Joseph in Egypt
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will navigate through an obstacle course to remind them of some of the setbacks and victories of Joseph’s life. If time allows they will also participate in an activity that will help them identify times in their own lives when they need God’s help. (Adapted from Promiseland: Live the Adventure.)
Scripture & Memory Verse & Objectives for the Rotation:
Refer to this post.
Additional objectives for the Games Workshop - At the end of the session, the students will:
- be able to recall some of the times that God helped Joseph overcome difficult situations.
- be able to identify some of the times they need to call on God to help them overcome difficult situations.
- Read the scripture passages and lesson plan and attend the Bible Study.
- Prepare a closing prayer.
- Learn the memory verse.
- Consider the age level adjustments needed each week (those included in the lesson plan and your own). Confer with the Shepherd on “Stretchers” to use, especially with the youngest children. Note: To our teachers at RCC: The design of this workshop is very intentional. The activities and discussion questions for this workshop were designed to meet the goals of the entire rotation and the educational objectives of the Rotation Model (tm) at River Community Church. While we feel it is important to follow the serendipitous leading of the Holy Spirit, please do not change the lesson plan without consulting a Curriculum Planning and Writing Team member.
- Write the memory verse on a poster.
- Make poster board signs with the following sentences or pictures on them:
- Joseph is given a colorful coat by his father (picture of colorful coat).
- Joseph’s jealous brothers cast him into a deep well, then sell him as a slave (picture of Joseph in deep hole).
- Joseph is a hard worker and is put in charge of Potiphar’s household (picture of Joseph talking to Potiphar).
- Potiphar’s wife accuses Joseph wrongly (picture of Potiphar’s wife talking to Potiphar).
- Joseph is put in jail where he gains a reputation for interpreting dreams (picture of Joseph in jail).
- Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream; Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of the palace (picture of Joseph talking to Pharaoh).
- Joseph forgives his brothers and is reunited with his father (picture of Joseph hugging his father as his brothers look on).
- Place each obstacle along the course as shown in the diagram. (Editor notes: This diagram is not available.)
- Post the signs as follows: #1-suitcase, #2-tunnel, #3-riser, #4-hula hoops, #5-appliance box “jail”, #6-throne, #7-balance beam. Label the Start and Finish of the course with masking tape on the floor and place directional arrows on the floor with masking tape wherever needed along the course.
- Post the memory verse poster in the room near where you will be conducting the memory verse activity.
- Poster board signs for each station
- Suitcase or trunk
- Colorful shirts or bathrobes
- Tunnel or long table covered with a tablecloth or sheet
- Two platforms or risers or stable one-step-up step stools
- Four hula-hoops
- Large appliance box with a “door” cut in opposite corners of the appliance box; label one door “in” and the other door “out”. It also should have a window with “bars” cut into it so is looks like a jail.
- Chair decorated as a throne
- Balance beam or 4x4 or 2x4 board
- Masking tape.
- Memento: stickers
- Shepherd Time: blank lined or plain paper
Opening-Welcome and Introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. (Remember, you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.) Make sure the children are wearing name-tags.
We had an opening prayer during the gathering time, but you may open with prayer if you feel led to do so.
Explain the purpose of this workshop: Today you are going to walk through an obstacle course. Each of the stations in the course represent a setback or victory in Joseph’s life. (Make sure the children understand the meaning of a setback and a victory---especially the K-1st grade class.) God worked everything for good in Joseph’s life, even the setbacks, because Joseph loved God.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Instruct the children to open their Bibles to Genesis 40-47 and tell them that this is where the Bible story is located. As the children begin to look up the passage, tell them:
that the Bible is divided into two parts, the Old and New Testaments.
that Genesis is the first book of the Bible and the first book of the Old Testament.
[We restate information about Bible organization in each workshop to be sensitive to visitors and new children in the class who may not have any knowledge of the Bible. We never want a child to feel like they do not belong because they do not know this information before they come to class.]
After locating the passage, have the children close their Bibles and put them away. The passage is too long to read so you are going to tell the story in your own words as you walk through the obstacle course. Listed below are key points to include in your story. Actions to perform at each station are in parenthesis. Tell the children to listen for the times in Joseph’s life when God helped him overcome difficult situations.
- Station #1: (put on the coat)
You were introduced to Joseph during the last rotation.
Joseph was one of Jacob’s 12 sons and his favorite son.
Jacob gave Joseph a beautiful coat and the other brothers were very jealous of Joseph.
Joseph’s brothers were so angry that one day they decided to kill Joseph, so they threw him in a deep pit.
- Station #2 (crawl through the tunnel (under a table covered with a blanket or tarp) and stand up on the other side and take off coat)
Brothers changed their minds about killing Joseph and sold him as a slave to some traders going to Egypt.
They smeared some animal blood on Joseph’s beautiful coat and lied to their father, Jacob, by telling him that a wild animal had attacked Joseph and all they could find was the coat.
- Station #3 (step up on platform/stepstool)
In Egypt the traders sold Joseph to a man named Potiphar, who was the captain of the king’s guard.
God took care of Joseph and Potiphar saw that Joseph was a responsible person and a hard worker.
Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his household and Potiphar didn’t worry about anything because Joseph took such good care of everything.
- Station #4 (step from one hula hoop to another, one foot in each, as you speak, like you are trying to get away from something)
Potiphar’s wife saw that Joseph was very good looking and she starting acting like she was in love with Joseph even though she was married to Potiphar.
Joseph would always tell Potiphar’s wife to get away from him whenever she tried to hug or kiss him and Joseph tried not to be around her.
