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Cathy and I continue to look through's deep archive of great ideas and bring you our favorites. Click the "bell" icon above in the title to get notifications of new treasures when they are added!  Our treasures are also included in the Enews.

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2022-2023 "Hidden Treasures" at

Check out our 2021 Hidden Treasures too!


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2023 Advent Treasures from Cathy

It's always been a goal to have our members celebrating and learning at home as well as in Sunday School, and in that respect,'s "At Home" Advent resources in our Advent forums are definitely full of many helpful creative treasures. And many of the "at home" ideas can be adapted for use in worship and Sunday School.

Here's what caught my eye this year...

Ideas for Celebrating Christmas in Church and At Home: Programs, Pageants, Scripts, Ideas

This forum has some neat "at home" celebration ideas tucked away among the "at church" celebration suggestions. And as if that wasn't enough treasure for you, this past year we started a "MORE" at-home resource topic that includes ideas like Advent calendars, books, etc.

Don't Miss: Ideas for sharing Church events online with those away from or stuck at home. It also includes creative thoughts like costuming your Advent Candle lighters (imagine Isaiah lighting the candle of Hope) and zooming and recording it so that others don't miss it, and the video can be shared!

Isaiah lights the Advent CandleMore Advent Resources, Ideas, Christmas traditions, At-Home resources, Advent Candles, and still more!

This "more" collection has a bunch of Advent ideas that don't quite to fit other topics. They include MORE "at home" celebrations and resources, such as "Christmas around the world," Advent calendars, wreaths, candles, etc.

Don't Miss the new "Ideas for Advent Candles" topic, and the "Scratch Off" Advent Calendar post which includes how to make your own "scratch off" Advent calendar.

And finally...

Advent At-Home Resource Highlights & Favorites Presentation!

This treasure features the special video presentation we put together two years ago highlighting some favorite "at home" ideas and videos for all ages. I really like that the video is designed to be shared with parents and grandparents so that they can choose what's right for them.

Don't Miss: Love some of the Advent music and music videos here. Gets me excited for the season!

At Home Advent Ideas Video


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2023 Advent Treasures from Robin


I kept seeing the word "INVITE" during my expedition through our Advent lesson and idea forums. Usually, we think of the word "prepare," and then make Advent a personal or family journey. But living this side of the manger, it's important to remember that we have ALREADY HEARD AND SEEN the Good News of Christ's birth, and like the shepherds after they've been to the manger, are supposed to be engaged in INVITING OTHERS to "come and see." And that's why I'm excited to share some of the "inviting" treasures in our Advent Forums.

INVITE FAMILIES to participate in unique Advent Candle lighting liturgies and experiences that can also be recorded and share. Assemble costumes and props to go with each candle's theme. What would the first candle of "Hope" (Isaiah) look like? Who will wear the Shepherd costumes? Invite these costumed candlelighters to stand by the door to greet people as they exit.

Expand the definition of "families" that you invite:

  • Invite your children's friends to join them for the lighting.
  • Invite your fellow single friends (and don't forget to go out to brunch afterward).
  • Invite the oldest member(s) to stand with the youngest.
  • Invite people to "take the light" to others after worship through specific acts of kindness and service opportunities you might provide.

Lego-Nativity-SetINVITE PARENTS and GRANDPARENTS TO TEACH the Advent story creatively at home with some fun ideas like this Lego nativity scene and the other suggestions in this Art Workshop topic. Come up with other "manger material" suggestions for those who don't have or can't afford LEGOS. For example, decorated shoeboxes and action figures or clothespins with small swatches of cloth wrapped around them. Who would Spiderman worship?    Create and distribute "Make Your Own Nativity Display" kits. Drop a few off at your local women's shelter ministry office.

INVITE PARENTS TO SHARE photos of their home nativity scenes to their personal Facebook page (which will invite their friends and family). Invite nativity builders to bring their sets into worship and gather them around the Communion Table.  There is a Moravian Church tradition of traveling to see each other's nativity sets. it's called "Putz" ("Putzen" is the German word for "decorate.") it's similar to the tradition of going and viewing Christmas lights.

INVITE YOUR FACEBOOK and other SOCIAL MEDIA-USING MEMBERS to post suggested Advent videos to their friends and extended family from' great collection of Advent YouTube videos.


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Ready,  Set,  Let's Go to Sunday School!

Fall Sunday School startup is upon us and has you covered with resources galore. I raced right into the Fall Kickoff Forum and many treasures caught my eye not only for "startup" and "renewal," but for any time of the year.

