She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
Christmas is about Jesus, the One sent by the Father to save us from our sins. It is critical that our children learn the truth about Christmas. Christmas is a time of joy, of celebration, of hope. Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with our kids.
If you are looking for fun, energetic, joyful Christmas curriculum that focuses on sharing the gospel with your kids, check out “The Gift of Advent” from the Go-Fish Guys.
The Go-Fish Guys have made a name for themselves in children’s ministry circles for producing high-quality, fun, exciting, gospel-focused children’s music and now curriculum.
This video is a brief description of their brand-new Christmas curriculum.
This video is one of the songs included in the curriculum which underscores the focus on gospel truth.
It’s Sunday morning and as you walk past a classroom you hear:
The last book of the Bible – Revelation!
The Son of God – Jesus!
A title for a king of Egypt – Pharaoh!
The kids are playing Bible Blurt!
Bible Blurt is a card game that can be played with a large or small group of kids ages 8 and up. Bible Blurt is a fun way to review what the kids have been learning and to have fun together. Bible Blurt is great to play with kids who have grown up in the church and with kids who have never read the Bible before. Unchurched kids will not feel left-out as there are plenty of questions that don’t require Bible knowledge.
Here’s how you play:
The official card game rules state that the object is to collect 10 cards by being the quickest to blurt the answers to 10 definitions. The cards are passed around and a definition is read. The child who blurts the correct answer first gets the card. Play continues until someone has 10 cards.
My husband taught a grades 4-6 class and he introduced this game to his students. He came up with some fun ways to vary the game.
He taught in a theatre-like classroom with stairs so he stood at the top of the stairs. The class stood at the bottom. Anyone who shouted out the correct answer moved up one step.
He also played a team version of the game. He split the class into 2 teams and read out definitions. The team who blurted the answer first got the point.
Bible Blurt is available for purchase on amazon.ca for less than $8. You can also make up definitions yourself and play with your class. You can make it specific to what you have been learning and to the kids in your class.
I recommend Bible Blurt. It’s fun, it’s Biblical, it gets everybody involved and doesn’t leave anybody out.
If you are looking for a fun, inexpensive game to play with your kids, check out Bible Blurt.
I have just finished reading the best material I have seen on teaching children how to respond to conflict.
The Young Peace Maker – Teaching Students to Respond to Conflict God’s Way by Corlette Sande was published in 1997. It and the accompanying student activity books are well-written, biblical, and age-appropriate.
This material includes 12 lessons for kids in grades 3-6 on responding to conflict God’s way. Kids deal with conflict every day – at home, at school, at play. It is vital that they learn how to handle conflict. Knowing how to handle conflict the right way brings glory to God and ensures healthy relationships.
This material helps kids to understand why we have conflict with each other, how to prevent it, how to deal with it when it happens, how to accept responsibility for our role in conflict, and how to give and receive forgiveness.
The following 12 key principles are expanded upon:
Conflict is a slippery slope.
Conflict starts in the heart.
Choices have consequences.
Wise-way choices are better than my-way choices.
The blame game makes conflict worse.
Conflict is an opportunity.
The 5A’s can resolve conflict.
Forgiveness is a choice.
It’s never too late to start doing what’s right.
Think before you speak.
Respectful communication is more likely to be heard.
A respectful appeal can prevent conflict.
I particularly like the way lessons are laid out in this material. The author begins each lesson clearly stating the key verse, lesson goal, lesson objectives, key principle, and lesson needs. The lesson is then presented in a logical, easy-to-follow manner. And then the author includes a lesson summary that briefly describes the main points of the lesson.
These lessons can be daunting – they are long and there is a lot of material to cover. However, the author has laid out the lesson very well; especially the lesson outline and the lesson summary. I would suggest using the lesson summary as a way of customizing the lesson. Write out the main points as outlined in the lesson summary and write the key principle at the top of the page. Now fill in each section with the lesson material. You can customize the lesson further by using examples that your students are familiar with or situations that have occurred in your classroom.
Some of the lessons are quite long (especially if you are using this material for Sunday School.) You may want to separate a lesson into 2 lessons if there is a lot of material to cover and you don’t want to rush it. For example lesson 8 “The Freedom of Forgiveness” is a very long lesson but it is full of excellent material. It can easily be separated into 2 lessons. There are 6 objectives for this lesson. One lesson could cover objectives 1-3 and a second lesson could cover objectives 4-6.
This material is not expensive and therefore a good option for church’s with a limited budget. The teacher manual costs $19.95 (US.) A set of student activity books is $14.95. There is also a 4 poster set available for $5.95. The student activity books are the most expensive part of this material. One option would be to purchase one set for the class rather than a set for each child (that could get very expensive!) There is good stuff in there for you to use. The cartoon version of the story gives the kids something to follow along with as you tell the story. There are activity ideas as well that are not in the teacher manual.
Resources are not included with this material, but it is easy and inexpensive to create visuals and memory aids of your own. An important teaching tool used to explain our reactions to conflict is called “The Slippery Slope.” A copy of this is available in the teacher’s manual and the student manual. You could enlarge this poster and maybe have your class color it and attach it to a larger colorful piece of poster board. This can be put up in your classroom area for the entire series as a great reminder of how we react to conflict.
Another idea is to make posters of the key principles from each lesson and put them up in your classroom to help the kids remember what they are learning. Here is an example of a poster I made for lesson 1 – Conflict is a slippery slope.This is a poster idea for lesson 2 – Conflict starts in the heart. They are not high tech or complicated, but they are effective in reminding kids of the important things you want them to know.
