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This forum is for posting Bible Skills and Game Workshop lesson plans and ideas pertaining to Zaccheus.  Luke 19: 1-10

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Be sure to see our Writing Team's set of six creative Zaccheus lessons!

This topic begins with an"Out on a Limb" Game created and modified in several different ways by our members. Your suggestions welcome!


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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"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.


A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer



Hey Neil, we just used your idea, although we adapted it a bit. We used 2 1X4 boards and placed them on a 2X4 that was nailed to a board and placed on top of a 15 inch tall box.(this was easier than lugging sawhorses to the church) I copied 2 coloring book pictures of Zacchaeus and taped them to the end of the boards (with cardboard behind for support). Then we taped a plastic cup next to Zacchaeus. We made sure the boards were nice and level. We used coins instead of the "prizes" since Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Whenever a team answered a question correctly, they got to put a coin in the cup. Object was to get Zacchaeus to come down out of the tree to meet Jesus. We used nickels and quarters. Kids could choose a "life application" question that required more thought if they wanted to add a quarter rather than a nickel to the cup.

Great idea! Thanks for sharing!


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Questions used for the game.

(These questions are suggestions only. You may make up your own. The answers given by the kids might be different, but still correct – especially the Pink questions.)

Green Question Cards (Worth 5 beads)

  • What book of the Bible is our story about Zacchaeus from? (Luke)
  • Is the story about Zacchaeus in the New or Old Testament? (New)
  • Was Zacchaeus a rich or poor man? (Rich)
  • Why couldn’t Zacchaeus see Jesus over the crowd of people? (He was short)
  • What did Zacchaeus do when he couldn’t see Jesus? (Climbed a tree)
  • Where did Jesus want Zacchaeus to take him? (To his home to be a guest)

Yellow Question Cards (Worth 10 beads)

  • What city was Jesus passing through when He met Zacchaeus? (Jericho)
  • What government did Zacchaeus collect taxes for? (Roman)
  • Why did Zacchaeus have so much money? (He cheated people – stole from them)
  • What kind of tree did Zacchaeus climb? (Sycamore)
  • When Jesus came by the tree, He called Zacchaeus by name. How did Jesus know his name? (God knows everything – He even knows about each little sparrows)
  • Zacchaeus knew he had done wrong by stealing. What did Zacchaeus say he would do to make up for this wrong? (Give half of his money to the poor – If he overcharged anyone on his taxes, he would give them back 4 times as much)
  • What is our memory verse? (Be kind and loving to each other and forgive each other, just as God forgave you in Christ - Ephesians 4: 32)

Pink Question Cards (Worth 20 beads) (Written with the help of Neil MacQueen)

  • What was Zacchaeus hoping for by meeting Jesus? (? Find out what Jesus was all about. ? Find out if what he had heard about Jesus was true. Etc.)
  • What was it that Jesus saw in this man? (God had a special plan for Zacchaeus. Jesus knew Zacchaeus had hope of making a change. Etc.)
  • How are we like Zacchaeus? (We sometimes are not honest. We are curious. We want to know more about Jesus. We would be excited to see Jesus.)
  • How are we not like Zacchaeus? (We don’t cheat people on purpose. We haven’t seen Jesus. Jesus hasn’t come to our home as a guest.)
  • In what ways do we “climb trees” to see Jesus? (Go to church, read the Bible, Pray, Bible Camp)
  • When we “climb trees for Jesus,” what are we hoping to find? (Eternal life, peace, salvation)
  • How will we know if Jesus calls to us (Kind of like He called to Zacchaeus)? (Listen to His word. Pray. Pay attention. An inner peace/quietness with a decision.)
  • If Jesus calls us to do something special, what do we risk when we obey Him? (Depends on what he calls us to do. If he calls us to help someone- we might lose out on our time. If He calls us to go be missionaries to a foreign country- we might lose out on the life we have now, our friends, our comforts.)
  • What do we gain if we do what Jesus asks of us? (Everything! Satisfaction of doing as our Master requests. Eternal Life.)

We honestly didn't have very good luck with the teeter-totter working well (even though we tried several different ways). What we ended up doing was counting the beads at the end - that worked fine.

We used beads because we didn't want to keep track of the coins from week to week - and because the coins moved around too much in the cups, making for a shifting weight.

The kids liked the game anyway! Thanks for a good idea!

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer



I loved your ideas about the game. Here's my spin. Have a small kitchen scale with a doll/ puppet resembling Zacchaeus, and sack of pennies.
Put the the doll and the sack of pennies in the scale. Ask the students questions, each time they answer the questions correctly they take set amuont of pennies out of the Zach's sack. The object would be to get Zach up the tree by giving money away. The game is over when the weigh hits zero.
Also you could play this with a balancing scale and put the doll/puppet on one side and add pennies to the other side as the students answer questions correctly.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Another Spin:

And here is MY spin on this game.  I didn't want to mess with a bunch of lumber, so I thought about using a balance scale (like the ones you see in the statues of justice).  Of course, I thought of this the day before class, so there was no way I would be able to find one in a store and order one online.  So then I Googled "How to Make a Balance Scale" and found numerous ideas.  This one seemed the easiest:


In a nutshell, you use a notched hanger as your crosspiece.   I adjusted the instructions a little.  I took 2 plastic cups and used an awl to punch the holes (the hole punch didn't work since my cups had lips).  I put a picture of Zacchaeus in one cup.  In the other cup I put some coins (since money/cheating was a big issue with him).  Since the coins are heavy, they lift him up high in the tree. 


In the lesson, I say that Zacchaeus is up in the tree.  Jesus had called him by name and invited himself to Zacchaeus' house that day.  We need to help Zacchaues get down from the tree.  Every question that you answer correctly will help.  We put beads in the Zacchaeus cup for every correct answer,  Eventually, the beads will outweigh the coins and the cup with Zacchaeus will come down.






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Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Posts moved by Exchange Volunteer to consolidate topic:

Zacchaeus Bible Baseball Game Idea

My class is almost all boys.  The first week at the end of class we wrestled and then I realized I could use sports as a means to teach.  The second week we played baseball.  I laminated paper bases and asked the batter a trivia question about the story of Zacchaeus.  It was a blast.  They picked a card with either one, two, or three bases on it if they answered the question correctly.  They learned baseball and loved running the bases and they learned Zacchaeus story details.  Questions included things like "What city was Jesus walking through when he encountered Jesus? and How may times did Zacchaeus promise to pay back the people he cheated?

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Just want to thank Cathy for the hanger/scale idea! We have been teaching the Zacchaeus  rotation and used her suggestion for the coat hanger/scale and we had a blast!!  The children stayed engaged through the whole class and commented how much fun it was. When trying to figure out how to wrap up the rotation we decided on the art rotation with the heart seeing how we are so close to Valentines day it seemed to all come together perfectly.  Thank you again to everyone!! The story of Zacchaeus is short but it has such a powerful message!

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