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This forum is for Sunday School lessons and ideas that cover the Exodus - Moses -Red Sea Crossing, Wandering in the Wilderness, and towards the Promised Land found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Lessons and ideas are organized by teaching medium: arts and crafts, video, drama, puppets, software, cooking (foods), games, music, and more. Supporting Members: Be sure to check out our Writing Team's extra creative set of lessons:  Exodus: Through Water and WildernessGlean what you need, share what you can.

Art Lessons, Ideas, and Activities for Teaching "Post Mt. Sinai" Stories Found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers or Deuteronomy in Sunday School.

Post your art lessons, ideas, and activities for teaching the "Post Mt. Sinai" stories found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy in Sunday School.

Exodus 20, Tablets, Mount Sinai, Wilderness, Wandering, etc.

Bible lessons for Post Mt. Sinai -with Art, craft, painting, construction,drawing, etc.
Use the "Post Reply" button below to post your art lessons, ideas, and activities for teaching the "Sinai" stories in Sunday School.

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Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer
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Moses (Wandering in the Wilderness)

Art Workshop 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Create dioramas of several scenes from the story that can be displayed in church, prior to them taking them home.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Boxes/cardboard for bases of scenes
  • sandpaper or fabric for desert
  • Popsicle sticks, fabric scraps, wire, cuttings from bushes, etc. (a good project for using up odds and ends in the art room!)
  • glue guns
  • extra adult helpers, since different teams will be working on different scenes


Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introductions:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Open with a prayer.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:


1) Prepare the boxes for the scenes ahead of time. Get some cardboard boxes from the grocery store, and cut them into 2 sections, with each section having a base and 2 sides attached at the corner. This will provide the ground and backdrop for a scene. You can also create the scenes diorama-style in a shoebox, but it will be harder for multiple students to work on together, and harder for other people to view later.

2) The teacher should decide which scenes each age group will create, before the class starts. Each age group can work on a few scenes, so you will have a complete set in a few weeks after all groups have done this workshop.

3) To begin the class, briefly review what the students learned last week about Moses. From the Bible or Children’s Bible, read/tell the stories behind the wilderness scenes that this group will create.

4) Divide the students into teams of 3-4 students each, and assign each team to build a scene. They should plan and build their scenes with a background, people, etc. using the materials available. Adults may need to help younger children with the glue guns. The students can also make small signs to label their scenes so other people will understand them, and to put their names on their work.

5) Keep the scenes in the art room until all groups have done this workshop. Then display the scenes in chronological order of the story for the congregation to see. Make a large sign such as “Moses and the Israelites Wander in the Wilderness,” and identify each scene with a small sign describing the scene and naming the artists. While the scenes are on display, each rotation age group can explain its scenes to the other rotation groups, as part of the review and wrap-up of the unit.

Ideas for Scenes:

  • God provides for the Israelites in the wilderness: Quail (Exodus 16:13), Manna (Exodus 16:13-36), Water from a rock (Exodus 17:1-7).
  • Giving of the 10 commandments, Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:16-20:21).
  • The Israelites build a golden calf (Exodus 32:1-14).
  • The Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10-22).
  • Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting (Exodus 26:1-30, Ex 40:34-38; (there is lots of detail here, so just approximate this); cloud over tent by day, fire by night (Numbers 9:15-23).
  • Tent village with banners for some of the 12 tribes (Numbers 2:2).
  • Israel defeats the Amalekites, with Moses’ arms raised holding his staff (Exodus 17:8-15).
  • Bronze snake on pole to protect against fatal snakebites (Numbers 21:1).


End with a prayer.


A lesson posted by member  Linda Tresner.

This creative project was the brainchild of Kathy Collins, our main art workshop leader. The kids really enjoyed it, and were proud to display their scenes for the congregation.

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Moses - Sinai Stories
Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will make comic strips.

Scripture Reference:

Exodus 15:22 through 20:21

Memory Verse:

“We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” Exodus 24:7

Concepts and Objectives:

  • Kids will learn of the Israelites complaints and attitudes, as well as God’s exasperated but gracious response to their needs.
  • God takes care of his follower’s needs even when they are unfaithful and complaining.
  • Kids will identify the Israelites complaints as well as their own complaints as well as how God provides.
  • Kids will make their own “Thumbody’s Complaining” comic strips as they learn the story.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Become familiar with the project.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Washable ink pads in various colors
  • Black fine point Sharpee markers
  • Thin colored markers and pencils
  • Wipes
  • 8.5x11 white paper for practice exercise
  • Sample comic strips (that kids will understand such as Peanuts, etc.)
  • Paper for the final product – comic strip style paper with space for 4 thumbody pictures of the Bible story
  • One 3x3 cardstock paper for a thumbody picture/story of themselves


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Welcome the kids warmly to your workshop. Introduce yourself. You may want to tell them one quick fact about yourself that will make them say “wow”.

