This Saturday, April 29, 2023 I’m leading a breakout session at the Small Church KidMin + Youth Conference all about Teaching Digital Natives (grab your free ticket to this online event here). One key element to engaging today’s digital native kids is to make your Bible teaching time highly interactive, which is why I’m so excited to share this week’s guest blog post from David Rausch, creator of Go! Curriculum and a DKM Vendor, all about 10 interactive storytelling ideas for elementary kids:
If you want to make your KidMin lessons more interactive (and you should), the best place to start is with the Biblical storytelling. But here’s the million-dollar question: How exactly do you do that?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a million dollars for you, but I DO have an answer. More specifically, 10 answers. I (David) created the following interactive storytelling methods (and many more) for the GO! curriculum, but you can incorporate them into any curriculum.
So without further ado, I present you with 10 interactive storytelling ideas for ELEMENTARY kids:
- SNAPSHOT – Throughout the Bible story, have kids strike poses that correspond with the story. They can be individual poses, or at times, group poses. Add an additional layer by taking a picture of the kids doing each pose and putting them in a slideshow for the following week.
- LIVE OUT LOUD – Have kids provide sound effects for the Bible story. For most of the effects, kids will use their mouths, but at times they can use their bodies (feet, hands, etc.) or you can incorporate objects.
- SHAKE IT UP – Conceal 3 or 4 props inside different boxes. Each prop helps tell a different part of the Bible story. Allow kids to shake the boxes before the story and guess what’s inside. During the storytelling, ask kids what they think was in the first box, then reveal the contents and tell that portion of the story. This one is great for Christmas because you can wrap the boxes like presents.
- IMAGINATION TIME MACHINE – Have kids close their eyes during the storytelling. Bonus points if you can have them lay flat on the ground too. Tell kids that you’re taking a ride in the Imagination Time Machine to Bible times. Read the Bible story, but pause throughout with instructions like, “Imagine what it looked like when David charged the giant warrior.” Afterward, ask kids to recount what they saw, heard, felt, tasted, and even smelled.
- ARTRAGEOUS – Give kids markers, crayons, paint, etc., and tell them to create the story on paper as you read it aloud to them. Read somewhat slowly and pause every so often to allow kids time to create. Afterward, hang the group art on the wall as a story reminder. Each week you can choose a different artistic medium.
- LET’S FACE IT – Before the story, have kids create one story mask for each character in the Bible story using paper grocery bags and markers. During storytelling time, choose some kids to play the characters. Put the grocery bags over their heads, then move them like a puppeteer as you tell the story.
- SPACE NINJAS VS. PIRATE SQUIRRELS – You can make up any silly names you want. Divide kids into two teams and have them compete against each other by doing things to help tell the Bible story. For example, the first team to bring you something made of wood gets a point, then use that object to illustrate how the Tabernacle was made of acacia wood. Or have the kids race to solve a math problem like 210 + 150 – 60, then talk about how Gideon defeated the Midianites with only 300 soldiers. At the end, have a 5-question multiple-choice review competition where teams can earn even more points. Count up the points at the end and award the winner.
- HIDE AND SEEK – Find 4 to 6 pictures and objects that help tell the Bible story and hide them around the room. Unless you want kids to get up and search, hide them in places that are hard to find, but still visible from the seating area. Mix them in with other random objects to throw them off. After each picture or object is found, tell that portion of the story. Consider awarding individual or team points to the finders.
- PICTURE THIS – Play a Pictionary-style game throughout the Bible story where you draw portions of the story while kids race to guess what you’re drawing. Keep the drawings fairly simple. Don’t be a drawing hog, though. Invite some kids to also be the drawers. After each drawing, tell the portion of the story that corresponds with the drawing.
- MAD PROPS – This one is off-the-charts fun and imaginative. Choose 4 or so different random (and even silly) props such as a slinky or banana. Put each prop in a different numbered box. Pause at predetermined times throughout the Bible story and have the kids choose one of the 4 mystery boxes. The storyteller must then use that random prop to tell the next portion of the Bible story. The banana may end up being baby Moses or the slinky may end up being David’s slingshot. To make it even more interactive, choose kids to act out the story with the random props.
Author Bio: David Rausch has been in children’s ministry for over 20 years. He is the creator of GO! Curriculum. His passion is for resourcing and training people to plant the Word of God in the hearts of children. You can find more KidMin-related articles from David here, and find resources from David on Deeper KidMin here.