Bringing the Old Testament To Life
When I prepare for an upcoming quarter of children’s Bible lessons, I am a little ashamed to admit that my hope is that we will be teaching from the New Testament. Maybe you are not that shallow. You may even be that person who enjoys studies in the Book of Leviticus. It is not that I don’t enjoy teaching the Old Testament, I just prefer the New. But God gave us both and it is important that we study and teach both.
Recently, when preparing for Easter, I realized that the children had no concept of the Lamb of God and/or the Passover celebration. I decided to take time out and go back to the basics and review key elements of the Book of Exodus. Remember, I love teaching from the New Testament, so the idea of going back to review from the Old Testament was met with my fleshly resistance.
Once I began preparing for the review I became excited. What might have been handled with a one week review became a month long journey that our kids enjoyed as much as any I have ever participated in. After establishing what slavery was and why it would be important to escape it, we began with Moses and his appeal to Pharaoh
In order to help the children understand, we used visual aids and assigned each child a plague. For example, the first plague (water turned to blood) was illustrated by lining a cup with a red fruit roll up. Multiple frogs, lice, and locust were cut from patterns. Flies were created with black confetti. Boils were round stickers. Hail was small pieces of aluminum foil, darkness was simulated with sunglasses.
Because we covered this theme for several weeks, we added different elements throughout the sessions. For example, when we went over the eighth plague (locusts), we had the kids take off their shoes and walk blindfolded over plastic that had been covered with dry cereal. This enabled the children to understand that the locust were everywhere and how it might have felt to walk with them under foot. OK, I can hear you thinking, “Gross!” or “That sounds like a mess!” Well it was, but the kids loved it and it helped make the story come alive for them. There are other less messy options. For example, a snack idea for blood in the water could be red Jell-O or a fruit roll up.
Last but not least, we added “The Plague Song” (sung to the tune of This Old Man). The kids especially enjoyed the part where they told Pharaoh to “let them go!”
During the final week we put it all together and had each child tell about a different plague while we sang “The Plague Song.” We also did some amateur videoing and the kids loved watching their production.
Although this wasn’t perfect, we seemed to hit all of the learning styles in abundance with this. We touched the visual and auditory learners by reading the story from the Bible, singing the song, and in the recreation of the story in the skit. Those who learn from touching, feeling and experiencing were able to learn by singing, acting out, as well as producing and recording the video. But best of all, we learned that the Old Testament shows examples of how we should live today, the importance of perseverance, and the encouragement and hope of Christ and how he fulfills the prophesies of the Old Testament.
You can also see a list of all of Kim’s blog posts here.