Who Else Needs Last Minute Sunday School Activities?

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How could she do this to you? You weren't supposed to teach this week. But that was before the assigned teacher got sick.

Of course, you're happy to help. Fortunately, you were just studying that particular text, so you're confident that you know how to present it.

But you still need an activity to reinforce the learning, to add a bit of fun. Normally you'd search, research, and brainstorm, and come up with the perfect activity. And who among us hasn't spent more time than we'd like to admit to, preparing lesson activities. But this time there's no time.

We have all been there, at least once. I know I have. Whether it's filling in for another teacher, or that the demands of job and family took over, sometimes you just don't have time to prepare. Sometimes you have to quickly find an activity that will work - no matter what the actual lesson is this week.

Here is a collection of ideas for activities that will work for any children's Sunday school lesson.

Ideally these activities will take little or no preparation. But even if they do require some extra work, or materials - if you've acted ahead, and have them on hand, you'll have them ready when you need them.

Act It Out

Improvising the story is an activity can be used for any Bible lesson. Having to make up the dialog (except where the dialog is given in the text) helps the children really remember the story. This is a Sunday school activity that will work for any age, but I think it works best for early primary aged children.

Here's how it works. You improvise some props, and make up some starter dialog. Then you assign roles to your players, while the rest of the class is the audience. You give your players their props, and then provide stage direction.

Like so:

John, you're Bartimaeus. You're a blind beggar. Start begging.

(John acts out begging, however he wants.)

Andy, you're Jesus. You're walking on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem with your disciples.

(Andy and the disciples walk)

Bartimaeus, you hear the noise, and you ask what's going on.

(John asks, however he wants)

Crowd, tell Bartimaeus it's Jesus of Nazareth.

(crowd tells)

Bartimaeus, you say: "Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!"

(John does.)

Crowd, tell him to be quiet.

(crowd does.)

Bartimaeus, you say again, louder: "You son of David, have mercy on me!"

(John does.)

Now, Jesus. You stop and ask for Bartimaeus to be brought to you.

(Andy does)

Crowd, bring Bartimaeus to Jesus.

(crowd does)

Jesus, ask Bartimaeus, "What do you want me to do?"

(Andy does)

Bartimaeus, say: "Lord, that I may see again."

(John does)

Jesus, say: "Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you."

(Andy does)

Bartimaeus, you can see - follow Jesus and glorify God.

(John does, in any way he likes. If he can't think of a way, you might suggest something.)

Crowd, you just saw a miracle. Praise God

(the crowd begins praising God, in whatever way they think of.)

Switch parts, and do it again. And again and again.

As the children work out the parts, the need for stage directing fades away. If you have enough time, you'll end up with a perfectly scripted bible play.

As for props, the simplest things will do. Repurpose things in the classroom, borrow things from the kitchen or office. Consider using your own clothes.

When I did this lesson activity in an early-primary classroom, a bread basket from the Church kitchen became Bartimaeus's beggar's bowl, and my shawl that I wore to Church that day became Jesus's over-garment. Just those two props, and my mostly second graders had a ball re-enacting the story.

What Last Minute Sunday School Activities Have You Discovered?

Help build a resource we can call on as we work to ensure that our children continue to grow in faith, through the Grace of our Lord, and our teaching mission.

Please share your suggestions for activities that can easily be adapted to use with many different lessons, and that take little prepraration.

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Last Minute Sunday School Activities

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