This topic is for posting Bible Skills and Games Workshop lessons, ideas and resources for teaching the story of Esther.

In addition to the public lesson and ideas posted below, be sure to check out the Writing Team's "Purim: The Story of Esther" lesson set. It includes detailed Art Workshop and Game Workshop lesson plans (among others) and a special Purim Carnival workshop. Everyone can see the lesson summaries and Bible background. 

Original Post

Queen Esther 

Games Idea

 

Summary of Idea: 

Play Bible Basketball. Included are game instructions and game questions.


Supplies:

  • Basketball hoop (could be a small kids portable hoop; “nerf” hoop to hang over the door; or a full size, outside- “Little Tike’s” worked best for us)
  • Basketball (to go with your hoop) 
  • Air pump – (in case your ball goes flat during the week)
  • Chalkboard/chalk (or paper/pen)
  • Bibles – for reference
  • Masking tape – to make the shooting line/lines
  • Trivia questions


Rules:

 

  1. Divide into teams (? Two or three teams – number off – boys against the girls – pick teams – names out of a hat)
  2. Each team answers a question. If they get it right (from memory), one person from that team gets two chances to make a basket. If they get it right with help of a reference (bible – or multiple-choice), they get one chance to make a basket. If they get it wrong, no chances for a basket. (For the younger kids, they get two chances for a basket even if they use the multiple-choice or reference.) 
  3. Alternate teams for the trivia. Let each person have a chance to make baskets. (Alternate turns)
    Have each team select a “captain” that will give the final answer. (This will help so you don’t get multiple people telling you different answers.)
  4. Encourage teamwork.  If you have a player who is particularly uncoordinated or has a disability, make up some goofy rule or alternate target they can hit with the ball or "guess" at.  Or have a stack of cards with "wild rules" on them, such as, "shoot with your eyes closed and get a question if you hit the backboard."  This kind of random equalization takes the pressure off.
  5. If you have players who claim to be really good at shooting baskets, 'handicap' them by telling them they have to shoot with their opposite hand. 


Scoring:

  • 10 points for each correct answer without a reference (from memory)
  • 5 points for each correct answer with a reference (exception for younger kids – they always get 10 points for correct answers)
  • 2 points for every basket made

Have fun! Adjust game rules and points to help everyone have fun and not feel uncoordinated.


Esther's Trivia Questions:

 

Read the questions in order.

  1. King Xerxes was the king of what area/country? (Persia, India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces) Esther 1: 1-2
  2. Mordecai raised Esther after her parents died. How was Mordecai related to Esther? (Cousin, Esther was the daughter of his uncle) Esther 2: 7
  3. When it was Esther’s turn to meet King Xerxes, she dressed in beautiful clothes and was taken to the palace. King Xerxes loved Esther more than any of the others. What did the king do next? (He crowned Esther queen and threw a big party!) 2: 17-18
  4. On the advice of Mordecai, Esther kept a secret from the king. What was the secret? (She was a Jew) - 2: 10 or 2: 20
  5. One day as Mordecai was working for the king, he heard two palace guards plotting to kill King Xerxes. What did Mordecai do? (He told Queen Esther about the plot, she told the king) 2: 21-23
  6. What was the name of King Xerxes’ Prime Minister – the second in command? (Haman – if they say Mordecai, ask who was the Prime Minister before Mordecai?) 3: 1
  7. The king ordered all the people to show their respect to Haman. What were they suppose to do? (Bow down to Haman) 3: 2
  8. Who would not bow down to Haman? (Mordecai) 3: 2
  9. Extra Credit: In the Bible, who else refused to bow down – to a king? (Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego in the fiery furnace)
  10. Haman was angry because Mordecai would not bow down to him. He talked the king into killing Mordecai and others. Haman cast lots/dice to pick a day that Mordecai would die. Who else would die besides Mordecai? (All the Jews in Persia) 3: 13
  11. When the Jewish people found out about the new law and the killing of the Jews, there was great confusion and weeping. Mordecai sent a message to Queen Esther asking her to do something. What did he want Esther to do? (Go to the king, plead with the king for the lives of the Jewish people) 4: 8
  12. Esther said she would go to the king and beg that her people would live. Before she went, Esther made a request to the Jewish people. What was the request? (Fast and pray for 3 days) 4: 16
  13. King Xerxes had trouble sleeping and read about the time Mordecai saved his life. The king decided to honor Mordecai by giving him a ride on the royal horse, wearing royal robes, and proclaiming before him. Who did the king choose to lead the horse that Mordecai rode? (Haman) 6: 10
  14. Queen Esther went to the king and he allowed her to see him. She asked if the king and Haman would come to dinner that night. They did and she asked again if the king and Haman would dine with her the next night. The following night when they met, what did Queen Esther ask the king? (Save my life and the lives of the Jewish people) 7: 3
  15. What did the king say to Esther’s request? (Yes, the Jews can defend themselves, who would do such a thing, hang Haman) 7: 5-9
  16. After the trouble with Haman, whom did the king appoint as the new Prime Minister? (Mordecai) 8: 1-2
  17. Mordecai suggested a yearly celebration to remember the time of grief and despair turned into a time of joy and happiness. To this day, the Jewish people celebrate Queen Esther’s bravery and God’s faithfulness. What is the name of the festival they celebrate? (“Purim” – the word for ‘lots.' 9: 26-27).

