Searching for Treasure Activity

Searching for Treasure Activity

This is the activity we did during the second week of Faithcraft (our new Minecraft Bible Study). You can find out more information about that here.

Searching for Treasure Archeology Dig

The Main Idea:

You will be creating a plaster and sand brick that contains gemstones for children to find.

What You Will Need:

  • Plaster of Paris
  • Sand
  • Gemstones (I got these on Amazon)
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hammers (I picked these up at Dollar Tree)
  • Wire brushes (I picked these up at Dollar Tree)
  • Loaf pans or other small containers that will hold the mixture

Before Your Lesson:

  • Go to http://longlivelearning.com/2012/11/homemade-geology-dig-kit/ and follow the direction you find there on how to make your bricks.
  • If I were doing this again I would make the mix in smaller containers so that each kid can have their own small brick to break.
  • Since I wanted it to be easy to break apart I added lots of sand to my bricks. Some of them worked better than others.
  • If you can give this a good 48 hours to set up it would be better. Some of my bricks were a little damp still on the inside.

How it Works

  • Since we only had 4 hammers we took turns looking for stones. If you have enough hammers and stones you can just let kids go at it.
  • It will be VERY MESSY, so I would suggest putting a blanket down or doing this activity outside.
  • Give kids instructions on how to break open the bricks and then let them have at it.
  • Give them the brushes to clean their stones. Some cups of water might help the polishing process too.

The Point

  • Jeremiah 29:11-13 says that we will find God when we search for Him with all of our heart.
  • In this activity you were searching for what was valuable
  • The same is true when it comes to God. We must be willing to search for Him even when things are hard.

Squishy Circuits: An electric lesson for younger youth and children

Squishy Circuits: An electric lesson for younger youth and children

The Idea:

Use a simple circuit to light up some LEDs using “squishy circuits” to talk about sharing God’s love with others. What are “squishy circuits” you ask? Squishy circuits are two specific types of homemade dough that you can use to create simple electrical circuits. You will need to create both a conductive dough and an insulating dough. Check out this link for the complete formula. For a very spunky description of squishy circuits be sure to see the video below.

Bible Text:

John 15:9-12

Main Point:

Just like a circuit, God’s love flows through us to others.

What you will need:

I put my group into teams of 3 and then gave each team the following items. So you will need one set of these items for every group of 3 you will have. You can order they Squishy Circuits Kit or you can just pick up all of these things at Radio Shack.

  • 9-volt battery
  • 9-volt battery connector thingy (I don’t know what these are called, but you can buy them at radio shack and they snap onto the top of a 9-volt battery and have two leads coming out that connect to the dough)
  • 3 or 4 LEDs
  • jumper wires (little wires that can connect the circuits)
  • Ball of conductive dough
  • Ball of insulating dough
  • You can also get a couple of cheap switches if you want to give students more to experiment with
You will also need a resistor and 3 alligator clamps if you are going to demonstrate circuits without the squishy stuff to start with.

The Lesson:

  • Ask: Does anyone know how a circuit works?
  • The basic idea of a circuit is this. Free electrons flow from the emitter through the circuit.
  • Take a few responses and then set up a simple circuit in front where everyone can see. (Using the alligator clamps connect a resistor to the shorter lead of the LED. Clamp the other side of the resistor to the black wire (-) side of your battery connector. Clamp the long lead of your LED to the red wire (+) coming from your battery connector. If everything is connected you should see your LED light up. (LEDs have polarity so make sure the long leg is running to the positive terminal).
  • Ask: What happens when I take one of wires off the battery? Since it is connected to the battery why doesn’t it stay lit?
  • In order for a circuit to work it needs a complete path. The electricity won’t flow unless the circuit is closed.
  • Point out which dough is conductive and which is insulating. You may also want to give some general pointers about the positive and negative side of the LEDs and that the conductive dough can’t touch or the light won’t light up.
  • If possible play the video above (from the Mini-Maker show) as a way of teaching your students how to make circuits.
  • Say: Your mission is to make a complete circuit and light up your LED using the materials provided
  • Give students some time to make a few circuits. You may want to encourage them to make some of the more complicated circuits that you find on the links above.
  • After everyone has had a chance to play with the circuits disconnect the lights.
  • I would suggest moving to another location or cleaning up everything before you try to do the lesson, the squishy circuits can be a pretty big distraction.
  • Direct students to turn to John 15:9-12.
  • Call on a volunteer to read the passage.
  • Ask: According to verse 9 how had Jesus loved His disciples? (As the Father has loved Him)
  • Ask: Look at verse 12 how does Jesus tell us to love others? (As He has loved us)
  • So the picture looks like this. God loved Jesus. Jesus passed that love on to us. We then pass that love on to others.
  • Just like a circuit God’s love should flow through us to others.
  • The question we have to ask ourselves is are we being conductors of that love or are we insulating others from the love of God.
  • Pass out a sheet of paper with the word conductor on one side and insulator on the other
  • Have students think back over the course of this past week and write actions that they did that either demonstrated Jesus’ love (conductor) or kept people from seeing God’s love (insulator). For example they may write that they shared their lunch with someone on the conductor side and that they were mean to their sister on the insulator side.
  • After a couple of minutes ask students for ways that they can be conductors of God’s love this week.