Also consider making posters of each key verse and hang those in your class.
This material can be used for Sunday School, summer programming, mid-week club material, small group material, or even mentoring material.
I really liked this idea given in the teacher’s manual:
Set up a Peace Table or Problem Solving Corner where students can go to resolve their conflicts after they have learned how to do so. When they come to tattle on each other, simply send them to the peace table to work out the problem. Then have them report back to you as to how they resolved the conflict. (page 15)
This material is available from www.peacemaker.net. You can also find it on www.amazon.ca and www.christianbook.com.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
Here are my last 10 top picks from Sovereign Grace Kids. To see the first 10 click here.
1. Good & Gracious (To Be Like Jesus cd)
This is an upbeat song that focuses on the fact that God is good and gracious. God is good all the time and God is gracious to us. Children may need an explanation of what gracious means. As with many SovereignGraceKids songs, the gospel is highlighted in this song. Because God is good and gracious, He sent Jesus to die for our sins. “Good and gracious; You’re our Creator. Good and gracious to all You’ve made. Good and gracious; You never change. There’s goodness in everything You do.”
2. Make Me Wise (Walking with the Wise cd)
This is a fun song to sing with kids about the need for wisdom when making choices every day. This is something kids understand. They make choices everyday – good and bad. Teaching them that God will help them to make good choices; that God will give them wisdom if they ask for it is important. “Make me wise. Make me wise. Let me see through this world’s lies. There are so many paths to follow and I don’t want to compromise. Make me wise. Make me wise so I’m pleasing in Your sight. Lord, I want to bring You glory, so I’m asking You to make me wise.”
3. I Don’t Have to Hide (Walking with the Wise cd)
This is a good transitional song – to help you move from high energy songs to slower more worshipful songs. ‘I Don’t Have to Hide’ is a song that highlights the mercy of God. We are all sinners. We have all tried to hide the wrong we have done or hide from the consequences of our sin. The wonderful news proclaimed in this song is that because Jesus died, we don’t have to hide anymore. “If I confess my sins, I’ll find mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord and admits his sin. Blessed is the one who trusts the Lord, who alone forgives. Jesus died so I don’t have to hide anymore.” There is little that needs explanation in this song. Make sure you talk with your kids about what blessed means and about what mercy means. This song is based on Proverbs 28:13 “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
4. You Are Always With Me (Awesome God cd)
This song is sung as a prayer and is based on Psalm 139. “You are always with me, Jesus. Where could I go? Where could I hide? You are always with me, Jesus. Where could I go? You never leave my side.” This is a song of hope for kids to remember that as followers of Jesus, they are never alone. Jesus is always with us. This is an upbeat song, but not high energy. It’s a good transition song.
5. A Generous Heart (Walking with the Wise cd)
‘A Generous Heart’ is a transitional song that focuses on our God being the giver of all good things. God is a generous God and loves those who are generous. “God loves a generous heart. Cause that’s a heart like His own heart.” This song reminds us of just a few of the things God has generously given us – reminding us that God gave us Jesus who went to the cross to take the penalty for our sin.
6. Make Me Faithful (To Be Like Jesus cd)
This is a high energy song that I have sung often with kids. It is a lot of fun to sing and full of important truth. The focus of this song is Jesus. Jesus is faithful – He does what He says He will do; He keeps His promises; He follows through. When the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, we become faithful like Jesus. “I want to be like You are. I want to be faithful. Help me to be like You are. Oh make me faithful.”
7. Who Can Say? (Walking with the Wise cd)
Proverbs 20:9 says, “Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?” I love that this song makes the connection to Jesus. Jesus is the only one who is without sin – Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross so that we can have new life. It is a song of praise for who Jesus is and what He has done. This is a slow song – “Jesus, Jesus, only You did everything right. Jesus, Jesus, died and rose so we could have new life.”
8. Where it All Begins (Walking with the Wise cd)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) The fear of the Lord is an important concept for kids to understand. Kids need to know that God is worthy of our deep respect. I like this song because it doesn’t back away from a potentially difficult subject – instead it sticks to scripture and explains what it means to fear the Lord. It is my prayer that our kids will stand in awe of our great God!
9. Forever God (Awesome God cd)
This is a fun song – there is some repetition, but it serves to highlight the focus of this song – “Forever You remain unchanged. And though all else will fade, You will be the same. You go on and on and on and on and on. On and on and on and on. Forever You are God.” This is an upbeat song that focuses our attention on the eternal, unchanging nature of God. Our God is a forever God!
10. Sovereign One (Awesome God cd)
“When I am alone and afraid I will trust in You for You watch over my ways.” This song immediately grabs attention because feeling alone and afraid is something that every child can relate to. Giving our kids the truth of a big God who is in complete control and who is always with them is so important. I love this song! Using music to teach big truths about God is a great idea. As kids learn this song, they will also be learning what it means that God is sovereign. This is a slow song and because it is sung as a prayer, kids have the opportunity to truly worship as they focus on God. “Sovereign One, You work all things to Your plan. Sovereign One, You hold all things in Your hand.”
I had to stop myself at 20 – SovereignGraceKids have produced excellent cd’s that can be listened to at home and music that can be sung together at a worship service. Finding good music for kids that they can relate to, that is God-centered and gospel-focused is not always easy. I highly recommend SovereignGraceKids – you will find music that kids like, and songs that truly engage our hearts in worship of our great God!