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Joseph’s Coat

Games Workshop 

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Play a game that involves answering questions, singing, acting, drawing, and sculpting – a Cranium®/Trivial Pursuit type of game. Learn story details. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.] 

Scripture Reference:
Genesis 37:1-36, 39:1-6b 

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

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials

Supplies List:

  • Copies of the story paraphrase - one for every two kids (see attached)
  • Whiteboard easel and dry erase markers
  • Four sets of colored cards with the letters J-O-S-E-P-H (one letter on each card, each letter is a different color) – Assumes a class size of approx. 12 kids
  • One set of colored cards with questions/activities for each game category. The colors correspond with those of the letters J-O-S-E-P-H. For example, the J card might be yellow and the question cards to “earn” a J would also be yellow.
  • Four sets of index cards or small pieces of paper (each set contains the words of the Key Bible Verse – one word per card)
  • Lots of scrap paper and pencils/pens for the drawing activities
  • Playdoh™ for the sculpting activities
  • One beanbag
  • Game questions for the leader [See attached)
  • Sand/two minute timer

    Before Start of Class:
  • Write the key Bible verse on the easel.
  • Organize the game supplies – Make sure you have available the:
    -- Questions/activities on colored cards
    -- The leader’s sheet with the game questions/activities
    -- The game supplies needed for the questions/activities


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Games Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults. Have the students sit in a circle. [Note: Ask the Shepherd to take care of attendance/nametags while you start the lesson.]

Say: Let’s start with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. A suggestion: “Dear Lord, We are thankful to be here to learn about Joseph and to learn that even when bad things happen, God is with us and watches over us. (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Distribute copies of the Joseph’s Coat Story Paraphrase. Ask the kids to share a copy with someone else and follow along in the reading. Instruct the students and adults take turns reading paragraphs.

Say: “We will take turns reading a paraphrase of this story. When the person next to you finishes reading a paragraph, please continue reading at the beginning of the next paragraph.

[Note: After the second week of the Rotation the students will become more familiar with the story. Have them locate the scripture in their Bibles. Then ask them to tell you the story. Fill in any missing details by using their Bibles.]

Do: Spend some time going over the Key Bible Verse. Using the key verse written on the white board, have everyone read the key verse. Then ask a student to erase one word. Then have everyone read the verse filling in the missing word. Have students take turns erasing words each time reading the verse aloud as a group.

Play the Game:
Game Play Rules:

  • Divide the group up into 2 – 4 teams (ideally there will be 2-3 kids on each team). Have them move to their own space in the room.
  • Explain that each team is trying to collect letter cards to spell JOSPEH. Display one of each card.
  • Determine the order that the teams will go based on guessing numbers, drawing straws, birthdays closet to today’s date (however you would like to do this). Be sure that there is a distinct order.
  • Before starting the game, be sure to cover up the Key Bible Verse.
  • Beginning with team #1, allow the team to choose which letter they would like to earn on their turn.
  • There are 6 different types of activities. When a team completes an activity, the workshop leader hands the team the letter earned. The team should place the letter in front of their group and begin to spell “JOSEPH”. The first team to spell “Joseph” wins, though if there is time, continue playing until all teams have spelled “Joseph” Leave 5 minutes for the closing.
  • The six different activities are:
    J = Just the Facts
    O = Open Ended Life Application Questions
    S = Sculpting
    E = Energy filled Drawing
    P = Play the Part
    H = Have-to-do-it
  • The S and E and P activities are to be done by one team member while the other team member(s) try to guess what is being depicted. So show these cards (or read them quietly) to one designated member of the team.
  • Cards that are marked with the words “ALL PLAY” indicate that all of the teams have a chance to earn that particular letter by completing the activity with their own team at the same time.

Other game hints:

  • When someone draws an “O” type question: explain that there are no right or wrong answers. The workshop leader will determine whether their answer earns a letter.
  • Use every opportunity during game play to allow discussion that may occur from a particular question/answer.
  • You may wish to set a time limit on how long students have to answer the questions by using the sand timer.

Ask: What advice about our lives can we take away from this scripture? Are we able to keep our faith during tough times? Are we able to truly feel the statement made by our key Bible verse from Romans 8:28a?

“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.”

Choose any of the following activities to close with (depending on what you think the group of kids would enjoy).

  • Have the whole entire group sing the Key Bible Verse to the tune of Amazing Grace or Joy to the World
  • As you toss a bean bag to each team member, the team member holding the bean bag must say the next word in the key verse.
  • Repeat what you did at the beginning of the lesson: Using the key verse written on the white board, have everyone read the key verse. Then ask a student to erase one word. Then have everyone read the verse filling in the missing word. Have students take turns erasing words each time reading the verse aloud as a group.

Attachment: Story Paraphrase Genesis 37:1-35, 39:1-6a

Jacob and his large family lived in the land of Canaan. Jacob had many sons (eventually 12 in all) and one daughter. Troubles began because Jacob liked his son Joseph the best. Joseph brought bad reports about his brothers to his father.

