Going on a God hunt

Set up your treasure hunt by hiding these clues in the locations indicated:

Clue location Questions and answers
Place on a tool or tool kit.

Question: Where doesn’t God live?

Answer: Acts 17:24
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

Place on a child’s back.

Question: Why did God make us?
Is God close to us or far away?

Answer: Acts 17:26-27
And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us . . .

Place on a jug of water.

Question: Where is God?

Answer: Jeremiah 23:23-24
Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

Place on a trunk or box.

Question: Can God be contained?

Answer: 2 Chronicles 6:18
But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house that I have built!

Place on or in the fridge.

Question: What does God need from us?

Answer: Psalm 50:9-12
I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.

Place on a stool or an ottoman.

Question: What attitude is God pleased with?

Answer: Isaiah 66:1-2
Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool; what is the house that you would build for Me, and what is the place of My rest? All these things My hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word.

Place in or near a sink.

Question: Who can hang out with God?

Answer: Psalm 24:3-6
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.

Place on your body.

Question: Where does God want to live?

Answer: Ezekiel 36:26-28
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Place beside a baby or on a doll.

Question: How did God come to earth?

Answer: John 1:14
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Matthew 1:23
‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).

Begin your hunt by reading Jeremiah 29:12-13: “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.” Then pray this short prayer:

Dear God, we love You and we want to learn more about You today as we play. Thank you for listening when we pray. Amen.

Next, ask your kids, Where do you think we should start looking for God? Listen to their answers, then suggest that the Bible is a good place to get some clues about where God is. Tell your kids that you have hidden Bible verses around the house that will help them find out more about God.

Search around the house together. When you find a clue with a question, invite your kids to try answering the question themselves before you read the answer from Scripture.

Close your adventure by praying and thanking God for being a God who loves to be close to His people. Invite Him to fill your home with the joy and power of His presence.

Key concepts

God is much too big to be contained anywhere. God is like the air: we can’t see Him, but He’s everywhere! God tells us Himself that He cannot be contained.

God doesn’t need anything from us – He made us and He owns the whole world.

The one thing God does want from us is friendship. He sent Jesus to earth so our sins can be forgiven and so we can be friends with Him. The Bible tells us that God lives with those who have asked Him to clean the sin out of their lives and with those who love Him and honour Him.

He is lord of all

Read the following rhyme aloud and have your children make up actions to go along. Read with energy and expression to help your children enjoy the activity. Then open a discussion using the questions provided.

God made all the animals
God made all the animals…
He made some short and He made some tall,
He made some huge and He made some small,
He made some walk and He made some crawl,
Whichever way He made them, He is Lord of All.

God made all the animals…
He made some silly and He gave some a mane,
He made some fancy and He made some plain,
He made some wild and He made some tame,
Whichever way He made them, Lord Almighty is His name.

God made all the animals…
He made some squirmy and He made some run,
He made some nibblers and others eat a ton,
He made some wiggle and He still wasn’t done,
Whichever way He made them, He made them fun!

God made all the animals…
He made some for the day and some for the night,
He made some gentle and some who like to fight,
He made some cuddly and He made others bite,
Whichever way He made them, He made them just right.

God made all the animals…
He made some bouncy and He made some spry,
He made some hop and He made some fly,
He made some friendly and He made some shy.
Whichever way He made them, He is Lord on high!

God made all the animals…
He made some grumpy and He made some grin,
He made some thick and He made some thin,
He made some burrow and He made some swim,
Whichever way He made them, they all praise Him!

Questions for discussion
  • What’s your favourite animal?
  • Can you name some animals God made to be active in the daytime?
  • Can you think of some animals that only come out at night?
  • What animal would you like to cuddle, if you had a chance?
  • Have you ever seen an animal smile?
  • If you could be an animal, which one would you like to be?

Seeking wisdom treasure hunt

Begin by printing out the Scripture verses included here and hiding them around your home as clues.

You’ll also need a “treasure” for your kids to discover at the end of the hunt that suggests the tremendous value of God’s Word. Gold-covered chocolate coins make good treasure. Dried fruit, granola bites or mini cookie packets are good alternatives. If you prefer not to use food, real money can be the treasure, or use a children’s book containing Biblical wisdom.

Here are the Scripture “clues” to print out and hide:

  • Keep this clue to read at the beginning of the hunt: Proverbs 3:21-22
  • Hide this clue on a necklace: Proverbs 8:18-19
  • Hide this clue in a bowl of fruit: Proverbs 8:20-21
  • Hide this clue on a path or walkway leading to your house: Proverbs 8:10-11
  • Hide this clue in your wallet or purse: Proverbs 8:33-34
  • Hide this clue in a doorway: Psalm 119:103
  • Hide this clue under a honey pot or bowl of sugar: Psalm 19:9-11 and Psalm 119:127-128
  • Also hide your choice of treasure, for the final reward, with your Bible.

