Reply to "BIBLE SKILLS & GAMES Workshop Lessons and Ideas for the Ten Commandments"

The Ten Commandments
Bible Skills and Games Workshop ("Antioch Arcade") 

Summary of Lesson Activity:
Older children (grades 3 and up) will be playing "Wheel of Fortune" with puzzles that spell out each commandment and younger children (grades 1&2) will play the "In/Not In Commandments" game. 

Scripture Reference:
Exodus 20: 1-17 

Key Verse: 
"I will write my laws on their hearts and minds. I will be their God, and they will be my people." -- Jeremiah 31:33b (CEV) 

Workshop Concepts:

  • God gives us rules to show us how to live with God and with others.
  • When we obey God's laws we show that we love God.

Leader Preparation:
Read Bible Background and scripture. 

Materials List:

  • Masking tape
  • Pencils
  • Posters and commandments for wall display and Memory verse for wall display
  • For Older kids:
    - Map
    - Chart paper (or easel or white board) and appropriate marker
    - Tape
    - A timer with a second hand (optional)
  • For Younger kids:
    - In/Not In “Commandments” on slips of paper (see here)
    - Basket


Advanced Preparation Requirements:
Have two posters on the wall, one labeled “How to love God” and one labeled “How to love other people.” The posters can be in the shape of tablets if you like. The commandments should be written on individual strips of poster board and taped to the posters, 1-4 on the first poster, 6-10 on the second. Use this brief wording:

1) Do not worship any god except me.
2) Do not make idols.
3) Do not misuse my name.
4) Remember the Sabbath Day.
5) Respect your father and your mother.
6) Do not murder.
7) Be faithful in marriage.
8) Do not steal.
9) Do not tell lies about others.
10) Do not want anything that belongs to someone else. 


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Grades 1-2 will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them where the story is. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. The shepherds will have extra Bibles. Help the students to find the book of Exodus. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.) 

After they’ve found Exodus, help them find chapter 20, then verses 1-17. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at the top of every page.

Tell the children: “The book of Exodus tells us that after Moses and the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God gave them these rules to live by.” You might show older children the location of Egypt and Mt. Sinai on a map.

With older children, read the entire text of each commandment from the CEV, or let them take turns reading. Point out that the first four tell us ways to love and honor God, and the last six tell us ways to treat other people with love.

With younger children, use the brief version above. 

Dig: Main Content and Reflection:

Wheel of Fortune (for grades 3 and up):

Remove the commandments from the wall. Have tape at hand for putting them back up.

Explain that the children are going to play Wheel of Fortune with puzzles that spell out each commandment.

Note:  See the end of the lesson plan for a summary of the rules to the TV game show. You can adapt the rules to the workshop as you see fit, but usually simpler is better. Here is a suggestion for how to simplify the game, keep it moving, give everybody a turn, and avoid letting one team dominate or get bogged down in score keeping:

Divide the class into several teams of three to five players. Have the shepherd keep score on a piece of paper. Line the teams up and tell them they are going to guess letters to spell out each commandment. Draw short lines on the white board to represent each letter of the first puzzle. (Use the list above for the wording of each commandment. Present them out of sequence.) If you prefer not to delay the game while you draw the puzzles, draw them ahead of time on a pad of chart paper rather than using the white board. Then the shepherd can use the white board for keeping score.)

The teams will take turns spinning the game wheel, and then guessing letters to fill in the blanks. Let the first person in line for the team spin and guess a letter. The spinner can ask his team for help, but he is the only one who can make the guess. Don’t bother with “buying” vowels; just let the kids guess them along with the consonants. If the spinner guesses correctly, fill in the letter(s) and award his team the points he spun for (don’t multiply by the number of times the letter appears). If he guesses a letter that is not in the puzzle, write it at the bottom of the white board; award no points but don’t subtract points. Either way, go on to the next team for the next spin. After spinning, the player goes to the end of his team’s line. One spin, one guess per turn.

Instead of guessing a letter, the spinner can attempt to solve the puzzle. If he gets it right, award his team the points he spun for. If wrong, award no points and go on to the next team.

After a commandment is guessed correctly, tape it back in its place on the poster. If you have time, you might award 10 extra points for telling whether it goes in the “love God” or “love other people” column, or for telling which number the commandment is. Consider doubling the last score spun if the team can give a modern-day example of keeping or breaking the commandment.

Keep going until every child has spun at least once. If the kids are taking too long to guess letters, give them a 30-second limit and get the shepherd to time the game using the timer. 

"In/Not In Commandments" Game (For Grades 1-2)

Tell the children that they are going to read or hear some statements and will have to tell whether the statement is one of the Ten Commandments. They’ll have to think carefully, because sometimes a statement might not sound like one of the commandments but it is really the same idea put into different words. Other statements are good advice, but they’re not one of the Ten Commandments.

Use this list, and feel free to add your own ideas. Write each “commandment” on a slip of paper. Choose as many as you think you’ll need and put in a basket; save the extras to add to the basket if the game goes faster than anticipated. Let the kids take turns drawing slips and identifying “in” or “not in.” As each commandment is identified, tape it back onto its place on the wall. 

Recite the Bible memory verse. “I will write my laws on their hearts and minds. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” -- Jeremiah 31:33b

Discuss: God loved the Israelites and gave them rules to live by. How did they show that they loved God? By obeying God’s laws.

God loves us, and gives those same rules to us. The Ten Commandments show us how to live with God and with others. How do we show that we love God? By obeying God's laws.

What does it mean to have God’s law written on our hearts and minds? We know it so well that we remember it even when we’re not thinking about it, use it to guide the way we live and know what is right or wrong; always try to follow it.
Journals: Pass out the journal pages and ask the shepherds to pass out pencils/markers. Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the workshop.

Ask the children: Which is the hardest commandment for you to keep? Write the hardest commandment at the top of your journal page. Then write one or more ways in which you can keep that commandment. (Ex. Honor your father and mother - Do chores without being reminded, Listen when they’re talking, etc.) Or you can draw a picture of yourself obeying the commandment. 

Prayer: Ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer: You can prepare your own prayer or use this one: Lord, please write your rules on our hearts and minds so that we can live by them every day. Help us to put you first in our lives and live in a way that shows love to you and other people. Amen.

MacQueen, Neil. In/Not In Game Idea posted at 

Wheel of Fortune - TV Rules
The object of the game is to solve a word, phrase, or name puzzle in which all the letters are hidden. Three contestants take turns spinning a giant wheel. The Wheel shows money in amounts from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, special prizes, and penalties such as Bankrupt and Lose a Turn. When a contestant turns up money on the Wheel, he can guess a consonant in the puzzle or buy a vowel for $250. If he guesses a consonant that appears in the puzzle, he earns the dollar amount he landed on, multiplied by the number of times the consonant appears in the puzzle. For example, if he lands on $100 and guesses "S," and the letter "S" appears in the puzzle two times, he earns $200. If a contestant spins a penalty, he may lose all the money he has earned so far ("Bankrupt"), or skip his turn entirely ("Lose a Turn"). The contestant then has a chance to solve the puzzle. If he solves it correctly, he wins all the money he has earned since the beginning of the round. If he is incorrect, the play goes to the next contestant.
A full game consists of four rounds. At the end of four rounds, the contestant who has won the most money and prizes goes on to play a bonus round. In the bonus puzzle, the most common consonants and vowel are shown. The contestant can guess a few more letters, and then has a chance to solve the puzzle. If he solves it correctly, he wins a prize.

--- “Wheel of Fortune FAQ.” About, the Human Internet.

A lesson posted by Catherine from Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church,
Cary, NC, 2001.
Printed from 

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

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