The Bible says that YHVH (God) brought those animals to the ark. They had many years to make their way to Noah after YHVH told him to build the ark.
A great way to help students relate to this is by having someone issue them animal ‘costumes’ and then direct them to a location that is different from where they normally have your class. Your costumes could be masks, head pieces, or 3x5 cards with an animal name on it. Issue 2 of each animal and allow them to find their way to the location they were instructed to go. If possible, when class is ready to start, have the person who gave the instructions close the door to the room. This will give you the jumping off point for talking to the students about the flood during Noah’s time. You can share in your story how just like \ you prepared this different space for them Noah did the same, how YHVH (God) got the animals to the ark, and how He shut the door up after everyone was on. Obviously you will tell more of the story but this will give the kids a good foundation.
Jacob working for his wife
Bring in treats for every one and promise to give them the treats once they have completed a certain task. When they complete the task give them something else like a blank piece of paper. You can use any item you want for this as long as it is not as desirable to the students as the treat. Because this item will represent Leah, make it something useful but plain. Then as you teach about Jacob getting his wife the students will know how Jacob must have felt.
Another classic your students will probably be familiar with but you can stir up new excitement by making a papyrus basket that will float. In the story Moses’s mother uses tar and pitch but you can use that flex seal spray you have probably seen on TV. The project will point out knowledge from the story and will generate interest and excitement in the children as they watch you make and then float it. If you have access to a pool, river, or lake this will be easy to demonstrate. If not use a kiddie pool (someone will probably have one you can borrow) or make a small version and use a sink or bowl full of water.
The Battle of Jericho
In this story the Israelites quietly walk circles around the walls of the city until the last day and on the last trip they blown trumpets and yell. Start this lesson with the call of a metal trumpet. Tell the story. Then have the kids walk around the room or around the building. Instruct them to be as quiet as possible until the end. Have the trumpet blow and all of the kids cheer and yell. Chances are you will be able to find a musician to help you with this but if not you can get a party horn and do the same thing.
Daniel in the Lion’s Den
For this one simply bring in pizza, ice cream, or some other food treat and set it up in the middle of the room. Put chairs all around it some distance from the display. Instruct the students as they come in not to touch the food. Have them sit down and begin teaching about Daniel. Don’t speak so long the pizza gets cold or the ice cream melts but do speak long enough that the students really want to eat. Explain that just like they want to eat that food so did the lions want to eat Daniel but like you, YHVH (God) held them back. Then you can let them eat and finish your lesson.