Saturday, June 10, 2017

Esther and Purim, the Jewish Mardi Gras

via GIPHY

Esther is the perfect story to teach children (and adults) about God's sovereignty. From Esther's becoming Queen to the king not being able to sleep the night before Haman plans to have Mordecai executed you can trace God's hand all through the book.

Why didn't God just prevent the whole thing in the first place you ask? Well, then we really wouldn't know very much of God's power and the wondrous things he can do.


To teach the story, I used Free Bible Images "Esther" Power Point. There are several to chose from here. I used the one that Sweet Publishing contributed.

Before we heard the story, we made groggers. Groggers are noise makers. Traditionally the Jews make them to celebrate Purim (also affectionately known as the Jewish Mardi Gras). The video below shows how to make the groggers. I got my ideas from Design Megillah's site. Rita made lovely groggers on her site.


Esther groggers from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

Then as I told the story of Esther, the children shook their groggers every time they heard the name Haman to try and drown it out.

I also created a throne room so that we could act out the story, but we did not have time to do that. I give full instructions on a DIY throne room here. Here is this year's throne room:



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

DIY Foldable Bible Flashcards for Story Telling


via GIPHY
Remember the old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words."? Well, maybe you don't and I am really showing my age, but the point is truer than ever today. This generation is by far the most visual there has ever been. Whatever the cause is, the fact remains, you should use visuals when you teach.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

His Love Never Gives Up - Hosea for Kids


I had a seminary professor who said if he ever went back into the pastorate he would preach through the Bible chronologically. Well, today many of us are TEACHING through the Bible chronologically, which recently brought me to the book of Hosea...for kids. And I couldn't have been more thrilled with the truths I discovered in the book...for kids.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dunkin In the River with Namaan


Any Bible story with a visual "change" in it is candidate for a magic "change" bag. Namaan's leprosy is a perfect match. Here's how I told the story.

First, I made some cardstock figures. You can back these with flannel and use a flannel board. I simply used a pocket chart to save the extra work of backing them. These printable Bible character figures are free at Activity-Mom.com.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How to Showcase Your Children's Ministry


Sunday School 2016 by Julia from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

We made this video last year to show in church as a way to keep the children's ministry before the congregation. As many of you know, you never know how many children you will have on any given Sunday. This was a great way to let people see the whole picture.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Make a Giant Fish for the Story of Jonah


Jonah and the giant fish is one of my favorite Bible stories to act out. You can do it without a lot of props - as long as you can make a big fish that the kids can get into. I have seen many different ways to make a fish- from a table covered with cloth to the doorway to a classroom decorated to look like the mouth of a fish. Here, I used a simple pop-up tent (one of the greatest investments I ever made - especially since my neighbor gave it to me for free years ago).

I took the pop-up tent and covered it with black tablecloths I have on hand. You could use plastic ones from the dollar store if you don't have these or dark sheets.

I made 2 giant eyes out of felt. The felt sticks to cloth, so if you do have sheets or tablecloths, it is easy to put together.

I made my original tongue out of red tissue paper. This time around, I added red wrapping paper we had on hand.

I made a tail by twisting a rectangular piece of black cloth and taping it to the wall with black duck tape. I hung "seaweed" inside of the fish - just green crepe paper taped to the tent seams.

For an added effect, I covered the wall directly behind the fish with blue paper and some fish we had left from Bible school.


DIY Giant Fish for Jonah from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

I wrote a simple drama based on the book of Jonah. You can access that here.

We added a ticket counter (the window in our unfinished stage) and signs for the "city gates" of Nineveh to create a little atmosphere. Here's the link for my signs.




Monday, March 13, 2017

The 2 Commandments that Everything Hinges On

I love it when complex truth gets distilled into pure simplicity. Jesus was a master at this. The Pharisees and religious leaders were always taking Jesus on, and he was always taking them down. In Matthew 22:34-40, those tricky Pharisees come to Jesus, and they pick a lawyer (go figure) to ask Jesus, "What is the greatest commandment in the Law?" I love Jesus' answer - especially when he gets to the end and he tells them, "All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." Wow!

So just what does the word "hang" mean? Well, you could think of it as coat hooks on a wall and everything is suspended from them. OR, you could thing of the hinges that a door hangs on. Those hinges support the whole weight of the door, and it turns on those hinges. That's how important these two commandments are.

To demonstrate this, I used a door, of course. The two commandments are #1 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and #2 Love your neighbor as yourself. We put the words LOVE GOD on the door by the top hinge and LOVE PEOPLE on the door by the bottom hinge.


Hanging the Commandments from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

To make it more interesting, I had printed up, cut apart and hid the 10 commandments. I hid them so well, we never found one of them. We let the kids each read the commandment they had found, and then we decided whether it went with the LOVE GOD hinge or the LOVE PEOPLE hinge. It was a simple way to help them see how each commandment related to one of these two principles.