This page has software lessons and ideas with special room “themes” for those special times of the Sunday School year.
Spring and Summer are a little more “loose” in many Sunday Schools. Attendance is down, and you’re looking for something more “pizzazzy” or a little more “theme-y” or fun. To that end, I’ve been collecting ideas here for several years about “fun” lessons to do during the summer. Some folks use this page to plan a VBS or regular lessons, and that’s fine too. Scroll down for my Egyptian Village room and lesson set, and “3 Days on the Roof” lesson set.
Go to my Free VBS Curriculum webpage and you will also find lesson sets I wrote, including: “Bongo Bible School“, “Attack of the VBS Zombies” (About Worship) four-lesson set, “At Home in the Kingdom of God“, Exodus adventures, and similar multi-week lesson sets.
1. FLY the Friendly Galilean Skies
Galilee Flyer CD covers all the following in four fun games:
The Beatitudes, Lord’s Prayer, Famous Saying from the Sermon on the Mount (You are salt, light, Seek First, Love Enemies); and Jesus’ one-verse “Kingdom” Parables –the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, a pearl, leaven, a treasure.
Open the toggle below for more info about my four week lesson set.
The Kingdom of God is one of Jesus’ great themes, but it doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention in some curriculum. That’s why we put it in Galilee Flyer. In addition to learning the four short parables about the Kingdom, the game EXPLAINS what the Kingdom of God is and means to us. I also have a four week “rotation” curriculum on the Kingdom of God.
Galilee Flyer Classroom Themes and Ideas
The Galilee Flyer is a triplane your students fly around the sea and mountains of Galilee looking for verses to match and questions to answer. If you’re doing a “unit” on any of Galilee Flyer’s four subjects, or just want to decorate your room for one lesson, here are a bunch of creative FLYER ROOM ideas…
1. Create the mountains around the Sea of Galilee …around your classroom walls. To do this, glue or staple together large sheets of heavy kraft paper and STUFF with newspaper to give your mountains bulk. Make a bunch of these and pin to your walls. You can also glue thin wood slats to them so they’ll stand up better with fewer tack points on the wall. Consider using paper painter’s cloths as they are both large and reinforced, and don’t cost much. Decorate with greenery (construction paper). Go monumental! …it’s more fun that way. (You can also construct a “mountain wall” out of cardboard and plaster it with a bit of mud for texture.)
Make a Galilee Flyer Triplane and hang it in the corner above the mountains. Remember to put Jesus somewhere in the mountains (just like in the game), and put a Bible on the top of Mount Hippus (just like in the game) which has the passage for the day.
2. Create the Galilee Sea and Island
Here are some basic design/construction ideas you can adapt to the size of space you have to work with. It doesn’t have to be fancy because kids buy into the effect you’re trying to create (remember: kids love to build forts out of blankets!)
Create the Galilee Sea: Put a rowboat at one end and surround it with blue tarp (or blue polyester sheeting from Anderson’s Prom supplies). Put boxes underneath the tarps to provide dimension. Spray a little white paint for foam and toss a few “fish” out onto the sea. Leave a path from the side between tarps so kids can appear to walk through water to the boat. Stack and tape together three or four cardboard poster tubes (find at office supply) for a mast. Tie lightweight wood stick as crossbar and drape cloth over it. If you don’t have a rowboat, construct one side of a rowboat out of cardboard.
The rest of the classroom can become Galilee Flyer’s “landing island” just like the one in the game. You can even spray paint a canvas drop cloth and lay it on the floor for effect. Surround it with blue tarp to make a defined cozy discussion space for after the kids complete a game.
[Note: Blue tarps, canvas drop cloths, and mountain cardboard are all re-usable for many other Bible themes you’ll be able to create.]
3. Make take-home Windsocks! –cut colorful streamers of nylon or fabric and tie to the end of a string which you can attach at the end of a skinny dowel rod. Have the kids write their Bible verses on the streamers.
4. Use colorful strips of fabric to make rainbow trailers across the ceiling. These can include Bible verses inscribed on them. Hang puffy white clouds from the ceiling by stapling together to cutouts of white kraft paper and stuff them with newspaper.
