Wednesday, February 7, 2018

We're In!

I am not sure that many adults grasp how momentous the events of Acts 10 are, let alone children. This chapter marks the entrance of the Gentiles (which would probably be most of you reading this) into the kingdom of God.

There were two parallel lines of thought I wanted the children to grasp in this lesson.

  1. The separation that existed between Jew and Gentile that had to be overcome.
  2. God communicates in remarkable ways.

Let's start with #1, the separation. We engaged in two activities to enable children to get the idea.

Early arrivals played a "game" of sorting through pictures of animals and reading Leviticus 11 to see whether the animals were "clean" or "unclean." This would help them to comprehend in part, the meaning of the vision Peter had. You can download my "cards" here.

The second activity to understand the separation was a Venn diagram that captured some differences between Jews and Gentiles. We started by filling in the two opposite sides. Then we filled in the overlapping circle with the idea that even though these two groups were very different, they were both created by God and both loved by him. Therefore both should have access to the gospel. 

Now the stage is set for the story. I made my own flannelgraph figures. Kids love flannelgraph because it sticks like magic. I used images from the same set that I used for the story of Stephen being stoned. You can access them here.

The house that Peter was staying at came from another set of free graphics at Free Bible Images by Ian and Sue Coate. I enlarged the house, printed on 2 sheets of paper and taped it together. It is the same trick I use to make ledger size flash cards here. The sheet for the vision that Peter had came from My Little House. This man makes amazing 3-D graphics.

Click on the Picture to get these graphics.
As this story is told, you can really emphasis how remarkable God's communication was.

First, he had to let Cornellius know to send for Peter. Enter one angel.

Then we have the problem of Peter. Not only is Peter going to have to be willing to go to another town, he is going to have to overcome years of teaching and belief that Jews and Gentiles did not mix. He needs to be willing to enter the home of a Gentile and preach the good news to him. So God gives him a vision - which he can't figure out.

But wait, he tells him some dudes are at the gate that very minute and he needs to go with them. It will be OK (even though they are Gentiles).

God put all that together just to get Peter into Cornelius's house. Then he tells them the good news. The Bible tells us that before Peter even finished preaching the message, the Spirit fell on the Gentiles. This was a remarkable way to let Peter know that God had brought them into the kingdom. It was undeniable and proof that they were "in." Of course the people didn't speak the languages I put in the speech bubbles, but the kids had fun figuring out what languages they were, and it gave the right idea.

To conclude, we talked about ways that God communicates with us today and the importance of desiring to hear from him and know what he wants us to do.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


To tell the story of Stephen in Acts 7, I used 3-D visuals. I printed out Bible people that I downloaded through this site. Then I glued them onto empty toilet paper rolls so they could stand up.

Historical Bible Figures Mentioned in Stephen's Acts 7 Sermon

Paper Towel Supports on Figures

To tell the story, I handed students the characters that Stephen references in his speech to the Sanhedrin. As I recapped Stephen's speech, I had them place the characters on a table up front next to Stephen and the Sanhedrin.

I could not find suitable images for the Sanhedrin among the Bible people images, so I used what I call bobble head images from Free Bible Images to make those guys you see below. You can access them here.

The Sanhedrin Council 

One of the main points I brought home from this story was the importance of forgiving others. We compared the stones hurting Stephen when people threw them to how words can hurt us when people say mean things to us. Then we played a game to help us practice forgiveness.

Forgiveness Game

I drew a heart on poster board to represent our hearts. Then I took bean bags to represent stones. I taped different insults on each bag.

  1. Kids ran one at a time up to the heart and chose a bean bag. 
  2. They ran back to the group and read the comment on the bag.
  3. Then we all said in unison, "I forgive you."
  4. Then the child with the bean bag tossed it in the garbage can from where they were standing. 

When the "heart" was cleared of the stones, we talked about how forgiveness clears our hearts of hurts and bad feelings.

The "stone" with the questions mark allowed any student to make up an insult you might have to forgive. It was the last one to go.

The rocks images and insults came from Cathy Whitacre on the Bible Fun for Kids blog. The idea for the game came from Abby Burg's old blog on Acts.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rejection at Nazareth!

Jesus rejected in Nazareth, his home town from Luke 4:14-30 is a very easy story to re-enact. It requires little props, the only prep work was to make a scroll. I used old packing paper I had saved from Amazon boxes and taped it together to make a long scroll.