 

Esther 

Games Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities: 

To reinforce the story-line and characters in the story of Esther through playing a Jeopardy style game.

OK, you'll say this is not really "Jeopardy" as these are questions with multiple choice answers.  But my reasoning is, the board is set-up with headings and points like Jeopardy.  The reason for the answer choices is that all ages can now play (and the choices create teamwork - as the team choose an answer together).  The set-up is to also help include newcomers, visitors, or special needs children.

Scripture Reference

Book of Esther

Key Verse

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”  --Esther 4: 14b



Hangman Board
Supplies List:  

  • "Original Yellow Pocket Chart" by "Carson Delosa".
  • Something or someway to hang above chart.
  • 2 – "Melissa & Doug" Hangman Games (pictured to the right)
  • 20 Blank White Cardstock Cards (of some type, example blank recipe cards).
  • 5 Coloured Cardstock Cards.
  • Two Dice

Leader Preparation:

  • Write up or type up questions on the 20 Blank White Cardstock Cards.
  • Write or type Points on front of above question cards.
  • Write up or type the 5 categories on the coloured cardstock cards.

Prior to Class:

  • set-up chairs.
  • set-up Pocket Chart with headings across top and question cards in order of points, under headings as shown in Question Chart below.
  • Hangman Games:  have all letters and hangman pieces turned over to blank side, except A B C and D.  Lay beside Pocket Chart (Jeopardy Board) ready to hand one to each team.

    Esther Jeopardy


Presentation

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

  1. If this is the first week of rotation suggest you read the story of Esther from a children book or storybook bible.  If it's the second .... you could just go into the game.

    Note:  Reading the story beforehand was not necessary, in our case, as I retold the story during “Children’s Time” upstairs during church with an interactive Megillah story from the book, "Esther: A to Z" by Phyllis Wezeman.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Activity - Jeopardy

  1. Divide children equally – be sure to put younger and older children together, if you have a mixed age group.  Teams may give themselves a fun team name, something to do with the story of characters, example:  The Purims, The Gallows, The Esthers, etc..
  2. Give each team a dice and a scoreboard (Hangman).
    Show children – the letters (ABCD) are their answer choices, then have them flip them over so the blank side is now face up.   
  3. Have each team throw the dice, largest number gets to select the first category
    (example:  team will say "I want a BOO for 100)
    – question must be picked in order 100 through 500.
  4. Game Host (teacher) – will read the questions and four answer choices to both teams.
  5. Each team may talk among themselves, quietly (don't want other team to hear them) deciding which answer the believe is correct  – A, B, C or D. 
  6. One child on the team is assigned to register their team's answer choice: A, B, C, or D on the Hangman Board by flipping up the letter the team chooses, example answer "B", and once they're done the child with the Hangman Board raises their hand to indicate their team has an answer ready.  But, they do not let the other team see what they have chosen.
  7. Once both teams indicate they are ready with an answer - the Host will ask for their answers and the teams will show their boards at the same time.
  8. The team(s) with the correct answer get to turn over a hangman piece.
  9. Regardless who gets the question right or wrong the other team now has the choice to pick the next category and point question.  Each time move to the next child on the team so that each team member will eventually get to pick the category. 
  10. With each question the Hangman Board is passed to the next team member, on both teams, so that everyone get's a chance to be in charge of the Hangman Board.
  11. Continue until one of the teams has hung Haman, If time remains the kids can turn their hangman's tiles back down and start with a fresh hangman, but continue with the remaining questions.
    Note:  Hangman is appropriate here as part of the Esther story.  Haman wanted to hang Mordecai, but he ended up being hung on the gallows he built for Mordecai for his treachery.  Besides the Hangman board adds fun to the game and the kids will all want to participate to be able to have their turn flipping over the tiles.