5. Make Flyer Q and V signs to hang from the ceiling (just like they hang in the sky in the real game). Put a pocket on the BACK of each sign with questions and verses from the passage you are studying and use these as a follow-up quiz after you’ve used the software.
6. You can make the Galilee Sea along the mountains with blue paper, or a baby pool in the corner (the kids will think that’s fun). Or you can suggest it by bringing in a small rowboat (or making one out of 2x4s with canvas tacked on the frame). Bring in rafts and “floaties” for a Galilee beach atmosphere -if you have space.
7. Don’t forget to put a whale in the Sea of Galilee (just like in the game).
8. Put an oscillating fan in the room to blow your streamers and clouds.
For a host of free Beatitude and Lord’s Prayer lessons, computer and otherwise, visit Rotation.org’s lesson archive at www.rotation.org
More! ….a Sea of Galilee Beach Theme:
Beach themes are easy because everybody has some beach decor to donate, and it’s cheap if you have to buy it. Hang beach towels. Bring in beach toys. Hang inflatable rings from the ceiling, plastic starfish and sand buckets. (Beach decor is cheap from online companies like Oriental Trading Co.) Got a surfboard? Surf Galilee!
And yes, you can use real sand! See my how-to below.
If you have a copy of Holyland 3-D CD you can take students on a FLYing tour over Israel’s landscape. Holyland 3-D uses high resolution satellite maps to generate 3-D terrain of the Holyland to explore with your pilot controls.
THE GALILEE FLYER PAPER AIRPLANE “GOLF” GAME
After the computer lesson, or for a second lesson, set up a giant “golf” course in a large room. Have the kids make paper airplanes and FLY their own “Galilee Flyer” airplanes around the room attempting to land on marked areas (aka, “the holes” on the course”). Make the landing areas out of BOXES. Mark one side with a number and put a Bible quiz question inside it. Count “strokes” (number of flights it takes from the “tee to the box”). You can keep track of strokes by marking the airplane with a pen, or using a scorecard. When they land in the hole (the box or landing field, whatever you want to call it!) kids read a question from the box and answer. If they are right they get Bonus Pts. Not every ‘box/hole’ has to be a question. Some can just be labeled “treasure, leaven, pearl and mustard seed.” Finish by making airplanes land on designated airstrip. Note: You’ll need referees and structure to make this work because some kids will try to cheat. Finish with a “who’s Galilee Flyer plane can go the furthest” contest.
HOW TO MAKE A REAL BEACH in another room not near your computers!
A few years back, we put a beach in one of our summer classrooms.
Here’s how: We made a wood frame from 2x6x12’s and stretched a canvas tarp across it, then poured in about 10 bags of play sand, and stuck beach chairs and toys in it, to make a place to show Sunday morning movies. The kids loved it, and surprisingly, the sand DID NOT create a problem outside the box. What very little came out was easily vacuumed up. Add some beach chairs and blow up toys and you have a great way to get kids to come and want to return for your next lesson! (Note: Do not put your computers in the sandy room!)
I’m not making this up! Pictured right is the “Camp Bible Wahoo Beach-in-a-classroom” from one of my former churches’ summer Sunday Schools. Read more about Camp Bible Wahoo‘s concept and decor.
2. Go to Egypt on an Exodus Adventure
Since posting the following notes, I’ve consolidated my Exodus lessons, Egyptian Village ideas, scheduling examples, and ‘other’ types of Exodus lessons here.
Use our Exodus Adventures CD’s three built-in lessons for a multi-week ‘rotation’ of lessons covering the Exodus Story. Theme your computer lab (or any classroom/space, like and Egyptian Village.
Open the toggle below for more info about The Exodus lesson set and Egyptian Village.
I have an entire webpage devoted to how to turn your classroom into an Egyptian Village
The Exodus story is huge and there is a lot of great media you can string together to create some powerful lessons about the Old Testament’s most important story.
Look at dozens of free Exodus lessons in the Exodus section of Lesson Exchange at www.rotation.infopop.cc/eve
Videos to consider: Prince of Egypt, or TNT’s “Moses” (Ben Kingsley as Moses).