Pre-session Activity: The students that came early looked up the Isaiah passage and copied it onto the scroll. While one was writing, the others added "fake" writing on the rest of the scroll. You will note that the passage in Isaiah 61 that Jesus quotes is worded differently in Luke than it will be in Isaiah. This is because when Jesus read this particular verse he was handed the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was popular in his day). I forgot this, so when our "Jesus" read from his scroll, it was actually different than the reading in Luke. But he had an authentic scroll of Isaiah!

Below are some of the pictures you can download from Free Bible Images to tell the story with. (I added the printing on them, it won't appear if you go to their site.)

This picture is very accurate biblically, It portrays Luke 4:17
After Jesus read from the scroll, he sat down next to the lectern. It was customary for a visiting teacher to sit and explain or teach from the scriptures after he had read them. That is why the eyes of everyone were on him when he sat down. They were waiting to hear what he would teach them. He explains that the passage has been fulfilled in their hearing (Luke 4:21
I made 11 x 17 flashcards to tell the Bible story from Luke 4:14-30. You can access my flashcards  here, or you can make your own by going to Free Bible Images.  Please note that this document will print 16 pages which you tape together to make 8 flashcards. Instructions for making the flashcards are located here.

I wrote a simple skit to portray the event. All you need is a hallway with a room off of it, or any area that you can enter a room from. The room will be your synagogue and the hallway will act as the road leading there and also the road the people take Jesus on to go to the cliff at the edge of town. Here is the link for the skit.

To make the synagogue, line up chairs on both sides of you room. Boys will sit on one side and girls on the other as you would in a traditional synagogue. I brought in a music stand for the lectern to act as the bimah which Jesus would have stood behind. There was a table placed behind the bimah for him to place the scroll on after he had read from it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Pancakes and Missions

Kid's Mission's Breakfast from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

They say that kids learn best when they are having fun. The first half of this event including "catching" your breakfast. Our cook flipped the pancakes and the kids caught them on their plates. The kids had a blast, but they also learned about the importance of Bible translation and smuggling and heard from a missionary. Parents were invited too, creating a family event at the same time.

Instructions for the Pin the Bible on the World game can be found in this post from November.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Explaining the Second Birth to Kids

A friend gave me an old teacher's book that had a great illustration for explaining the second birth to children. I made the illustration out of doubled sided poster board. I experimented until I found 2 different plate sizes to trace the concentric circles. I used a yardstick to draw the lines to divide the 2 circles into thirds.

To teach the concept of the new birth, I stressed that for a child to be physically born, it takes 2 people, a mother and a father. We did not go into any details, it wasn't necessary.

Then I put the second set of circles up on the white board and told them not only are we born physically, but we can all be born spiritually as well. I told them it would also take two people to be born spiritually and I asked them if they had any idea who those 2 people would be. Amazingly they figured it out. Then I explained how when we are forgiven of our sin through Jesus, the Holy Spirit can enter into us and this creates the second birth, the spiritual birth.

It would be good to either felt the pieces and use them on a flannel graph or adhere magnetic strips on the back and use on a magnetic white board or any metal board. I didn't have time for that, so I just used pieces of blue tack and attached them to the back of the visuals as I placed them on a white board (non-magnetic).

Check out the video below to see the visual in action.

How to Explain the Spiritual Birth to Kids from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Chalk Board Tables

Chalk Board Table from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

We had some old tables hanging around the church. For about $10 you can get a quart of paint and convert many surfaces into a chalkboard. We bought our paint at Sherman Williams (with coupons of course.) Amazon and Target also carry it.

The surface is quite gritty, but I read you can sand it with 150 grit sandpaper. Since I already primed the table you see in this, I can't sand it...BUT I can try the one that is under the blue tablecloth.

In our case, this project was kind of a dud. The kids enjoyed painting the tables, but so far, no one enjoys coloring on them as a pre-class activity. I will have to think of some creative ways to incorporate these into class. The surface does not look as nice and black as I thought it would either. A little disappointing.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How to Play Pin the Bible

I read a banned book almost every day. In fact it is the most banned book in the world. Any guesses what it is?

If you guessed the Bible you are right.

We played a fun game in Sunday School to help our kids learn about the importance of the Bible translation and access to the Bible for Christians. It was called Pin the Bible.