"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
The hands close tightly around "something" to show that a person has a good hold on it.
Make the shape "L" with the right hand. Place it on the left shoulder, then on the right waist (showing a sash like a king would wear).
Hold out your left hand with the palm facing your body. The right hand faces palm out at shoulder height and makes a circle around the left hand, ending with the back of the right hand in the palm of the left. (Shows that everything (all) is included.)
The right middle finger taps the chest twice over the area of the heart.
The right forefinger is resting on the back of the left forefinger to represent the concept of relying (depending) on someone or something.
Place the right "S" hand (fist) before the forehead, palm facing self, and snap the index finger up (shows that suddenly the light goes on).
The students will put together school supply kits for Lutheran World Relief. (Refer to bottom of lesson for more info on Lutheran World Relief.)
Book of Esther
“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” --Esther 4: 14b
Review Bible Background notes.
Pray for the children and for your teaching of the lesson.
Pencils, crayons, markers, paper, scissors
Map of where Lutheran World Relief sent school kits in the past year
Backpacks (see description from Lutheran World Relief)
School Supplies (see list from Lutheran World Relief). Currently, each backpack is stuffed with (4) 70-sheet notebooks, (1) 30 cm ruler, (1) pencil sharpener, (1) blunt scissors, (5) unsharpened #2 pencils secured with a rubber band, (5) blue or black ink pens secured with a rubber band—no gel inks, (1) box of 16 or 24 crayons, and (1) 2 ½ inch eraser.
Bible Storybook Ideas:
You may read the story from the Bible or a Bible storybook (make sure that the children know this is a true Bible story and not a storybook). Or you may use:
Through the Bible in Felt—Felt Board and Figures
See list in Bible Background
Advance Preparation Requirements:
Refer to schedule and decide how you will make adjustments for the different ages.
Obtain supplies from the SS storage areas the week BEFORE you teach (just in case supplies are missing, etc)
If you are using a Bible storybook, check to see if it is there.
We will have been making announcements to the Sunday School and to the church asking for donations of supplies. A member has been making the backpacks per the instructions from the website.
Determine if you will need any more supplies to make complete backpacks. We will be using our offering money to purchase additional items as needed (as well as pay the shipping costs).
Set up several tables in a long row. Each “station” on the tables will have the various supplies: a station for notebooks, a station for rulers, etc. At each station, put an index card with the name of the supply and the number that you will put into each backpack. For instance, you would write “Notebooks—4” or “Scissors—1”.
You will need to remove all of the supplies from their packaging before class begins.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Introduce yourself to the students.
Introduce the day’s story/station and the main learning purpose:
This rotation is about a queen named Esther. God had a plan for her life—he used her to save the Jews from destruction. The Jewish people today still remember this story when they celebrate Purim. Part of the celebration of Purim involves giving gifts to people in need. We will be helping children in need around the world with our mission project.
Open with a prayer.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Please make sure that the students hear and “get” the Bible story as well as the application of that story to their lives. The Bible story is the MOST important part of the lesson—it is much more important than the activity associated with this station
We are going to hear the story of Esther. It is an entire book of the Bible and too long to read right now in class. So I will read it from a Children’s Bible Storybook. Then we will learn a little about the group that we are supporting with our mission project. And THEN we will put together our school supply kits.
Read the story from one of the stories listed in Bible Storybook Ideas.
Ask a few questions about the Bible story. You can ask:
Factual questions (Who, What, When, Where, etc)
Why questions (Why did they do this, why did this happen, etc)
What do you think or feel about what happened?
Application questions—some examples (How were their lives different because….. and how would your life be different; Was……..different or harder in Bible times than it would be now; what would this look like today; how could you……….)
Learning about our Mission Project
The Jewish people remember this story every year when they celebrate Purim. Part of the Purim celebration involves helping people in need. Lutheran World Relief is an organization that works with people all over the world to help provide solutions to poverty, injustice, and human suffering. One way they do this is by providing things that people need. Last year, we put together the hygiene kits (with towels and soap and toothbrushes and such). This time, we are putting together school supply kits.
>Why are these school supplies so important? To the children who get these kits, it can mean the difference between getting an education—or not. The schools may be free in their countries, but even these few simple supplies may be more than the families can afford. If money—and supplies—are tight, then maybe only one of the children in the family will be able to go to school. We want to help all of the children to be able to go to school.
Last year, Lutheran World Relief sent over 150,000 hygiene kits to people in need—and that included the kits that WE put together! Last year, they sent over 260,000 school kits to children in need.
(Refer to the map when you talk about the places listed next) They sent school kits to children in places like Afghanistan, Armenia, Haiti, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and many other places. Who knows where our kits will end up.
