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JesusComputerThis "How to" do online and at-home Sunday School post was started at the beginning of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic and is now part of our much larger

'Online and At-Home Sunday School Forum'

The topic below is more of a "HOW-to" discussion about how churches began connecting with their kids at home in the first months of the pandemic.

Specific lesson ideas for online and at-home can be found in this discussion topic.

This topic began as a question from supporting member Heidi Jo Kissner in our "Help!" Forum. See the many responses below and check out other related topics in this forum.

Heidi asked:

Is anyone putting together some kind of online Sunday School for their families?

With the closing of churches temporarily in our community due to the Coronavirus, I would like to somehow continue to reach out to our children with bible lessons.

I was thinking of trying to put together a lesson for each week which would include a story, daily devotions and activities they could do at home.  Not sure how to go about this.  Life is overwhelming right now!!  Suggestions??


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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There are many wonderful creative resources at our site that could be used by parents at home with their kids!

I know many people are watching movies while they are social distancing. Here is an article with suggestions of secular movies that can be used to teach Biblical truths. (How many times have you watched Frozen? Check out the great discussion ideas!)

And this site is filled with wonderful art suggestions, many of which can be done with simple materials at home. Chose a Bible story from our topical index and check out all the ideas! (Some might require and outing to a craft store, if that is possible. Or maybe you can supply them from your craft closet?)  Here are a variety of Easter ideas to get you started.  

And cooking lessons are great intergenerational family activities. Check out the Easter "empty tomb bun" idea here

@Messiah, please come back and share your ideas (and pictures, too) to help out others! Thanks! And I and I hope others will share ideas, because this is a great ministry to focus on while things are "shut down" for a few weeks. 


And be sure to check the ideas that Cindy just shared here that relate to reaching out to our community and casting out fear.

I imagine if we put our heads together we could come up with some great online lessons and ideas that would benefit all of our communities!!  


Hi, all!

I received some great information from @Beth Tobin that I will be sharing on her behalf, as she is busy making lots of things happen at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Olympia, WA.

The platform she is using for Sunday school is Zoom. She writes:

For Sunday school:  I will be sending out an invite to a Zoom.  I can have 100 people on at a time for free.  I’m still deciding how I’m going to run it, but here’s my initial thoughts:  Welcome and Intro to Zoom.  Zoom etiquette.  Open with doing the prayer table.   We are going to sing some songs together that the students are use to singing.  That will take a least 10-15 minutes right there.   This is going to be whole group two year olds - 5th grade.  Wish me luck.  Then I’m going to tell a Bible story. ( I’m planning to offer a drawing idea or story workshop idea they can follow up with at home or something similar.)  Then we are going to break into groups.  (I have to watch the tutorial on how to do this yet, but people are saying it’s really cool! So I’ve got homework yet for Sunday.) Then we’ll all pull back together for closing prayer.  In the breakout groups we’ll have more of a discussion time.  If that doesn’t work, when I check in with grade levels of kids I’ll follow up with discussion then.  We get 40 minute Zoom sessions for free. 
Oh!  I’m also thinking of empowering fifth graders to help lead the break outs as well as shepherds.  We’re calling all of this a Holy Experiment.  
Side note:  I did a Zoom with my family yesterday.  Four states, Four time zones, three generations, pets, plant starts, 13 attendees, oldest 93 years old.  It was so great and we were able to get my mom on without anyone being with her.  It meant the world to her.  There are so many cool uses for this great technology. 
Here is a link to a Zoom webinar I was on for doing worship and ministry online. 
This recorded webinar I was "in" last week was headed up by the Episcopals on how to use Zoom in ministry including worship. [This webinar was planned two months ago! Talk about timing!]  One big take away for worship is to assign roles for people, so when the leader is saying things like, “The Lord be with you,” ONE other person audibly voices the response for everyone, “And also with you.”  Everyone else is saying, “And also with you," but they are at home, muted.
More resources shared from that webinar:
We recently had a great first run Zoom meeting with 40 some pastors in our synod. Here are my notes:
I think it would be very helpful to not assume that people know how to use Zoom or know Zoom etiquette.  I think it would be good to offer some guidelines at the start of the Zoom and also in an email preceding the Zoom.
• Mute your microphone unless you are speaking. - And how to do that if they don’t know. 
• Please don’t monopolize the speaking time.
• Make sure people are aware of and know how to use the chat feature.
• There are also “reaction” features people can use to respond what people are saying. 
Zoom meetings have the option to do break out groups.  We could have a whole-group introduction by the bishop for whole group information dissemination and then break into our clusters to discuss particulars.  When we come back whole group, one person from the cluster could report back to the whole group if there were anything to report.
Have Zoom meetings about specific topics - small parishes, churches still doing daycare, churches with food pantries still open etc.   
Our worship is online and so are our devotions. and also linked on our Facebook page.  I did the first two devotions and tried to make them so they could be something kids could do/relate to.  The first one especially.  Our staff is taking turns with them.  Some will be video.  Some just audio.  Some text.  Some text and photo - whatever the person comes up with.  I actually LOVE my first devotion - it was totally Holy Spirit inspired!
(No judging our website…..  we are working on updating it, actually completely reworking it, but it’s functioning for now.)    
We are pre-recording our worship.  Uploading the link and then doing a live intro to it.  We’ve got one under our belt and already have adjustments we are making.  Some are addressed in the text around the Zoom info I sent you.  
Our worship online is very shortened.  Interestingly, attendance has practically doubled!  
We are also planning a virtual children's choir using Zoom and grade-level Zoom check-in meetings.
The kids I’ve connected with already on Zoom were so excited to see me and just show me stuff like Lego creations and tell me all about it.  I think even if we don’t do a Sunday school lesson, just even connecting will be such powerful community building time.  I think checking in with highs and lows will be important.  And praying together will be most important.  I’m planning on logging their prayers and adding them to our Facebook page.  I have lots of ideas. We’ll see what all I pull off or what is sustainable. 

Zoom sounds like a good option for those who prefer meeting at an appointed time. This is a consideration at our church.

Worship teams are working on music licences beyond CCLI for live performance and recordings.

Adapting lessons and creating links for Google classroom would allow families to access materials on their own time schedule. Many schools in our area have moved lessons to Google classroom. Families here are already using this platform of distance learning.

I'm thankful for this community here to help us think of new ways 🙏❣️ and make Christian education available for all. 

Blessings, Heidi


Great ideas!  And THANK YOU to everyone out there working overtime...from home...working to continue to make sure children are still hearing the stories of the Bible and of God's love and promises!  And as always, reading all your thoughts and the bible stories I am putting together always makes me re-center and remember why we do what we do.

One thing we are doing with our children is creating a Spring Bible Challenge!  We are encouraging families to download a free app  bibleappforkids.  This is a pretty cool app.  You can read and listen to the story with cute animation.  After you read the story it opens up 5 activities you can do.  So each week I will send an email out to our families with the story for the week and an attached activity card with 5 activities.  They are asked to do at least 2 of the activities.  The children who do this for now through Mother's Day will receive a prize to a local ice cream place, plus get their name in an drawing for a gift card.   We also have a Bible Bucks Market that the children could earn Bible bucks and then buy stuff at a month Market.  For each activity the child does they will recieve 2 bible bucks in their Sunday School "account".  And at the end of May, we will hopefully have an ice cream social to celebrate and open up the Bible Bucks Market.  

We are doing Zoom calls with our Confirmation kids (7th & 8th  graders) on  Wednesday evening.

We are asking our high school kids to watch a particular movie during the week, and will Zoom conference on Sunday evening during our regular meeting time.

With our 5th and 6th grade group I am working on something similiar to what we're doing with the children....still in progress.