 

 

 

2 Freedom Object Lessons

2 Freedom Object Lessons

As Christians we have been set free by Christ, but most people live like they are still captives. These two object lessons deal with the concept of freedom. They can be used together or separate, but the second one may work better if earlier in the lesson you have already presented the first one on stage.

Object Lesson One: Freedom Living

  • Ask a volunteer to come on stage and put on a large coat.
  • Tie their wrist together.
  • Ask them to get out of the coat. It won’t be possible, but encourage them to try.
  • Say: This is like your sin. No matter what you try you can never get it off. No matter how hard you struggle you will always be a captive of sin. But you don’t have to live this way Jesus came to set you free.
  • Cut the rope (I used yarn) on their writs, but ask them to keep their hands together.
  • Ask them to get out of the coat with their hands still together. Again it will be impossible.
  • Say, “Many Christians live like this. Their hands are free, but they still live like they are bound. They can have victory over sin, over their fears, over their weaknesses, but they refuse to live like they are set free. We need to stop living like we are bound. We need to realize that we have been set free from this stuff, and we can truly be free.”
  • Take off the coat and have your volunteer sit down. Encourage your audience to clap for them as you do.

Object Lesson Two: Freedom Prayer Time

Materials Needed:

  • 2 pieces of yarn for each participant
  • envelope for every 2 people in your group
  • small pair of scissors for every 2 people in your group (go raid your children’s department)

Instructions:

  • Before the meeting put 2 pieces of yard and one pair of scissors into the envelop.
  • Set the envelopes under the chairs and instruct the students not to mess with them until instructed.
  • Ask everyone to get into pairs and have each pair pick up an envelope.
  • Play some soft music to help cut down on distractions.
  • Instruct the students to be silent throughout this exercise. (When I am going to do something that I want to be a serious time I normally tell my students that we are going to move into a time of worship and meditation. I tell them that I expect no one to talk while we are working.)
  • You may want to put the high-points of these instructions on a screen or somewhere that they can see them.
  • Each pair is to select one person who is to go first.
  • That person is to have his/her writs bound together by the yarn.
  • Then he/she is to spend a few moments praying and meditating on what is keeping him/her from growing closer to God. It may be sins, self-image issues, fears, habits, whatever.
  • After the bound students I finished praying he/she is to indicate this to the unbound student. The unbound student will then cut the yarn on his/her partner’s writs.
  • The partners then switch roles with the other piece of yarn.

Optional Ending:

There was an outreach element to our lesson when we did it so I added this additional element to the object lesson. You can use it with the other two or use it on its own.

While your participants are engaged in worship bring your volunteers to the front of the room. With their backs to your students place signs on their chests that say things like: nerd, jock, outcast, black, white, gay, loner, looser, cheerleader, etc. Then tie their wrists.

After you have given each partner a chance to be released, bring the attention back to you and say something like, “Because you have Christ you have been freed, but there are many people who are still bound” (begin to turn your helpers around so the students can see the signs) “And because they may not be like you, because they may not fit into your mold, because you are scared or just don’t care they are still bound and waiting for someone to come and tell them how to be free.”

Close in prayer.

How it Went for Us

Have you ever had one of those ideas that seemed like it came straight from God? This was that type of idea. I was working on my Wednesday night lesson and was about to put the stuff away and say I was done when I came up with this idea. I really felt like it was God speaking to my heart, but after looking at it for a minute I knew it would never work. In our group of about 40 people the logistics just wouldn’t work out. Besides that the students were sure to think it was silly more than meaningful, and they wouldn’t get anything out of it, but in the end I could shake the thought that I should do it.

I told my wife that we were doing an activity that I was sure was going to flop, but I felt that it came from God so if it was going to work at all it would have to be his doing.

Well we were finishing up lessons about the resurrection and were learning about what is true about us now that Jesus is resurrected. The main thing I was talking about what that we have freedom from sin and self doubt. “If the Son has set us free than we are free indeed” and all that.