Let's pray for renewal

Here are some ways to encourage members to pray for your Sunday School and kids. It includes ideas about how to set this up while also protecting kids' personal information.

This idea from member Julie describes how to encourage prayer in the classroom by creating a prayer tree.

Let's share some "renewal" inspiration

I'm a visual learner, so our collection of renewal-themed images, scriptures, and videos caught my eye. Use them in worship, newsletters, and bulletins to motivate your congregation.

Let's Help Our Kids and Classes De-Stress

It's natural for students to feel stress and anxiety -- especially this time of year -- and you may be feeling it too. That's why I was pleased to see these helpful tips for reducing stress in Sunday School.

BTW: If you're looking for creative lesson plans themed on "de-stressing" and trusting God, check out our Writing Team's Psalm 23 Lesson Set   ...He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.

Robin and I are volunteers, but we wouldn't be able to find these treasures if it weren't for the DEEP ARCHIVE made possible by our site software and webmaster's work. Join us in being Supporting Members of!

thousands of free and creative Sunday School lessons for children are available at!


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Exodus Wilderness Bible Story Lesson Ideas

Exodus Lesson Treasures!

Here are some treasures I found digging into our DEEP lesson bank of Exodus stories...

The Marching through the Wilderness Game Lesson

This lesson has been a favorite for many years here at and here's why:

  • The kids are encouraged to march, stomp, and complain in between every stop just like the Israelites did (shouldn't be a stretch, right?)
  • The kids are first astounded by then learn a simple magic trick that helps them remember the story of the bitter Marah waters made sweet.
  • The Water from the Rock of Horeb features a super-soaker.
  • There's a "Fling the Quail & Catch the Manna" activity

This lesson is like a drama, game, and storytelling workshop all rolled into one.  Be sure to check out some really great adaptations posted by Luanne Payne which follow the lesson.

Count Your Blessing with an "Omer" Jar

Omer-Jar Manna Sunday School Lesson IdeaI love it when students (and teachers) learn something new about a "not so new" story—and that's what happens in this Writing Team-created "Cooking and Art Workshop" lesson plan! Students create manna and an Omer jar (from the story) to take home their manna to remember their blessings and to share them. (An "omer" is a Hebrew unit of measure. Moses told the people to collect an Omer of manna as a reminder of their blessings.)

Robin-StewartP.S. A couple of these treasures are found in Writing Team lessons that require a Supporting Membership.

I'm a member! Join me in supporting our site's uniquely creative lesson ideas

Making Your Own "Writing Bag"

paintbagI have to admit that when I see a "creative writing" activity, I usually skip it. But this new version of creative writing will attract every student no matter what!

In this Writing Team's Water and Wilderness Creative Writing lesson, students write their responses to an Exodus storyteller's question by drawing with their finger on a bag filled with paint positioned over a map of the journey. You have to see it to believe it!

A Moses and the Burning Bush "Micrography" and Painting Project

One thing I absolutely about Rotation Workshop art lessons is that they use real art techniques to teach the Bible lesson instead of flimsy crafts.

In this Exodus 3: Moses and the Burning Bush lesson, students create their own burning bush verse illustration using the ancient Jewish scripture art of micrography ("small writing") or "word cloud" in the shape of the burning bush.  They then have the option to apply color to their micrograph of this "Holy Ground" scene to express how it feels to be in the presence of God and hear God's call.

Here's one version of the lesson's art project made with a free online app at and painted. See the lesson for this alternate way of creating art with the words of the scripture.

burning bush word cloud art activity


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Some Cool Treasures for a Hot Summertime!

Freshen up your classrooms

Summer might be the perfect time to freshen up—or even redo—some of your workshop or classroom spaces. We have an entire forum full of pictures of creative "workshop" spaces waiting to inspire you!  It might be something as simple as creating new signage for your space. Or it might be a complete renovation, like these pictures from Zion Baptist in Alberta, Canada.  We would love to see some pictures from YOUR spaces!

What stories do you teach during the summer?

A few years ago, we did a survey to see what stories were frequently taught over the summer, when attendance often fluctuates. Here are some of the more popular choices, in case you are still looking for ideas for your summer curriculum:

  • Psalm 100 - Joyful Noise
  • Armor of God
  • The Fiery Furnace
  • Stories about Elijah and Elisha
  • Joshua and the Spies

You can find lessons for these stories's SEARCH PAGE (or the magnifying glass icon on our blue toolbar at the top of the page).

Speaking of Psalm 100...

