Solomon Builds the Temple  

A Shoebox Storytelling Kit Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Storytelling: Introduction to Solomon & the Temple


Lesson Objectives:
By the end of this Rotation, the PreSchool children will:

  • know recognize Solomon
  • know that Solomon built the temple
  • know that this story is from the Bible and it is true
  • The Ark of the Covenant was a special box that was kept in the temple. The 10 commandments were kept inside it.

By the end of this Rotation, the Elementary children will the above truths and:

  • know that Solomon built the temple according to God’s directions
  • know the parts of the temple, and their purpose
  • understand that only the best materials and workmanship were used
  • know that 1 and 2 Chronicles are in the Old Testament
  • The Ark of the Covenant was Israel’s most treasured item. It contained the 10 commandments, and was kept in the Holy of Holies.
  • know that the dedication of the temple was a time of worship and celebration

Key Memory Verse:

And may you, his people, always be faithful to the LORD our God. May you always obey his laws and commands, just as you are doing today." I Kings 8:61 (NLT)

Bible Background
(Solomon Builds the Temple 1 Kings:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 2-7))

David reigned as King of Israel for forty years (2 Samuel 5:4). He brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and desired to build a temple for the Lord. David made many preparations for the temple, but God commanded that David’s son, Solomon, be in charge of the construction (2 Chron 22:6-10).

Solomon’s temple was a splendid building that contained gold, silver, bronze and cedar. Only the most skilled artisans were commissioned to work on the temple, which took seven years to complete (1 Kings 6:38).

The temple housed the Ark of the Covenant in the “Holy of Holies,” and represented God’s presence and covenant with Israel. It provided a place of prayer and worship, as well for offerings and forgiveness. The temple centralized worship in Jerusalem.

Solomon dedicated the temple in 950 BC, during the same time that the Israelites celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles occurred each year in the autumn. It lasted several days, and was celebrated as a renewal of Israel’s commitment to God and in His faithfulness.

Sadly, the Israelites fell away from God and His commands. The prophet Jeremiah spent his life warning them to repent and return to God, or suffer the consequences. The Israelites rejected Jeremiah’s warnings, even when his message became specific about the destruction of Israel. In Jeremiah 39, Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonians to destroy all of Jerusalem, including the temple, in 586 BC. The temple was a place of worship for 410 years.


  • Life Application Study Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997. ISBN 084234892.
  • King Solomon’s Astonishing Temple Secrets.

Teacher Preparation: 

  • Skim 1 Chronicles 22-29 and 2 Chronicles 2-7. Use a Children’s Bible to help you familiarize yourself with the story of Solomon building/dedicating the temple. Pray for understanding. (Note: the story the temple is also told in 1 Kings 5-8).
  • Gather the materials

Supplies List:

  • a Bible (provided)
  • Bible Verse poster (provided)
  • gray, brown and tan construction paper
  • Shoeboxes for the kids to decorate.
  • Fisher Price (or other) toy people and furniture; see Bible story for other props
  • Matzo Bread (optional)
  • Incense and burner (optional). Please do not light the incense.
  • Lego or Duplo blocks (temple wall)
  • Markers (for kids to decorate shoeboxes after your story). Optional.


Classroom Set-Up

  • Set out the construction paper, glue and shoebox
  • Tear a few construction paper “stones” – have some on the table and some already glued to a shoebox





Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.


Open with a prayer.

The students are divided into 2 ages groups:
1. Ages 4 (preschool) to ages 6 (First Grade)
2. Ages 7-11 (2nd thru 5th grade)
The youngest students will vary in their abilities to read and write. They will depend upon you to read the Bible story to them. Older students will be able to read, but some might be shy to read aloud. Any of the children might be unsure of their ability to draw a self-portrait. Encourage the children as much as possible – like David was to his sheep, you a shepherd to these young children.


Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

These lessons are written “loosely.” Teach the Bible story, verse and activity, but personalize the lesson to fit your personality. Children learn when they are having fun. If you are enjoying yourself, the kids will be more likely to enjoy themselves! At the same time, remember that this may be the only time this week that some students will spend with the Bible. As you introduce a story or song, remind the children that it is from the Bible. The Bible is true. The Bible is God’s Word. These truths are ones we want our children to learn all year long.

Plan activities to last about 5-10 minutes. Plan longer times for active activities (games, crafts, etc) and shorter times for passive activities (listening to a story, reciting a Bible verse, singing a song). Children learn by playing – any way that you can make the lessons fun with games, crafts or songs is a bonus! Older children can stay focused on an activity longer than younger children can – a discussion might only last 5 minutes with the youngest children, but 10 minutes with the older class. Flexibility is key.

Important Workshop Teacher Notes:
Each workshop begins with the Bible story. One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy -- if children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Take time to explain that the story comes from the Old or New Testament. Help younger or new students find the right place in their Bibles – this can be intimidating for someone who is unfamiliar with the Bible. Be patient, helpful and encouraging!


2. Read through the “shoebox” Bible story. Consider the following:


  • The lesson suggests using a shoebox when telling your story. This might be too small. Consider using another box more suitable in size.
  • The lesson is interactive –the kids are encouraged to act out parts of the story. Decide if you want to tell it this way, or just have the kids sit and listen.
  • Read through the story and decide which props you will (not) use.


3. Plan how to present the “shoebox temple” to the class. The class will decorate shoeboxes at the beginning of class. You have a variety of options:


  • Class decorates one shoebox temple which you use for the story
  • Each child in the class decorates a shoebox temple
  • Groups of children (3-4) decorate a shoebox temple.

4. Practice your shoebox Bible story about the temple. Prepare so that you can tell each part of the story without note cards. Your good eye contact with the kids will encourage them to listen – the more you are looking at note cards the less eye contact with them you will be making.