An alternative to hanging Haman would be to save Mordeci. Start with all hangman pieces face-up, then tell the children, their goal is to save Mordecai, so for every answer they get right they flip back a hangman piece. First to remove Mordecai from the gallows wins.

NOTE:  Who Am I?  Questions require the team to give the name of the character being described.  Read the first clue, if neither team wants to guess what who it is, go to the next clue, and so on, until all clues are read.  The team who guesses first the correct answer wins the points awarded for that question card.

Questions:

Category Name

Question

Answer A

Answer B

Answer C

Answer D

Ahhhh 100

How many banquets did Queen Esther hold?

One

Two

Three

Four

Ahhhh 200

Who did Queen Esther invite to her banquets?

Just the king

The king and Mordecai

The king and Haman

The king and his chief princes

Ahhhh 300

How long did Esther fast for before going to see the king?

Forty days and nights

Three Days Three Nights

One day

Seven days

Ahhhh 400

Why did Esther not want to go to the king on behalf of the Jews?

She new he wouldn’t listen

She feared she would be exiled

She feared she would be killed

He might laugh at her

Ahhhh 500

What secret did Esther keep from the King?

That she was already married

That she was an orphan

That she was a jew.

That she had an uncle

Boo 100

Who disobeyed the king by not coming when he called?

The serving maid

Memucan, the prince

Vashti, the queen

Zethar, the chamberlain

Boo 200

Why did Haman want to kill the entire Jewish nation?

He wanted to stop the Jews worshipping their God

Mordecai would not bow down to him

Queen Esther would not invite him to her feast

His servants told him the Jews wanted to assassinate him

Boo 300

Haman's wife suggested he build gallows to hang Mordecai – what was her name?

Zeresh

Bigthana

Terea

Abihail

Boo 400

What did Haman do at the 2nd banquet that made the King angry?

He didn’t use his napkin

His evil  plan was revealed & Haman touched Esther

He spoke to the King without permission

He burped a lot

Boo 500

How did Haman die?

He was hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai

He was killed by the king's princes by the sword

The Jews were allowed revenge by killing Haman

He was exiled to a distant land and died there

Hooray 100

What festival was instituted to celebrate the fact that the Jews were saved?

Passover

Purim

Rosh Hashanah

Yom Kippur

Hooray 200

What traditions happen at a Purim feats.

Offerings and quiet meditation

Feasts, parties, gifts of food & wearing masks

Fasting & Prayer

A big Banquet

Hooray 300

What did Mordecai do when he heard about Haman's plan to kill the Jews?

Cursed Haman in the street

Burned down Haman's house

Went to Esther for help

Went to plead with the king

Hooray 400

What did Bigthan and Teresh try to do?

Kill Mordecai

Assassinate the king

Kill Haman

Overthrow the king

Hooray 500

How did the king reward Mordecai for saving him from an assassination attempt?

He paid him 100 talents of silver

Haman led him through the streets on the king's horse

He was given the kings signet ring

He allowed him to be exempt from the Jewish extermination order

May He Live Forever 100

Who was the king of Persia in the book of Esther?

King Xerxes

King Darius

King Nebuchadnezzar

King Belshazzar

May He Live Forever 200

How did the king decide who his new wife would be?

He married the daughter of the king of Egypt

He held a beauty contest for the young girls of Persia

His chamberlain chose the most beautiful girl he could find

He married his brother's daughter

May He Live Forever 300

What did the king do when he couldn't sleep?

Had the history books read to him

Counted sheep

Asked his servant to entertain him

Called for a glass of water

May He Live Forever 400

What did the king hold out to Esther to show she could approach him?

The golden crown

His hand

His ring

The golden sceptre

May He Live Forever 500

How did the king stop the extermination of the Jews?

He reversed his previous decree

He gave the Jews the right to defend themselves

He commanded the Jews to lock themselves in their houses on the appointed day

He ordered that anyone who killed a Jew was to be thrown into a den of lions

Who Am I? 500

Answer:  Vashti

  1. Female
  2. Wore a Crown
  3. Married King Xerxes
  4. Would not attend the King’s Banquet
  5. Was exiled for not obeying the King
   

Who Am I? 400

Answer:  Haman

  1. Male
  2. Had lots of power
  3. Was arrogant and egotisitcal
  4. Hated Mordecai
  5. Villian of our story – tried to kill Jews
   

Who Am I? 300

Answer:  Mordecai

  1. Male
  2. Official at palace gate
  3. Saved the King’s Life
  4. A Jew
  5. Uncle to Esther
   

Who Am I? 200

Answer:  King Xerxes

  1. Male
  2. Didn’t know Esther was a Jew
  3. Wore Royal Robes
  4. Had a sceptor
  5. King of Persia
   

Who Am I? 100

Answer:  Esther

  1. Female
  2. Wore a Crown
  3. A Jew
  4. Mordecai’s Niece
  5. Heroine of our story
   

Closing:

End with a prayer.


