“It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” Matthew 10:42
Team Game: Steal the Beans
This game can be used to introduce the idea that sometimes we just think about ourselves and often our success depends on others losing out.
Five hoops are arranged with one in each corner and the other in the centre of the room. Place an equal number of beanbags in each hoop. Divide the players into four teams and have each team stand in a line behind their designated hoop. The object of the game is to steal beanbags from the centre and outside hoops, return them to the home hoop, and have the highest number of beanbags at the end of play. On a starting signal, the first player from each team runs to the centre hoop or any one of the outside hoops to “steal” a beanbag. After returning the beanbag to the home hoop, the player runs to the back of his or team line, and the next player then begins. After all the beanbags have been taken from the centre hoop, players must steal from the hoops of the other teams. The following rules are to be enforced:
• A player can take only one beanbag at a time.
• Only one player from each team can be stealing at one time.
• No team can defend or protect its beanbags from being stolen.
• No throwing allowed. Beanbags must be “placed” in the hoop by each returning player.
At the end of a designated time period, the team with the most beanbags in their hoop is declared the winner. A scoring alternative is to have each team try to be the first to reach a predetermined number of beanbags.
Object Lesson: Achieve More Together
This object can be used to show that we achieve more by working together rather than competing with one another.
Choose two volunteers who are about the same weight and similar strength. (For the purpose of explaining the illustration, we’ll call them Jack and Gill.)
Jack and Jill stand facing each other, with a rubber ring between them – they each hold on to the ring with one hand, leaving their other hand free to reach out behind them.
Ask an adult leader/volunteer to stand about two metres behind Jack, holding a bowl containing three sweets for him. Ask a second leader to stand about two metres behind Jill, again holding a bowling containing the same number of sweets.
Tel Jack and Jill that they have 30 seconds to get as many sweets as possible out of their own bowl. They are only allowed to collect one sweet at a time, so each time they get one, they have to return to the centre point.
Jack and Jill will automatically think that this means tug of war and will pull against each other. The 30 seconds will probably pass very quickly with Jack and Jill struggling to get even one of their sweets, let alone all three!
When they have failed, tell them that it is possible for them both to manage to get all three of their sweets. How is this possible? The clue is that Jack and Jill moved together in the same direction, taking turns to travel together to each other’s bowl, the goal can be achieved. Let them try again, this time working together and travelling in the same direction.
Is it easier competing against each other or working together? Why?
Object Lesson: Sharing the burden
This activity can be helpful to help children consider that some people in our communities need support.
Begin by calling an older child to the front. Ask them to hold two bibles with their arms outstretched.
Give them a few seconds to feel the weight and ask them if this is getting hard. The delay is key to making the task harder with fewer books. If they are ready for more, carefully place another book on the stack. Repeat this process until the books slide off or they struggle to hold the books up. Be sure to catch the books to prevent injury. Most kids will lose the balance of the books and they will slide off.
Invite another child to try this “strong” test. This will work best if you choose one of the smaller/younger children. Always congratulate them for the effort, but remark how hard it must be to keep adding weight.
Explain the point, “This is like life. There are times when it feels easy and everything is going to plan. Then there are other times when it feels like we are carrying the weight of the world and we struggle to keep everything together. Church is at it’s best when it’s a group of people who share and support one another. Let’s get some helpers to try our hard task together.”
Invite the younger child to try the task again but this time with the older child standing behind giving support to the younger participant’s hands. They should be able to hold more books together, remark how it’s still hard but much easier than doing it alone.
From a visual point of view the young people will be in a cross shape with their arms outstretched.
This object lesson deals with a common error we all make when thinking about the church. Often we can think of it as another place we go rather than seeing church as a group of friends who spend time together and support one another.
In what ways might we be stronger by working together?
Craft: Shadow Box Frame Piggy Bank
This craft involves making your own piggy bank. It could be used to encourage children and young people to save their change and collect it for a particular charity to help support those in need.
Step 1: Take all the pieces of your frame apart and you can discard the cardboard piece that would back your picture.
Step 2: Glue the glass into the frame. Do your best not to get too much glue on the very edge, otherwise it might seep onto the glass where you might see it.
Step 3: While the glue is drying, prepare the back of the frame. You could add part of today’s reading or add a slogan like ‘Be the Change You Want to See in the World’. You can also add lettering to the glass. Sharpies can be used to draw images or phrases on the inside of the glass frame.
Step 4: Cut down your background paper to fit inside your box. Measure where you want your coin slot to be. It would be easier to have the slot on the top of the frame.
Step 6: Obviously if you’re doing this activity with younger children you could cut the slots in the frames before-hand.
Step 7: Add your picture to the inside of the frame and piece everything back together.
Cran-Apple Cider: Rim glass with cinnamon sugar. Combine equal parts cranberry juice and apple cider. Garnish with a rock-candy swizzle stick
Chocolate Mocktini: Coat inside of glass with chocolate syrup. Blend together 1/2 cup chocolate milk, 1 cup mint-chocolate chip ice cream, and 4 ice cubes. Garnish with candy cane.
Shirley Temple: Rim glass with pink Pop Rocks. Add 4 Tbsp grenadine syrup to 16 ounces ginger ale. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Sparkling Sangria: Add sliced apples, strawberries, oranges, and frozen grapes to sparkling grape juice. Garnish with a candy fruit gel slice.
Faux Champagne:Combine equal parts ginger ale, white grape juice, and pineapple or orange juice. Garnish with frozen grapes and a curly straw.
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