I created a new (to me, maybe not to others) Bible story telling technique this morning for my older kids, grades two through six. I have two general types of kids. Those who are generally self-motivated to listen and participate and those who are not. The latter often frustrate the former. So, today I tried something different for me. Here is what I did.
- I asked each child to remove their right shoe and place it in a pile in the middle of the floor.
- I broke the kids into two teams and asked them to sit single file in a row on their bottoms with their feet sticking out and facing the other team, with the pile of shoes separating the two teams.
- I asked each team to create a name for itself. One team chose the name “bombers” and the other team chose the name “Aces.” (Made me wonder if they have been watching WWII movies lately….)
- I gave each child a number. I had fifteen kids this morning, so I asked my teen helper to be on one of the teams. Each team had eight members, so the participants were numbered one through eight on both teams.
- Today’s Bible passage was Luke 2:41-51, the account of twelve year-old Jesus and his family journeying to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover celebration. As I read the account I worked into the story each of the numerals one through eight. When the children assigned to specific numerals heard them, they were to search for their right shoe in the pile, put it on, and be sure it was tied or zipped up before the opponent. The winner of each number scored a point for his/her team.
- Because I played it up a bit and the kids were having so much fun, I had them do the same with their left shoes after completing the first round with their right shoes.
- It worked out that the story completed at the end of the second round.
Here is what I am learning from this experience.
- Necessity truly causes us to invent knew ways of doing things. In this case, I desired to capture and keep the kids’ interest and do so in a way that teaches Biblical narrative and truth.
- Many of my tried and true Bible story teaching methods are great, but my older experienced kids know them, and my new neighbor kids aren’t always motivated to learn Scripture and how to live for God on their own initiative. So, I have to discover what motivates them.
- Integrating fun, active games as the delivery system for biblical narrative and truth seems an effective way of reeling diverse children into the message of the day without sounding preachy, or using methods which seem to them to be boring or too childish.
- Because the children were motivated to win the bragging rights for scoring the most points, they policed each other and helped each other listen to the content of the message. The point here is to learn what motivates them and use that constructively to guide them in the right direction.
What do you think? Have you ever tried something like this?
After the story, we took a brief break and then returned with Bibles in hand. I had them open their Bibles to the passage I cited above. I drew a hangman apparatus (dreadful, I know, but the kids understand the game and realize that is all it is, a word game), and then the lines representing spaces for the first word below. As we played the game, I told them the word (or later phrases) were directly from the passage we just studied. I allowed them to look in their Bibles to try to determine which word I had chosen. Once again, they were motivated to win, so they diligently did their work in the Bible.