Add Excitement with One Simple Technique
by Ashley Alden
“1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10! Ready or not, here I come!” Without fail, whenever I just start playing “hide and seek” in class without giving any warning, I have got the kids’ attention! What am I going to do next? Could it be fun?
Yes, learning about God’s Word in Sunday School CAN be fun! With just a few tips and tricks up your sleeve, you can get children excited about learning God’s Word, understanding what it means, and applying it to their lives. It all starts with one key word: Introduction.
When teaching children, it can be easy to announce the next part of class by saying, “Now we’re going to…” and then fill in the blank. But what if you could make the next part of the class EXCITING? What if you could completely catch them off-guard so that they’re not even sure what part of class is next?! A good introduction can help you with that.
You can use introductions for all kinds of things in class: songs, memory verse time, Bible lesson… even games, or crafts. The next time you’re tempted to say to your class, “Now we’re going to…” see if you can apply the following tips and make your class extra exciting.
I like to think of an introduction as a “hook” on which the rest of your teaching hangs—it’s something short that grabs the attention of the listener so they can’t wait to see the next thing you will say or do. Here are a few tips for an effective introduction.
- It should be SHORT. The introduction to a memory verse shouldn’t be too long—you want most of your time to be spent explaining the verse and helping the children understand how the verse applies to their life.
- It should be ENGAGING. The introduction should be something that children can relate to. Playing hide and seek is something most children can relate to because they play it.
- It should CONNECT. The introduction to a memory verse, song, or Bible lesson should have something to do with what you will be teaching (more on that in a minute). Think through what the verse is saying. What idea could you pull out that would make a GREAT introduction that would be SHORT, ENGAGING and CONNECT with the content?
Okay, now that we’ve talked about what makes a good introduction, let’s talk about some examples of introductions. I’ll share some of my favorites and maybe these will help you think of some for your next class!
Using a QUESTION—
Questions are a great way to get kids engaged in what you’re teaching and you can get to learn a little bit about them too. It’s a win-win!
- For John 14:27—“Have you ever been afraid?”
- For a song about the Gospel message— “What is the best news you’ve ever heard?” or, “Would you rather hear good news or bad news?”
- For a Bible lesson about Zacchaeus—“Have you ever been at an event and you couldn’t see because the crowd was too big and you weren’t tall enough?”
- For teaching about power—“Who is your favorite superhero and why?”
Using an OBJECT—
You can show an object and talk to the kids about it. Make it even more fun by putting the object in a bag and drawing it out mysteriously or have a child reach in and pull it out!
- A life jacket or life ring—use this for a verse, song, or lesson that talks about being saved.
- Toy animals or dinosaurs—use this when talking about something God made.
- A wedding ring or other piece of jewelry—use this to talk about something precious or valuable.
- Ingredients for a cake—put some in a bag and ask the children what they could make with the ingredients. This could work for a verse or a Bible lesson about creation. Emphasize God didn’t need anything to make the world! He made it from nothing!
Using a SKIT—
Skits are a fun way to introduce a Biblical truth. You can do them with one person, two, or even more! Make sure they’re simple and quick to put together. Costumes optional! Here’s a simple skit you could use for a song, verse, or lesson about listening or about losing something. You can easily adapt or write skits to introduce what you’re teaching.
Teacher 1: I lost my glasses! I lost my glasses!
Teacher 2: I think I know where they are.
Teacher 1: I have looked everywhere and I can’t find them!
Teacher 2: If you’d listen to me I could tell you where they are.
Teacher 1: They were my favorite pair too! Oh, what will I do?
Teacher 2: Well if you would just LISTEN I’d tell you!
Teacher 1: Oh! Do you know where they are?
Teacher 2: Yes, they’re on your head! You needed to listen to me in order to find them.
Using a STORY—
You could use a story from your own life or someone else’s life as an introduction. Just be sure it’s short and appropriate for the children you are teaching!
- Tell about a time you were afraid.
- Tell about a time you were lost.
- Tell about a time you disobeyed or obeyed.
Using a GAME—
Games are a sure way to get kids interested in what you’re doing AND can get them up and moving for a while. Children who MOVE listen better!
- For a lesson on the lost sheep and good Shepherd—Hide an object in the room and allow one child (or the whole group if space allows) look for it. You could also play hot/cold as the other children help one child find the object.
- For a lesson on Peter following Jesus— Play a quick game of “Simon Says” to emphasize the importance of following directions.
- Anytime you are using an object to introduce a song, verse, or lesson to add interest—Hold the object behind your back and have the children guess what it is.
- For Genesis 1:1—Put objects that represent things God created in a bag and shake it, having children guess what is in the bag.
- For Psalm 119:9—Put several objects related to the lesson in a bag and have one child look quickly in the bag and see how many of the items he or she can recall correctly. Tie it to the verse by saying, “You needed to pay attention to what was in the bag to tell me what’s in it. Another way to say that is ‘taking heed.’ Our verse today talks about that…”
- For a verse about obedience—Have the children do several exercises (jumping jacks, jumping on one foot, etc).
- For the David and Goliath lesson—Ask several questions and have children give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” for their answer, such as, “Do you think a bigger, stronger team would win, or a smaller, weaker team? Who do you think would win—a big strong man or a little boy?”
- The options are limitless! Use your imagination and try to make your introduction into a game!
If you use these ideas for introductions as you teach memory verses, songs, Bible lessons, or other aspects of your Sunday school class, you’ll find that the children will be even more engaged and may even start to wonder, “What is our teacher going to do next?” They’ll be excited for class each week. Most importantly, your introductions will give children the “hook” that will connect them to the timeless, unchanging message of the Word of God.
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