When One Teaches, Two Learn

Figuring out children's ministry one day at a time

A Creative Twist on the Tower of Babel

I just came back from the KidMin Conference in Columbus, Ohio last week – AMAZING experience, by the way! – where I went to a seminar on the 5 C’s of 21st century learning.  One of these C’s is “creativity.”  The speaker decided to stretch our creativity by having us create a tower using any item in the room.  Her word of exhortation to start us off was this: Don’t “think outside the box.” That inherently puts a box in the picture.   Be creative.

I thought we were being pretty creative till the guy on the left stood up on the table and lifted the ceiling tile so we could continue to build!

KidMin Tower of Babel

The speaker then explained that an activity like this could be used when teaching a lesson on the Tower of Babel, which just so happened to be our lesson at First Alliance Kids for the following Sunday!

I gave our kids a few more limitations than we were given in the seminar at KidMin, mostly because I was afraid that they would stack bookshelves on the table!  I gave them a box of random items from our supply room including popsicle sticks, rulers, pipe cleaners, tin foil, and a few other oddities, then charged them with the task of working as a team to create the tallest tower they possibly could.  It was such a fun learning experience!  Here is part of their tower in progress:

Tower of Babel


It was a great intro to our lesson on the Tower of Babel – and so simple to pull off!  What are some ways that you’ve encouraged creativity in your classroom?



There’s a Giant Among Us…

A few weeks ago, a order of new tables arrived at the church.  As the guys were unpacking the tables  from their rather large cardboard boxes, the wheels in my head started turning as I thought to myself, “There has GOT to be a way that I could use that cardboard.”  After all, 10 foot by five foot pieces of cardboard aren’t that easy to come by!  I snagged two of the boxes and they’ve been sitting in the children’s wing ever since, waiting for inspiration to strike.

And, strike it did.  We’re having a kid’s night on Friday where I decided we could preview our upcoming J.A.M. Time unit on heroes of the Bible.  I wanted to have a few visual aids for each of the Bible heroes we will be studying to make it exciting for the kids.  That’s when inspiration struck.  One of the heroes we will study is David, specifically of the story of David and Goliath, so what better way to make the story come to life than to make a nearly-accurately-sized Goliath?

I decided to tackle the project just as I do for our VBS decorations.  I projected an image that I found on one of Proclaimers for Christ’s children’s ministry pages, then traced it onto the cardboard.  When I do this with poster board, I use pencil to trace the image; however, I knew that would be a little too difficult on cardboard, so I opted to use a green Crayola marker.


I had to move the projector waaaaay back in order to make the image large enough, but eventually I got it.  When it came to painting Goliath, I used the washable paint that I have in stock, but it didn’t work well with the cardboard.


I wasn’t fond of how the color turned out with just one coat, so I decided to do a second coat.

Ahh, much better!  The yellow is still a little washed-out looking, but I’m alright with it.  While I was waiting for the second coat to dry, though, I noticed that it was looking a little bland with Goliath just floating on cardboard, so I grabbed some blue paint and sponge-painted a background on.


For the last step, I retraced the outline with a Sharpie to give him some definition.  And, voila!  We’ll have a Goliath with us for the rest of our Bible heroes unit!

Doesn’t he look cool??  I can’t get over how excited I am for the kids to see him 🙂



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Let’s Make a Cave – 1 Samuel 24

This week we started a new unit in Sunday School on respect.  The lesson was about respecting authority, using the story of David cutting off a piece of King Saul’s robe in the cave (1 Samuel 24).  I love our curriculum, but the particular method that the curriculum suggested to use to convey the story just wouldn’t work in our space and with our resources.  I had a dramatic presentation of the story on CD that I knew we could use, so I decided to create a cave that we could sit in while listening to the story.  I started off with this basic structure:


I used a portable room-divider to create the wall on the left, then tacked brown curtains to the wall and the top of the divider.  The remaining fabric was draped over chairs.  (Side note:  I bought those brown curtains on a whim to temporarily cover some windows, but they have so come in handy for several lessons like this one and this one!).

Next, I covered the chairs with brown paper to make them look like boulders.  I crumpled the paper to give it some texture too.


Next, I crumpled more brown paper to create the interior walls of the cave.  There was a bit of space between the floor and the bottom of the brown paper, so I crumpled up some spare construction paper to create rocks.


Last, I draped a brown sheet over the outside to cover the back side of the wall-divider.


The kids thoroughly enjoyed hearing the story in the cave!  We had quite a few new kids added to the mix, so it was a little cramped, but we made do.  Always fun to make the story come to life!


