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Teaching Children

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Bible Games and Competitions

Learning at Play

Games and competitions are more than just fun as they teach positive values and can enhance and reinforce Bible stories, spiritual truths and concepts taught to the children.  Bible games help make your Sunday School or class interesting and exciting. Children who avoid participating in class will love to get involved an exciting Bible game or competition.  Bible games can be used with just about any size group of children.  And as children are not aware of the direct learning value of a game, they will participate enthusiastically because they enjoy the game!

Why Games?

It is recommended that one-third of the teaching time should be spent in review.  If you have a thirty minute teaching period, then ten minutes should be spent in review.  Perhaps your reviews in the past met with boredom and unfavourable comments.  Instead you could say, "Today we are going to play a game" and then watch the children sit up and take notice!

The secret of using games and competitions is to ask questions of two or more teams from important aspects of your lesson.  The children answering the questions will focus on winning the game.  It will also reveal how clearly you presented the lesson and whether your aim was understood and achieved.  Such a Bible game will quickly become a favourite method of review!

Games for Pre-school Children:

Young children are beginning to develop the skills and abilities which are required for playing games.  They thoroughly enjoy simple games, but will often need prompting to get them to participate in games.  When games require movement, it is helpful to show them where to move and to remind them when it's their turn.

Games are a valuable teaching tool with this group as they bring variety, fun, and a change of pace to the lesson time.

Each game should include a simple Bible verse so that they will begin to learn God's Word.  Games help the children improve their mental and physical skills, and in learning to interact with other children and adults.   Their games should not be competitive, so let all the children who play become winners!

For Older Children:

Children learn best in play.  Fun games are an attractive way to teach them Bible truths and facts.  Divide the children into two to four teams.  Then ask a question about your lesson to each team in turn.  If they give the right answer, then they can make the next move in the game.  Children become so engrossed with winning, that the learning side is unnoticed.  But, you have accomplished your teaching goal!

Make sure that all teams have an equal chance of winning to avoid favouritism.  Also go out of your way to give chances to shy and not so clever children.  Include some simpler questions so that all the children can enjoy the game or competion.   Keep your prizes and rewards small, because you don't need to bribe the children.

Review Cube:

Here's an example of a cardboard dice game that can be used to review any lesson.  It can also be used for Bible quizzes.  Make a cardboard cube with the faces having the words: "How", When", Where", "What", "Who" and "Free Points!" on the six sides.

Choose two or more teams and set up a score board.  To play the game, Team A rolls the cube.  If the word "Why" lands face-up then the teacher uses this in a question to Team B about the day's Bible story, eg. "Why did the son want to leave his fathers home?"  For a correct answer, Team B is awarded 100 points.  Team B then has a chance to roll the cube and so on.  If "Free-points" lands face-up, then the team skips their question and receives 500 bonus points!  A small prize is awarded to the team with the most points.

Clothes Peg Review:

For this competition example, the names of characters from Bible stories you have given are written on large triangular card pennants.  For example "Abraham", "Isaac" and "Sarah".  These are then hung onto a clothes line strung across the room, using four or more pegs per pennant.

The children from two or more teams are then asked to volunteer a fact in turn about first character.  For example "Sarah was Abraham's wife", "Isaac was Abraham's son" and so on.  If the information is correct, the volunteer can then remove the peg for his team.

This continues until there are no more pegs and the character pennant is removed.  You then move to the next character until all the characters have been removed.  The team with the most pegs wins the competition.

Finding Games and Competitions:

You can find Game and Activity books at most Christian Bookstores.  Or you can adapt children's board games such as Snakes and Ladders.  Make sure that you match the skills needed for the game, and the difficulty of the questions asked, to the age group of the children.

See our Memory Verse, Games and Puzzle sections in each of TweenieWorld, Teacher's Treasures, and Bibleland, for more ideas on various games and competitions you can use.

God bless!

 

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