M&M game

Any time

Learn the meaning of “Massah” and “Meribah” and use them as code words to remind kids to stop complaining.

Share with your kids the Bible story in Exodus 17:1-7 where the Israelites quarrelled with Moses so much that Moses called the place “Massah and Meribah.” “Massah” means “testing” and “Meribah” means “quarrelling” (Exodus 17:2,7). The Israelite’s complaining tested God’s patience too.

Note: This activity pairs nicely with the Bible story in this lesson called “whining about water . . . again!

Now you’re ready to play the M&M game. Every time anyone complains, the rest of the family gently says “M and M” or “mmmm,” reminding everyone of the words “Massah and Meribah.” This is a polite way of saying that you don’t want your home to be full of quarrelling, or a place where you test God’s patience.

As a penalty for complaining, the person who whined needs to think of three things to thank God for instead. Here’s an example of how an episode might play out:

Parent: “Please pick up those toys before supper.”

Child: “I don’t want to. Get my brother to do it. He played with them too.”

Parent: “M and M.”

Child: “But I don’t want to clean up.”

Parent: “Oops! I just heard you complain again. Can you think of three things to thank God for? I can help you get started. Which toy on the floor is your favourite?”

Child: “I like this giraffe best.”

Parent: “Great. Let’s see if you can put it in the toy box before I can say, ‘Thank You, God, for the giraffe.’ Can you think of two more things you are thankful for?”

Child: “Blankie and Bunny.”

Parent: “Thank You, God, for Blankie, Bunny and Giraffe. Thank You too for ______________________________ (insert all your children’s names here). Please give us thankful hearts. Amen.”

To add a fun twist to the game, also give out a few M&M candies each time a child expresses appreciation or thanks unprompted. Don’t tell your kids why you are handing out candy, and see how long it takes them to figure it out.

When someone whines or complains, you can also use your choice of the verses below to remind your children of the importance of praising God instead. Pray with your children, thanking God for His love and goodness. Encourage your kids to ask God to forgive their ungratefulness. Thank God specifically for the good things He provides and then close by asking God to give each person in your family a grateful heart.

Relevant Scripture

Psalm 95:6-9 “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put Me to the test and put Me to the proof, though they had seen My work.

Isaiah 63:7 “I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has done for us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that He has granted them according to His compassion, according to the abundance of His steadfast love.