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The following list is for ideas and resources for teaching the story of Zaccheus that don't fit into the other categories (video, art, etc) listed in this forum.

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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Where Kids Plug into the Story of Zaccheus

There are a number of touchpoints in the story that kids can relate to:

  • Being shorter than most people.
  • Being blocked by adults.
  • Being or feeling excluded.
  • Being or feeling unpopular.
  • Being accused (rightfully or not) of something bad.
  • Climbing a tree.
  • Feeling excluded from "the family."
  • Lacking friends.
  • Being laughed at.
  • Feeling unworthy, unloved, left out.
  • Wondering who Jesus is.
  • Wanting to "see" Jesus but struggling to know how or where to look.
  • The feeling of acceptance by someone you look up to.
  • Being singled out for special treatment by someone you look up to.
  • Having the opportunity to spend time with someone you look up to.
  • Suddenly being included, accepted, and made to feel part of the team.
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

About Zaccheus' "Sycamore" Tree

They still exist in Jericho today. They have big fat trunks and Willow Trees. But the "sycamore" Luke describes is not the American Sycamore, rather, it is the common FIG TREE found throughout the Middle East and Africa. That's right, Zaccheus climbed a FRUIT TREE! The Greek word Luke uses is sykomorea (fig tree).

The Bible Background to our Writing Team's Zaccheus lesson set describes Zaccheus' Fig Tree and talks about some very interesting (and teachable) things about figs!


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  • SycamoreFigTreeJericho
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Forgiveness Themes

In this story is the wonderful lesson of forgiveness.
VeggieTown Family Values VBS (1998-2001) material used the story of Zaccheus to help children understand forgiveness.
The aim "I can forgive others because God can forgive me."
We see the need for forgiveness throughout this story. Zach' need for forgiveness from God. Forgiveness to those who have scorned him. Forgivenss of those he has cheated. Those in the crowd also need to seek forgiveness for their attitudes.
They suggest using the additional verse - Ephesians 4:32.
This VBS curriculum had some good thoughts to share on this as well as good discussion questions for the kids to think on.

Moderator added following comment:  VeggieTales has a DVD called "God Wants Me to Forgive Them?!", more details about this DVD here in the Unforgiving Servant forum.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Movement Idea

This is an idea for a motion canon we used for retelling the story. (In a motion canon, the leader does one rhythmic action for, say, 8 beats; the children mimic that action while the leader starts a new one for 8 beats.)

To begin, the children can simply follow the leader, 'do what I do'. Our Zaccheus action starts with 8 beats of carefree walking in place, then 8 beats of trying to see over taller people (on tiptoes to right then left), 8 beats of 'bright idea': fatuous look on face while touching temple with forefinger), 8 beats of climbing tree hand over hand, 8 beats of contentedly enjoying the view, 8 beats of 'who? me?' pointing to ground and then to self, 8 beats of climbing down tree, 8 beats of walking arm in arm with Jesus.

To do this in canon, the leader starts with the first 8 beats, the children mimic the first action while the leader moves on to the next, etc.

As a three-part canon, one group repeats after the leader while the second group watches the first group and repeats after them.

It was not difficult to get them to understand this idea (we have a mix of ages, however). The first time I did it, I didn't tell them there was a story, just 'do what I do', and they figured it out rather quickly.    Doris Johnson posted May 04, 2001

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Science Ideas

  1. Use a compass. Shake it up and it will always return to true North.
  2. There is a science experiment (although I can't remember the formula) of (I think) cornstarch and water, achieve a heavy, thick like sauce (like banana bread batter) and put it into an ice cream pail. If you punch it with a fist, it will be hard as stone and your hand will not hurt, but it will just bounce off. But if you break the surface gently, like diving your hand into it slowly, it will be like soup! Perhaps a Chemistry teacher out there can assist with this, this was 14 years ago for me!
    Posted by jerrie lynn -The cornstarch mix is one box of cornstarch to almost a cup of water. Add water slowly to make sure the mix isn't too thin.
    Jerrie Lynn
  3. Cookies with a high content of butter tend to "spread out" or level out on a cookie sheet from the blobs that they once were.
  4. In carpentry, a plum line will always direct to a correct level and vertical line. Also, a "Level" for horizontal planes.
  5. Children's toys "weeble woobles" I see they are now available again (can you tell I am a child of the 1970's)

That's all I have for now, best wishes!

Heidi Jo Sovacool
Ladysmith, WI

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Cooking Idea


Make vegetable soup for shut-ins or the homeless; create breadstick dough shapes welcoming others.


In our cooking workshop for Zacchaeus we asked the kids to think about who are among the outcasts, the rejected and the lonely of today (the homeless, the sick etc.) and to consider something we could do to welcome them to our church. The kids then made vegetable soup that we froze for shutins, those who had just come out of the hospital, and the sick. We also gave some of it to the homeless the week our church provided shelter for them. While the soup was cooking they took refrigerator breadsticks (the kind that come in a paper tube in the refrigerated section of the grocery) and formed them into shapes of people welcoming others.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Zacchaeus was our story last month, and we focused on repentance and a changed heart


We're keeping the story in mind now by calling a song titled "Change My Heart, Lord" Zacchaeus's theme song.