Software: Exodus Adventures CD… a Bible adventure game in which your kids navigate the Exodus landscapes learning the story and watching it come alive. Each of the program’s 3 games takes 35-45 minutes. Many Exodus lessons don’t get in to Leviticus & Numbers, but game 3 in Exodus Adventures DOES! It presents an overview of that part of the story -disguised as a helicopter flying game, that sends them into their Bibles.
Egyptian Room Design Idea: pin or tape cardboard square ‘blocks’ on the wall and around the door to create an Egyptian Village and pyramid. (See picture at right of my lab’s Exodus decor). View our complete article at how to turn your classroom into an Egyptian Village.
Modify this ‘cardboard village’ idea for a generic Bible Village motif. You can also suspend some thin cloth from the ceiling on pvc pipe to create a quick tent.
Have warm weather? Create a mudpit with mud and straw either in a plastic babypool or tabletop tubs. They’ll soon learn why the slaves complained! Have plenty of garbage bags on-hand to cover clothing, and a hose or bucket and paper towels to clean the Hebrew’s feet. A great summer experience.
See my Exodus Lessons & Village doc for more details!
3. Measure & Improve Your Kids’ “Bible proficiency”
-using Bongo Loves the Bible CD
A lesson concept with several weeks “about the Bible” and room decor ideas.
Open the toggle below for more info about Bongo’s Bible School lesson set and room ideas.
See BONGO’S BIBLE SCHOOL …a multi-week curriculum “About the Bible” for use any time, or as a VBS.
Did you know we put a Bible “proficiency” test inside Bongo?
It’s disguised as one of the “Jungle” games with four levels of Bible questions (from Bible Beginner to Bible freak). Set up a chart to chart student progress through the four levels of knowledge “about the Bible” in “Bongo Knows the Bible” jungle games. The 4 levels move through 80 different questions we researched and concluded were “essential Bible knowledge” questions that every older elementary student should know…. Who, Where, When, What Order. Look for the link on the Bongo description page to read the 80 questions.
Or, focus on the Books of the Bible “Canyon Game” in “Bongo’s Books of the Bible” Game. Work on Old Testament, or New, or both. The CD teaches them the correct order through a fun game.
Bongo Classroom Theme Ideas:
BONGO’S JUNGLE: Because several of Bongo’s games take place in a JUNGLE, churches have decorated their lab as a jungle, complete with inflatable monkeys and birds hanging from the ceiling. (See picture on this page). You can buy very inexpensive “tiki” and jungle decorations from online party supply stories like Oriental Trading Company. Monkeygoods.com has two foot inflatable monkeys for $3 and a five foot monkey for $10.
BONGO’S ROLLING ROCK GAME: In Bongo Loves the Bible CD, two of the four games (Bongo’s Books of the Bible game and Bongo Needs the Bible) include falling and rolling rocks to dodge. After playing the software game(s), you can play a “rolling rock” game like this: In a large area, two players have kickballs they must roll on ground. Teacher reads a quiz question followed by 3 answers (a,b,c) then shouted “go”. Kids raced to either the ‘a’ or ‘b’ or ‘c’ side of the room while “taggers” try to roll at them (or tag them) before they are safely touching the right answer.
Inflatable Bananas and monkees? Yes, they make them. Google it!
BONGO in SPACE: Here’s a picture Bongo being played cooperatively on the “Starship Ecclesia’s command bridge” at the Lawrenceburg SDA Church in Lawrenceburg TN.
They hooked two keyboards and a joystick together into one computer so that each student could control part of Bongo (aim, direction, selection of answers, point of view). Then they projected Bongo on an overhead screen ala the Starship Enterprise. If you have a newer computer with several open USB ports, you can easily hook two keyboards and two mice into separate USB port.
See BONGO’S BIBLE SCHOOL …a multi-week curriculum “About the Bible” for use any time, or as a VBS.
4. Blast into Outer Space with Jesus in Space CD …or any story about Space, such as Psalm 8
Some really cool and easy ideas for turning your classroom into a Space Camp.
Open the toggle below for more info about Bongo’s Bible School lesson set and room ideas.
Spacey Ideas: Design your “Space-themed” room by sticking glow-in-the-dark stars all over, hanging tinfoil ball planets, and posters of outerspace. Use ‘funtack’ to temporarily secure long pieces of tin foil on the walls of your “spaceship” room (buy it in a commercial size roll to really go nuts). Collect and funtack old CDs to the wall, shiny-side out. In the computer lab, you can turn off the lights and see everything glow and shine WHILE you teach because the computer monitors give off their own light.