Open with a prayer.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Begin by asking them to stand where they are and show without talking, just by body language and movement, some of the emotions/feelings they have when you say the following things:

Show what you look like when you’re …

Have the kids sit. Ask: Did you notice that you could show your emotions even though you didn’t use any words?

Say: I’m going to pass out a few comic strip drawings. Can drawings of people and animals tell you how they feel? (Kids may say ‘no’ but pictures/drawings can reveal their emotions through their posture, body language and facial expressions)

Let them share the pictures and make comments on the emotions they see. After a bit, collect the pictures.

Pass out an 8.5x11 white paper and a pencil to each of the kids. Tell them to divide their paper into 4 sections, simply by drawing one horizontal and one vertical line.

Tell them that you’re going to read the story of the Israelites and their escape from Egypt and what happened next. While you read, they are to listen for some feelings and emotions that the Israelites might have had. You’ll be reading 4 short stories and they are to choose one emotion for each one. You’ll pause after each story so they have time to jot some quick notes or draw a quick and simple happy or sad face or whatever. Remind them that this is the warm-up and practice time for the fun art project that’s coming next. They should not draw details now, just basic quick ideas.

Read the following 4 stories, pausing after each one to make sure the kids are understanding. Ask a few questions after each one, like “How do you think the Israelites were feeling about now? What do you think their body language and posture was? How could you draw that?” etc.

The 4 Stories:

1. The Israelites were finally free from their slave masters, the Egyptians. Now it was time to get ready for a new way of life. With Moses leading them, slowly they began to make their way through the desert. It was hot. They were tired. “It’s such a long way”, they said. “It’s hot in the day time and cold at night and I’m so hungry”, they complained. “There’s no food,” they whined. “We haven’t eaten for days!” “Moses, why did you drag us into the desert to starve? We might have been slaves but at least we had food! We made things worse for us!” they complained.

2. Moses said, “Believe me, God got us out of Egypt and God will give us food.” Sure enough, in the evening, a whole flock of quail (birds that were good for food) flew into their camp. The people caught them and cooked them. It was delicious. The next morning they found some white sticky stuff all over the plans and on the ground. They called it manna, which meant “what is it?”. “Wow! This looks good! Let’s taste it!” they said. “It tastes so sweet, like a biscuit with honey!” they said so excited now. Moses told them that God said He would send manna every day. It was God’s bread from heaven for them.

3. Now the people had enough to eat, but they were thirsty. And there was no water anywhere. They started complaining again. “Moses, did you have to drag us out of Egypt just so we would die of thirst out here in the desert?” “You made things worse for us!” they yelled. All they did was complain and forget that God had just saved them already by sending the food.

4. Moses asked God, “What should I do? These people of yours are always complaining about something!” God told Moses to walk out into the desert, go to a special rock He would show Moses, and hit it with his stick. When Moses did, God made cool, pure, clean water come pouring out of the rock for the people. Moses told them, “See, God is with us! Remember that … God is with us! We are God’s people and God will take care of us!” God provided for his people once again. But the people didn’t always remember. It’s hard to remember that God cares about you when are hungry and thirsty and tired and hot and homesick.

Allow a moment for them to finish up the 4th picture then say:
Set your drawing to the side for a minute and look at this book with me. Have you ever seen “thumb print” art?

Show some of the pictures that show some emotions, maybe similar to what the Israelites were experiencing.

Explain to the kids that you’ll be giving them a blank comic strip to make their own comic strip to be titled “Thumbody’s Complaining”.

Show them how to make a thumbprint and let them use their practice sheet to make one. Using their practice sheet for ideas, have them make 4 comic strip scenes. Have them add their name at the “by line”. Encourage them to draw speech bubbles to write what the people, Moses or God are saying. Give them each one wipe and encourage them to use it between thumbprints so the colors of the ink pads don’t get mixed together. Create!

Note: Workshop leader had the kids make a number of thumbprints in each of the 4 panels first, let the ink dry for a moment and then use markers to write and draw.

