Category Archives: Sunday School Teaching

Teaching Sunday School is an extremely rewarding experience, but it’s not easy! In this section, we’ll cover some simple techniques and strategies to help you manage your class and engage your students.

Icebreakers for Sunday School

When little children walk into class the opening day of Sunday school, they can play together after five minutes like they’ve known each other five years! No need for icebreakers here. But kids ages eleven and older can spend an hour propping up the walls if icebreakers aren’t provided. Icebreakers can be a lifesaver! Here are our three favorite icebreakers for Sunday school, youth group, or introducing a lot of new people into a class of older students:

The Truth Will Set You Free

Each person in class takes a turn making three statements about him or herself. Two are true, and one isn’t. An example would be, “I play five instruments. I was born in Oklahoma. My mom was a dancer on Broadway.” The group must take guesses as to which is the false statement, and then the person must confess. Encourage students to reveal statements about themselves that will be memorable to others. For example, “I went on six mission trips to Honduras” is more interesting than “I am seventeen,” though all statements are welcome.

Who Am I?

Write on index cards the names of Bible characters or movie or TV stars. Tape one name to each person’s back. The students then have to begin determining the name that is on their back. They can only ask one question to each person. They can’t ask a direct question, such as “What’s the name on my back?” The person they ask should only answer a direct question, such as “Is the name on my back male or female?” or “Is this a person on Nickelodeon?” As people determine the names on their backs, they should sit down and not have to answer any more questions. This will make the overly shy ones get a hustle on, lest they be the last ones standing! Many friendships have formed thanks to this game.

Puzzle Partners

Take sheets of paper and draw a squiggly line down the center that looks like two puzzle pieces fitting nicely together. Don’t do any two alike! Cut them in half, and place them in a pile, one just underneath its mate. Wait until everyone arrives, then give them out in this order! The order will prevent puzzle pieces from being out there that have no mate! If there is an uneven number of people, the teacher can opt to participate. Have participants find the person who has the piece of the puzzle that matches theirs. Then, they inquire about their matching piece partner and write down three things about him or her. When it comes time for introductions, have the matching piece partners introduce each other, rather than having everyone introduce themselves.

All of the icebreakers above have worked quite successfully with kids over the ages of ten. These icebreakers even work on adult groups, so use them freely and have fun!

Teaching the Beatitudes

The Beatitudes were Jesus’ eight “blessed are” statements that start off the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7. Comparing each to a Walt Disney character is a unique and fun way of teaching the Beatitudes. Kids often learn virtues best when they can point to a person who is like that. Use Walt Disney characters that everyone knows as follows, and it can help kids learn the Beatitudes with a great picture imprinted in their minds!

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven: This is a bit like Cinderella. She was poor while living with evil people, but she was still destined for royalty—so she kept her head up!

Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted: This is like the beast in Beauty and the Beast. He had a lonely and awful life until a sweet young girl brought him back to his royal self and all he was promised.

Blessed are the meek for they shall possess the earth: This is a bit like Mickey Mouse. He was Disney’s first character…who would have thought that a dear little mouse could be known in every house across the land?

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice for they shall be satisfied: In the Great Mouse Detective, Basil the mouse detective has devoted his life to solving crimes. He goes in pursuit of justice that ends up saving the queen, whose death would have meant death to the land!

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy: In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Esmerelda shows kindness and mercy to the hunchback Quasimodo, who in turn saves her life.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God: The evil stepmother in Snow White hates the young princess because of her beauty and purity. After an attempt on Snow White’s life fails, the stepmother disguises herself and brings the young princess a poisoned apple. She is awakened from death by the kiss of a prince, which can be compared to Jesus awakening us from death so that we can live happily ever after with him!

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God: Among the most peaceful of animals are deer. Bambi was named Prince of the Forest. A lot like our Prince of Peace, he had to lead all the deer to safety so as not to be burned up in a hellish forest fire.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven: A great example of a persecuted Disney character is Mulan, who did nothing wrong, unless being born female is wrong! Even though she trained well to be a soldier, she was sent home in disgrace when her “crime” (gender) was discovered. But when it came time to defeat the enemy, the Huns, Mulan saved the day. Similar to the Kingdom of Heaven was her being named “a woman so rare that she comes along once in a Dynasty.” Her battle with the Huns is reminiscent of David facing Goliath!

