Emojis As a Teaching Tool? Yes!
by Esther Beasley
I teach kids in several different settings, and I am always amazed at how quickly the children participate when I include emojis. Here are five simple ways you can teach with emojis:
1. Use a giant emoji to express the feelings of a character in your Bible story.
If you’re telling a story where the character is sad like Jonah inside the big fish, Nehemiah building the wall or Bartimaeus begging by the roadside (and the list could go on) show children a sad emoji and ask, “How do you think Jonah felt?” The emoji will grab kid’s attention and help them relate to the character because they too have felt sad.
What’s needed? One large emoji printed out or inserted into your PowerPoint slides.
2. Use emojis in memory verse repetition.
Using emojis can be a great way to get all the kids participating. Even the fifth and sixth-grade students in my class are happy to say the memory verse! Simply choose one child to come up front and pick out an emoji from your bag. Show the kids the emoji and repeat the verse together in using that emotion. Choose different kids to pick the emoji and continue repeating the verse in different emotions as long as time allows. Memorizing God’s word is vital in the life of a believer. Try this idea and see how your kids will LOVE memorizing Scripture.
What’s needed? Print out six emojis on square paper and place in a bag — suggested emojis for this repetition method: excited, surprised, and with your tongue out.
Introduce your lesson, verse or song with an emoji.
If you’re teaching a story about Daniel in the Lion’s Den or another story when the character might be scared, start your story by holding up the scared emoji and ask kids to shout out what emoji they think it is. Tell them, “A character in the story today will feel like this. Listen closely to see who it is…”
You can also use emojis to introduce a verse or song that talks about being afraid. Perhaps, the character gets angry, or the verse is about getting rid of anger, show the angry emoji. Be creative and look for ways to incorporate emojis in your introductions.
What’s needed? An oversized emoji printed on paper or inserted into your PowerPoint slides.
3. Use emojis when conducting a small group session.
Lay out six emoji cards on the floor or table. Ask the kids in your group to pick the emoji that best describes their week and encourage them to share why. If you have younger kids, ask them to draw a picture of the emoji that explains how they feel right now. This will help you get a better understanding of the kid’s home life. If you use this activity be sure to choose an emoji that best explains your week, so the kids can get to know you better! Often building relationships with the kids in your small group are as important as “getting through the content” for that day.
What’s needed? Six emojis printed out on pieces of paper. Suggested emotions for this activity: sad, happy, sleepy, angry, love and confused. You may need paper and crayons if you want the kids in your group to draw.
4. Use emojis when teaching kids to pray.
Perhaps you want the kids to pray out loud in a group. Give each of them an emoji and have them pray for something that relates to that emoji.
Sick: pray for somebody who is sick and ask God to help them feel better.
Sad: pray for someone you know who is sad and ask God to comfort them.
Happy: Thank God for the beautiful world he made.
Love: Thank God for your family and the people in your life who love you.
Angry: Ask God to help you forgive someone who is angry.
What’s needed? Print the above emojis out on cards for the children to hold and use as a prayer guide.
Using emojis is a fun way to better engage with the kids living in today’s culture. Don’t try all these ideas the same week but implement them one at a time throughout several weeks. God will be at work as you use simple things to better connect with the kids in your Sunday school.
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