Sources: 

  • Canadian Bible Society website - link dead.

This was done in 2008 and I see as I went to post this today that I had only noted a link to the Canadian Bible Society, which I find no longer works, and was not successful in finding anything on their current site.

I'm sure the questions were pulled from all over this site and the internet, if I've used your question/answer and you wish to be added to the sources please let me know and I will respectfully add you.


This lesson was written by Luanne Payne from: Hampton United Church,

Hampton, ON, Canada,

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.
 

 

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A set of Esther Story Jeopardy! Answers and Questions

Originally posted by Cindy Merten

NUMBERS

A: 10 Chapters
Q: How many chapters are in the book of Esther?

A: 17th book
Q: Where is the book of Esther in the Old Testament?

A: The thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar
Q: What was the day when Haman cast lots to decide when the Jews would be killed? [Esther 3:7]

A: 127 provinces from India to Sudan in Persia?
Q: Over what area did King Ahasuerus rule? [Esther 1:1,2)

A: 75 feet tall
Q: How tall were the gallows Haman had built? [Esther 5:14] [Discuss why they were built and who actually ended up on them.]

A: 3 days and nights
Q: How long did Esther ask all the Jews to fast and pray for her before she went to the king? [Esther 4:16]

A: Two
Q: How many gifts of food are traditionally given to the poor during Purim?

QUOTES

A: "If your Majesty is kind enough to grant my request, I would like you and Haman to be my guests tomorrow at another banquet that I will prepare for you. At that time I will tell you what I want." [Esther 5:6,7]
Q: What was Esther's response when asked by the king what she wanted?

A: "If I must die for doing it, I will die." [Esther 4:16]
Q: What did Esther say when Mordecai told her to speak up to the king?

A: "I am a Jew, and I cannot bow down to Haman." [Esther ?:4]
Q: What did Mordecai say when he was asked about disobeying the king's command to bow down to Haman?

A: "If it please Your Majesty to grant my humble request, my wish is that I may live and that my people may live." [Esther 7:3,4]
Q: What was Esther's request to King Xerxes at the second banquet?

A: "Don't imagine that you are safer than any other Jew just because you are in the royal palace ... who knows ... maybe it was for a time like this that you were made queen!" [Esther 4:12-14]
Q: What was Mordecai's warning to Esther?

MAJOR CHARACTERS

A: King Xerxes is his Greek name, and King Ahasuerus is his Hebrew name.
Q: Who was the King of Persia? [Esther 1:1-1]

A: Mordecai, Esther's cousin. [Esther 2:7]
Q: Who raised Esther?

A: Hadassah
Q: What was Esther's Hebrew name? [Esther 2:7]

A: He refused to show respect for Haman by kneeling and bowing to him. [Esther 3:2,3]
Q: How did Mordecai disobey the king's orders?

A: The King and Haman
Q: Who did Esther invite to a special banquet? [Esther 5:4]

MINOR CHARACTERS

A: Vashti
Q: Who was the Queen before Esther? [Esther 1:11]

A: Bigthana and Teresh [Esther 2:21]
Q: Who were the palace guards who plotted to kill King Ahasuerus?

A: His wife and all his friends suggested it. [Esther 5:14]
Q: Who suggested to Haman the he build gallows on which to hang Mordecai?

A: Harbonah [Esther 7:8,9]
Q: Who told the king that Haman had built gallows at his house so that he could hang Mordecai?

A: Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan [Esther 1:14]
Q: Who were the ones the king most often turned to for advice, the seven officials of Persia and Media?

VOCABULARY

A: Purim
Q: What is the holiday observed by Jews today to celebrate the saving of their people?

A: Pur
Q: What were the items called that were used to determine the day Haman had planned to destroy the Jewish people?

A: Hamentaschen
Q: What are the special pastries made during Purim to resemble Haman's hat (in the shape of a triangle) called?

A: Scepter
Q: What was it that Ahasuerus extended to Esther when she came to him? [Esther 4:11]

A: Sackcloth
Q: What kind of clothes did Mordecai wear when he learned that Haman and the king planned to kill the Jews?

