Stories about Jesus

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 stories of Jesus.

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

Presents

Bible link

Matthew 2:1–12

What you do:

See if everyone can find a present they were given for Christmas or for their birthday. Take it in turns to show each other your presents and say why you like them.

Now read Matthew 2:1–12 together. What presents were given to Jesus? Why did the visitors give these precious gifts to Jesus?

If you could give a present to Jesus, what would it be?

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

Growing up

Bible link

Luke 2:41–52

What you need:

photos of people in your family or of friends, from a few years ago

What you do:

Look at the photos together. How old were you all back then? Let the adults say some of the things they had to do for the children in those days: maybe feed them, or take them everywhere. Let children say what they enjoy doing now that they couldn’t do then.

Read Luke 2:41–52 together. As you listen, think about how Jesus had changed since he was the baby. Tell each other what you notice. What would have changed for his parents, Mary and Joseph?

Now try to think what it will be like when you are all older, say in five years’ time! You can write down, draw or talk about what each one is looking forward to being able to do then.

Pray: “Thank you, God, that you are with us all as we get older and grow up. Please help us to remember that you are with us through all the changes in our lives.”

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

Get it clean

Bible link

Matthew 3:1–6

What you need:

a bowl of soapy water

What you do:

Find something dirty – muddy jeans, or a used cup or plate, for instance. Get a bowl of water and wash the object carefully. (Use detergent too, if you wish.) Watch the dirt come off. After a few minutes, notice how much difference your washing has made.

John the Baptist used water to show people how they should get ready for Jesus. Read Matthew 3:1–6. What kind of dirt needs cleaning out of people’s lives? (See verses 2 and 6 if you’re stuck.)

You could wash your hands in the bowl of water as a reminder that if we tell God the wrong things we’ve done (and really mean to change), he will forgive us and make us clean.

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

Small but important

Bible link

Mark 10:13–16

What you do:

What small things in your home have an important part to play? Go round and look for some (for example, the plug in the bath, keys to the front door or buttons). Give the youngest people the chance to find things before the older ones join in.

Without these small things, larger things (the bath, the car, the front door or clothes) would be no good at all. Look at Mark 10:13–16 and find out what small things Jesus thought were important.

Do people you know ever act as though bigger people were more important than children? Read verse 16 again as a reminder of what Jesus thinks about children.

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

Over the top

Bible link

Luke 12:6,7

What you do:

Have you ever heard anything like this: “There were millions of people there”, when the person who said it meant “lots”, and probably only hundreds or maybe thousands? It’s just an exaggeration to make a point. Can you think of other exaggerations that people make?

Jesus was probably using this way of speaking when he said, “Even the very hairs of your head have been counted.” Try counting the hairs in a small lock of someone’s hair to see how long it takes.

  •        On average, a person has 100,000 individual strands of hair on their head.
  •        People with blonde hair have more strands: about 145,000.
  •        People with red hair have about 90,000.
  •        You lose about 100 hairs each day.

Look up Luke 12:6,7 and try to see what Jesus was saying with this exaggeration. What message was he giving to people who are afraid?

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

Use your nose

Bible link

Matthew 26:6–10

What you need:

a few items which smell lovely

What you do:

Find a few things which have a lovely smell, such as soap, herbs, spices, perfume and bath oil. Enjoy smelling them and let everyone decide which is their own favourite.

While someone reads Matthew 26:6–10, imagine the lovely perfume that must have filled the room as the woman was with Jesus.

Today, whenever you smell something lovely, remember that Jesus is with you.

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

Rules for living

Bible link

Mark 12:29–31

What you do:

Why do we have to have rules? Rules tell us the things we should and shouldn’t do, so that everyone can live happily together.

Talk about some different rules you know (at home, at school, in the swimming pool, on the road, and so on).

What happens when people don’t keep the rules?

God has given us rules to show us the way he wants us to live – the very best way to live. Someone once asked Jesus which were the most important rules. Read Jesus’ answer in Mark 12:29–31. Whom did Jesus say we should put first?

Talk together about how we do that, whether we’re at home, at school, at work or with our friends. What could we each do tomorrow to show that we really love God? Decide on something now, then pray about it.

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

Harvest shelters

Bible link

Leviticus 23:33–36,39–44

What you need:

food and items to make a “shelter”

What you do:

What special days do you celebrate as a family? What special celebrations do you have at home or at school or church?

Sometimes people celebrate harvest, just like the Israelites did long ago. They thanked God for the food they had gathered in their fields. You can read what they did in Leviticus 23:33–36,39–44.

It may not be harvest time for you now, but we can go to shops and supermarkets to “gather” food almost every day, so make your own harvest celebration!

Make a shelter like the Israelites did. It could be indoors or outdoors. Do it in any way you like – you could put a sheet over a table or over a clothes airer, or make a shelter out of large cardboard boxes.

Find some of your favourite foods and have your next meal or snack in the shelter. Say thank you to God for the food and enjoy eating and sharing it.

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

The Lazarus game

Bible link

John 11

What you need:

a complete roll of toilet tissue or paper kitchen towel – soft, and preferably white!

What you do:

Choose someone to be Lazarus (a smaller person is easier to cover!). Carefully wrap them up as fully as possible (leaving gaps for eyes and nose), so that they look like an Egyptian mummy.

Now ask someone to read John 11:1–4,17–27,32–44. As verses 43 and 44 are read, “Lazarus” should burst out of his grave clothes.

Talk together about how you felt as “Lazarus” came back of life. How do you think the people who were watching felt? What do you think that they thought about Jesus?

Pray: “Thank you, God, that you are more powerful than death. Thank you that for Jesus’ friends death isn’t the end, but the beginning of a new life with you for ever.”

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

Treetop drama

Bible link

Luke 19:1–9

What you do:

Read Luke 19:1–9 together, listening carefully to what happens.

Now see if you can all act it out! You will need a narrator, someone to be Zacchaeus and someone to be Jesus. If you have more people, they can be the crowd. While the narrator reads the verses, mime the story or act it out, reading the words from the Bible when Zacchaeus and Jesus speak, or making up your own words if you prefer. Use a chair for the tree!

Why did the crowd grumble when Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ house? (If you can't remember, verse 6 will give you a clue). They thought Jesus shouldn’t go to the house of someone who had done so many wrong things. But that’s exactly why Jesus visited Zacchaeus – he wanted to forgive him and give him a new start!

If we think about it, we’re all a bit like Zacchaeus. We’ve done, said and thought things that are wrong too. If we want to have a new start we need to tell Jesus about the things we’ve done, said and thought that were wrong. We can say sorry (and really mean it), and ask him to forgive us.

Have a time when everyone is quiet, so that, if you want to, you can each do that on your own. Then say “thank you” to Jesus, because he has forgiven you and given you a new start!

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