Art Workshop Lesson
Children will make "prayer mantles" using a cooperative creative activity. The symbols/pictures/words on their prayer mantles are reminders of a double portion of fun and love and imagination from their classmates, as each symbol was created by two people.
2 Kings 2:1-15
Key/Memory Verse: “Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.’” 2 Kings 2:9b
- Locate the story in the Old Testament portion of the Bible.
- Explore the meaning of Elisha's request for a double portion of Elijah's spirit.
- Explore the meaning behind Elijah's passing the mantle to Elisha.
- Pray for and encourage their classmates.
- Read Bible Background (written by Jaymie Derden for Rotation.org) and lesson plan.
- Assemble materials.
- Pray for the children and your teaching.
- Chalk or marker
- Chalk or white board
- Fabric paint and/or fabric markers: dark or vivid colors
- Felt, light colored or white, cut into strips 8 inches wide, 4 feet long (one for each child)
- Newspaper or other covering to protect tables
Open -- Introduction
Greet and welcome the children.
Pick up one of the felt strips and ASK: I wonder what one of these could be used for?
Allow time for discussion/brainstorming with responses to come out popcorn style. If the children have a hard time beginning, prime the pump -- wrap the strip around your head like a scarf, wave it in the air like a flag, and so forth.
SAY: Yes, it could be used for all those things, but today we will use it to make something called a mantle. A mantle is a very special kind of covering. A mantle is a loose sleeveless cloak or shawl.
In the Old Testament times, you could tell what some people did for a living by the kind of clothes or covering they wore. Our story today tells us about a special mantle worn by some pretty special people. Let’s take a look at our story and find out more.
Have the children open their Bibles to the text. Depending on where this lesson falls in the rotation series, you may need to give some background about who Elijah and Elisha are. Be sure to discuss what a prophet is/does with the children. Then read, or have the children read, the passage.
When you reach verse 9, explain the inheritance customs of the time to the children. SAY: In those days, before a father died, he would pass his property on to his sons. Everyone would get an equal share, except the firstborn, or favorite son. That son would get twice as much as anyone else. Even though Elisha was not Elijah’s born son, he was like a son to him. He was asking for a firstborn son’s blessing, and for Elijah to give him his most valuable possession, the quality of his spirit.
After verse 10 ASK: I wonder why Elijah gave such a vague, noncommittal answer to Elisha's request?
When verse 13 is reached, stop the reading for moment to SAY: Elijah’s mantle was a special one. It was the mantle of a prophet, probably made of animal fur. When Elisha picked that mantle up, not only would people now identify him as a prophet, he was agreeing that he takes over where Elijah left off. That was a BIG job!
NOTE: Some translations use the word “cloak” instead of mantle. Clarify for the children that these words mean the same thing in this story.
After completing the reading SAY: Today you will have a mantle of sorts to take home when we are done. Yours will be a prayer mantle. You can wear it across your shoulders like a stole or shawl when you have prayer time at your house. It will be a special mantle, because it’s a prayer mantle, and because it will be one that all of our friends here helped make just for you.
Dig – Main Content
Have the children sit around tables in the art room. Give each child a felt strip. Tell them to use fabric markers to put their name on their strip, on a bottom edge.
Tell them to then pass their mantle to the person on their right.
SAY: We are going to help our friends end up with a wonderful prayer mantle. We’re going to do that while also playing a fun game called “the squiggle game.” Has anyone ever played that? (Give a chance for answers and explanations.)
SAY: Here’s what we do. First pick a fabric marker or tube of fabric paint. Next, make a squiggle on the mantle in front of you. Now, pass the mantle to the person on your right. Now, you get to create some sort of picture or symbol or word out of the squiggle the person on your left just made. The thing you make needs to help remind your friend whose mantle you are working on of Elijah and Elisha and how they helped others and how Elijah passed on his knowledge to Elisha, or of God, or Jesus, or prayer.
Take a few minutes to talk with the children about symbols and which ones would be appropriate, making a list on a chalk or a white board. Some ideas might be light, love (hearts), crown, star, cross, mantle, lamb, jar of oil, and of course the flaming chariot. Encourage children to draw simple line pictures and write words on the mantles, too. (Google "Christian symbols" before class if you need some simple ideas to suggest to any children who have trouble coming up with things or help them spell words if they feel they truly cannot draw something.)
SAY: When you are done completing the symbol or picture or word from the first squiggle, you get to make a new squiggle. Then you pass the mantle again, to the person on your right. We’ll keep doing this until the mantles have made their way all around to everybody, and back to their owners.
You will need to keep an eye on the pace of the children and give direction about when it is time for them to pass the mantles along.
Reflect – Closure
When the mantles are back with their rightful owners SAY: Take a minute to look at your mantle. What kind of symbols do you have? Can you tell who did which ones? Is it important to know? Why or why not?
ASK: Who remembers from our story and memory verse what Elisha asked Elijah for before Elijah was taken away?
Review the memory verse.
SAY: Remember as you look at the symbols on your prayer mantles that each one of those stands for a double portion of fun and love and imagination and spirit from your friends. How is that? It took two people to make each symbol, one to make the squiggle and one to make the squiggle into a symbol.
These mantles are also reminders of how we receive and pass knowledge on to others in the church. Sometimes we know exactly where the things we know came from. Sometimes we don’t. But we always know that there was at least one person there before us, to pass stories and lessons on to us, just like Elijah and Elisha.
When we learn things about God and Jesus from others, we are disciples. The word "disciple" means "learner" or "student." So, just as Elisha was Elijah's disciple, you all are disciples right now! Look at your prayer mantles for a moment. Who can tell me something that they see on your mantle that will help you remember our lesson today? What do you see? How will it help you remember? Do you know who helped make that for you? Can this mantle be a reminder to you to pray for your classmates and to help and encourage them, just as Elijah encouraged Elisha?
If the prayer mantles are dry enough (they should be if paint markers were used) have the children put on their prayer mantles for closing prayer.
Close with a circle prayer, having each child pray for the person to his/her right.
Written for Rotation.org by Ruth Wilcox
Copyright 2007 Rotation.org
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.