Peter and John Heal a Lame Man – Acts 3

This Sunday continued in our series on the book of Acts and, to be honest, one that I have looked forward to the most.  Any Donut Man fans out there?  If you are, then you probably remember his song “Walking and Leaping” that is based on this passage.  I could hardly wait to teach it to the kids and – to my surprise – there were even a few that already knew the song!

Goal:  Today we will learn about Peter and John healing the lame man by the Beautiful Gate.

Key Scripture:  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  – Acts 1:8, NIV

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Masking tape
  • Boxes
  • Bible times costume
  • Crutches
  • Cup
  • Coins
  • Mat
  • Poster with lyrics to “Walking and Leaping”
  • Paper plates
  • Bible
  • Crayons
  • Ribbon
  • Filling (plastic beads, dried beans, etc.)
  • Several copies of the 7S – Peter and John Puzzle
  • Pencils

Introduction:  Set up hopscotch in the hallway (using masking tape) leading up to the classroom.  As the children approach the room, have them hop through the course.  Before they enter, remind the children that we should be thankful for our legs.

Lesson: Ahead of time, use a variety of boxes (or other creative supplies!) to create a gate (The Beautiful Gate).  Check out last week’s post to see how I made ours.

Dressed in the Bible times costume, have props (crutches, cup, coins, mat) located with your Bible near the Beautiful Gate.  Tell the story from the perspective of the lame man.  I used Kelly Henderson’s monologue that she made available on Ministry-t0-Children.

Afterward, teach the children the Donut Man song “Walking and Leaping.”  Have a poster with the lyrics available.

I had the kids walk and leap around the room during the chorus, which they loved 🙂

Conclusion:  Have the following activities prepared in case extra time remains.

Celebration Shaker:  Color the back of the paper plate with designs and colors that express joy and celebration. Fold in half. Cut 4-6 strands of different colors of curling ribbon, each strand at least two feet in length. Knot the ribbon strands together at one end. Staple the knot to the inside of the paper plate at one of the corner folds. Staple the plate two-thirds shut, making sure the staples are side by side along the edge of the plate (this will keep the filling from falling out). Put two small handfuls of filling into the paper plate. Finish stapling shut.

You’ll go from this:


To something like this:

Peter & John Bible Puzzle: Have the Peter and John Puzzle photocopied ahead of time.

Walking and Leaping Reenactment:  Allow small groups of children to sing the song “Walking and Leaping” while reenacting the story by the Beautiful Gate.  Allow the children to use the props too.

One little girl used her celebration shaker during worship in the second service!  What a beautiful connection.

Have you seen our other adventures through the book of Acts?  Check it out!

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Brave Queen Esther

This morning, I decided to pull out one of my lessons from this summer to share with you.  I found a big book on the story of Esther, so that is what I read to the kids to convey the story.  Flop.  They were bored and disinterested.  However, even though the story-telling was only so-so, the kids thoroughly enjoyed the activities that accompanied the story, so I pulled out the most effective pieces of my lesson plan and included them in this post.

Introductory Activity: Use a puzzle (floor size would be best).  Give each student a piece of puzzle.  Let them look at their individual piece.  Talk about how with just our one piece of puzzle we can’t see what the whole puzzle will look like when put together.  We can see bits and pieces of what might be the picture from our piece but as we begin to assemble the puzzle with our piece we see the bigger picture (Allow the children to put the puzzle together before continuing).  Explain that this puzzle is like God’s plan for each of our lives.  We only know such a small piece of God’s bigger plan.  When we are obedient and faithful to what God has asked us to do, He uses us to be a part of His bigger picture.

The King’s Scepter:   Have the children to stand side by side along one wall and think of something they really want to tell you, such as something that happened to them last week.  Tell them to not say their thoughts out loud yet.  Hold the scepter and crown, walk to the other wall, and face the kids.

Explain that when Queen Esther wanted to talk with the king, she had to wait until he held out his scepter to her, then she could walk over to him (If there is any confusion as to what a scepter is, explain that a scepter is like a beautiful stick).  Place a crown on your head and tell the children to pretend that you are King Xerxes.  Explain that the children can’t come to talk to you until you hold out your scepter and as soon as the scepter comes down, they must freeze.  For each round, I had the children race toward me in a different manner – i.e. crab walking, waddling like a penguin, hopping on one foot, etc.

Cool-Down Activity:  The kids loved singing “The Esther Song,” which is set to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

If you hear the name of Haman stomp your feet. (stomp 2x)
If you hear the name of Haman stomp your feet. (stomp 2x)
If you hear the name of Haman, if you hear the name of Haman, if you hear the name of Haman stomp your feet (stomp 2x)

If you hear the name of Esther clap your hands…

If you hear the name of Xerxes turn around…

If you hear the name of Mordecai shout hooray…

I hope that these activities might be helpful as you as you plan your lesson!

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