Jacob loved Joseph so much that he made Joseph an outlandish coat – it is often described as having many beautiful colors. The coat made Joseph proud. He felt special! But it made his brothers…mad! They hated Joseph. They couldn’t speak one kind word to him.

One night Joseph had a dream. When he told his brothers about it, they hated him even more. “Listen to my dream,” said Joseph. “We were out in the field, tying our bundles of wheat together, when suddenly my bundle rose and stood upright. All of your bundles gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said, “do you plan to be king over us?” They didn’t like what Joseph had to say.

Then Joseph had another dream. He told his brothers. “In this dream the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” Joseph's brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept wondering about the dream. What could it mean? Was God sending Joseph a message?

One day Joseph's brothers had taken the sheep to graze away from home. Jacob asked Joseph to go check on them. So, Joseph went to find his brothers. His brothers saw him coming—it must have been because of the colorful coat. “Here comes that dreamer,” said his brothers. “Let’s kill him! Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams!”

“No, don’t kill him,” a brother named Reuben said. “Let’s only throw him into a pit. There’s one over there.” Reuben was thinking that at night he would secretly rescue Joseph.

Joseph came up to his brothers. Before he could even say hello, they grabbed him. They took his multicolored coat and threw him into a pit. Then his brothers sat down to eat their dinner!

As they were eating a brother named Judah said, “Look, here come some men on their way to Egypt – Ishmaelite traders. Let’s sell Joseph, and then we won’t have to kill him. After all, he is our brother.” So when the traders came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the pit. They sold him for twenty pieces of silver.

To cover up their deed, Joseph's brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph's fancy coat in its blood. They took the coat to their father and said, "We found this!” Jacob recognized it. “Joseph must have been killed by a wild animal!” Jacob mourned for Joseph a long time.

Meanwhile, the Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, the king's official in charge of the palace guard. Soon Potiphar realized that God was helping Joseph to be successful in whatever he did! Yes, God was with Joseph.

Attachment: Game Questions

The J’s – Just the Facts [Allow use of Bibles to help answer these questions.]

  • In what book and chapter of the Bible is our story found? (Genesis, Chapter 37 and part of 39)
  • How many brothers and sisters did Joseph have? (11 brothers, 1 sister)
  • Why was Joseph having dreams about his brothers? (God was sending Joseph a message through the dreams)
  • Why were Joseph’s brothers jealous of him? (Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, he was always telling his father about the bad things his brothers did)
  • Define jealousy. (feeling unhappy because of another person’s possessions or advantage)
  • Give an example of how God was at work in Joseph’s life. (accept most answers – a few might be… Joseph’s life was spared; God sent messages to Joseph through dreams; God helped Joseph to be successful in whatever he did)

The O’s – Open Ended Life Application Questions
[There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Use material from the Bible Background to help you discuss these questions with the students. Spend time discussing these questions – they are important!]

  • Why do you think Reuben objected to the idea of his brothers killing Joseph?
  • Why do you think the brothers decided to sell Joseph instead of kill him?
  • How could Joseph and his father have helped their family feel happier?
  • Give an example of how God has worked in your life or the life of someone you know.
  • Tell about something that may cause family members today to be jealous of each other or angry with each other.

The S’s – Sculpting
[One team member sculpts while other team member tries to guess what is being sculpted.]

  • Sculpt: Joseph wearing his special coat
  • Sculpt: The sun and moon and stars bowing down to Joseph’s star
  • Sculpt: The pit that Joseph was thrown into
  • Sculpt: Joseph living in Egypt with Pharaoh
  • Sculpt: Joseph’s coat torn up by a “wild animal”

The E’s – Energy-filled Drawings
[One team member draws on the whiteboard while other team member tries to guess what is being drawn.]

  • Draw: The sun and moon and stars bowing down to Joseph’s star
  • Draw: Joseph’s brothers tearing off Joseph’s special coat and throwing him into a pit.
  • Draw: Joseph’s brothers showing Jacob the torn coat and Jacob mourning the loss of Joseph.
  • Draw: God “speaking” to Joseph in his dreams

The P’s – Play the Part

  • Act out that Joseph is receiving his new, fancy coat from Jacob
  • Act out Joseph’s dream about the brother's bundles of wheat bowing to Joseph’s bundle of wheat
  • Act out Joseph’s brothers plotting to get rid of Joseph
  • Act out Joseph going to look for his brothers who were with the sheep
  • Act out Joseph’s brothers selling Joseph as a slave to the Ishmaelites

The H’s – Have-to-do-it

  • As you toss a bean bag to each team member, the team member holding the bean bag must say the next word in the key verse.
  • Sing the key verse (using Amazing Grace or Joy to the World).
  • Do the key verse in a rap.
  • Arrange the scrambled word index cards in the proper order of the key verse.


Hulbert, Carol. “Story Paraphrase: Genesis 37:1-35, 39:1-6a.” 2010.

A lesson written by Beth Pascoe for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2010 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

If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Pascoe, Beth. "Joseph’s Coat: Games Workshop." Jan. 2010. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>. 

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