This lesson set from First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI has the kids learning the psalm by running a relay race with remote control cars. Sounds like a joyful noise!

You could even make "assorted Psalm lessons" the focus of your whole summer with these Writing Team lesson sets (available to our Supporting Members) on Psalm 8 and Psalm 23.

I love the idea of using “hands in” Mystery Boxes to explore Psalm 23. Students insert their hand into the box, feel what is inside, and try to figure out which verse is represented by what is in the box. And a bonus benefit is that these boxes can be reused for other stories!

Van Gogh’s famous painting of “Starry Night” has always been one of my favorites. And it is featured in the Starry Night Art Workshop for Psalm 8. The students use a combination of crayon resist and watercolor to create their own masterpieces focusing on phrases from the psalm.


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Here are some treasures I found at our site for the weeks leading up to Holy Week.

Painting with Light


This lesson about Adam and Eve and the Fall into Sin from Genesis 2-3 helps students make the connection between God, us, light (and the dimming effects of sin) in a beautiful way by “painting with light” using special photography paper.

I love how community member Betsy adds to this great lesson from our Writing Team (available to our Supporting Members) by adding some pictures and suggestions from her own classroom experience.

It’s Never Too Cold for Ice Cream!

The Woman at the Well (in John 4) learns about the “living water” that Jesus offers her—and us. Students will have delicious fun changing everyday ingredients into ice cream while they learn about how the woman was changed on the inside after meeting Jesus.

Sand Bottle Storytelling about the Sinai Wandering

(Say that three times fast!)


This Art/Storytelling Workshop covers several “Wandering in the Desert” stories from the book of Exodus, including the Bitter Waters, Manna and Quail, and Water from the Rock. I really like the connection between the Sand Bottle ingredients and the stories—and that the students have something to take home and use in retelling the story to their families.

Walking Through the "Places" of Psalm 23

In this Drama Lesson, students are placed in groups and use some normal drama supplies—and their creativity—to create 6 different places mentioned in the psalm, such as the Green Pastures and the Valley of Darkness. Then they take a tour of all the places created by their classmates as you read and talk about the psalm. If you want some more in-depth explanations of the meaning of Psalm 23, then you can head over to the Psalm 23 Bible Background prepared by our Writing Team (the Bible Backgrounds are available to all members, not just Supporting Members).

Lazarus Lives!

What really attracts me to this Video Workshop in the Writing Team lesson set is the guidance given in using the Nest video of “Lazarus Lives”. There is so much more to this lesson than just “show the video”. It includes things for the students to look for as they watch, guided reflection, and suggestions for other possible videos.



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--- for Love, in February

February is a big month for LOVE and this game lesson at has BIG opportunities to teach about love. The game focuses on 1 Corinthians 13 with an exploration of life application situations. For example:

Love is... KIND
Tell something kind you did for someone. Move ahead 3 spaces.

You think you are the best player in the game. Go back 2 spaces.

A new kid just started at your school
...and you helped her find her classes. Roll again.

Other than the theme and scripture, one of the reasons I liked this lesson is that it has lots of ideas for cards but leaves room for teachers and kids to create their own. One of our members added a game board they had created...

1st Cor 13 Game Board 1st Cor 13 Game cards

...along with game cards that you may use. This can be a table board game or a life-size floor game with a large die (use a box the size of your choice!) rolled across the floor. I can imagine the sounds of thrill and disappointment as kids progress through the game.


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Timely Teaching Treasures in our

"Jesus Calls the Disciples" forums

Our Jesus Calls the Disciple public forums and Writing Team's Jesus Calls the Disciples and You! lesson set are full of great lessons and ideas for the "Jesus Calls" stories usually taught soon after Epiphany, Here are a few of my favorites!


This "fish prints" or "fish stamps" art project is not only fun, it's also a great example of the VARIETY of art techniques and materials found throughout I especially like this one because it allows our youngest students to "paint" something more interesting than stick figures, hearts, and suns. The instructions show you how to turn dollar store sponges into fish stamps, but there's also an idea for using REAL fish (dead of course) for a super stinky and memorable lesson about becoming a "fisher of people."

"NOBODY" by Casting Crowns

Love this song!  And the music video is a great springboard for discussion with some of your older students. It helps drive home the point that  Jesus chooses you and uses HIS power to work through you.

An "Attractive" Science Experiment about Discipling Others

Science Workshops don’t always show up in a church’s regular rotation of workshops, but this lesson might tempt you—in a good way, of course. It uses magnets to help your students understand about attracting people to Jesus (or repelling them). Then take the "science" up a notch by playing with an electromagnet to learn and demonstrate how the power of Jesus works through us.

