Hear the Word: Consider reading aloud one of the following texts, or use the “Jesus Bible Storybook” version of the story of the Ten Commandments.
(1.) Children will describe the 10 commandments as a way that God makes God’s people holy; that is, so that they become , “a priestly kingdom, a holy nation”(Ex. 19:6)
(2.) Children will articulate the relationship between the ten commandments and the two great commandments (Jesus’ call to, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself” – Luke 10:27).
(1.) On the Mountain: Read Ex. 19:16-25. Make an artistic representation of the scene or try to re-enact it. Why was Moses afraid to go up to the top of the mountain? Why, ultimately, did he decide to risk his safety and go? Have you ever been afraid to do something that seemed important to do?
(2.) Simon Says… Play “Simon Says” as a way to prepare for a discussion about how following God is not always straightforward.
(3.) Find and Match Game: Copy each of the ten commandments in simple language (listed below) onto a separate notecard. (Notecards are in copy room, in a cabinet above the counter.) Place 3 sheets of paper in the center of the room, each with one of the following phrases written on it: “Love God.” “Love people.” “God loves us.” Hide the notecards around the room before class, then ask the children to each find one notecard, and place it on the large paper to which it corresponds. (Ie – does it teach us how to love God? how to love our neighbor? does it help us to understand that God loves us?) After you have matched the commandments, talk about them. Which ones seem hard? Do any of them seem easy? Why did God give them to us?
• Don’t serve other gods.
• Make no idols to worship.
• Be serious when you say my name.
• Keep the Sabbath holy.
• Honor your mother and father.
• Don’t kill.
• Don’t break your marriage.
• Don’t steal.
• Don’t lie.
• Don’t even want what others have.
(4.) Modeling clay: Ask each child to choose a commandment (e.g. “do not bear false witness…” to illustrate with modeling clay. Or, to make “stone tablets” with modeling clay for each commandment. (Modeling clay can be found in the supply closet.)
(5.) Memory work: Work with your class to memorize the two great commandments. Below are some suggested motions to help children learn the words.
Here are some simple actions to teach the children.
- Love – cross arms over the chest as if hugging yourself.
- Lord – hold hands up, palms facing outward, with the thumb and first finger forming the letter L.
- Heart – place hand on heart, palm touching chest
- Soul – point to self
- Strength – hold up arms like a strong man, hands clenched in fists
- Mind – point to head
- Neighbor – point to a classmate
- Yourself – point to self
If you are musically inclined, here is a simple song by which to learn the verse.
Close in prayer.