Reply to "ART WORKSHOP Lessons and Ideas for Joseph's Story"

Joseph as a ruler in Egypt

Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will make a timeline of Joseph's life. 

Scripture Reference:
Genesis 41. 

Memory Verses:
Ephesians 4:32 and Romans 8:28.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Make a sample timeline.

Supplies List:

  • Black crayons
  • light colored watercolor paints
  • white or vanilla construction paper (large)
  • samples of symbolic pictographs to copy

Lesson Plan

Welcome the children and their guide(s) to the workshop, introduce yourself, and open in prayer. Please try to start on time and end on time, and focus your attention on the children.

Open with a prayer. 


Post the two Bible memory verses, (Ephesians 4:32 and Romans 8:28); the children should already have their own copies. Repeat these two verses with the class before beginning to teach the lesson.

Teach the lesson. If this is the first Sunday of the rotation, most children will either not be at all familiar with the story of Joseph, or will remember parts of it. Children in grades 3 – 6 should be encouraged to open their Bibles to Genesis 41 as you start the lesson. You will need to be prepared, however, to summarize key parts of this long lesson you have prepared before this class session, and to use them appropriately for the grade level of the children. Some children will be able to read along in the Bible. You might even ask some volunteers to read key sections of the story. If it is past the first Sunday of the rotation, you should first ask the children to tell what they already know of the story, so you will know where they need more teaching or clarification.

Art Project: Joseph's Timeline/ My Timeline.

Materials: Black crayons, light colored watercolor paints, white or vanilla construction paper (large), samples of symbolic pictographs to copy.

Procedure: Tell the children they will make a timeline of Joseph’s life on one side of the paper, and timeline of their own life on the other side of the paper. They will use black crayon to draw a small picture symbol of each event inside a 2” X 2” square. This way it will be possible for them to have two or more vertical columns on each side of the paper. Explain that the Egyptians wrote using pictographs called “hieroglyphics”. The children may invent their own picture symbols, or you may suggest some on a poster.

You should have posted the following events for Joseph’s timeline:

  • Birth, ~ 1745 BC
  • colorful coat
  • tells two dreams
  • thrown into a pit; sold to Egypt
  • slave in Potiphar’ house
  • put in prison
  • tells meanings of baker’s and cupbearer’s dreams
  • forgotten for 2 more years
  • tells meaning of Pharaoh’s 2 dreams
  • promoted to governor of Egypt, ~1715 BC
  • famine begins, ~1708 BC
  • 10 brothers arrive in Egypt
  • Simeon in prison
  • luncheon banquet with 11 brothers
  • silver cup in Benjamin’s sack
  • Judah offers to take Benjamin’s place and stay with Joseph
  • Joseph forgives his brothers and tells his identity
  • Jacob comes to Egypt with the whole family (~1706 BC)
  • Joseph dies, ~1635 BC
  • Joseph’s bones carried back to Canaan (~1235 BC?)

There are twenty events on this timeline. Some children won’t be able to fit all twenty on their paper, even in two or more columns, but using picture symbols should be much easier than using words. On the reverse side of the paper, have the children list some major life events of their own lives up to the present time, such as being born, birthdays, friendships, moves, getting or losing a particular pet, etc.

Older children may have more events to list. Point out that just as God was working for good through all the events of Joseph’s life, God is also working for good through the events of each child’s life. Some children may have “forgiveness” events. Ask if anybody wishes to share about Jesus forgiving their sins, which is their “spiritual birthday”. Some will have very uneventful, peaceful timelines; it’s OK. Others may have experienced significant losses; make some discussion boundaries so that nothing extremely personal is shared to anyone’s detriment. God is working in each one’s life, and has loved each person since before that person was born!

Last of all, the children can do a watercolor wash over their timelines in a light color that beautifies it but doesn’t hide it. Talk about how God wants to use our lives to glorify Him in every way. When the papers are dry, they can be rolled up like scrolls. Be sure each child’s name is on their paper somewhere so they can be returned.

Discussion questions:

1. How do you think Joseph knew God wanted him to forgive his brothers for sending him to Egypt? (ANS: Maybe Joseph had learned the principle of forgiveness from his father, Jacob, and his mother, Rachel. Maybe as he prayed during his time of being a slave in Potiphar’s house and in prison, God led him to understand forgiveness. There was no written Bible at that time for anyone to read, however. Joseph must have been close to God.)

2. How did Joseph know that God used his troubles for good? (ANS: He interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, it all happened, and he saw that his brothers’ and father’s lives were saved by the way God had made him governor of Egypt so that he could provide them with food.)

Journal question: How has God brought good out of a difficulty in your life? ALTERNATIVE (grades 1-2): Draw the looks on the brothers’ faces when Joseph told them who he really was. 


Close with a circle of prayer. As you go around the circle, allow anyone who wants to pray to do so. Encourage thanksgiving or forgiveness.
Remind the children to return next week for their next workshop, and to bring a friend and their Bible.

A lesson written by Gail Smith from: Silverdale UMC. 

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

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