Becky Ramsey | Author & Children’s Minister
What is Godly Play?
According to the Godly Play Foundation, Godly Play is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture.
Godly Play is about understanding how each of the stories of God’s people connects with the child’s own experience and relationship with God.
Godly Play respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God.
Read more about Godly Play here.
How do we do Godly Play at First Baptist Greenville?
Christians of many different denominations use Godly Play and probably do it differently, even within the same denomination. In this blog, I describe Godly Play by sharing the way our church does it. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best way or the prescribed way, or the only way, of course, but it’s the way that suits us best.
What are we here for?
We meet here to talk about Godly Play, to share what it’s all about and to discuss how to do it better.
The weekly blog posts are designed to help Sunday school teachers prepare for their Godly Play lessons, and the individual pages (see the tabs at the top of this page) share information about how we do Godly Play at First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC.
We’d love to hear from teachers everywhere, not just the ones at our church! We hope you’ll join our circle and share your ideas!
What Godly Play is Not
Godly Play is quite different from the traditional model in which the teacher tells the children what they need to know. Godly Play is not about things that are that simple. It is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It is about locating each lesson in the whole system of Christian language and involving the creative process to discover the depths of meaning in them.
Welcome to our lesson for Sept 27, The Exodus, found in Exodus 11:1-15:21. The Godly Play script is in the yellow (Fall) book, p. 65-72.
Since we’re in the middle of a pandemic, we’re sharing the story over Zoom. So that means we spend time greeting the children, share the story, ask the wondering questions, and then suggest ways that they might celebrate the story at home with their parents. This could be by retelling it to their family, or by making a gift for God in honor of the story. Teachers are welcome to talk about project ideas with the children, such as the ones below. 🙂
When we left Moses last week, he was getting ready to go with Aaron to speak to the Pharaoh and to do what God told him to do: set the people free. Would he have the courage? Would God help him? How would it all play out? This week we get to celebrate the answers to these questions.
I would suggest telling the story as the script describes, and then, when Moses enters the scene, recap last week’s story before moving on, so that children can connect the two stories.
If you’re up for it, you might want to consider celebrating the story with an exploration of the seder meal, as described below. If you’re not up for that, I’ll have matzo for each classroom for the children to try.
I’ve changed the wondering questions a little bit:
1. I wonder what part of the story you like the best.
2. I wonder what part is the most important.
3. I wonder if you were one of God’s people, how you might have felt when the Pharaoh set you free to follow Moses.
4. I wonder what you might have felt as you saw the sea part and a path emerge.
5. I wonder what part of this part of this story is about you, or what God is teaching you about Himself in this story.
Create a Gift for God Time
1. Children could recreate the story scene of the crossing of the Red Sea. Let children decide how they want to recreate this. They could make the pieces of the story- like the chain, the felt water that can be parted, the people, etc.
There’s an amazing example here. Take a look!
Here’s another example.
I’ll have blue paper and felt.
2. Children could work together to create a long chain, symbolizing the slavery the people of God had to be freed from. Here’s a pic of last years chain from 2nd grade.
|Flickr photo of the seder courtesy of Imaginary Girl, through creative commons|
3.This would be a perfect time for the children to celebrate the seder meal. We did this in VBS a few summers ago and the children might remember enough to teach you about it! Just bring me a clean receipt and I’ll be glad to reimburse you. The meal is so full of meaning, all centered around this story.
Here’s a guide with a simple explanation.
This allows our children to experience the Passover in a small way.
4. Children could make an instrument like Miriam might have used to celebrate the exodus. Look here for an example of a paper plate shaker. Let the children decorate it as they wish. We have paper plates and may have jingle bells, as well, in the art resource room if you want to use them.
For more art ideas, check out my Pinterest page, here.
Thanks y’all, for helping our children not only hear the story of the Exodus, but participate in it as well!