When they have finished with their comic strips, have them set their work to the side.

Pass out one 3x3 cardstock piece to each of the kids. Tell them they’ll be making one more thumbprint art piece, but this time the Thumbody is them!

Say: It’s hard to remember that God cares about you when you’re not having a good day, when things don’t go the way you think they should, when you think you’re right and someone else is wrong, when you’re crabby, when you’re sad, when you’re lonely. But God does ALWAYS care about you, God is ALWAYS with you and God will ALWAYS love you! Make one more Thumbody – name it “Thumb-____” (put your own name in the blank) and draw or write something that will remind you that God always cares about you, is with you, and loves you very much!

Kids will take home their comic strip artwork and their Thumbody selves.


Allow the last 5 minutes or so for the shepherd to do closing prayer with them. This may be done during their final self-Thumbody art work, which is ok.


This lesson was adapted from an idea suggested by member Lynn C. Wood. The "fingerprint" book was available at our local public library:

  • Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing Book, Publisher: Little Brown & Company; (1994 - 0316236683 Out Of Print
    - Update reprinted (2005) 9780316789684.
  • Ed Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing Book Publisher: Little Brown & Company; 1st edition (April 1, 2001) ISBN: 0316233196 Out Of Print
    - Update reprinted (2005) 9780316789691.


During a lessons review, some weren't sure about this lesson, probably because it is so different, however, two people had DONE this lesson and really liked it.

Elaine Frampton wrote: I'm using this "Manna from Heaven" lesson plan now in my rotation, and it works very well. I made one change. Instead of doing thumbprints, the students draw freehand, doing caricatures of faces depicting the different emotions.
I recommend this lesson!

A lesson written by Jan Hanson (Jan in Napa) from: First Presbyterian Church
Napa, CA.

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Comic Template


I am really excited to give this lesson a try with our grade 3-6 class.  We have quite a few boys and I think the comic strip idea could really fit with their tastes.  I did think it would be fun to create a template for them to work with that would be eye-catching and inspire their imagination a little more than plain paper so I thought I would share it here.  I also printed out a few sheets of speech bubbles and cut them out to paste onto the comics for some graphic effect.  Hope someone can make use of this.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Older post moved here by moderator as this is a better location for these ideas, rather than under Tabernacle where it had been posted.

Manna & Quail - Arts idea - Manna collecting baskets from paper bags

Collecting God’s bounty is a lot easier with a collecting basket.


  • paper lunch bags
  • hole punch
  • yarn
  • coloured art charcoals

How to do this.

Fold down the top of each bag, then fold down again to make a rim of several thicknesses. Punch a hole thru each side of bag. Thread yarn thru each side, tie ends, pull up for double yarn cord handle.

Imagining decorating implements would be scarce in the wilderness, have the children embellish bags in charcoal with images that make them think of thankfulness to God.

Other workshops in this rotation include: kitchen/mock manna kebobs; game/treasure hunt; music/teach classic hymns with 'manna' in them; rhythm routine; computer. For more detail, click here.

Moses - Sinai Wandering
Art / Storytelling Workshop 

Summary of Lesson ActivitiesSand Bottle 5

Participants will consider the relationship between the story of Moses and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness and “wilderness times” for Christians while creating a symbolic sand bottle art project and following the journey on a map.

Scripture Reference

The bitter waters of Marah: Exodus 15:22-25b
Manna and quail: Exodus 16:1-7, 13-15, 31, 35
Water from the rock: Exodus 17:1-7

Memory Verse

”But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today.’”  Exodus 14:13a


After completing this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Name that the story is found in the Old Testament.
  • Locate the story in the Bible, in the book of Exodus.
  • Define:  Exodus; Manna.
  • Re-tell the story in his or her own words.
  • Recognize that God provided for the needs of the Israelites and that God provides for our needs as well.
  • Examine what it means to trust God in all situations - ordinary and extraordinary.
  • Contrast the Israelites response to difficult situations they encountered with our reactions to difficulties. Discuss “grumbling verses gratitude” in all circumstances.

Preparation and Materials

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Become familiar with the project.
  • Prepare a sample sand bottle.
  • Fill a clear medium-size plastic box or container with sand to create the desert box.
  • Cut the cotton swabs in half, dip one end into red food coloring and allow to dry.
  • Cover classroom tables with newspaper or plastic tablecloths.
  • Set out materials.  Place each sand bottle item into it's own bowl and place in center of table.
  • Display the maps where all can see.
  • Provide clean-up materials.