Continued blessings to all!!!!

Regarding "how" are churches reaching and teaching kids during the Coronavirus crisis...

One of the things we can do is direct families to existing resources already available to them, such as Bible movies on Netflix and Amazon and Cable TV, and then put out some discussion suggestions and invite feedback or discussion via a Zoom meeting or Facebook postings.

I'm going to post these specific resources over in the IDEAS for at-home Sunday School, but also want to share them here as examples of some good movies families can watch.

Movies to Watch and Discuss for "At Home Sunday School" this Holy Week and Easter...


Jesus Christ Superstar (the movie)

I've watched it and taught with it MANY times with kids and youth. They love it. It's currently on NETFLIX and available for rent on Amazon as well.

Pose questions, then invite people to watch it at home and post their comments online at your church's Facebook page, or text you their comments.

Supporting Members can see and print's exclusive scene by scene guide. It includes insights. Good tool for posing questions too.

SON OF GOD (the movie)

Terrific depiction of a friendly and compelling Jesus. We use scenes from it all the time in our lessons.

Watch and discuss. Share your comments with others at your church. Pose questions to viewers.

Currently available on Amazon Prime to rent (might be free when we get to Easter)

Prince of Egypt (the movie about the Exodus by Dreamworks)

Good animated movie for kids about Moses and the Exodus. Good music too.

Currently playing on Amazon Prime and Hulu (may have a rental fee).

See's "Teaching with Secular Movies" article and discussion. It has many suggestions.

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

We sent out our first emails to our "Spring 2020 Bible Challenge" and so far our responses have been very positive.  I've attached (I think!) the Intro letter, calendar through May and the Bible Activity card for this lesson.  We started with Jesus and the Donkey lesson on bibleappforkids so we can be in  line with our stories for EAster.  The challenge for each story has been to find activities they can do without leaving their home.  Would love your input and suggestions.  



We are a small church with a small Sunday School (2-8 kids on a given Sunday) and an all-volunteer staff. So we are keeping things on the simple side. We aren't presenting an online lesson for them to watch--we are supplying a simple lesson that the families will do together on their own.

Since our state is currently under "shelter in place", most families are juggling working and working at home and home-schooling so we wanted to keep things simple for them. And because shopping can be a bit of a nightmare, we wanted them to be able to use what they would probably have at home. For this upcoming Sunday, if  they have rocks and paper (not scissors!), markers and glue then they are good to go! Definitely NO activities using toilet paper! 

I went through my treasure trove of old Rotation lessons from the past and also scrolled through what our site had to offer. I put together a small lesson with the Bible reading and a few points to make, also linked to a Saddleback Kids video. Then I am giving two short activities paired with a few questions--they can do one or both. 

This coming Sunday, we are doing the Palm Sunday story. The art activity is taken from Jesus' comment to the Pharisees that if He told His followers to be quiet then the rocks would cry out. So they can decorate rocks with markers and fabric scraps and write "speech balloons" of what the rocks might be crying out. We also have a game--a take on HORSE, but called HOSANNA. There is a combo of answering questions and shooting baskets.

The following Sunday we are doing a Holy Week Overview. We don't normally have Sunday School on Easter Sunday but I am going to put together a lesson for that too, because who knows if our churches will be open then or not.     These are "Sunday School to go" Lessons for families to do together at home. They are PDFs and I have them as PNG files as well.

We "went live" on Facebook to chat with the kids for "Bring your pet or stuffed animal to Sunday School." 

This week is pajama Sunday School for Facebook Live at 10am. We'll talk about Jesus in the Boat calming the sea, even if we are afraid or feel like things are out of our control.

and bingo:

No photo description available.

Interesting food for thought from Presbyterian Outlook: Opinion: COVID-19 could end church as we know it. And I feel fine.

