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5 Object Lessons for Teaching 5 Classic New Testament Bible Stories to Kids
Teaching the Bible to children and youth can be a challenge. It is important to appeal to your students on a level that interests them without sacrificing the holiness of the Bible. As a teacher you are warned about leading any little one astray but you are also challenged to share these stories when you wake, when you walk, when you sit... It is easy for a child to lose interest. Adding object lessons to draw your children into a Bible reading can prevent you from having to paraphrase or elaborate on important biblical stories.
Yeshua (Jesus) feeds the 5000
This object lesson is a bit of a magic trick and requires 2 brown paper bags and goldfish snacks. If you have a small group of 2 or 3 kids you might be able to get away with paper lunch bags but if you have a large group you need to get the big grocery size paper bags. Open up both bags. Gently unseal the bottom of one bag. Pour all but 7 (5 loaves 2 fish) of the goldfish snacks (bread and fish) in the one that is still sealed on the bottom. Put the bag that has had the bottom opened up inside the other pushing it down far enough that it leaves just enough room for the crackers. When you look down into the bag it should look like the bottom is still intact.
Set this up by explaining to the kids that you were going to have snack for them but you forgot it or someone else ate it… maybe you can catch someone in the act of munching and covered in crumbs. You explain that there are only 7 left and show them inside the bag. You can continue to apologize and start passing out what ‘little’ you have, yet each time you reach into the bag you reach under the flap and pull out a handful at a time. If you make sure to replace the flaps you can continue to show the ‘empty’ bag a few more times while you are passing out the snack.
This obviously leads well into the story. At the end I usually reveal my trick and explain that when ‘Yeshua’ did it there was not a secret bag. I don’t want students to think that His miracles were well done magic tricks.
Leaving the 99 to find the 1
This to me is an important lesson because it shows the heart of our savior. He wants us to be safe and will pursue us to make that happen. It also points out the importance of fellowship and being in a safe place. The shepherd can leave his flock because they are in a safe place and are together while he goes to find the one that is lost. For this object lesson you are going to leave your students to go find one that is missing.
Set some ground rules and then leave for a few moments returning with the ‘missing’ person. Two possibilities could have happened while you were gone. Your students may have remained calm and followed your rules. Talk to them about how being together kept them from being alone and scared or from acting poorly. The other option is that they started to get out of hand. If that was the case, explain how the Bible tells us that we should continue to meet together and hold each other accountable because when we don’t we are more likely to behave badly.
Yeshua (Jesus) turns water into wine
You can turn water into ‘wine’ by having Kool-Aid or some other kind of powdered drink in the bottom of a pitcher before you pour water into it. It is most effective if you use glass pitchers. Just make sure the powder in spread evenly across the bottom so that it is less noticeable. I recommend keeping set on a table or counter as this will further conceal the bottom.
Yeshua (Jesus) washes the feet of the disciples
Bring a bowl, water, and towels and start washing. You can have the head pastor, or some other person that is highly respected, come in and do the feet washing. The lesson here is service and humility. Having someone the children consider to be very important, someone who they could never picture getting on their knees and washing feet drives this home. Another option is to allow a few students to walk around outside barefoot then have them come in and you wash their feet. This also emphasizes how unpleasant this job was and what it meant for Yeshua (Jesus) to do this task.
The Empty Tomb
This is another magic trick object lesson. Use a magic box to make an object disappear in front of your students while you are relaying the story of how the tomb was empty. As I said before I reveal my magic tricks after lessons like this in order to emphasize that what really happen was not a trick.