Gather the following list of materials....

  • Bibles
  • Maps
    • shows caravan routes and limited water
    • shows the landmass as desert with major events noted
  • Newspaper or plastic tablecloth
  • Clean-up supplies including broom, dust pan, or vacuum plus soap, water, and towels
  • Box or container, medium size clear plastic, for desert box
  • Sand, play-type - enough for bottles and desert container
  • Bottles, 8 or 16 ounce clear plastic with caps for sand art project (Note: bottle used for demonstration purposes was a 16 oz 500ml President’s Choice Raspberry Mist Flavoured Water" from Shoppers, if you have a very large group using 8 oz bottles would save on sand.)
  • Funnels, 1 for every 3 - 4 students
  • Food coloring, red
  • bowls, to hold each bottle item listed below
  • Cotton swabs, 1 per student
  • Twigs, small - 1 per student
  • Feathers, small - several per student
  • Paper circles, small from hole punch - several per student
  • Pebbles, small - 1 per student
  • Permanent marker(s) for students to write their initials on the top of the  bottle lid.
  • Hot glue gun for sealing lids to bottles.

    Sand Bottle Supplies 1



Lesson Overview for Teacher:
After your intro on the wilderness journey, students will learn the memory verse with actions (those they create or using samples given).  Next you will read/tell a story script (with feeling and expression) pausing where indicated so the students can participate in the story by:

1) reciting the memory verse with actions every time the Israelites complain,
2) adding a story item to their sand bottle, and

Sand Bottle 1Sand Bottle 2Sand Bottle 3Sand Bottle 4

3) checking out current location on a map and hearing about that location.

Followed by reflection questions and ending with a closing containing a fun prayer litany involving the memory verse.


The Bible contains many, many different stories. But in a very important way, the Bible is really one very BIG story about how God cares for all creation and especially for people.

Ask the students to picture what a wilderness is like. (Lead them to describe a place with no buildings and no roads.) Ask them how people can survive in a wilderness. (They need someone to lead them; they need water and food; they need protection from the weather.)

Bring out the desert container. Say: “In Bible lands the wilderness was mostly desert. In fact, so many important things happen in the desert, that we need to have a piece of it here in our classroom to help us tell this story and to remind us of the other desert Bible stories.”

Push the sand around in the desert container with your open hands, making dunes and then smoothing them out. As you move the sand, say: “The desert is a strange and dangerous place. In the daytime the sun makes the sand so hot that it can burn you. (Quickly draw back your hand as if the sand is too hot to touch.) At night the wind makes the sand so cold that you can freeze. (Shiver.) The wind blows the sand so that it is never in the same place twice. Any path you make is soon covered over and disappears. (Draw a line in the sand and then smooth it out.) It’s very easy to get lost in the desert.”

Say: “Beginning in Egypt and all through the desert God led the people. They could see a towering pillar of cloud by day and a flaming torch of fire by night.”

Say: “In this rotation, God will lead the Israelites out into the desert. God will be with them through all their fears and troubles.”


Show map(s).SAND Exodus Major Events Map 1024

Say: We don’t know exactly the path the Israelites traveled from Egypt to the Land of Promise. What we do know is that they didn’t follow the shorter, easier caravan route along the seacoast, or even the longer caravan route through the Wilderness of Shur. Instead, they wandered in the wilderness, slowly learning how to be God’s people.

Ask: Where can we find this story in the Bible? (In the Old Testament, in the book of Exodus)

Ask: What does “exodus” mean? (“going out")

Sand Bottle Story Activity - Through the Wilderness

Say: Our key verse today is from Exodus 14:13a, let's say it together...

”But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today.’”

Now let's add some actions to our verse (have students come up with actions, below are some suggestions)

”But — right hand in fist pointer finger out - bring fist down from chest as if making a point
Moses said to the people,  — hands together palms up - spread outwards
"Do not be afraid, — shake finger
stand firm, — stand at attention
and see the deliverance — look through binoculars made with hands
that the Lord — finger pointing heaven word
will accomplish — it's OK/Good sign (fist-thumb up)
for you—  point to someone
today.’” —  fists with both pointy fingers point down once

Say:  Let's practice....the Israelites grumbled - say in a whining voice "Are we there yet?"......then have students respond (do it a couple of times until they've got the verse and actions down).

Note:  This will keep the attention of the younger kids (and the more active ones) during the story activity, plus it will help their brains retain the memory verse.

