Activities from the Psalms

Here’s a collection of activities, games and things to make and do together, all of which extend and expand the in-game fun beyond the Guardians of Ancora app. Look through this collection and choose one or more ideas to help your family discover more about the psalms.

Here are some great questions to start you chatting about any story from the Bible:

  •        What sort of thing has this Bible story reminded you of, that you knew before?
  •        What new things have you discovered, in this story?
  •        Is there anything you’re going to keep thinking about, from this story?

New activity ideas are added for each Bible Quest, as well several collections of activities about prayer, stories and so on. Look out for more Family Activity downloads, on guardiansofancora.com

A quick introduction to spiritual styles

Family activities from Guardians of Ancora are devised to inspire varied ways of knowing God:  four distinct avenues for connecting with him through word, emotion, symbol, and action. These ‘spiritual styles’ are broad approaches to spirituality and faith, through which children experience God and make sense of their lives in the world around them.

If you want to find out more about spiritual styles, this article is a helpful introduction to a fascinating topic:

http://www.faithformationlearningexchange.net/uploads/5/2/4/6/5246709/saturation_spirituality-creating_environmentsthatnurtureallchildren_-_csinos.pdf

Water, water everywhere

Bible link

Psalm 65:9,10

What you do:

If it’s raining, go outside just for a moment and feel the rain on your faces. If it’s fine, go out and look for things which wouldn’t be there if there was never any rain at all.

Now look around the house for places where you find water and things that need water.

Pour a glass of water for each person. Put it down, ready to drink, and read Psalm 65:9,10. Then say thank you to God for water before you drink it! Remember to thank God whenever you use water today.

This activity will motivate children with an action-centred approach to knowing God.

Give me strength!

Bible link

Psalm 18:1–3

What you do:

Make a list of things that people might be afraid of. Either write the list down or say it. When ideas begin to dry up, think of what you are afraid of yourself. You don’t have to say it out loud!

Everyone is afraid sometimes, but God wants to keeps us safe. Read Psalm 18:1–3 together.

What pictures does the reading give you to show that God protects us? (“He is my strong…” and “He protects me like a…”) Someone could draw pictures of these two things. (Make sure everyone knows how they keep people safe.)

Now, look at the pictures and read Psalm 18:1–3 again. Try to remember the pictures when you feel afraid.

This activity will encourage children with an emotion-centred approach to knowing God.

Use your senses

Bible link

Psalm 147:7–9

What you do:

Help each other to collect the following things:

  •        something good to taste;
  •        something interesting to touch;
  •        something lovely to smell;
  •        something you all enjoy hearing;
  •        something interesting to look at.

Spend a while using your five senses. Then look at Psalm 147:7–9. How many of your senses would be used to appreciate all the things mentioned in this song of praise?

Now either look for another psalm of the same kind or make up your own song or poem of praise.

This activity will encourage children with an emotion-centred approach to knowing God.

Rise and shine

Bible link

Psalms

What you do:

(This suggestion is definitely not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned!)

One weekend, set the alarm to go off really early (perhaps at about 5am!).

Wake everyone up and go for a walk around the streets where you live. What things do you notice? What sounds can you hear? What people are around? How is it different to later in the day?

Come back home. Before a special breakfast together, read some of these Bible verses: Lamentations 3:22–25; Psalm 5:3; 19:1–6; 92:1,2.

Pray and thank God that his love for us is the same all day, every day.

This activity will motivate children with an action-centred approach to knowing God.

Sky messages

Bible link

Psalms 8 and 19

What you do:

Go and look at the sky. Stand outside or look through a window. What colour is the sky today? Are there clouds? If so, what kind are they? Talk together about the beauty of the sky and about its different colours and moods.

When the writer of Psalm 19:1–6 looked at the sky, he thought about God’s glory. The writer of Psalm 8:3,4 looked at the sky, he thought that we seem unimportant compared with God’s greatness. Read both the passages.

Then look at the sky again and tell each other your own thoughts about God’s greatness.

This activity will inspire children with a symbol-centred approach to knowing God.

The good shepherd

Bible link

Psalm 23

What you need:

a sheet of paper or fabric, large enough to make a banner or poster

scraps of fabric, cotton wool, and so on (anything suitable for gluing)

scissors and glue

What you do:

Together read Psalm 23 and then see if you can make a collage to show what it’s all about.

