Creating lessons which keep
children's interest and help them
understand the story better can be a
challenge at any time. It can also
be especially tough if the class has
children of varying ages and abilities,
such as a preschool class of 0-5 year
Here are a few suggestions on how you
can create lively, interesting and
interactive Bible lessons. Special
thanks to Kim and Kristina who
contributed to the original discussion
about this topic.
1. Be prepared.
- Great lessons rarely can be
created on the spot (unless you are
a really old hand at it!).
They require some thought and
gathering of appropriate 'extras'
for the story.
- It is always wise to plan to have
a few more activities than you may
actually use. There is nothing
worse than having to occupy children
for a large period of time while
waiting for mum or dad to come and
pick them up - this will take away
from the learning process as it will
be the last thing they remember
about your class, not the lesson you
have just taught.
- Remember, too, that some
activities may not take as long as
you planned, others may not grab
children's interest the way you
imagined. In such instances
the best thing is to move onto a new
- Some easy extra activities you can
have up your sleeve a colouring page
or activity sheet, songs and
fingerplays about the story,
questions to help them remember what
the story was about.
Kim: With younger children
it is important to have many short
activities. This will allow the young
ones and older ones to stay tuned in.
Use your voice.
strong, firm, confident and
expressive voice can be a key to
keeping children's attention in a
(an Australian children's author) in
her book Reading Magic (Pan,
2001) states, "The more
expressively we read, the more
fantastic the experience will
be." She adds too that
the emotional value of a story
should be shown through our voice,
our eyes and expressions.
There is no doubt that such advice
should also be applied to our
telling of Bible stories!
many would have you believe that it
is important that you retell a story
however, not everybody has the
confidence to do this. I
believe that if you are familiar
with the story (so that you can look
up frequently) and are expressive,
reading a story can be equally
effective in keeping children's
attention. Don't forget to
pause though to allow children's
questions and participation.
"Another key is to be excited and
show the kids how much you love God
and how important he is to you and
they will naturally follow."
Involve the children in the telling of
Kristina: "Make sure
all the kids have a part in
everything. My favorite way (as
well as the kids') is to dress them up
as the characters in the story and
tell it that way. It makes it
seem more real and even the little
ones like to get involved."
Vicki: "My girls
really love the story of Baby
Moses. It has made such an
impact on them that it is not unusual
for them to get out one of their
dolls' baskets and come running to me
to tell me that a princess has found
their baby. One day they will
even understand the full impact of
4. Encourage emotional
- Ask lots of questions. Some
children may already know the story,
so ask questions to test this and
let them help with the
telling. This allows them also
to give comments that show their
understanding of the story from
which you can work on.
- Make statements which compare the
situation in the Bible story with
the children's own situations.
For example, in the story of Daniel
and his friends in Babylon, ask them
to imagine how they would feel if
they had been taken away from their
home and family, particularly, mum
- Encourage them to think about the
things they can do or be like the
character in the Bible story.
For example, after the story of
Samuel, ask them who they should
listen to and what they should say
when they are called.
- This should be the first step
really! If we want children to
learn about God we need to make sure
we have Him with us.
Some Example Story Ideas
Moses and the Water from the Rock
- Have an older child dress-up as Moses
to act out the story and others as
people to ask Moses for water.
- Give each child a rock to hold (make
sure it is fairly large so the little
one can't stick it in its mouth!).
Have them squeeze the rock, hit it
with their hand etc. to try and get
water out of it - lead into a
discussion about how the water came
The Sabbath Day
- Give children objects we take to
church to talk about and hold - Bible,
lesson study book, hymnbook
- Have things we can thank God for on
the Sabbath - an assortment of soft
toys, flowers, pictures of family etc.
- Go for a walk outside and look for
things we can thank God for on the