As it turns out we had one of our students get kicked out of school on Tuesday for selling drugs. This wasn’t some fringe kid, but a guy who’s parents were regular, and who came every week. To top that off he was the star in a movie I had filmed about what do we do with Easter. So I knew I would need to address the issue.

As it turns out, he showed up and asked to apologize to the group setting the perfect tone for the evening.

As we closed with this event all of the students were respectful and most of them were moved in some way. When we turned around the still bound workers it really hit home with them, and we had great smalls groups after that. So my idea that it was impossible was once again wrong as God proved that with Him all things are possible.

Compartmentalized Life

Compartmentalized Life

Most Christians tend to live a compartmentalized life. We let God into certain areas, and keep Him out of others. We are OK with giving God our spiritual time, but we want “our” time too. This object lesson is a commitment time based on this idea. It works best after a lesson on why it is important that God is not only our top priority, but all of our priorities.

Materials Needed:

  • Tupperware (or any brand) sandwich containers
  • Card stock cut into strips
  • Instructions Sheet

The Set Up:

Get enough Tupperware style sandwich containers for each participant. You can pick up the little disposables for not much money. Then cut some card stock into strips. The strips should be as wide as your containers are deep. Cut enough so that each participant can have 3 strips each.

You will probably need to set up one to show your participants what you are looking to do, but basically the instructions below tell people to use the strips to make “sections” in their boxes. Use the strips to section off the boxes like a tackle box.

Pass out the instructions, the boxes, and the strips to your participants. After some reflection time instruct students to remove their sections as an act of commitment to give God total control.

Student Sheets:

Tonight we are going to close with just some private reflection. Begin by saying a short prayer asking God to speak to you.

Look at your box. Think of the box as your life. An ideal Christian life looks like this box. There are no separate compartments. There are no sectioned off places. God is involved in every aspect of life and everything throughout the day involves God.

While this is ideal it isn’t reality for most Christians. Most Christians think about God when they are at church or in certain areas of their life, but they ignore Him during other times.

Many teenagers have a great time with God when they are at church, but they separate that from the time they are with their friends. They two sections never mix.

Spend some time praying and ask God to show you what part of your life you have kept separate from him. It may be your time with your boyfriend/girlfriend. It may be your choice of entertainment, or what you do with your friends. It may be the way you treat your family, or how content you are with what you have. He may tell you several places or compartments that you have kept from him.

Then using the paper divide your box into as many compartments as God has revealed to you. If it is just 2 then make 2 compartments. If it is 3 then 3 and so on. Your partitions don’t need to be neat or exact.

Once you have created a representation of your life ask God about what your life would look like if God tore down the walls between your sections. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you tear down those walls.

Line Chaser

Line Chaser

Materials Needed:

  • One Line Chaserz Car (I found one at Toys-R-Us, but you check them out here)
  • Large Sheet of white paper (at least 5 feet long for the effect)
  • a dark black pen (the cars come with one)
  • If you buy these large Line Chaserz you will need 2 AAA batteries.

    How it works:

    • Draw a large oval track on your white paper. Experiment and make sure that the car will follow the line and stay on it for several loops.
    • As students enter have the car moving around the track. Make little comment about the car and begin your meeting as you normally do. Sing, make announcements, or whatever else you do at the beginning of your meeting.
    • Have students get into pairs, look up Genesis 12:1-4 and answer the following questions.
      • What were God’s instructions to Abram? Where did God tell him to Go?
      • Do you think you would be willing to leave your home to follow God without a destination? What would be the hardest part for you?
      • What was God’s promise to Abram?
    • Debrief their answers and then ask: How is Abraham like this car? Some Possible Responses: He follows a path like Abraham followed God’s path; He isn’t;
    • Say: God told Abraham to follow without any destination. This little car doesn’t see the destination it only checks to see that it is following the black line. It continually checks to make sure it is following the right path. Even without knowing where it is going it always stays on track because it is continually checking to make sure that it is still in line.

    • In the same way we should line our lives up with God everyday. Many times we forget that God sees a big picture that we can’t see. Just like this car and Abraham we should trust God to lead us on the right path at every turn.

    Other Possible Ideas:

    • Draw a path that travels between 2 points, but that turns many times along the way. It would be best if sometimes the car was traveling in the opposite direction of the end point.
    • Spiritual Points: We don’t always understand why God leads us the way that he does, but we need to trust him. Even though it seems like we are heading in the wrong direction some times when we choose to follow God’s path every day we will reach His goal.
    • When Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac he must have thought that he was heading in the absolute opposite direction of where he wanted to go. But actually he was still following God.
    • Sometimes the things that God asks us to do seem like they are counter to our best interests, but when we trust God and follow him at every turn he will never lead us astray.