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Bible passage: Genesis 2:1-4
Background: Younger children usually have more time to rest than most of us, but they might not have explored how important rest is. After God’s awesome, epic work in creating the whole universe he rests and reiterates how much people need to rest. After all, rest is God-given and beneficial to all. This session gives children plenty of opportunity to play at resting and to explore how they rest best.
If you’re short of time this month, you could merge Sessions 1 to 3 into one. Select activities from the different sessions to create your own, but make sure you include elements from each.
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 they like to do to relax. Do they take naps? Perhaps they like reading (or being read to), drawing, colouring or watching a TV programme. Talk about how we all need to rest, either through sleep or doing an activity we enjoy.
You will need: balloons
Blow up a balloon and bat it to one another without letting it touch the ground. Make the game as energetic and lively as possible, though you could do it sitting at a table if you are tight on space. Have spare balloons ready in case one pops, and make sure you pick up any broken pieces straight away as they can be a choking hazard. Comment on the way the balloon floats gently and how it’s difficult to make the balloon fly fast, no matter how hard you hit it!
Be aware that some children don’t like balloons bursting, so check beforehand that everyone in your group is content to play. Some might be happier sitting with a helper at the side of the game.
You will need: rugs; blankets; cushions; pillows; duvets; a child-friendly Bible or a Bible storybook (optional)
Show the children the rugs and blankets you have brought and work together to create a welcoming space where you can all lie down and get comfortable. When you’re done, get everyone to settle down. Ask the children what they like to do when they are tired and have worked very hard.
If you did Sessions 1 and 2, recap what God has done so far in the creation story. Can the children remember what he has created? What a lot of work! If you haven’t done the previous sessions, tell the story using a child-friendly version in of the Bible (such as the Contemporary English Version) or a children’s Bible storybook. Once you have done that, tell today’s story:
God had finished his creation. He had made everything in heaven and earth and was happy with it. All cheer and shout “Thank you” to God. On the seventh day he took a rest. All stretch and yawn. He called the seventh day a holy day because it was a special day for resting.
The seventh day of the week is usually when we go to church. It’s a time when there’s usually no work and there’s definitely no school. Sometimes people have to work, but most people get to have a rest (and the people who have to work on Sundays should be able to rest on a different day).
God knew that rest was very important, so he rested after finishing his amazing creation!
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?
- Why do you think God rested on the seventh day?
- What do you do when you rest? Do you feel better afterwards?
You will need: balloons or the equipment needed for your chosen game; the relaxing area created for ‘Bible story’
Talk about a busy day in your life and ask the children what a busy day looks like for them. How do you feel after all that activity? How do you feel when you are tired? Do you do your best work? Are you happy? Are you kind?
Play the game from ‘Intro activity’ again or choose a different energetic game to play. You are aiming to get the children tired and glad of a rest! Once you have finished and everyone is a bit tired you could retire to the relaxing area you all made for ‘Bible story’. Chat about how it feels to rest.
You will need: the relaxing area created for ‘Bible story’; gentle music and the means to play it
Have a quiet, restful prayer time in your relaxing area. Play some gentle music and let the children take pleasure in resting and relaxing.
Finish with a simple prayer: “Thank you, God, for teaching us how to rest. Amen.”
Supporting documentsClick link to download and view these files
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