Look at the verses separately and decide how you want to portray each one – it may be a good idea to concentrate on the first four verses.

Together, decide who does what.

You will need a “backdrop”, with green pastures, hills forming a valley and a stream or river somewhere in the picture. Very young children could stick cotton wool on to cloud shapes and add eyes, legs and a tail!

Map it out first in pencil so that the end result has some order! You could select a verse to add to the scene.

Display your finished collage to remind you of God’s love and care.

This activity will motivate children with an action-centred approach to knowing God.

Memory lane

Bible link

Psalm 133:1

What you do:

Think about some special occasions your family has celebrated together (such as holidays, outings, birthdays or Christmas). If you have time, you could search out relevant photos.

Talk together about what each person remembers about the occasion. What was the funniest/silliest/most unusual thing that happened?

Read Psalm 133:1 together.

Now give each person the chance to finish this prayer in their own words:

“Lord God, thank you for…

The best thing about it was…

Amen.”

This activity will encourage children with an emotion-centred approach to knowing God.

God’s love

Bible link

Psalm 136

What you need:

a Bible, printed or accessed from www.biblegateway.com

What you do:

Choose one person to read Psalm 136:1–9,26. As it is read, everyone else can join in with the words, “His love is eternal”.

When you have finished reading it, each person thinks of something which shows us God’s love.

When everyone has thought of something, say the ideas in turn. At the end of each turn, everyone else says, “His love is eternal”.

You could write out your own psalm, so that you can use it again! Perhaps you could make it into a bookmark for your Bible (unless you have a very large family and your psalm wouldn’t fit on a bookmark!).

This activity will interest children with a word-centred approach to knowing God.

God knows us

Bible link

Psalm 139

What you need:

a photo of each member of the family as a baby!

What you do:

Look at the photos together. You may well have a good laugh! What can you remember about each other as babies? Talk about how you’ve changed and what you’re like now.

God knows all about us! He knew all about us when we were tiny babies and cared for us even before we were born.

Read Psalm 139:1–6,13–18,23,24 as a prayer, to thank him for that.

This activity will encourage children with an emotion-centred approach to knowing God.

Close beside us

Bible link

Psalm 139

What you do:

Learn these actions together. First, use both hands to point in front of you; then put your hands behind you; put them by your sides; and finally wrap your arms around yourself for a hug.

Say this prayer, leaving enough time to do the actions.

Jesus is before us

Preparing the way.

(Both hands pointing in front of you.)

Jesus is behind us

Helping us, come what may.

(Hands behind you.)

Jesus is beside us

He’s here with us today.

(Hands by your sides.)

Jesus is always with us

Every hour of every day.

(Give yourself a hug.)

Read these words from Psalm 139:5. Explain these words are being said to God: “… with your powerful arm you protect me from every side” (CEV).

Repeat the prayer words and actions.

This activity will interest children with a word-centred approach to knowing God.

Spot the difference

Bible link

Psalm 139:1–6

What you need:

old magazines, catalogues, brochures and newspapers

What you do:

Find pictures of as many people as possible. If you like, cut them out and glue them on to a large sheet of paper, or just place them on a table or on the floor. Look for people who are similar in any way. Do any of them look like anyone you know?

Read Psalm 139:1–6 as a reminder that God knows and cares for each person, whatever they look like.

Everyone is different, but sometimes people make fun of those who are different to them, if they have another skin colour or large ears, for instance. Is this right? Has this happened to you or anyone you know? Talk together about what you should do when this kind of thing happens. Remember to talk to God about it too.

This activity will encourage children with an emotion-centred approach to knowing God.

Music time

Bible link

Psalm 150

What you do:

Can you tell each other what your favourite musical instrument is without using words? (You could mime or draw it.)

Musical instruments can help us praise God. Which ones have you heard and seen used?

Psalm 150 tells us how people used musical instruments to help them praise God in Bible times. Together, read it out loud and praise God together.

If you have time:

  •        Think of other places in the Bible which mention musical instruments (such as 2 Chronicles 7:6; Daniel 3:4–7; Luke 15:25–27).
  •        Make some simple percussion instruments from things you have at home (eg shampoo bottles filled with pasta or lentils, or drums made from tins).

This activity will encourage children with an emotion-centred approach to knowing God.