Last edited by Luanne Payne


"Zacchaeus and Jesus" by Dandi Daley Mackall (Flipside Stories Series), 2016, Tyndale, 9781496411198 (nice size  Hardcover 10" x 10") .Book Zacchaeus and Jesus

Neat idea here! —two stories, two perspectives.  Colourful artwork along with easy to read text using a two-sided flip book approach. One story through the perspective of Zacchaeus, then flip the book and read the story through the perspective of Jesus!


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  • Book Zacchaeus and Jesus
Last edited by Luanne Payne

A Google Earth Tour of Ancient and Modern Jericho

Attached to this post are several reference maps I've created using Google Earth to demonstrate what could be used by a teacher to illustrate a "Jericho Talk" using a computer connected to the internet.

Jericho Notes:

Modern Jericho is much bigger than it was in Zaccheus' day, in part due to modern agricultural methods and the presence of Palestinian refugee camps on its borders. As you can see by the linked Google map and images below, Jericho in the time of Zaccheus and Jesus was also much bigger than it was in the Old Testament time of Joshua (circa 1400 B.C.). That means "ancient" Jericho was already in ruins when Jesus and Zaccheus would have seen it. Read more about Jericho in our Zaccheus Bible Background.

Things to look for on the Google Earth map:

Look for "Tel Jericho" the brown hills at the southern tip of the Ein Al Sutan refugee camp marked on Google Earth. "Tel" is the Hebrew word for "mound or hill." (In Arabic it is spelled "Tal.") For reference, look at the map marker for the cable car tourist attraction which goes over the ruins. Click the "street view" icon and click the road that goes by the ruins to see what the ruins of Jericho look like today (also pictured below). Question: What "lesson" or meaning do you think Jesus and Zaccheus would have taken away from a visit to these ruins?

Look for the "Wadi Kelt" (also spelled "Qelt") and otherwise known as the River Prat which comes out of the Judean highlands and crosses Jericho. This area of Jericho is the historic agricultural part of Jericho and the town center. Many springs dot the area. It is very likely that wealthy Zaccheus lived in this "green" area. The Jewish royal family had winter palaces up in the hills above the Wadi. By the time of Jesus, the Romans had appointed a governor to rule the region around Jerusalem. One of them was named Pilate, and it is very likely Zaccheus—who also worked for the Romans—had met him. Question: How do you think Zaccheus reacted to news of Jesus' death at the hands of his boss, Pontius Pilate?

The city's "center" moved throughout history. The ruins of Joshua's Jericho (circa 1400 BC) are north of today's city center. Over time, the center moved south along the Wadi Kelt/Prat River, between the Hasmonean Palaces at the entrance to the highlands and the fields east along the river. Tradition places Zaccheus' Jericho along this river.

Look for the site of Jesus Baptism on the Jordan River. Notice how close it is to Jericho. Read Luke 3:1-22 which describes John baptizing people there, including tax collectors and Jesus! Question: Zaccheus had no doubt heard about John baptizing Jews (including tax collectors) in the Jordan River. Do you think Zaccheus was one of them? Why or why not?

Zoom out and look at various points along the Road to Jericho/Jerusalem. Click the "person walking" icon to highlight the road, then click points on the road to go to the "Road View" for close-up views of what the journey looks like today. This was the road Jesus walked after vising with Zaccheus, and the dangerous road on which the parable of the "Good Samaritan" is set. Question: How many people do you think Jesus encountered along this road and what do you think he might have said to them? What road in your area would you be most likely to encounter Jesus walking today?

Click to enlarge:



Above: Tel Jericho, the ruins of "ancient" Jericho from Joshua's time.


Where to find the "street view" icon on Google Earth:


The road between Jerusalem and Jericho.


Photo of Road to Jericho from another source (there are many online):


Jericho is known as an oasis in the Judean wilderness fed by many springs and winter runoff from the highlands. It hosted the winter palaces of Hasmoneans -- the royal family of King Herod.



Images (6)
  • RoadtoJericho
  • Google-Streetview
  • Google-Jericho1
  • GoogleEarthJericho
  • RoadtoJericho1
  • oasisofjericho
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

I would like to put in a plug for my book on this resource page.  Zacchaeus and Me is the most recent book in The Bible and Me series of books.  Learn more about the book and see the 4 life lessons I recommend using this book to lead your children/family in their faith journey, and of course purchase it from Amazon.

Through August 2021, you can use the code SUMMER2021 to get $5.00 off each book ordered. Thanks for checking it out! The coupon code is only for use when ordering straight from The Bible and Me website, not from Amazon.  But I encourage you to watch my books on Amazon -every once in a while they make them available at really discounted prices.

Note from Looks like a great book Martha Ann! Thanks for the lessons too.


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  • mceclip1
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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