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COMPLETE LESSON SET: Joseph in Egypt from FUMC, Ann Arbor, MI

Joseph in Egypt 

Summary of all workshops in this Rotation:

Art 1 (below): Tie-dyed t-shirts for 1st and 2nd grade.

Art 2: Narrative picture scrolls for older students.

Cooking: No lesson. Make trail mix; talk about how the brothers went on the “trail” to Egypt and found forgiveness & reunited their family. (no kitchen required)

Games for Younger Children: No lesson. Play a variety of games to reinforce story concepts.

Games for Older Children: Jeopardy.

Puppets: No lesson. Enact the story with handle-bag puppets.

Video: Watch a portion of Joseph King of Dreams

Note: These workshops were written for 1st through 6th graders who had just completed a Rotation on “Joesph Coat” (posted here at this site).

Scripture Reference:
Genesis 39–45, 46:5-7 

Key Verse: 
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28 (CEV)  

Rotation Objectives --at the end of the Rotation, kids should be able to:

  • Identify Genesis as the first book in the Old Testament; locating the story in Genesis
  • Retell the story in their own words – Describing how with God’s help, Joseph came to be the most powerful man in Egypt.
  • Tell how Joseph forgave his brothers. God calls us to work for reconciliation and forgiveness.
  • Know that God guides our steps – God can help us make the best of a bad situation. Any situation can be for good, even something intended for evil.

    Except as noted, Scripture quoted is taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1995 by American Bible Society. Used by permission. 

Joseph in Egypt

Art Workshop- 1st and 2nd grade 

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Tie-dye a T-shirt. Their own unique shirts will remind students that God is with them always, they are special to him, and His love "covers" them through all situations and circumstances.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Identify Genesis as the first book in the Old Testament.
  • Retell the story in their own words – Describing how with God’s help, Joseph came to be the most powerful man in Egypt.
  • Know that God guides our steps – God can help us make the best of a bad situation. Any situation can be for good, even something intended for evil.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Prepare an opening and/or closing prayer in case you need one.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Cover metal tabletops with plastic and secure plastic with masking tape.
  • Spread newspaper on the floor around the tables.
  • Mix dye: Take tops off of spray bottles in kit. Set these tops aside so they don’t get lost! Pour powdered dye into plastic zip bags. With funnel spoon about half of powdered dye back into bottles. (Use spray bottles from several kits so have enough bottles to share). Fill bottles about halfway with warm water. Replace top and shake to mix. Store the excess dye powders in the zip bags for use in later weeks. [Note: liquid dye can be stored in spray bottles with caps on.]
  • Wearing gloves, fill bucket with at least 1 gallon of water. (Leave bucket in sink). Stir in soda ash fixer and 1 cup of salt until dissolved. (Avoid inhaling soda ash powder or splashing solution in eyes.) In subsequent weeks, pour the stored soda ash fixer solution from the milk jugs into buckets.

Supplies List:

  • Story Bible – The Young Reader’s Bible
  • Spray Dye Kit (one per 8 –12 students) – includes 3 dyes, spray bottles, soda ash fixer
  • Large bucket(s) for soaking t-shirts
  • Table salt (one cup per kit)
  • Disposable latex gloves (one pair per student) – required!
  • Smocks (one per student) – required!
  • Plastic to cover table & masking tape to secure
  • Permanent markers
  • Rubber bands; meat trays to hold rubber bands
  • Small plastic zip bags (sandwich size) to hold extra powdered dye; Funnel
  • Sample completed t-shirt(s)
  • White 100% cotton t-shirts (1 per student)
  • Gallon size plastic zipper bags (one per student), with take home directions attached
  • Empty, clean gallon milk jugs with lids (3 or 4)
  • Newspaper
  • Copies of a coloring page (see resources)
  • Markers or crayons
  • Game instructions printed on card to give to adult helper 



Greet your students warmly. Introduce yourself and any other adults. Pass around a basket to collect any offering. 

[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance, etc. This can all happen quietly while you are starting your lesson.] 

SAY: Even though we are down here by the kitchen, for today, this is the Art Workshop. We are making special t-shirts. (Show samples.) 

ASK: Why do you think we’d be making colorful shirts? Hint: what Bible story have you been learning about? (making shirts because of story of Joseph and his multi-colored coat) 

SAY: Because this is an involved art project, we are going to get started on our project right away. We need to get the shirts ready and then they have to soak. While they are soaking, we’ll read our Bible story – today we’re going to find out the rest of the Joseph story!


  • Write name on label of shirt.
  • Tie t-shirt as desired with rubber bands, etc. Make sure to leave name visible! [Hint: Place the shirt on top of a marble or coin. Twist tightly and secure with a rubber band. Repeat this process all around the shirt with several more marbles or coins – the more you use and the tighter you twist, the more interesting your patterns will be. Students may also elect to do a swirl pattern, which doesn’t require any tying.
  • Give tied t-shirt to an adult. An adult wearing gloves will submerge prepared t-shirts into the fixer solution. (This solution helps the dye bond with the fabric.) They will soak for about 20 minutes.


While students are tying shirts: 

ASK: How did Joseph come to have a multi-colored coat? (it was a gift from his father Jacob) Why did Jacob give Joseph a coat? (to show his love) What did Joseph’s brothers think of his coat? (were jealous) Joseph’s brothers did some mean things to Joseph, what was it they did? (brothers threw him in pit, sold to slavery in Egypt far from home) 

SAY: Today we’ll hear how Joseph had even more bad things happen to him, but through it all, Joseph remembered God’s love for him. It was like he was wrapped in God’s loving coat. Each time you wear your colorful shirt, you can think about how God loves you and takes care of you even during unhappy times.