It says in part:

As stressful as these times are, they have provided an extraordinary opportunity in my Christian community to reflect on our identity and mission as the church, and to imagine ways of being more connected than ever with our fellow church members.


I know that members of my church as well as the pastor are being very intentional about reaching out and calling each other so we don't feel as distant. 

I have been snail mailing my children's lessons to them on a weekly basis since our church has been closed.


I've included a lesson, active activity plus crosswords, samples on how to draw a donkey (this weeks lesson) and a coloring page with a suggestion on what to drew in their Journals. I felt the children need to get regular mail because they've been doing school work on the computer from home. I've purchased fun postage stamps (Frogs, Hearts, Hot wheels, dinosaurs etc.)

The children are enjoying the lessons and I've been posting the colored pictures they are sending (back to church) on our big windows facing the street.  We are calling it our "Wesley Children's Snail Mail Club."   (I work alone in my office so I'm able to keep my distance from others!)

The parents and children can drive past and see their handy work. I't's coming in slow but we have hopes of receiving a lot more. We have 20 children in our regular Sunday School class from ages 3 to through 5th grade. I love being able to use Rotation for our main lessons.

Blessings and Love

Ms. Audrey


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We are a small church with a small Sunday school that spans age 3 to grade 10, which makes Sunday school challenging at the best of times.  I have been sending out lesson plans via email to everyone who has ever been connected to our congregation in any way, as well as Sunday school contacts with other congregations in the area.  I have been making extensive use of the pre-rotation materials we have (curriculum going back to the late 90s) as well as material on this site to create lessons with material for everyone.  I am scanning a number of the reproducible pages to include.

I am also starting to include material that is deliberately designed to hit some of the public school objectives, to help out parents who now need to home school kids while working from home (schools will be closed for the rest of the year here.)  This includes writing projects that connect to the story (e.g. newspaper stories for Holy Week) and making games or activities into science or math-based lessons (e.g. growing a seed as a sign of rebirth includes suggested research about plant biology and an experiment about growing different types of seeds). 

Much of this will not be as pertinent post-COVID 19, but it would still apply to a student who needed to stay home for an extended period of time due to illness.

A small church we had visited here locally sent out its leaders "2 by 2" to call on other members of the church on the Sunday after Easter.

They showed up at our doorstep appropriately distanced with a small bag of goodies that had 3 Cheryl's cookies (wrapped), a jar of local preserves, a handwritten note (in case we weren't home), and a small pamphlet of 6 short devotional prayers written by some of the elders in the church and the pastor. The pamphlet included their phone numbers in case we needed anything or wanted to talk. They assured us the bags were put together after using hand-santizer   They had a couple of stock questions about how we were getting along with quarantining, had we been to the church website to see the service, etc.

They had a bag for younger kids (which we didn't get). It had a pack of washable markers, two more wrapped cookies, and a Bible story book and some coloring book (pages run on the church copier).

It was such a nice idea and visit that it made me wonder why we don't do something like this for Sunday School kids and their families the week before classes start  ...and especially THIS YEAR.


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@Amy Crane posted:

Interesting food for thought from Presbyterian Outlook: Opinion: COVID-19 could end church as we know it. And I feel fine.

It says in part:

As stressful as these times are, they have provided an extraordinary opportunity in my Christian community to reflect on our identity and mission as the church, and to imagine ways of being more connected than ever with our fellow church members.


I know that members of my church as well as the pastor are being very intentional about reaching out and calling each other so we don't feel as distant. 

I posted this in the "Exile" topic but it belongs here better and is in the same vein as your post.

One of the things churches are discovering is that many of its people want to respond and serve somehow during this pandemic. It is not only a Christian reflex, it a way of coping with our own sense of loss and anxiety.

How can children serve?  The answers are probably LOCAL to where each of us lives.