Putting the Kits Together
Explain the process to the students. There will be 2 groups. One group of students will be assigned to the various stations of supplies—1 student per station. The other group will be carrying the backpacks down the line of the various stations. I would recommend that the youngest students be assigned to the backpack group.
Older students especially should be assigned to the pencil and pen groups, since they will need to be wrapping rubber bands around the groups of pens and pencils (perhaps these 2 stations will need 2 students each).
Have the students in the backpack group each take a backpack and hold it open. They should go down the line of stations and get the school supplies from each station. The teacher and guides should keep an eye on things to make sure that all items (and the correct number of items is going in each backpack). Completed backpacks should be tightened up and placed on another table.
Place all of the backpacks together on a table. Announce how many backpacks have been put together to help boys and girls all around the world. Have the students and adults gather around the table and place a hand on the backpacks.
Say a prayer asking a blessing on the school kits and the children that will be receiving them.
Take a picture of the students and the backpacks to put on the bulletin board and for the church newsletter.
End in prayer.
1. Older students: See lesson
2. Younger students: See lesson
Resources -- Lutheran World Relief
Here are several helpful websites about the organization:
Free Bible illustrations by Richard Gunther contributed to freeBibleimages.org and licensed for non-commercial teaching use. Good for teaching with non-readers and for using as "charade" or Pictionary clues, and for story-ordering games.
I have collected ideas for telling the story of Queen Esther and celebrating Purim on a budget - scenery, groggers, and all!
In Jewish tradition, children would go to the Synagogue twice in celebration of Purim, where the entire book of Esther would be read. (I trust my readers are familiar with this story, if not, read it in one sitting and get familiar with it.) It is one service where everyone is encouraged to be noisy. As the story is read, every time the name of Haman is mentioned, everyone from young to old, stamp their feet, shake their groggers and make noise to drown out the wicked man's name. I think it is a brilliant way of getting children to engage in the story and become curious to learn who this Haman is. I'm not sure that is why the tradition developed, but it's a great by product.
Groggers in worship
For starters, if you aren't Jewish, you could ask your pastor if you could do something similar in your church service the Sunday before Purim. It would be a sort of children's sermon. Here's the plan:
Pick a section of Esther to read that has Haman's name in it a lot. Or put a few sections together with his name in it.
Have kids make groggers in your kid's program the week before.
Let the kids come to the front and sit on the floor around the leader. Briefly sum up the story in the church service. (Bad guy Haman doesn't like it that a Jew won't bow down to him. Bad guy devises plan to get all Jews killed. Good lady Queen Esther risks her life going to the king and begs for the life of her people.)
Instruct the adults that as you read, when they hear the name of Haman they can shake their keys if they have some, stomp their feet and shout boo along with the children. Children, of course, can shake their groggers.
Then do it. When you finish reading the portion, recap that Esther prayed and then went to the king and her people were saved.
Acting Out Esther and the King in Sunday school
Make a throne room, a throne, and a scepter. The videos below show you how.
Then, after sharing the story, have the kids take turns being Esther and the King. Esther has to walk in to the throne room. If the King extends his scepter, she is allowed to come before him. If he does not, the "guards" will take Esther away. Help children to understand that Esther was risking her life to do this.
Add a life application to this re-enactment game: have the "Esther" tell the king her (his) plan for helping others or of a prayer concern in the community.
How to make the throne room wall
How to make a throne
How to make ascepter
We also made scepters for the kids to take home from dowels and wooden dowel endcaps. I got the idea from Debbie Jackson's blog Bible Fun for Kids. Here is the post with her instructions for making the scepters. I left off the wood doll pin stand and used a standard end cap for the "ball" at the end of the scepter.
Telling the story with pictures
Free Bible Images has excellent pictures for telling the story of Esther. You can print them up or download them into a Power Point presentation. There are ten different sets of images to chose from.
Service projects and other traditions
There are several other traditions that have developed for the celebration of Purim which are beneficial for children to learn to do.
Giving to the needy (caring for the less fortunate): Special emphasis is placed on this the day of Purim. You can take a meal to someone in need, give to a local food bank, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or donate to a charity that helps others. Learning to give is a fundamental Christian principle, and this is a great time to teach it. Because the Jews were almost killed by Haman, they were all endangered together. From that, the teaching is to stand together, and that includes helping those among you to stand.
Send gifts of food to friends (people within your Christian circle of friends). This teaches caring within the body of Christ.
Moderator's note: This resource is from Rotation.org member Joan Eppehimer's KidFrugal blog, which she is sharing here at Rotation.org in order to preserve it for posterity and make it available more widely with our community. It is part of a large group of lessons and resources that she developed to make "ministry happen when there are no resources to make it happen." Thank you, Joan, for sharing your creativity with our community!
You can read more about Joan and her ministry here.
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