Say: Today as I tell you the Wilderness Story I will be pausing so that you may add a small object to your bottle to create a bottle full of wilderness memories as a reminder of Moses and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.  Also, anytime you hear the Israelites grumbing, in their whiny voices, you are to repeat the memory verse along with the actions.

Hand out an empty bottle to each student and have them write their initials (or first name) on the top of the bottle lid.

Sand Bottle Story Script

When we left Moses and the Israelites, God had just freed them from slavery in Egypt. At the last moment it looked as if the Egyptians would trap them at the Red Sea; the Israelites complained

(in a whiny voice), “It would have been better for us to be slaves to the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

”But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today.’”

God led them through the Red Sea on dry ground while the sea closed back over the Egyptians. God’s people rejoiced, “Free at last.”

Map: Red Sea - (For Older Students: the "crossing" likely took place at the Sea of Reeds rather than the Red Sea. "Red" and "Reeds" are the same word in Hebrew.)

The LORD led them by day in a towering cloud and by night in a flaming torch.

Add Item:
Cotton swab ends, one red and one white, to remind them of the pillars of cloud and fire that went with them everywhere.

But where were they? In the wilderness.

They were hot; they were tired; they were thirsty.

At Marah they complained that the water was too bitter to drink (in a whiny voice). “What shall we drink?” they moaned.

”But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today.’”

God showed Moses a piece of wood that made the water sweet.

Add Item:
A Twig to remind them of the wood that made the water sweet at Marah.

Show where Marah is on the Map.  Marah was the first camp of the Israelites after they crossed the Red Sea.  Mara means bitter.  The name came from the bitterness of the brackish water. When Moses cast a tree branch into the waters the water turned sweet tasting.

 They set out again.

They were hot; they were tired; they were hungry.

When they reached the wilderness of Sin, they cried out (in a whiny voice), “If only we had died in Egypt, where at least we had enough to eat.”

”But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today.’”

Show them the wilderness of Sin, which is the area between Elim and Sinai" (Exodus 16:1)

 God told Moses, “I will send bread down from heaven like dew every morning.

In the morning, dew covered the ground. After the dew had gone, the desert was covered with thin flakes that looked like frost. It was white and delicious as wafers made with honey. The Israelites called the bread manna, which means “What is it?” in Hebrew.

Add Item:
They can add small paper circles to remind them of the manna flakes.

God said, "Each day the people shall gather only enough for that day. That’s how I will see if they obey me. But on the sixth day of the week they must gather and cook twice as much because they cannot gather any bread on the seventh day; the Sabbath is a day of rest.”

Some of them gathered more bread than they needed and kept it overnight, but the next morning it was stinking and full of worms. Ugh! Some of them went out and looked for bread on the Sabbath, but found nothing.

God not only sent bread, but also fresh fowl. Every evening quail landed throughout the camp.

Add Item:
They can add one or two feathers to remind them of the quail God provided.

Quail - A game bird of the family Coturnix, closely related to "partridges", although partridges are a little larger and of brighter color. Quail are like the gray, brown and tan of earth. Their plumage is cut and penciled by markings, and their flesh juicy and delicate food.

Did the Israelites stop complaining? Not at all. They traveled on.

They were hot; they were tired; they were thirsty – again.

At Rephidim there was no water at all to drink. So the Israelites complained (in a whiny voice), “Did you bring us out of Egypt just so we could die of thirst in the wilderness?”

”But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today.’”

Rephidim  - point out location on map. Rephidim is also called Massah (test) and Meribah (quarrel).

God showed Moses a rock at Mt. Sinai. “Strike the rock with your walking stick and water will pour out for the people to drink.” The people had fresh water to drink.

Add Item:
They can add a pebble to remind them of the water from the rock at Massah and Meribah.

Point out Mt. Sinai.  Upon this mountain peak God spoke to Moses and gave him the 10 Commandments.

The people complained and tested the LORD by asking (in a whiny voice), "Is the LORD really with us?"

”But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today.’”

 So Moses named that place Massah, which means "testing" and Meribah, which means "complaining."

They were hot; they were tired; they asked (in a whiny voice), “Are we there yet?”

”But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today.’”

And still the LORD led them by day in a towering cloud and by night in a flaming torch. The Israelites ate manna for forty years -- until they came to the end of the wilderness at the edge of the Land of  Promise.

Add Item:
They can now fill the bottle with sand using the funnels. 