In my community:

  • A church has been making and distributing home-sewn masks for children. Kids can help make and distribute to their friends.
  • A church on Main street put out a sign asking for canned goods, and there are cars there every time I drive by.  Kids can put on gloves and sort.
  • My granddaughter's best friend (and her mom) showed up on their doorstep last week with a cooler full of ice cream sandwiches in a wagon. They were wearing masks and gloves, stayed outside, and only stayed for 5 minutes because they had other neighbors to visit.

Even as things start to open up in some states, some families are still reluctant to join in for a variety of reasons.  And in my church we are finding that families are overwhelmed with online stuff (although now that the school year is wrapping up, that may change). So our church has encouraged the Sunday school teachers to send old-fashioned snail mail to children

I am on my third mailing to my preschool and kindergarten friends. This time I am sending elephant jokes (my favorite!). I am attaching a notecard that I made using a coloring sheet from and jokes from here (Aren't they the best?)  I attached my docs, in case you want to use one. 


In my previous mailings I sent small gifts I knitted in the early days of stay at home time (spring chickens and bunnies).  I also found a bunch of greeting cards I purchased long ago in Japan that had small kites attached that I used for a mailing. 

All of my notes have been handwritten (fingers crossed parents can decipher my handwriting....). Plus i have included a Bible verse coloring sheet with my letters and talked about my favorite Bible story, too. 

Letters have been well received and some kids even sent letters back!  

I am thinking about getting seed packets for my next mailing (although it is getting late in the season in Louisiana for starting new plants....).

And there are more ideas for reaching out to children in this Paste in My Hair printable on connecting outside the classroom


Last edited by Amy Crane

Hi, I am new here. Came across this while researching for our 1st Virtual Sunday School lesson for this Sat. Find this forum interesting and thought we can learn and share from each other.

Singapore has been into our circuit breaker mode for 56 days.  We have not been in touch with our kids since this circuit breaker started.  Though things are slowly re-opening, churches are not likely to gather any time soon so our church leaders and Sunday School leaders have decided to use Zoom as the platform for 2 of our Sunday School classes, namely the primary school children (in Singapore primary school kids are aged 7 - 12 years old).  We have set the session to be max 1h. 

Our church Sunday School teachers are mostly volunteers.  I am an assistant teacher for the eldest group 9 - 12 years old.  Cracking my brain now how to make this Zoom lessons interesting and not just us speaking and talking thru the entire 1h. 

I understand the paid Zoom account has many functions which I have yet to explore (our church provides with teachers with an account).  The main teacher and I hope to use polling available in Zoom paid account during lesson to get the kids interacting answering questions and also to test their understanding on what has been delivered.

The key lesson points for the kids to take away from our lesson this Sat will be Grace & Jesus is the way.  We hope to find 1 activity that we can do with the kids to bring across the point on Grace & 1 for Jesus is the way.  Something we can conduct virutally.

Welcome, @Selina Ang! We are glad that you found us and pray the resources here will be a blessing to you.

There is a great deal of information at this site, so here are a few resources I want to make sure that you saw:


For lessons relating to Jesus saying, "I am the Way," we have some ideas and lessons here

Grace is an idea that is found in many Bible stories. Do you have one in particular that you are planning to teach about? Here is a general discussion of grace to help you get started. 

Make sure you check out the discussion of how to adapt lessons for use in teaching online and at-home, and please come back and share your ideas and experiences!  #sharingCommunity

And post a question in the Teachers' Help Lounge if you need help with ideas for a specific Bible story.  

10 Things You Can Do on Zoom to Reach and Teach Kids

Zoom is a video-conferencing app that many public and Sunday School teachers have been using to stay connected and teach to their students. Reading a Bible passage and asking questions is one obvious thing you can do on Zoom with kids.

Here are 10 more things you can do while Zooming to keep your lessons and time together interesting and fun.

