Some suggestions for activities with these Bible stories, include:
- For young children, tell them the story of Noah’s ark. Make a paper ark by using a brown paper grocery bag, animal crackers, crayons/markers, construction paper, and hot glue. Take a brown paper grocery bag and cut across from side to side, leaving the bottom and about four inches for the bottom and side. Now, take the top, cut away portion of the bag and cut five 2”x5” strips; fold these strips in half so that they are now 2”x2½”. Have your child draw full-figured Noah and his wife and three sons on each of these strips. Next, cut several 1”x1” squares and have your child draw some windows. Then, take the strips of Noah and his family and fold the bottom ½” of the two sides of the strips in opposite directions and hot glue to the bottom of the bag, so that Noah’s family stand up inside the paper ark. Next, take several animal crackers and hot glue them on the bottom of the bag. Glue the windows onto the sides of the paper ark. Now, you have your paper ark! Set it at the dinner table and discuss it as a family over a special meal, giving thanks to God for His provision for Noah and all of the animals. Talk about how long it took them to build the ark and that they were alone in doing this, even though they tried to get others to repent and come along. Ask the children if this isn’t what your family has been doing about preparedness too. There are many parallels between what is happening in our world today and what was going on in the times of Noah. Discuss what is appropriate for your children’s ages.
For older children, have them select one of the stories of Noah (Gen. 5:28-9:1), Joseph (Gen. 37-47), David (I Samual 17), Esther (Book of Esther), or Ruth (Book of Ruth); read it; and choose to dress the part and act out the story or some part or it, write about what the story teaches us, and/or help prepare a celebratory meal to honor the LORD for His work through the person they have selected to study and then tell the family the story at the meal. Again, discuss the parallels between what Noah (or other bible hero) and his/her family experienced in preparing for their hardship/rescue and what your family is experiencing in preparing for TEOTWAWKI. At the family meal, everyone might say a prayer giving thanks for something they have learned through this story.
- Depending upon the ages of your children (grandchildren), either guide them with or on their behalf conduct interviews with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others who have done extraordinary things and overcome challenges. If you homeschool (which I highly recommend) have them prepare questionnaires, conduct the interviews, write drafts, and finalize biographical papers. For young children, tell your children stories and show them pictures of family members. If you know when they came to America on a boat, tell them about that. If you know of some of the hardships your family endured, share this. Tell them about the Great Depression and those in your family who endured and survived it and what that was like for them. Tell about other historical hardships that your family endured or health crisis. Did someone lose a leg or an arm in a war or a battle of some kind? Tell them how they persevered with a cheerful heart. Look for the good and strong in your family and champion them. Don’t emphasize the failures; share the successes! We all have some of both. Sure, we may share some of the hardships and sorrow, but bring forward the idea that through obedience there is reward and with hard work and perseverance there is great potential for success.
You don’t have any family nearby or you were adopted? Go to the nearest nursing home and “adopt” some older people there. Find some veterans and some older people and you’ll hear stories of perseverance. Just listen.
- Look into family history. You may have someone in your family who has already worked on your family history and done considerable research, but if there is no one, there are many resources, including ancestry.com. Find when your ancestors came to the United States and where they came from. Many came as a result of persecution or political crisis, so look at the dates and places and see what was happening in history at that time that might have prompted their relocation.
When homeschooling, our family did some research on our forefather’s homeland, at least from where those who came to America left. While we’d heard the name, we didn’t know much about a famous relative (not direct ancestor) who was martyred for his faith in God and his unwavering belief in the authority of the Bible. In reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, we learned much more about this distant relative and then were able to do more research. This encouraged our children in their faith. We talked about scenarios where our faith might be challenged and we might be persecuted also. What would we do? We don’t celebrate Halloween in our family, but during the time of studying about this relative we dressed in that native land’s attire and in period clothing that resembled the time when he was martyred. We had a feast of foods that might have been eaten at that time and did our best to imagine what his life was like and what he went through. Our children, ten years later, still remember this and tell me they are strengthened to stand firm for their faith when they think of him. Maybe you don’t have someone from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs in your ancestry, but you have people who have stood against evil and/or against hardship. You just have to find them and celebrate God’s strength in carrying them through. Use your imagination, too, like we did with our role playing dinner.
- Research your family’s sir name(s) and find its meaning and base of nationality, if you do not know your nationality. Share this with your family. Look into foods and contributions that the people of your nationality have contributed to our lives today. What did these people invent? Maybe one of your older children might do some research on one of the inventions that came from that country or even replicate a scientific experiment/project.
- Study a friend or neighbor’s nationality also. It is important that we learn to respect people who are different than us, too! Enjoy different foods, music, art, clothing, and customs. God desires that all of His children come to Him, regardless of their skin color, national origin, gender, et cetera.
“Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” Romans 15:7
One suggestion I would strongly make is to look at the Hebrew/Jewish culture and learn to appreciate it, especially if you love the Bible.
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”
Through a greater understanding of Hebrew culture, we are better able to understand the Bible, which was given to us through this culture. Through this language, which God Himself used to speak the ten commandments and all of the commandments given to Moses and which Jesus and the disciples also spoke, we were given the greatest instruction for abundant living and survival possible! Learning about this culture is like finding distant cousins you didn’t know you had and having some of the stories you remember from childhood finally make sense when you get together and discuss them. Take the examples of Noah, Joseph, David, Esther, and Ruth for example. They are very relevant to our understanding of the New Testament and our Savior– Jesus.
Take consolation in and strength from the groups to which you belong and celebrate them, but do not forget that others are precious also! Hate is not of God, nor is any supremacy thinking! Again, God “without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work”. (I Peter 1:17)
So, whatever nationality you are, whatever skin color or language, and wherever you live, teach your children that they belong and that others who are different are special too. Give them a sense of confidence that men and women before them have trusted in God, worked hard, prepared, been obedient, and survived to be remembered by them. Feel that you also belong, and make it a celebration that you are united together in love, every day of the year!