As students finish tying: 

They give their shirt to an adult (as described above) – then have the Shepherd (or extra adult) take them to the Social Hall. Let them choose between coloring a picture and playing an active game (requires 3 or more kids). Ask the Shepherd (or extra adult) to start playing the following game if kids choose to do so:

Note: we played a game from the book

The Humongous Book of Games for Children’s MinistrY (Game on page 137).

But you could play any active game such as a variation on Simon Says (Joseph Says). 

Quit playing as soon as everyone is done with tying a shirt.

Dig In to the Bible: 

Gather everyone at the tables. 

SAY: You have already told me about Joseph and his coat of many colors. 

ASK: Does anyone know where in the Bible we find our story? (first book of Old Testament – Genesis) 

SAY: Now we get to find out what happened to Joseph after he was sold into slavery in Egypt. Listen while I read to you from this story Bible.

READ the story on pages 62 – 73 in The Young Reader’s Bible. Show pictures as you read the story. 


ASK: What bad thing happened to Joseph in Egypt? (put in prison or jail) 

Who is Pharaoh? (king of Egypt) Why did Pharaoh decide to put Joseph, who had been in prison, in charge of the land? (he thought Joseph was wise – he knew the meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams and had a good plan to save up food) 

SAY: Joseph was helpful to many people. God helped Joseph to know that Pharaoh’s dreams meant there would be seven good years followed by seven years when no crops would grow. Joseph made sure that food was stored during the good years so that there was enough to eat when no crops grew.

ASK: Who came looking to buy food from Joseph? (his brothers) 

Did they know they were buying from Joseph? (no) What would have been YOUR reaction to your brothers showing up in Egypt? Would you have been still mad at them for what they had done?

SAY: Joseph wasn’t mad was he? Joseph forgives his brothers. Joseph said, “don’t be upset. You wanted to hurt me, but Got meant it for good”. 

ASK: What do you think that means – God meant it for good?

SAY: God took Joseph’s experiences in the pit and in prison and used them so that Joseph helped lots of people (including his own family) to have plenty of food.

SAY: We can learn from this story that sometimes-bad things happen to us. Sometimes people can hurt us. But God loves you. God is always at work for good to happen in your life. Bad things can happen to us but we need to trust that God will take those bad things and use them for something good.

SAY: Before we get back to our shirts let’s have some prayer time. 

ASK for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for teaching us about Joseph – even though lots of bad things happened to Joseph, he kept his faith in you God. Help us to learn how to trust you always. Amen”

SAY: Let’s make a special colorful t-shirt. When you wear your shirt you’ll be reminded that God’s love “covers” you through all situations. [Note: as you say this last line you may wish to wrap yourself in one of the completed t-shirts.]

Return to Art Project:

  • Have everyone put on gloves and a smock. Everyone must be well covered. Meanwhile an adult with gloves removes the shirts from the fixer solution, wringing them to remove excess solution.
  • Demonstrate how to hold the spray bottle – which way will the spray be coming out?! Teach everyone to hold the spray bottle at a shallow angle to the surface. Students may use as many or as few colors as they like.
  • Have students spray desired colors. After a few sprays, stop and wait a minute (let someone else use the spray bottle). It takes a minute for the color to “ripen” – the fuchsia especially deepens as it stands. Holding the bottle closer creates a more concentrated color; farther away – more subtle.
    [Note: for wrinkle or swirl designs they will need to work the shirt creating wrinkles or swirls before applying dye. See instructions with spray dye kit.]
  • When finished, have each student place his or her dyed shirt in a gallon zip bag. Try to have shirt be placed in bag so name is visible (or write name on zip bag). The shirt must stay in the bag at least 8 hours. (We will ask parents to finish the dyeing process at home. Directions will be attached to each zip bag. For copy of directions, see “Attachments” at end of lesson.)
  • An adult with clean, gloved hands should wipe exterior of zip bags with paper towel to remove any traces of dye.
  • Have students carefully remove gloves and dispose; Remove smock (folding neatly on cart).



Make sure everyone takes his or her shirt! (Tell them to have parents read the instructions.)

Clean Up:

  • Put tops on spray bottles.
  • Dispose of plastic table covering.
  • Save as much fixer solution as possible by pouring it into the milk jugs. Make sure jugs are labeled.
  • Store supplies on cart.

    Note: for the “attachment” mentioned – the take-home instructions – see the tie-dye art project written for the Joseph’s coat part of the story. It’s at:


  • Tie-dye instructions:
  • Tie dye kit: “Rainbow Rock Dye Adventures, Spray Dye Kit” by made Duncan Enterprises 1-800-438-6226 or (comes with 3 colors and supposedly makes 8-12 shirts)
    Moderator adds: This product seems to now be discontinued, you may want to check out this website
  • Bruno, Bonnie and Reinsma, Carol. The Young Reader’s Bible. Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing, 1998.
  • Hansen, Cindy, ed. The Humongous Book of Games for Children’s Ministry. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 2002. (Game on page 137.)
  • Klusmeyer, Steve and Brenda. “Joseph the Dreamer.” October 2002. (Lesson is no longer at this site.)

A set of workshops from First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI  

Copyright 2003 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material 

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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