Make an edible model of the tabernacle, draw the articles used in the tabernacle, create a walk-through tabernacle using household articles, and more in this fun hands-on lesson on the tabernacle from a Christian perspective! This lesson is geared toward elementary-age children and their siblings. Use this fun lesson with your classroom, family, Sunday School class, or homeschool co-op!
Please DO NOT copy this elsewhere without giving proper credit: http://iijuan12.hubpages.com/hub/tabernacle-lesson
Introduction and Drawing the Dimensions
1) Pray. Read and discuss Exodus 25:8.
2) Review the definition of honor and how it relates to the tabernacle.
3) Briefly talk through the history of the Israelite in Egypt and the desert by reading stories from Kenneth Taylor's The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes.
4) Read parts of Exodus 25-31 in sections. Have the children draw each of the parts of the Tabernacle as you read about each item. I read through each part 3 times. If desired, older children can try to draw everything to scale. We used 3 sheets of paper. On one sheet they drew the tabernacle. On the second sheet of paper they drew the outside courtyard. On a third sheet of paper they drew the curtains. They cut the curtains out and taped them on one side over whatever they were supposed to be in front of so that you could lift the flap to see the pieces.
YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD: 3 sheets of paper, a pencil, crayons/markers/colored pencils, scotch tape, & a ruler (optional)
This is the book we used to give a brief overview of the experience of the Israelites as they escaped Egypt, wandered in the desert as God provided for them, and eventually built the tabernacle. The stories are very short (as they were written for a preschooler). What I especially love about this book is that the pictures are realistic and appear to be fairly historically accurate. This is not the case with "The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes," which has cartoon-like illustrations.
Materials & Freewill Offerings
5) Have the children each pull out their favorite article of clothing and piece of nicest jewelry. (The boys picked jewelry from their moms.) Review what materials were used to make the various parts of the Tabernacle. Ask where the material came from. Have the child pile up the clothing and jewelry and pretend to offer them as a freewill offering just as the Israelites gave for the construction of the Tabernacle.
YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD: their favorite article of clothing and piece of nicest jewelry (Boys can pick jewelry from their moms.)
Paper Model of Tabernacle
6) Have the children create a paper model of the tabernacle which can be printed free from gospelhall.org. If you are limited by time or have young children, you can pre-cut & pre-folded tabernacle pieces ahead of time. You can have children each make their own model or have them work in groups of 4-6. As they set up the pieces, talk about each piece. Help them to tape the pieces to a piece of cardboard (such as an empty pizza box that is open).
YOU WILL NEED: a paper model of the tabernacle which can be printed free from gospelhall.org per child or per group of 4-6, tape, scissors (optional), & a piece of cardboard (such as an empty pizza box that is open)
*At threemarcusboys.blogspot.com a family puts together the same model we put together, though they definitely spent a lot more time coloring all the pieces nicely. They have also included descriptions of each piece.*
*If you would prefer to instead create a lapbook, you can find a free printable mini-lapbook on the Tabernacle by clicking on the link.*
Walk Through Tabernacle
And How Each Piece Pointed Toward Christ
7) Have the children help in creating and setting up the below pieces for the walk-through tabernacle. Then walk through it together to review the items and the significance of each piece focusing on how each piece pointed to Christ. If you need ideas on the symbolism, check out Tabernacle 101.
a. The screen around our back patio was our pillars and white curtains.
b. Our backyard patio was the Outer Court. We put a towel over the back patio door to be the door to the Outer Court
c. Everyone lined up outside the back patio holding their favorite stuffed animal, which we were going to pretend was a lamb. They would pretend to be heads of households coming to make a sacrifice.
d. One by one they "sacrificed" their animals on the Brazen Altar, which we made from a box. We cut 4 horns using the top flaps. We placed a cookie cooling rack inside. We pretended to cut the throat, let the blood drain out, and then burn the animal.
e. We used a large mixing bowl with water for the Brazen Laver. After the kids "sacrificed" their "lambs," I put a few drops red food dye (though I would recommend ketchup) on their hands as the blood they had to wash off in the laver. (Red food dye doesn't come off very easily, so I would recommend using ketchup.)