E-Z & CHEAP Spaceship Decor: Paint some large pieces of cardboard with grey paint and outline them with duct-tape to appear like they are spaceship panels or blastdoors. Put a panel on your classroom door for sure. Outline your tabletops with wide colorful adhesive tape and put flexible dryer venting on table legs (see photo). Ask members for their old CDs and decorate them with puff paint and stick to the edges of your monitor or hand from ceiling.
Doing a Space Theme? Why not use Jesus in Space CD!
5. Three Weeks Through the Roof
–a 3 week lesson outline from Neil MacQueen on the story of the man let down through the roof to see Jesus. (Mark 2)
Open the toggle below for more info about 3 Weeks Through the Roof.
Our Faith Through the Roof game CD teaches the story of the man who needed to see Jesus, and the friends who had the faith and love to get him there!
Here’s how to turn Faith Through the Roof story into a three week lesson!
Week One: Play the Faith Through the Roof CD
Week Two: Show and Discuss the “Miracles of Faith” animated Nest Video http://sundayresources.net/biblevideos/newtestamentvideos.htm Discuss how each miracle reveals the character of God, and affects those around the healed person. Discuss Jesus’ miracles as signs of his identity. (The software in week 1 also emphasizes this point).
Week Three: Play the Faith Through the Roof OLYMPICS after your Bible Study…
1. Buddy Blanket Relay…. Team members take turns dragging each other on a blanket down to Peter’s house to see Jesus. Two people pull while one rides on the blanket which scoots along on the floor. Emphasize the miracle of good friends who can help bring us to Jesus and help us lead righteous lives. Discuss strategies for how friends can help each other get to church.
2. Through the Roof Drop… Using barbie dolls and a shoe box, teammates each get three tosses to get their buddy into Peter’s house (the shoebox). Players “snap” a blanket which snaps the barbie doll up into the air and (hopefully) towards the box. Younger children can try to ‘fling’ the doll in the blanket (change the rules to make it fun). Tape a picture of Jesus’ face in the shoebox for a little extra fun. Discuss how friends can look out for their friends spiritual and physical well-being.
3. Pick Up Your Mat! …With hands behind their backs and no hands or teeth or kicking allowed, kids run down to Peter’s house and must pick up a mat (blanket or similar) off the floor and bring it back to their team. Harder than it sounds, and fun. Discuss how the man’s life was changed, how his family’s life was changed, and have the kids come up with a “speech” the man might have given to others about what happened to him.
6. Camp Bible Wahoo!
Decor and Lesson Ideas for designing your room to look like a CAMP OUT
Open the toggle below for more info about Camp Bible Wahoo! Decor and Lessons.
Camp Bible Wahoo! is a theme you can drop any lessons into….
1. Assemble fake Xmas trees by the door and around the room.
2. Erect a big tent inside the room, or two smaller ones. Line them with sleeping bags and put the computers INSIDE THE TENT on the sleeping bags (the kids love this). YES! You can hold activities inside the tents… even your computer activities see photo! >>
3. Distribute camping snacks like “bug juice” and trailmix.
4. Use those ubiquitous outdoor folding chairs instead of the same old furniture. Cover your tables with cardboard drawn to look like wood.
7. HIKE Mt Sinai and learn the Ten Commandments
In addition to lots of other commandment content, our Ten Commandments CD has 4 different activities that teach the Ten Commandments into memory.
Open the toggle below for more info about Hiking Mt Sinai Decor and Lessons.
In addition to lots of other commandment activities and content, here are the four specific learning areas in our Ten Commandments CD that teach the Ten Commandments into memory.
1) The Ark of the Covenant in the first level of the program has a pop-up set of tablets. Hear them dramatically read as you roll over them, and see an interesting note about each appear on the front of the Ark. Behind the Ark in the stained glass there are four video presentations about four of the commandments.
2) The Ten Scramblements… in the second level of your virtual hike up Mt. Sinai you discover “Rocky the Sinai Hyrax” standing next to a set of tablet and the sign “don’t touch them.” When you touch the tablets, half the words fall off, and you must drag them back into their correct locations on the tablet.