Here are some simple Games Ideas for Esther we came up with to reinforce the story, based on familiar games. These would probably work best in a smaller group of children (no more than 12-15). All you need is a toy/costume crown, and a CD player with some music.

King Ahasuerus Says (like Simon says)

  1. First, have the children name the different characters in the Esther story. If they can’t remember, help them at least name Esther, Mordecai, Hamen, and King Ahasuerus.
  2. Choose one child to be King Ahasuerus (let that child wear the crown). The King gets to give orders to everyone else. If the order starts with “King Ahasuerus says…” then everyone has to follow the order, and if they don’t, they’re out for that round. If the order does NOT start with “King Ahasuerus says…”, then everyone should NOT follow the order. If they do, they’re out for that round. The last person who is still in gets to be the next King Ahasuerus.
  3. Discussion: In real life, how do we know when it is right to do what someone else tells us to do? When should we disobey someone’s orders (ie, if we know what they’re telling us to do is wrong or would hurt someone).

 

Crown Compliment Game (like Hot potato)

  1. Have class stand in a circle. Someone holds the crown. Have them start passing the crown around the circle. Play music on CD player, and when you stop the music whoever is holding the crown puts it on his/her head.
  2. Everyone else has to tell the person wearing the crown something they like about them, or something that they are good at (give the “queen” compliments).
  3. Start the music again and continue passing the crown. Try to make sure that every child gets to be complimented at least once.
  4. Discussion: How did it feel to have other people notice what you are good at? What are some ways you can use your talents and special gifts to help others?

 

Tag game (like Duck, duck goose)

  1. Make sure all the kids know each others’ names
  2. Choose one kid to be “Haman.” Have other kids sit in a tight circle.
  3. “Haman” walks around the circle, gently tapping each person on the head and saying their name. Haman chooses one kid to call “Esther” instead of his/her real name. That child gets up and chases Haman around the circle. Haman tries to get back to “Esther”’s place in the circle and sit down before Esther tags him/her. (Make sure kids know that in this game, it doesn’t matter what gender “Esther” and “Haman” are).
  4. If Esther tags Haman, then Haman has to repeat the process (walking around the circle tapping each person and choosing a new Esther). If Esther does not tag Haman before Haman makes it back to her original spot, then Esther becomes the new Haman and starts a new round.
  5. Discussion: Ask children who were tapped to be Esther if they were happy or unhappy when they were chosen. In real life, do we always like it when we are chosen to do something that is hard? Give some examples of things you are asked to do that may be difficult (ie, chores, homework, school presentations, etc.). Why do you think we should do these things, even if we may be reluctant?

Love the game adaptation suggestions, @Amanda Kerr Here is one more that springs to mind:

Adapt "Mother May I" to "King Ahasuerus, May I?" 

Choose a child to be King Ahasuerus. He/She wears a crown, sits in a throne (chair) facing away from the other children, and holds a scepter (or baton, dowel rod, or something similar).

To begin the game, the King sits at one end of a room facing away, while all the children line up at the other end. The children take turns asking "King Ahasuerus, may I ____?", and makes a movement suggestion. For example, one might ask, "King Ahasuerus, may I take five baby steps forward?" The King either replies "Yes, you may" or "No, you may not do that, but you may _____ instead" and inserts his/her own suggestion. The players usually move closer to the King but are sometimes led farther away. Even if the King makes an unfavorable suggestion, the child must still perform it. The first of the children to reach the location of the King wins the game. That child then becomes the King himself, the original King becomes a player, and a new round begins.

Some suggestions that fill in the "King Ahasuerus, may I ____?" blank include:

  • Take (#) steps forward
  • Take (#) giant steps forward (usually a small number, due to large step size)
  • Take (#) baby steps forward (usually a large number, due to tiny step size)
  • Hop forward like a frog (#) times
  • Run forward for (#) seconds

 

Discussion points:

  • During Esther’s time, if someone went to the king without permission, that person could be killed! But sometimes the king held out his scepter; that meant the person would be allowed to live.
  • You certainly were not in a life or death situation playing this game, but how did it feel not knowing how the "King" would answer your request?
  • Talk about where Esther got the strength/courage to approach the King.
  • Talk about the spiritual disciplines that Esther used when preparing to approach the King.
  • What sorts of spiritual disciplines can we use to help us feel closer to God on difficult days?
  •  Remind the children that while Haman had an evil plan to kill the Jews, God was in control. God used Esther in His plan to rescue His people. Similarly, when Jesus came to earth, His enemies killed Him. But Jesus did not stay dead;  Jesus has power over evil.

 

Source: adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_May_I%3F

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