Did you know a few strips of scrap leather and some ping pong balls can teach your kids a lot about identifying, developing and using their gifts from God? That’s right. You see the story of David and Goliath has a lot more to teach us than we generally realize, because we don’t understand a lot about shepherding and warfare in ancient Israel.
David was the youngest of a lot of boys. They were old enough to join the army fighting the Philistines. He was left at home to care for the family flocks. Your kids will be interested to learn the family wealth at the time was generally in their herds. Entrusting David to care for the flocks would be like you withdrawing all of your cash from the bank and giving it to your child to keep safe from being lost, stolen or eaten. (Okay, no one would probably eat your cash, but you see the point!)
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If you haven’t introduced your kids to the fun of playing with real clay, I encourage you to buy some at your local craft store. Don’t get the play clay or the colored clay strips, but the real gray clay potters use.
Take your kids outside and spread out a plastic tablecloth or something that can be easily wiped down. Place a bowl of water where your kids can periodically wet their hands to smooth their creation. Cut off a block of clay and encourage them to create a pot or dish.
As they work, share with your kids that in Bible times people couldn’t go to Target and buy dishes when they needed them. Everything was created by them from clay or by a local potter. They would have been very familiar with how a potter formed dishes and pots, as they probably had to go to a pottery studio more than once to commission or purchase pieces. The ideas the Bible shares about God as the potter and people as the items he creates from clay would have made perfect sense to them.
Unless your kids work with clay, they may never understand all of these verses on the level they were meant to be understood. Here are some of the lessons you can share with them as they work with their clay:
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Have you ever really thought about how children are taught about the death of Jesus? When they are young, the story is sanitized quite a bit. Even if the beatings and other horrific aspects are mentioned, they are told in story form. A child who has never been exposed to the things in the story will have little understanding of what really happened.
Teens may get exposure to one of the more realistic movies that act out the details very graphically. The problem is when older children reach the age of accountability (which differs from child to child), they are often too young to see these “R” rated movies and only have the sanitized version of the cross in their minds.
Part of becoming a Christian for many is understanding the depth of the sacrifice Jesus made so we can have forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. If the sacrifice Jesus made was no big deal, they may feel perhaps faith isn’t really that important. Think about it. God could have chosen a much less horrible way for Jesus to take our place and yet He didn’t. There is something in the details of what happened that is important to our faith.
So how can you help older children and young teens understand the details of the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made a little better? A few affordable visual aids and some basic facts can help them begin to understand the enormity of what happened to Jesus. We did this in a Bible class of 5th and 6th graders recently, but they are things you can easily do at home:
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Last week in Creating Christian Games for Kids, I detailed how to create game boards that would last and could be used to create multiple games. A reader contacted me wanting to know more details about the types of games I have created over the years that could use the game board.
I am not a huge fan of getting children so focused on the facts of the story, we forget to teach them what they are supposed to learn from it and how to apply it to their lives. It is important though that they remember enough details so they can accurately re-tell the story to someone they meet and with whom they are sharing their faith in a conversation.
If you want to create your own Bible trivia game to use at home, you can cut up one of those inexpensive Bible trivia books you find in Bible bookstores and attach each question to an index card. (It’s up to you whether or not you want to use some of the really obscure questions those books can sometimes contain.) Or if you prefer, you can create your own questions and write them on game cards.
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One of the best things you can do as a family is play games together. Family game time creates wonderful memories, encourages family bonding and can even help teach your child some godly principles. Professionally manufactured board games are expensive and you need to purchase one for every type of different game you might want to play with your kids.
There is a way though to make game boards that will last and can be used for multiple games just by writing new game cards. To make this affordable, you need to make use of coupons for your local craft store.
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