Many images of the Disney characters are available online, and so are trailers of all their movies. These can make great additions while teaching the Beatitudes in a way kids are likely to cherish!

Mother’s Day Sunday School Activities: Tea and Coupons

Two Fun Mother's Day Activities: Tea and Coupons

No one sacrifices more of their own time caring for others than a mother. Christian moms especially tend to go above and beyond, because they understand Biblical servant hood and put it into practice. However, young children sometimes don’t realize just how much their mom does for them. They’re so used to her doing what she does, they don’t even realize just how special she is.

As Sunday school teachers, we can use Mother’s Day as a great opportunity to show kids how to honor Mom. Cards and crafts are great, but an even more important lesson is one of serving Mom. The Bible commands all of us in the Ten Commandments to “honor your father and mother” and these Mother’s Day activities for your Sunday school class will teach kids how to do just that.

Mother’s Day Tea

One way to learn to serve mom is to, well, actually serve her! Consider setting up a Mother’s Day tea in your classroom. It doesn’t have to really be tea- you can serve juice or milk- the point is to get the kids involved. Start preparing with your class a week or two in advance. Plan out the “menu” with them.  Make some simple decorations (placemats, paper chains, etc.), and prepare some invitations. Go over some easy table manners and how the kids will serve. For younger children, you may want to set up the tea buffet-style and assign each child a station. One child can open the door. One can hand out napkins; one can spoon out fruit, while another can put doughnuts on the plates (you can pour the drinks!)  Older kids can actually carry food to the table and personally serve their mom.

On the morning of the tea, decorate your classroom with a tablecloth and the decorations the kids made. You might also consider having the kids sing a song or recite a poem or Bible verse. No matter what you and your class plan, the moms will love it and be touched by the gesture, and the kids will learn a lesson in serving others.

Mother’s Day Extreme Coupons

Another great activity for teaching servanthood is making some Mother’s Day Extreme Coupons. For this activity, you will need some card stock (any color), and markers. Help the kids write, “For an Extremely Great Mom” on the front. On the back, write “For”, “From”, and “Exp.”. Help the kids brainstorm what special thing they can do for mom (paint her nails, make her breakfast) or a chore they can do for her (dishes, trash) and fill in the “For” line. Have them sign their names where it says “From”, of course, and next to “Exp.” write “NEVER!“. Tell the kids to present Mom with her coupon on Mother’s Day and she can redeem it whenever she wants.

Unfortunately, not every kid is blessed with a mom. If that is the case with some kids in your class, let them choose another special lady in their life (grandmom, step mom, aunt) to invite to the tea or make coupons for. Remind them that everyone’s family is made up of different people, but they are all made up of love.

5 Simple Rules For Better Kid’s Sermons

Many adults admit that when they hear the word sermon, they think: Boring!

These adults are also the first to admit that from the time they were born, their parents took them to church, where they were forced to sit still and not fidget during the sermon, which they considered the longest half hour of the week. 

A children’s sermon, that can grab a child’s interest in the first sentence and hold it until the last, is the ideal way to change this impression about sermons, and there are five tips  that will help you turn it into something so positive that children rush to hear it with the same enthusiasm they rush to the beach or their favorite swimming pool. 

Kids sermons
To make the story relevant to youth, it is imperative that you find some way to apply it to present day life.

First, let me tell you about a Sunday school teacher who reported an ingenious plan that totally cured this problem in her church.   The children there do not have this impression of sermons being boring, because the children never sat through an adult one. 

During what their church calls “Talk Time”, when neighbor greets neighbor, the children exit to a room nearby where they have “Kids Own Worship”.  Here they experience children’s worship through uplifting songs, fun and memorable Bible learning through children’s church lessons. 

While this plan has been tremendously successful in one church, it may not be possible in others.  However, the secret to successful children’s sermons consists of five basic steps that make the Bible relevant to youth.  

Creating an Engaging Sermon for Kids

1.   Be certain you know what the scripture means.  As one Sunday school teacher explained:  “I loved going to Sunday school as a child, and I adored Bible stories, but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized what these stories really meant.  “Jonah and the Whale,” for example was one of my favorites, but I think I lost the meaning by confusing the story with Pinocchio, and I can still visualize that picture of Geppetto sitting in his boat in the whale’s belly. 

