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Bible passage: Genesis 1:14-31
Background: This session follows on from Session 1 and completes the creation story in Genesis 1. Enjoy chatting about the different creatures God creates, but also try to explore the idea that God made people to be like him, and that we are also made by God (see Psalm 139). Children may not immediately see the impact of this, but you are laying the foundations for them to explore the idea further in the future.
Note: the ‘Chatting together’ questions are intentionally similar to Session 1. Children will enjoy the repetition (they will remember the questions from your previous session) and the same questions will reinforce the sense of God’s creativity and the fact that we are also creative.
As the children arrive, welcome them by name and invite them to sit together in a circle. Encourage them to share stories from their week and celebrate any birthdays or special events. Ask the children what their favourite animals are. Why do they like those particular creatures?
You will need: a screen and a light source; paper cut-outs of different animals; garden canes; sticky tape
To make the screen, stretch a white sheet across your space. Use any available furniture and clothes pegs or masking tape to hold the sheet in place. Place a desk lamp (or similar) behind the sheet. (If you have already done Session 1, use the same screen in this session.)
Tape the animal cut-outs onto the canes so you can hold them up in front of your light source to cast a shadow on the screen. Switch on the lamp and hold each animal up in turn for the children to guess what it is. You can add sound effects if you aren’t confident in your abilities.
You will need: the screen and light source from ‘Intro activity’; black paper; canes; scissors; sticky tape; playdough
Before the session, create shadow puppets from black paper and garden canes. You will need a sun, a moon, and a variety of birds, land animals and sea animals. If you don’t feel artistic there are various templates available online. If you feel adventurous the internet has lots of ideas to add colour and movement to your puppets. You also need two people puppets, a man and a woman. When you are ready, tell this story:
Do you remember? The last time we met together we talked about how God created light and dark. Well, after that he created the sun to watch over the day. Move the sun across the screen to mimic sunrise and sunset. And he made the moon to watch over the night. Make the moon rise in the sky.
On the fifth day he filled the sea with animals. Get out your sea animal puppets and encourage the children to name as many as they can. Push the ends of the canes into the playdough to hold them upright if you run out of hands. Then God made every kind of bird. Use your bird puppets, sound effects optional! God blessed them all.
On the sixth day he turned to the earth and created all kinds of animals: tame animals, wild animals and small, crawling animals. Display your animal puppets. God saw that they were good and said: “Let all the animals have babies and fill the earth.”
Then God decided to make people and to make them like himself. He made a man and he made a woman. Display your people puppets. God told them to look after the world and the animals. He said that he would give them all the plants for food. God was pleased with his creation.
Tell the story as often as the children would like to hear it. Let them retell the story themselves and operate the puppets if they are interested in doing so. Make sure they keep away from your light source, as it may be quite hot.
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take part in the discussion:
- What was your favourite part of the story?
- How do you think God felt when he made the world?
- What do you think God did next?
- Are you good at creating? What things do you like to make?
- How does it feel to know that people (and you) were made by God?
You will need: animal and people shapes cut out of paper; art materials; cover-up and clean-up equipment
Give each child the outline of a different animal to decorate by colouring, painting or sticking things to it. As you work, talk to them about all the different animals. Which ones are their favourites and why? Where in the world do they come from? How has God made them just right for the places they live? How can we help to look after them?
Once everyone has decorated their animal, give them a person shape. Encourage the children to create self-portraits by decorating their person shape. As you work, talk about how we are all created by God. Comment on and celebrate the diversity of the self-portraits (and of the children in your group). Help the children reflect on what it might mean to be made by God.
Sit in a circle and take it in turns to say thank you to God for a different animal. This could be the child’s favourite animal or the one they decorated (which they can wave around as they thank God for it). Finish by saying this prayer:
Thank you, God, for all the animals: big or small, fluffy or scaly.
From tiny little bugs to the enormous elephant,
you made them all and they are wonderful.
And thank you God for making people,
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