Real People Pop-Up Books

Supporting Memberships give us the resources to have our professionally led and edited volunteer Writing Team come up with some spectacular ideas and here's one of them....

I love how this “pop-up book”-inspired Drama Workshop makes retelling the Bible story a very creative and fun experience. And the students learn and think as they come up with words and actions to perform when the director/teacher pulls on their “pull tabs”.


Bible Backgrounds Written for Teachers

Finally, I want to "call" your attention to our Writing Team Bible Backgrounds in general and the Team's "Call of the Disciples" lesson set in particular. They are written for teachers and often have gems in them like this one:

You don't have to have great faith or be really smart or powerful.

Doesn't matter who you are. You are chosen based on his power, not yours.

You don't make yourself, Jesus makes you.

All you need to do is follow and be the student.

~a quote from the Writing Team's Jesus Calls the Disciples and You, Bible Background

The Team's free Bible Backgrounds are open to everyone. You can print them, link to them, or copy and adapt them to suit your needs. Visit the Writing Team's menu of available lesson sets


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Be Like Jesus the Boy in the Temple

A Timely Treasure for Winter 2023 Sunday School

The Luke 2 story of Jesus the Boy in the Temple is a great story for helping your students start the New Year by pledging to BE LIKE JESUS in the church: engaged, learning, at home!

This creative lesson uses your camera or cellphone to help your kids put themselves in the story.

Students recreate and photograph scenes from the story of Jesus as a boy in the Temple in Jerusalem. They have the creative option to recreate five key scenes as a 1st Century "Bible Character Tableaux" — or do a "Photo Shoot" of Jesus ENGAGING in things around the church.

  • Jesus the Boy being found by his parents talking/helping in the church kitchen,
  • The boy Jesus talking to the Sunday School teacher and class,
  • Jesus the boy peaking into the sanctuary.
  • Jesus the boy singing in the choir.

So many creative options! ...and such a great way to capture these memories and share them.


I was especially drawn to this lesson because it reminded me of a similar lesson in my church where we had kids and parents visit various costumed people at locations around the church.

The details of Jesus the young boy in the temple photo lesson can work for a very simple or elaborate application. What a fun lesson.


The Storytelling Workshop lesson in the Writing Team's Jesus the Boy in the Temple caught my eye because it uses a popular search and find game technique loved by kids to find Jesus throughout our church and worship space.

You may also want to search and find the neat book referenced in the lesson plan: Finding Jesus by Winston Roundtree. When I looked at the time of this post, it was available at a discount from several booksellers.

Where can your kids find Jesus in their story? Where will others be surprised to find your students' Jesus stickers around your church building, at home, around town?

This lesson has so many fun applications for the creative teacher who wants kids to see Jesus beyond the pages of their Bible.


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This photo caught my attention...

The stark image comes from an article from Neil that I ran across here at and immediately shared with teachers at MY church. It's an article about the importance of creating attractive spaces and learning activities in our quest to reach and teach of kids for Christ.


Here are those five things. The article has a lot of "how-to" detail for each one.

  1. Communicate more via cellphone (several good examples of how to do that)
  2. Smell better! (Lots of surprising and great ideas in this one)
  3. Improve your welcome and  sense of belonging  (many ideas on how to do that)
  4. Reduce the scariness of your building
  5. Improve parents' arrival and learning experiences (Neil includes several great suggestions)

What would you add?

Cathy and I are volunteers, but we wouldn't be able to find these treasures if it weren't for the DEEP ARCHIVE made possible by our site software and webmaster's work. Join us in being Supporting Members of!

thousands of free and creative Sunday School lessons for children are available at!


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The story of Jesus’ encounter with Zaccheus has a lot to love…and has a lot of Zaccheus lesson ideas to love. Here are a few treasures that I’d love to share!

This art workshop by Supporting Member (and former Board Member) Jaymie uses a crayon resist technique to focus on Zaccheus’ change of heart. Not only does this lesson result in some beautiful pieces of “heart-art”, but it also has some great teaching points and discussion starters.

The ability to download (for free) the Awesome Bible Stories software is one of the many benefits available to our Supporting Members. The first half of this computer lesson walks you—and your students—right through this great software. The second half of this lesson takes your class on a Google Earth tour of Ancient and Modern Jericho. And here is a handy tutorial on how get those images from your laptop or tablet or cellphone onto a screen that your students can see.