5. Consider teaching the Bible story in costume -- dress as a Levite and tell the story as though you were in the temple during Solomon’s reign. The Levites were responsible for everything within the temple.


For example:

The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the flour for the grain offerings, the unleavened wafers, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size. They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on Sabbaths and at New Moon festivals and at appointed feasts. They were to serve before the Lord regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them. 

And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the Tent of Meeting, for the Holy Place, and, under their brothers the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the Lord.

1 Chronicles 23:28-32 (NIV)

Class Day: Introduction (10 minutes)

Have the classroom set up so that kids can begin decorating a “shoebox temple” for today’s story: have gray, brown and tan construction paper that they can tear into “stones” and glue on to the outside of the shoebox.
As the children are working, move around the room and make conversation with the kids. Introduce yourself to new students. Help the kids get to know you better.
Spend about 10 minutes on this opening activity – giving the kids a chance to work together and get to know each other better.

Bible Story: (15-20 minutes)

Pull everyone together for the Bible story. Quickly “center” the children so their attention is focused on you: ask what they know about David. Allow answers, leading the discussion to the point that David eventually became the king of Israel.

Explain that you have a Bible story to tell them, and it begins when David is king. Show your Bible, and tell the class the story is found in 1 and 2 Chronicles. Explain these books are in the Old Testament. Ask them to say the word “Chronicles” aloud.

Tell them to listen closely while you tell them the story.
A sample story is as follows:

King David had a great idea -- King David wanted to build a beautiful temple for God. But God said, “No David. I want your son to build my temple. Not you.” When David was ready to die, he called for his son Solomon. Read aloud from your Bible 1 Chronicles 22:7-19 (paraphrase these verses; be sure to read verse 19).

Not long after this, David died and Solomon became King of Israel. Solomon began work on the temple right away! He sent a message to a king in another land to sell him beautiful cedar trees. That king sent workers into the forest to cut beautiful trees for God’s temple (pretend you are working very hard sawing down a tree). Those trees were floated down in the sea so they could be taken to Jerusalem (pretend to roll logs toward the sea) (2 Chronicles 2:3).

King Solomon hired workers to cut big stones for the temple (Pretend that you are stonecutters cutting the stones for the temple and shaping them into smooth blocks).

King Solomon hired the best craftsmen to make beautiful curtains and furniture for the temple. (Pretend that some of you are curtain makers sewing the curtain for the temple.
Pretend some of you are cutting and hammering pieces of wood together to make the furniture) (2 Chronicles 2:4).

God’s people all worked very hard and did their best -- building the temple and making the temple furniture. After the temple was all finished, God’s people gathered together for a big festival to dedicate the new temple (Place your shoebox temple so that all children can see it. Place Solomon next to it. Gather some Fisher Price or similar type figures around it). (2 Chronicles 2:5-7).

This piece of furniture was called the altar. (Show the children the block altar.).
It was placed outside the temple building right here. It was the place where animal sacrifices were offered. (Place the altar in its corresponding hole.)

This is called the laver. (Show the kids the laver “juice lid". All the priests had to wash themselves before they entered the temple. So it was filled with water. (Place the juice lid upside down in front of the temple doorway in its hole.)

Inside the temple building there was a table with 7 special candles on it. These candles were called the Menorah. (Place the cedar block in the proper hole.)

There was another table over here that had special bread on it. There were 12 loaves of bread on this table. This bread was called the shew bread. (Place the cedar block in the proper hold to represent the Table of Shew Bread. Have some Matzo bread for the kids to taste at this point.)

This table was right next to the curtain. The priests burned incense on it. (Place a third cedar block in its hole. Show kids what incense is. Let them smell it.)

This back room behind the curtain was called the Holy of Holies. This is the place where the special box, The Ark of the Covenant, was kept. The Ark was very special to the Israelites. Inside it were the 10 commandments that God gave to Moses. The Israelites believed that when the ark was nearby that God was nearby. (Place the curtain and point out area behind the curtain and place the Covenant Box in its slot )

The Ark of the Covenant was in this room all by itself. Only a special priest could go in this room and only on one special day of the year.

Surrounding the temple was a big stone wall. (Let kids help you make a row of Lego blocks all the way around the temple building).

The part between the wall and the building was called the courtyard. But this whole thing, (use your hands to show the temple wall, courtyard and temple building) including the courtyard, was called “the temple.”

Everyday the priests gave sacrifices at the altar. (Walk the priest figure to the altar and each of the following places as you tell them about them.)

Everyday the priests washed themselves at the Laver before they went into the building.
Everyday they lit the Menorah with the special candles on this table.
They put special bread on the table.
They burned incense on this table.
Did the priest go behind this curtain to the Ark of the Covenant every day?
No, only one time a year on a special day and only one special priest called the High Priest could go back there.

After all the furniture was put inside the temple, King Solomon prayed and asked God to take care of the temple day and night.


God answered Solomon and said: “I will listen to the prayers prayed in this place. I have chosen this Temple and made it holy. I will be worshiped here forever. I will always watch over it and love it.” (2 Chronicles 7:15, 16)

Show the Bible Verse Poster: Solomon was being faithful by building the temple, just as God told him to do. Say the Bible words together.



Application & Clean Up (10-15 minutes)

  • Allow the children to play with the shoebox temple.
  • If they are comfortable, allow older children to retell the Bible story to you and/or small group of children.

Close in prayer: Thank you Lord that you have special work created for each of us. Help each of us to have hearts that make you happy. Amen.



A lesson written by Joan Grady from: First Baptist Church

Midland, MI

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


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