Have you ever noticed how many boats there are in the Bible? Using boats to help your kids understand the Bible can be a lot of fun – especially as the weather gets warmer! As always, our devotionals are flexible – you pick the Bible story and application principle you believe your kids need the most.
So let’s get started!
Materials: Bible, various materials that could be used to make model boats – aluminum foil, paper, etc., large container of water, pennies
Procedure: Choose one of the following Bible stories and application principles to teach your kids along with this activity.
- Noah. Genesis 6-8. God told Noah to build an Ark. He was going to destroy the world by flood because people had become extremely evil. Noah had to follow God’s instructions for building the Ark exactly as they were given. If he had changed them in any way, the Ark may not have floated or been able to withstand the extreme conditions of the Flood. God has instructions for us to day, too. It’s important your children understand they don’t get to change God’s instructions and still be considered godly (just like Noah). They need to follow God’s instructions exactly, just like Noah did.
- Jonah. Jonah. Jonah’s boat was already built, but it too had to weather a storm. This storm was brought about because Jonah was using that boat to try and escape doing something God had told Him to do. Only when the sailors threw Jonah overboard (where he was swallowed by a big fish), did the storm stop. There are consequences for disobeying God. Repenting can make us right with God (removing potential eternal consequences), but we still may experience earthly consequences for our disobedience.
- Jesus Stills the Storm. Mark 4:35-41, Matthew 8:23-27. The Apostles were on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Suddenly, a fierce storm began, which wasn’t unusual on the Sea of Galilee. What was different though, was that this time Jesus was on the boat with them. The storm must have been extremely strong, because it seems even the fishermen Apostles were frightened. Yet Jesus continued to sleep peacefully. They woke him and begged him to calm the storm. He did, but questioned their lack of faith in needing to awaken him instead of trusting they would be protected. Life is full of storms. Your kids will need to trust Jesus is with them through those storms – even when it appears he may be “sleeping”.
Tell or read from the Bible the story you have chosen. Explain the application points to them. Ask them to share examples of times when they have already begun to learn those principles. If they haven’t experienced anything yet, ask them to share with you times when they could see they may be needed, but difficult to remember. You may also want to share times when you have seen these principles were important.
Pull out your chosen boating materials. Encourage your kids to try and design a boat that could withstand a “storm”. After the boats are built, take them to your “body of water”. You may want to add a few pennies to each boat to represent the people on the boat. Hopefully, your water is somewhere you can get wet and a bit messy. Have your kids mimic the various aspects of a storm for each boat. Which boats “survived” the storm? What was it about them, that made them able to stay afloat? Older kids may be encouraged to see if they can find parallels for what the boats experienced and the application of the Bible lesson you chose.
Close with a time of brief discussion of things you can all do to remember and practice the application principle you learned today.