What I love about this “Out on a Limb” game idea is the way that numerous people contributed adaptations and additions to the initial idea (full disclosure—I was one of the many contributors ). With all of these ideas, you should be able to find something that will work with your program!

There are also some great video options here at our site. Supporting Member Meghantoo has posted a short video with an object lesson and short animated Bible story here. This is just one of the MANY video shorts that she has posted, so there are even more treasures to be found! The Writing Team Lesson Set on Zaccheus (open to our Supporting Members) has a video lesson using several video clips. It also has a pdf attachment with some beautiful story cards to help teach and reinforce the lesson.

Take a look and see which great ideas you would love

sharing with your students!

I really like this 5-evening VBS on "Bible Heroes" written by member Liz Weingart for her church—especially because it concludes with "our hometown heroes today"—the first responders in your community and church. I also like the way the lessons remind kids of the superpowers THEY have. While you may have already taught these stories in Sunday School, refreshing students' memories of these key stories is never a bad idea


Then and now...


Bible heroes and heroes in our midst are included in this VBS program designed for 5 evenings. Kids learn to forgive like Joseph and to be more obedient than Jonah. They learn that just like Moses and like local heroes, they can use their strength to help others. The courage that Daniel had can be theirs too!  Throughout the week, students engage in the point of view of the Bible Heroes. The program concludes with a  celebration of hometown heroes. This lesson set is packed with great story scripts and activities and could be used in many ways other than VBS.


  • Evening 1 -- Joseph: Popcorn & a Movie “Joseph, King of Dreams”
  • Evening 2 -- Jonah: Enter a life-size whale and hear Jonah tell his story followed by a snack (no details on snack).
  • Evening 3 -- Moses: Storytelling of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments, snack (no details on snack) and make Wooden Patriotic Beaded Bracelets, one for themselves and one to give away to a Hero.
  • Evening 4 -- Daniel: Hear the story of Daniel and the Lions' Den, make a Plaster Hand-print Garden Decoration, and have a snack (no details on snack).
  • Evening 5 - Hero Presentation: Fire, EMTs, Police, and Fire House Tour, followed by pizza and dessert.


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2 Road to Emmaus "Double" Treasures

and 3 Great Commission Finds!

Like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, each of the following lessons about the Road to Emmaus has TWO great things going on in each one. They were a joy to "rediscover" in the archives of our site. While both require a Supporting Membership to access, I've included enough in each description below for everyone to glean a hint of these tasty teaching resources.

This software-using lesson not only has a fun and interactive way for the students to learn the story, but it also has a great reflection activity focusing on “seeing” Jesus—and how most of us need help to do that. The lesson is designed to be used with the “Jesus in Space” software (which is now free to our Supporting Members), but also has other suggestions for reflecting on how we "see" Jesus in our lives.

Jesus in space
Supporting Members are able to download the computer software for free. They can also let their families download it and use it at home! (A great reason to purchase a Supporting Membership for only $45 a year!)

Neil MacQueen has a copy of the Jesus in the Snow photo along with a key, and notes about teaching with it available to all over at his software site.

The second great pairing involves this art lesson from the Writing Team's Emmaus lesson set (available to Supporting Members) and a great idea for creating Art Easels out of cardboard. In this lesson, students look at some Road to Emmaus artwork and then create their own painting showing the road, the disciples with Jesus, their hearts burning, and their eyes opening.

What do YOU see when Jesus walks with you?

Do others see Jesus in you? How?

Supplementing your lesson with some great visuals of Christian artwork could work for any number of lessons, not just this one. We have an entire forum devoted to online resources for Christian art and illustrations and graphics. Suggestions have been made by a number of our Rotation community members. I love seeing this support of our mission to help teach about Jesus.

And making your own art easels ELEVATES both literally and figuratively by adding a sense of importance and fun to the illustrating activity.

Three great ideas for teaching about Jesus' Great Commission

This video at Vimeo posted by our own CreativeCarol offers compelling inspiration for making disciples as well as many discussion starters.  Here's the video:

This cooking lesson from Jan in Napa inspires, instructs, and encourages students to pray for those around the globe as their part of making disciples.

At the center of this lesson is a world prayer map for kids and a rice crispy globe to take home to retell the story. "Cooking up" disciples with prayer and rice crispies.

And #3: A neat object lesson to create a compelling and engaging look at sending the message around the world. With simple ingredients (cooking oil, dishwashing liquid, milk, and food coloring)  this activity works in church or at home.


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