1. Connect!  Just seeing a smiling face and hearing a friendly voice lets kids know they are loved and missed.

2. Today's "Pass Around" Question is...    What was the most exciting thing you've done in the last week or two?  (or) What do you miss most about coming to church?  (or)

3. Use the Zoom "Whiteboard" and "share" it with your students so they can draw on it too.

  • How are you feeling these days?
  • What have you been doing this week?
  • What Bible story am I drawing?
  • Here's my question, what's your answer?
  • Write the next line of the closing prayer...
  • Keep score in your gameshow quiz

4. Invite a friend to help you put on a "1 minute Bible skit" for the kids to watch. Make it fun. Be multiple characters and switch your costume and voice back and forth. This is a good way to introduce the story.

5. Share your screen to show a YouTube video clip with your group (see instructions below).

6. Play a game of "Who in the Bible am I?" by speaking clues about one of the participants and having the others guess who you are talking about. Give them hints about your story and location in the Bible (this is a good warmup for the story).

7. Invite a student to open their Bible to the passage you want to reference and show it to the others by holding the page up to their camera.

8. Kick off meetings with special themes and notify kids in advance.

  • Funny hat zoom
  • Show us your Pet zoom
  • Show us your room zoom
  • Who am I "disguise" zoom

9. Invite students to enjoy a snack during the lesson. This will extend your time with them and create time for connecting.

10. Close with a circle prayer. Assign a "category" to each student, give them a moment to think of something in that category to pray for, then invite the first person to begin after you start. Categories:   What's so great about Jesus...  I'm thankful for...   I am concerned about...  People who need help...  Something I'm grateful that I learned in this lesson today...  (etc)

Keep it short. Keep them coming back for more.

Watching a YouTube Video Together with your Zoom Group

Zoom screen sharing allows you to share the desktop, window, application or audio/video. Zoom allows you to also send computer audio to the remote attendees when sharing a video or audio clip.

To share computer audio such as YouTube, Pandora, etc. during screen sharing, click on Share Computer Sound.

1. Open your Zoom meeting
2. Ensure that you are logged in as the Host
3. Click on the green "Share Screen" icon
4. You will see a pop-up window where you select your desktop or application
5. Click the check box in the lower left that says "Share computer sound"
6. Now when you are in screenshare mode it will play all computer sounds to the audience

July 2020 from

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

We use legos! I ask the kids to pick a Bible story and create it out of legos and bring it to our next meeting. Then we all try to guess what story it is. Sometimes I ask everyone to create the same story. 


Letter writing to stay in touch

I am thankful for the children in our ministry! However, we are currently not having any sort of programming. So I have been staying connected with my Sunday school kids (and other kids in the church who haven't attended Sunday school) by sending them "thinking of you" letters to let them know I am praying for them.   My October mailing has a pumpkin theme.

I am attaching the notecard in case you want to use it (including as a doc file in case you want to edit it). It is a sort of pumpkin devotion/Bible study.

And here are links to some coloring sheets I am including.

Here is a different fall themed card that you could also use.


Celebrating God's love at Valentine's Day, at home or in person

I found some great (FREE!) printables that you can print and mail or drop off for children at home or email links or pdfs to their parents (remembering that not all families have a printer at home). These are also great for an extra activity before in-person Sunday school while you are waiting for everyone to arrive, or to distribute in worship activity packs.

Path Through the Narrow Gate has a nice assortment of activities, including puzzles for readers and love notes for any age to color and share.


Your favorite search engine will help you find all sorts of Bible verses to color, like this one:


And here is a coloring book with a nice summary of 1 Corinthians 13 (print the black and white version of the pdf).


To stay connected with my class (we are not yet having Sunday school), I  mailed my young friends a valentine, reminding them that it is a wonderful day to celebrate our love for God as well as for each other. I enclosed the 1 Corinthians 13 book and told them to look up the full version of 1 Corinthians in the Bible (I explained it was read at my wedding). I also sent a sheet of the Bible verse note cards encouraged them to color and share the Bible verse cards in order to share the Good News of God's love.


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