"Out on a Limb" Game
Basic Idea: Create a set of questions about the story and about other people whom Jesus met or ate with. Divide class into three teams. If they get an answer right, they win an object. You'll need bunches of object of varying weight, large, small, light heavy.
When they win an object, they must place it on ONE end of their team's "branch" (a 2x6x8 laid across a fulcrum like a "teeter totter."
First team to collect five objects or NOT have their teeter totter tip down and touch the ground WINS that round.
The LIMBS (Teeter Totters): Bring in three saw horses and three 2x6x8 boards. Place a "Zaccheus" doll (a puppet or something that looks like him) on the end of the limb/teeter totter sticking up in the air. When team answers a question correctly, they must give a "gift" (any odd objects you collect) to their Zaccheus by placing it within 12 inches of him on the end of the teeter totter.
The kids will enjoy hoping their object isn't so heavy as to weigh poor Zaccheus down and "lower his branch." You might decorate the "limb" with fake vines. Have a handyperson nail or tie some upright brances to the ends of the saw horses to create Zaccheus' Sycamore Tree. Experiment with the placement and weight of objects ahead of time. Have plenty of different object so you the 'MC' of the game can get the limbs moving a bit. Adjust the number of questions in the round to how long it takes to move the limb to the ground.
For a "twist" that older kids will be able to grasp: AWARD light objects that can be placed on the OTHER end of the limb away from Zaccheus to keep him up in the air "looking for Jesus." These objects can be awarded for questions such as "how can YOU look for Jesus at school, at home, etc."
Another variation is to place all the objects on ONE END of the board weighting it down. When an answer is correct, they can remove one object. Place many objects of varying weights that aren't obvious. Experiment. Try it both ways, the kids will enjoy it.
If you can, place a Jesus Doll or representation of Jesus in front of the limbs. Additional questions can then be about "what people are looking to find when they look for Jesus."
Many of these questions that you ask during the game can be asked prior to the game during the Bible Study. This will force recall.
Don't let one person on a team dominate the team's answers. As the 'MC' of the gameshow, adjust the rules as you go, perhaps letting only one person answer the question, or having all three teams try to be the first to answer. Keep it lively and varied.
Some Ideas to formulate questions around:
- What was Zaccheus hoping for by meeting Jesus?
- What did he think Jesus could do for him?
- Why was he willing to risk his reputation?
- What was it that Jesus saw in this man?
- What "trees" could we climb to look for Jesus?
- What are we looking/hoping for?
- How will we know that Jesus calls to us up in our tree?
- What do we risk when we obey his call?
- What are we willing to give up to show our obedience?
A game by Neil MacQueen.
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