Here are some more ideas for acting out the next three lessons in the Jesus Storybook Bible (JSBB) by Sally Lloyd-Jones:
A New Beginning (Noah’s Ark):
Preparation: You will want a sofa to act as an ark - or if not available, use a blanket. Optional - Have art supplies to make rainbows
Assign acting roles: Noah, God, various animals (if you have a small family have one child represent all of the animals), a neighbor, a dove.
Instructions: As you read the story and explain time passing and people forgetting God, have your children join you in making sad faces because people were doing bad things. Continue reading about God’s heart and even though He loved them, He was not happy (make a sad face as God). As you read about Noah, ask your children what it means to be a friend? (You’ll want them to say things like you spend time with them, you listen to them, you enjoy them, you do things to make your friend happy, etc.) Explain that Noah was one of God’s only friends at this time. Have one of your children play the part of God and say the dialogue in JSBB to Noah. Explain to your children that an ark is a really, really big boat - probably bigger than any boat they have seen. When it gets to the part about building an ark, ask your children if they know what might be involved in building an ark - brainstorm with them (lots and lots of wood, tools, tar - to waterproof the ark, nails). Have your children use the dialogue in the book to enact the dialogue between God and Noah regarding the storm and the sending of the animals. As God tells Noah about the animals He would send, have your children act out the motions of the animals - creep, crawl, slither, slime, gallop, hop, bound and climb. They will probably love this. Have Noah pretend to pack food.
Have the neighbor(s) point and laugh at Noah. Explain that others made fun of Noah because they didn’t believe that it was really going to rain and they didn’t believe that they would be killed by a storm. Ask you children what it feels like to be made fun of? Explain that Noah probably felt that way too but, as the text says, he only cared what God thought of him. Tell your children that you are going to pretend your couch (or blanket) is the ark. Have Noah and his family get on the couch and then have the actor representing God use the dialogue to send the family off and close the door of the Ark. As your children sit on the “ark” read the dialogue about the extent of the rain and turn on the faucet of a near by sink as you read about the rain and puddles and rivers. Ask your children to make sound effects for the crashing waves, thunder, and lighting before you read the part about the sounds they heard on the boat. After you read about the 40 days and 40 nights, ask your children if they understand that was a very long time for it to rain? It is more than one month, which is 4 weeks. As you talk about how long that was, tell your children to pretend it has been one week and have pretend to look outside and ask if it is still raining and have them respond yes. Continue until you have done this 5 times, to represent 35 days and tell them it was almost another week more before it stopped raining. Then, pretend that you are looking outside the ark and tell them, “Guess what? I see the sun shunning. Have Noah pretend to look outside and say, “I see the sun!” Have everyone shout “Hoorah!” Then send the dove out to pretend to fly around and look have the dove bring an olive leaf back (any leaf will do - or pretend with another object). Have a child pretend to look outside and proclaim, “Yeah! The water is going down!”
Next, shake the ark abruptly to indicate that the boat has landed on the land. Then have God say, “it is safe now - Out you come!” Have everyone come outside the ark and jump and skip and dance on the dry land. Have Noah immediately get down on the ground, kneel, and pray to God, thanking God for rescuing them, just like He had promised. And, have God give His promise as written in the dialogue in JSBB.
After concluding the story, have your children make rainbows to reinforce the promise that God made, even though He knew people would not destroy the world to rescue it, with Jesus. You can even explain to your children that because God promised not to destroy the world again, He was actually confirming His promise to place His wrath on Jesus and allow Him to take the punishment for us.
A Giant Staircase to Heaven (The Tower of Babel):
Gather blocks to use to allow them to build their own version of the Tower of Babel. You can use wood, foam, or cardboard, or Lego blocks.
Gather some type of dolls - could be baby dolls, action figures, littlest pet shop, etc. whatever is easily accessible.
Think of a simple phrase you know in another language that you can say or google a phrase in another language
Assign acting roles: Three people (try to divide up the dialogue between them) and God.
Instructions: Pick 8 of the dolls to represent Noah’s family that came off the ark with him - his wife, 3 sons, and their wives. Take the 8 dolls and keep adding children to them using more dolls to represent how the family of Noah quickly grew in population. Explain that everyone spoke the same language at first. Have one of the people say the dialogue about building a city and then another to say the dialogue about building a tower. Then have another person say the dialogue about looking down from the tower. As you explain the building of the tower, allow your children to construct a simple tower using the blocks you gathered. After the tower is built and you’ve read the remainder of the paragraph about building the tower, have one person state the prideful dialogue talking of what they did with their hands. Then, as you read the dialogue about God’s reaction, have the actor playing God shake their head in displeasure. Explain how if God allowed them to keep up with this they would destroy themselves and God loved them too much to allow that.
Pick a language you know a simple phrase in but that your children do not understand. Once you say the simple phrase in another language, ask your kids if they know what that means? They should not understand it. Read the text and explain that God changed their language so that they couldn’t all understand one another to keep them from doing too much damage to themselves. Have one person state the dialogue from JSBB regarding the questions that the folks asked to each other and how they didn’t understand one another. Now, tell your children you are going to give them a project to do but they must not speak to one another while trying to do it. Tell your children they are to build a building with two towers connected by a bottom floor. Tell them to put a pointed roof on both towers. Now, sit back and watch your children try to build the tower, working together, but not talking at all. Hopefully, so that your children will understand how this would have stopped progress, they will become somewhat frustrated with one another. Once they have had some sufficient time, read the rest of the story with them.
Son of Laughter (Abraham & Sarah):
Assign acting roles: God, Abraham, Sick person, Sad person, Sarah, baby Isaac.
Instructions: Read the first paragraph and have your sick person act ill and then fall over and die. Then, have the sad person cry. Continue reading and have God and Abraham recite their dialogue parts. Before having Abraham count the stars, ask your children if they think they can count the number of the stars in the night sky. They should think that would be quite difficult. Read the dialogue between God and Abraham, being sure to have Abraham laugh about being able to have so large a family that he could not count them. Have Abraham cry when he mentions that he doesn’t have any children or grandchildren and wipe away a tear. When you explain that Abraham was 99 years old, ask your children if they know how old 99 is? Explain that it is really old and the Abraham was as old as a grandparent. Suggest the Abraham character walk like an old man. As you explain the dialogue, have Abraham look up at the sky and pretend it is the night sky. Read the section on page 59 about the incredible promise; have Abraham jump for joy ask he thinks about how wonderful it is that he might be having a child. When you read about how Abraham trusted what God said, have him touch his heart and say he trusts even when he cannot see.
Have Abraham tell Sarah about the promise that God had made to them. Have Sarah laugh but then start to cry because she really wants a baby. Have her pretend to hold a baby as she tearfully states that she really wants a baby. Explain that she is also 90 years old which is as old as a grandparent. Explain that Sarah thought it was silly that she could have a baby because she was really old. Explain that Sarah could not believe that she would have a baby at her age and that she dit not have faith.
Tell your children that nine months passed and then God gave them a baby, just as He promised. When it mentions that Sarah gave birth, have the baby Isaac let out a cry. Have Sarah laugh a big happy, glorious laugh and have her say out loud, “My dream actually came true; God DID just as He promised!” Explain that the baby that God will one day send us is Jesus and He makes our dreams come true by offering us the promise of heaven.
More to come in a future post.