As an adult, I looked “Jonah and the Whale” up in my concordance, and I was shocked to discover that the point of “Jonah and the Whale” is:  You can not runaway or hide from God.  Now, before I prepare a lesson, I check the concordance first, so the children will not make the same mistakes I made.    

2. To make the story relevant to youth, it is imperative that you find some way to apply it to present day life.   While it wouldn’t be too difficult for you to dream up a tale about a boy who wouldn’t listen when God spoke to him and tried to hide, you might be surprised at the answers you get if you asked the students to come up with an example.  It would be wise to have a back up example ready, just in case, but students will amaze you with the experiences they have had in school or while playing sports, and you might find yourself with a dozen examples.    

3.  One of the most important things to remember if you want  the story to be relevant to youth is to tell it in their language.   As one Sunday school teacher explained, “One of the stories that impressed me most was called, “Moses Thinks He’s a Dork”, and from beginning to end, the story of Moses was told in today’s teen vernacular, and it made for delightful and entertaining reading.   

4.  Visual props will also be a great asset in making the story relevant.  Pictures can be used, or any prop that adds to the story like a soccer ball, a basket ball, a football helmet, or even a set of shoulder pads that make the person wearing them look gigantic and tough, when he’s actually no bigger than anyone else.   

5.  Leave them with one simple thought.   It can be an outgrowth of a scripture, but it should accent the event in a simple phrase, like:  “You cannot hide from God.”  You could even add: “You may go to the ends of the earth, but nowhere can you hide from God.” 

When Bible stories become relevant to the world today, they become something of value and far more than a history lesson.  In  each story there is a message that applies to life today as strongly as it did when it was written.

The Many Hats of a Sunday School Teacher


Teaching Sunday School
Teaching Sunday school can require you to play many different roles…

When God leads a child with a problem to you for guidance, the teacher cannot run away or hide any more than Jonah could, and she should never be afraid.  All the time the teacher has been preparing lessons, she has also been learning or reaffirming her faith, and God will not give her a job bigger than she can handle.

As one teacher said, “When the unexpected happens with one of my students, I know that the Holy Spirit has led the child to me, and that the same spirit will help me find the right words to help.  I may not be moving multitudes, but I know it’s no accident, and it’s my job to deal with it.   

Many teachers agree that they see God’s hand in these situations as well as the outcome.  

“I looked up one Sunday as I was getting ready to leave after Sunday School,” one teacher said, “and there in the doorway stood Dora.   Dora was in fourth grade now, but she had been in my pre-school class for three years, and it was not uncommon for her pop in to chat. Dora’s mother had been in an automobile accident and was on the church’s prayer list.  I knew by the child’s face that she was frantic with worry about her mother, and I also knew that her mother was a single parent.   When I asked how her mother was doing, Dora shook her head.

“’She’s in intensive care.  I’m staying with Mrs. Cox until my grandmother gets here.   She’s flying in this afternoon, but she won’t have a car, and it’s too far for us to walk to the hospital.   Beside’s, mother’s in intensive care and children aren’t allowed in there—not even to see their mother unless they’re sixteen—‘” 

Words spewed from Dora’s mouth so fast and for so long, that the teacher realized the child was desperate.  When tears welled in her eyes, she knew Dora was on the verge of falling apart.        

“Tell me,” the teacher said, trying to turn Dora’s thoughts from the tragedy to solutions, “How is your grandmother getting from the airport to your house.”

“In a taxi.”

Knowing how expensive that was, the teacher shook her head and took charge.   “I’ll pick your grandmother up, and you can go with me.   First, we need to talk to Mrs. Cox.”

The teacher explained that she knew the Holy Spirit had led Dora to her, and before anything else, she should comfort the child. 

“I said a simple prayer,’ because I thought she would remember it and use it herself. “ the teacher explained, “and I could almost hear the Holy spirit telling me what to say.”         

For a month a lot of that teacher’s time was given to driving that grandmother to the supermarket and the hospital, and she said she felt the presence of the Holy Spirit at every turn.

“But the day Dora’s mother left the intensive care unit and they saw each other for the first time, was one of those moments I will never forget.   The expression on their faces, when they hugged each other made me thank God and thank the Holy Spirit for permitting me to be part of such a wonderful experience.” 

Sunday school teachers are often asked to wear many hats, but they should never be afraid to take the challenge.   Not only will these unexpected experiences feed their soul, but working with the Holy Spirit is an experience to be treasured, and one they will never forget.