f. They entered the house, which we called the tabernacle. Our kitchen was the Inner Court.
g. Seven candles on a coffee table was our Lampstand.
h. 12 pieces of pita bread (or tortillas) sat on the Table of Shewbread. The kids separated out the 12 tortillas into 2 stacks and placed them on 2 gold charger plates (though any plate would work). We also had a pitcher of “wine” (water dyed purple) that we poured out. I could have used a flower vase painted gold for the pitcher.
i. Since the priests would eat the shewbread after 7 days, each child got to eat a tortilla/pita bread round.
j. We made anointing oil using olive oil, cinnamon, & cloves.
k. On a separate coffee table we placed a gold charger plate with cloves and cinnamon to be our altar of Incense. Since we didn't have any incense to burn, I lit a scented candle and then blew it out so that there would (briefly) be some sweetly scented smoke.
l. We put up a sheet in the doorway between my kitchen and my laundry room to be the veil in front of the Holy of Holies.
m. Inside our laundry room "Holy of Holies, we had the Ark, which we made from 2 boxes. One box was the bottom of the ark. The other box we flipped over. It was the lid. On top of the lid we taped 2 cherubim made from pieces of cardboard box.
n. Inside the Ark, we placed the 10 Commandments (made from cardboard box), jar of manna (jar with crackers), & Aaron's staff that had budded (a branch from a tree that had flowers).
YOU WILL NEED: items to use to represent the articles in the tabernacle
Our Walk-Through TabernacleClick thumbnail to view full-size
Helpful Books on the Tabernacle
Edible Tabernacle Model & Review
8) Let children work in groups of 4-6 to make edible Tabernacle models. (*First check for peanut butter allergies!!!) After we made the peanut butter "play-dough," we gave them the materials and told them to figure out how to make a model. The below description will give you an idea of one option.
a. Wash/sanitize hands.
b. Help children to make peanut butter “play-dough” by combining an 18 oz. jar peanut butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, 6 tablespoons honey and 1 cup powdered milk. Dump it out onto the tray. This peanut butter "play-dough" can be used as the foundation so that other items can get stuck into in. It can also be used to form parts of the tabernacle.
c. Use pretzel sticks for the pillars and wrappers from Fruit-roll ups for the linen sheets.
d. Use graham crackers for the walls of the tabernacle.
e. Use Fruit-roll ups for the veil, door, & dyed ram wool blanket for the top of the Tabernacle.
f. Use the peanut butter "play-dough" to form the various pieces (altars, table, laver, lamp stand, etc.). (You could use an upside down vanilla wafer for the laver.)
g. Use butterscotch chips for the horns on the altars, and for the buds on the lamp stand.
h. Place a piece of life cereal in the brazen altar to be the grill.
YOU WILL NEED PER GROUP OF 4-6 CHILDREN: 18 oz. jar peanut butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, 6 tablespoons honey, 1 cup powdered milk, large mixing bowl, sturdy mixing spoon, 1 cup measuring cup, 1 tablespoon measuring spoon, large tray, pretzel sticks, graham crackers, red or red/blue fruit roll-ups, butterscotch chips, vanilla wafer (optional), & piece of Life cereal (optional)
9) Eat pieces of the edible tabernacle and take the rest home to share with family members.
YOU WILL NEED: napkins, cups for water, & baggies to take home food
10) Five minute review of what we learned.
Helpful Books on the Tabernacle
Looking for More Ideas on the Tabernacle?
Click on the below links to view blogs & webpages showing what other families did when studying the Tabernacle:
At sprittibee.com a family puts together a paper model of a tabernacle. A few additional links are also included.
At thywordisalamptomyfeet.blogspot.com a family puts together a model of the tabernacle using items from around the house such as small boxes and spools.
Thehomeschoolmom.com lists 5 links that may be helpful when doing this lesson the tabernacle.
At bloomingathome.blogspot.com (on March 12) a family creates a beautiful model of the tabernacle using after weeks of "sawing, sewing, sanding, painting, sculpting, and assembling."
Good YouTube Clips on the Tabernacle
Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies?
Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies .
Would you like to teach this way every day?
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children!
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!