3) Up the summit trail is the Cliff Climb Quiz for one or two players. The questions about the commandments include things like “In which two books of the bible can they be found?”
4) At the summit, go into the Chapel and use Moses’ Tablet-Making Computer. Compose a set of commandments tailored for your family or friends at school, then print them out to discuss.
Turn your classroom into Mt Sinai…
- Pin crumbled brown paper painter’s dropcloth to the wall and stuff newspaper behind it to “boulder it.” You can also staple or glue two sheets of kraft paper or painters cloth and stuff them with newspaper to create rocks.
- Bring in a bushy branch and cover with red and yellow cellophane “flames”. Add a small fan beneath to make a burning bush.
- Sculpt individual commandments onto sheets of green floral styrofoam. Press the letters of a commandment into the foam using an unsharpened pencil. Fill the letter grooves with either a thin coat of glitter-glue, or brush in a thin coat of fabric paint.
- Tack cardboard squares to the wall to form a “stone wall” behind your computers.
- Make a ‘tunnel’ entrance in your classroom doorway using tables and burlap sacks or canvas drop cloth filled with foam or newspaper.
- Build a “Chaos Canyon Bridge” in your doorway’s entrance with cardboard planks and ‘rocks’. Label the planks as they are labeled in the game. Game: roll die to roll across the bridge planks. When kid lands on bridge plank, they have to remember/explain what that plank is all about (it’s detailed in the software).
- Create a “ropes course” (not up in the trees, but lassoing, rescuing, tug and pull of obedience, etc.
8. Peter’s House = Jesus’ Galilean Base of Operations!
Our Faith Through the Roof CD takes you inside Peter’s house for the story of the man let down through the roof.
Ideas for designing your room to look like the inside of Peter’s House (the house where the paralyzed man was healed):
Open the toggle below for more info about creating Peter’s House.
Put a HOLE in your roof by tacking “tiki grass” and grassmats to the ceiling (inexpensively purchased through party decoration companies like Oriental Trading Company. Put a few puppets (or pictures of characters) behind the “ceiling” to make them look like they’re looking down through the hole. Hang a few short pieces of ROPE through the hole. Make a stretcher by tieing a grass mat between two poles. Paint several large pieces of cardboard to look like “windows”. Photograph your student’s faces, print them out and cut them out to put in the window as if they are in the crowd looking into the room.
CREATE A WALK THROUGH THE STORY DIORAMA for the CONGREGATION AND YOUNGER KIDS:
Make a BIG version cut-out of Peter’s House in Capernaum, and create a real stretcher which appears to be suspended and lowered down through the roof (strectcher is resting on a covered table). Populate with actors.
9. Create a “Summer Bible Baseball League” and use Bible Grand Slam CD
Bible Grand Slam comes with hundreds of Bible trivia questions of varying difficulty (singles to homeruns) AND it also comes with a Question Editor so you can create your own questions about the lessons you taught this past year. Two teams can play against each other, or one team can play against the computer.
Open the toggle below for more info about teaching with Bible Grand Slam CD.
Create a BALLPARK in your classroom…. see ideas below!
Baseball/Softball decor is easy to find in member homes and at places like Oriental Trading Co .com
Please note: Bible Grand Slam is no longer available. But you can create your own Bible Baseball game with paper.
1. Create a big scoreboard by painting a large piece of cardboard. Incorporate the chalkboard as part of the scoreboard.
2. Get a big green tarp and ‘tape’ a ball diamond on it with white tape.
3. Turn a wall into a sea of fans by cutting rounds of construction paper and taping to the wall.
4. Hang gloves, bats and pennants from the ceiling with fishing line.
5. Collect Baseball jerseys, ballcaps, and softball tshirts for the kids to wear during the lesson.
6. Have the kids create their own “TEAM JESUS” t-shirts, complete with their name on the back (iron-on letters).
7. Have a contest to change the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” so that they teach your lesson.
8. Go Jesus! For an art project, make “team pennants” related to the story.
9. Create a “Scores from around the league” display area with entries such as: “God 1, Evil 0 -Final”
10. Four Summer Lessons on the Right Attitude to Come to Church With!
MORE TO COME!