The sand is to remind them of forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
Important - leave a small amount of space at the top (1" - 2") so they can see different pieces in the sand when they shake the bottle.

Have an adult helper seal the cap on the bottle, using a glue gun, to prevent unwanted sand loss.Sand Bottle 4

Encourage the students to shake and twist their bottles to allow different pieces to come to the surface as you do the following reflection.


Ask: “What is your favorite part of this story? What part of the story troubles you the most?”

Ask: “I wonder why the Israelites kept complaining – even with God clearly on their side in the pillars of cloud and fire. I wonder why God kept helping them, even when they constantly complained.”

Say: “Wilderness plays an important role in the pictures we have of the story of our faith. We see God’s faithfulness to the Israelites in the miracles God worked in the desert. We see how afraid they were and how much they complained.

God rescued them in spite of their fears and complaints.”

[Older Students: Say: “The wilderness continues to play an important role in the New Testament. John the Baptist preached in the desert. After Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit led him into the desert for his time of trial. Jesus fed the 5000 in a deserted place. Jesus often left his followers and went to a place where he could be alone to pray.” Ask: “Do you feel closer to God in a deserted place than in a busy place? What does wilderness mean for you?”]

Ask: “How did the Israelites respond to the wilderness? Why do you think God led them through the wilderness? How are we like the Israelites?”


Gather the students in a circle on chairs or on the floor. Invite them to imagine how frightened God’s people were when they had no water or food in the wilderness. Invite them to imagine how joyous and thankful God’s people felt when God rescued them. Invite the students to share and comment on their sand bottles.

Create a prayer litany that uses the key/memory verse as the refrain. Invite the students to name something that worries them, then join together saying with actions, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today.” Amen.

As the participants leave, and each person picks up his or her project, remind the students to share the story of Moses and the Israelites wandering through the wilderness by showing the sand bottle to family and friends.


Younger Children

Guide the process as the younger children fill their sand bottles and explain the importance of each item they add to their sand bottle in kid-friendly terms. This becomes a Find-It Jar (Bottle). Once complete and sealed, the teacher can go back through the story pausing at each item in the story and ask the kids to find that item by shaking their bottle until that item appears. They can then use the Find-It Bottle at home to retell the story.

Older Children

For older students, add the suggested language indicated in brackets […] about the wilderness.

Intergenerational Groups

Provide resources such as Bible Atlases and explore in greater depth the various routes between Egypt and Canaan. Discuss in greater depth Exodus 13:17 which says "After the king had finally let the people go, the LORD did not lead them through Philistine territory, [a] though that was the shortest way. God had said, "'If they are attacked, they may decide to return to Egypt.'" Footnote: (a) Philistine territory: The shortest land route from the Nile Delta to Canaan; it was the southern section of the major road that led to Megiddo and then on to Mesopotamia by way of Asia Minor.

Provide Bible Concordances, or search the Internet, and look up "desert." Find the places the desert is important in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Share a "desert" experience you may have had.


  • Script: Through the Wilderness
    A retelling of the Israelites’ journey written by Anne Camp, inspired by “A Long Journey” in The Lion Storyteller Bible  by Bob Hartman, illustrated by Krisztina KÁllai Nagy. Oxford, England: Lion Hudson, 2008. US ISBN 978 0 8254 7877 2.

  • Writing Team Exodus Through Water and Wilderness Bible Background link.
  • Stewart, Sonja and Jerome Berryman. Young Children in Worship. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1989. ISBN 0-664-25040, paperback. Note: I am always deeply indebted to Jerome Berryman for his development and use of the desert box. The desert is indeed such an important place in the Bible that we need a little piece of it in the classroom to share the stories.

  • Review by member Sheila Hamilton (2015)
    Her adaptation comments: We modified this workshop so the children made the sand bottles during the telling of the story, adding the appropriate items to the bottle at the proper times. We also had them say the key verse with actions each time the Israelites grumbled. This kept the attention of the younger kids (and the more active ones) better than having them sit for an extended period during the story. They really enjoyed the sand bottles and watching the items appear and disappear.
    Thanks to Sheila for this great adaptation idea, this lesson was improved and updated in 2017.

A lesson written by Anne Camp (2012)
and revised in 2017 by Luanne Payne & Anne Camp to include great adaptations
posted by member Sheila Hamilton (in 2015)
of Argyle Road Baptist Church, Saskatchewan, Canada


Last edited by Luanne Payne

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