One day when Joseph thought the house was empty, he went to do some work, but Potiphar’s wife came in.
She grabbed Joseph’s coat and when he ran out of the house, he left his coat.
The captain’s wife showed Potiphar the coat and lied to him by telling him that Joseph had tried to kiss her.
Potiphar had Joseph thrown into jail.
- Station #5 (stand in the jail and look out through the bars)
God was still with Joseph, even while he was in jail.
Joseph was responsible and hard working in jail and the jailer put Joseph in charge of other people in the jail.
God gave Joseph the ability to interpret dreams while he was in jail.
The king’s waiter and baker were in jail and Joseph interpreted their dreams. Later the waiter got out of jail and began serving the king or Pharaoh again.
- Station #6 (sit in throne chair)
Two years later the king had a dream.
Tell the details of king’s dream.
The waiter remembered Joseph and told the king about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams.
The king sent for Joseph asked Joseph to interpret his dream.
Joseph told the king that he could not interpret dreams but God could.
Tell the interpretation of the dream.
The king liked Joseph’s idea for storing up food for when the famine came so he put Joseph in charge of all the land of Egypt. Only the king was greater than Joseph.
Things happened just as God had revealed to the king through Joseph. There were seven years of plenty and Joseph had the people store up food. Then there were seven years when no food would grow and Joseph was in charge of distributing the stored up food.
- Station #7 (walk across the balance beam)
Meanwhile, back in Caanan, where Joseph’s father and brothers still lived, there was also a famine.
Joseph’s family heard there was food in Egypt, so Jacob sent his son’s to Egypt to buy some food.
The brothers were brought before Joseph to ask to buy food and Joseph recognized them immediately, but they did not recognize him.
Joseph did not sell them food immediately. He wanted to see if they were sorry for what they had done to him. He devised a plan to find out whether his brothers had changed since they had sold him into slavery. (You may decide how much of the story you want to tell at this point.)
Joseph discovered that his brothers had changed and told them who he was.
The brothers were afraid of what Joseph would do to them know that he was a powerful ruler in Egypt.
Read Genesis 45:1-15 at this point.
When the king heard what had happened he invited all of Joseph’s family to come live in Egypt so they could all be together again.
Ask the children if they can identify the times when God helped Joseph overcome difficult situations. Say: These situations were not fun for Joseph, but today we are going have fun remembering the times when God helped Joseph overcome difficult situations.
Now the children will navigate through the obstacle course one at a time. See the instructions from Promiseland (reference to resources at end of lesson) for two additional games to play if time allows. One of the games is designed for younger children (Getting Help) and one is designed for older children (Help Is On Its Way).
Reflect: Pulling it all together (closing discussion):
(This will be done during the memory verse time.)
Review the memory verse.
This activity is adapted from Making Scripture Memory Fun from Group Publishing.
Begin by asking the children:
- I wonder what Joseph was thinking when he was sitting in jail after Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph?
- I wonder if he thought he would be the second in command of Egypt one day?
- Have you ever been in a situation like Joseph where things seems really bad?
- Describe some situations that people your age think are awful. [Fighting with a friend, family being transferred to a different town, changing schools, flunking a test, not being invited to a party. List them on a white board or easel pad.]
Say: It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live. At some point, something difficult or unpleasant is going to happen in your life. It’s just as true that good and pleasant things will happen to everybody at some time. But God has promised us that no matter what happens he’ll be working in our lives. The memory verse tells us what God will do with the good and bad situations of our lives.
Read the verse together.
Ask the children:
- How can this verse be true?
- In what ways does God work for good?
- Who are the people this verse talks about?
Repeat the verse again.
Say: Now let’s look back at some of the situations that we listed before. Use your imagination to consider and ponder how God might turn your difficult or unpleasant situations into good. For example, if you flunk a test you might learn that you need to study more the next time.
Recite the verse together one more time.
By 11:45 a.m. ask the Shepherd to pass out the journal pages and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the story or activity.
For younger children: Draw a picture of a time that God use some hard time in your life for good. If you cannot think of a situation you can draw a picture of something we talked about during the memory verse time.
For older children: Describe a hard situation that you have been in during your life and what you learned because of the experience.
This is meant to be a time of reflection and introspection. Writing about faith helps clarify lessons. In addition to the suggested activity, children may draw pictures relating to today’s scripture or memory verse, list highlights of the day’s activities, or rephrase the memory verse. The journal pages will be saved and given to the children at the end of the school year.
You may want to provide an extra activity or worksheet for children who finish their journals quickly, such as coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, word searches, games. See the Workshop Leader’s Background Notes and rotation.org for ideas.
Before noon, ask the students to stop journaling for a moment and sit quietly for prayer so they can leave when their parents arrive. Allow them to finish journaling afterwards.
Thank God for being in control of every circumstance and for taking care of us by working for our good. Pray about specific concerns listed on the board during the Memory Verse time.
You will need to decide how best to adjust the lesson for older and younger students. Keep the children active and involved in activity. Do what works for you and the children. Some ideas are included in the lesson plan.
Making Scripture Memory Fun. Loveland, Colorado: Group Publishing, 1998
Live The Adventure: Discovering God Is Everything I Need. Promiseland Summer Event. Willow Creek Association, PO Box 3188, Barrington, IL, 60011-3188. 1999, 9780310237457. OUT OF PRINT
A lesson written by Jamie Senyard for River Community Church
Copyright 2003 Jamie Senyard. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message and source is included.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.