To begin your treasure hunt, explain to your children that you’ll be reading out verses from the Bible that talk about wisdom. Their job is to listen for the words in the Bible verses that describe wisdom; these words will be hints to help them find where the next clue is hidden.

Use this parent’s clue guide so you know when and how to provide assistance:

Parent’s guide

To start the hunt, read aloud Proverbs 3:21-22My son, do not lose sight of these – keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.” (Give additional hints if your children need help recognizing the connection to a necklace.)

Read clue 2 (found on the necklace): Proverbs 8:18-19Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.” (The key word is “fruit.”)

Read clue 3 (found in the fruit bowl): Proverbs 8:20-21I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries.” (The key word is “paths.”)

Read clue 4 (found on the path): Proverbs 8:10-11Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” (The key words are silver and gold. Give hints to help your children discover that you keep your “silver and gold” coins in your purse or wallet.)

Read clue 5 (found in your purse or wallet): Proverbs 8:33-34 “Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” (The key word is “doors.”)

Read clue 6 (found in the doorway): Psalm 119:103How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (The key words are “honey” and “sweet.”)

Read clue 7 (found under a honey container or sugar bowl): Psalm 19:9-11. . . the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.And also read Psalm 119:127-128Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, above fine gold. Therefore I consider all Your precepts to be right; I hate every false way.” (If they need help, encourage your children to look for your Bible.)

At the conclusion of your treasure hunt, if you used a children’s book as a reward, read the book and talk about how valuable it is to gain wisdom from the Bible. Alternatively, read a story from the Bible stories section of this lesson.

Finish by praying, asking God to help you love Him more than anything else.

Questions for discussion
  • How much does God want us to love wisdom?
  • Where can we find wisdom?
  • Why do you think I hid the treasure with the Bible?
Key concepts

God wants us to love and value His Word, and to eagerly desire to learn more about Him. He wants us to seek out His wisdom every day, and to want this even more than we desire sweet treats or money.

Wisdom boot camp

When you’re on a walk, running around at the park or out bike riding, talk about the concept of physical training for fitness and how we also need to “train” or exercise for spiritual growth.

You may also wish to create a learning opportunity by conducting a mini boot camp for your kids. For even more of a challenge, try doing the spiritual growth “exercise” of saying your memory verse while you are exercising physically.

Here are some suggested conditioning exercises for your boot camp. Search online for specific instructions for each exercise and plan to alternate strengthening exercises with cardiovascular challenges:

  • crunches or mini sit-ups
  • running laps or stairs
  • push-ups
  • tuck jumps
  • triceps dips
  • star jumps
  • wall sits
  • side-to-side jumps over a line
  • plank exercises
  • front-to-back jumps over a line
  • side bridge exercises
  • jumping jacks
  • lunges
  • burpees.

In the days to come, when you notice unpleasant behaviour in one of your children, remind your child that it’s time to do some “spiritual training” by praying and/or reviewing your memory verse.

Questions for discussion
  • What do we need to grow physically?
  • According to the Bible, in what ways did Jesus grow? (See Luke 2:52.)
  • How do we grow in wisdom?
  • What do you think it means to grow “in favour with God and man”?
  • How can you grow in favour with God and man?
  • Do you think God is more concerned about our spiritual growth or our physical growth?
Key concepts

The Bible compares the value of physical training with the importance of spiritual training. It says physical training is of some value, but godliness has value now and forever. The Bible says that Jesus grew in physical stature and in wisdom, and in favour with God and man. This means that God was pleased with Him and that other people also appreciated the way Jesus acted.

We can grow in wisdom too by spending time with wise people, by reading the Bible and by listening to God. God is happy when we show our love for Him by obeying His Word. Others feel respected and loved when we treat them as we would like to be treated ourselves.

Relevant Scripture

Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

John 14:23 “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’

1 Timothy 4:8 “. . .for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Wet chick, dry chick

Here’s how the game works:

Gather an assortment of umbrellas or plastic shields of some kind, such as a large bucket or lid, then spread the shields around your yard. As long as your children are out running around, you can spray them with the hose. But they’re “safe” or “home free” whenever they shelter under one of the water shields.

If you’re playing snow tag, make some “home free” snow forts and place plastic shields around your yard.

Follow up your game by watching a nature video showing a mother duck or hen covering her chicks under her wings, then use the questions to guide your discussion.

Close by praying this prayer with your kids:

Dear God, sometimes when change happens or I am upset, I feel mad at You and I want to run away or hide from everything. Please remind me that You never want to hurt me and that the best place for me to be when I have pain or sadness is close beside You. I want to be a willing chick – one who runs to You for protection and comfort! Amen.

Questions for discussion
  1. What is an umbrella for?
  2. How are a mother duck’s wings like an umbrella?
  3. What could happen to a duckling if it refused to hide under its mother’s wing?
  4. Do you think the duckling feels less safe or more safe hiding under its mother’s wing?
  5. Who wants to comfort us when we are upset?
Key concepts

When we are sad, angry or hurting in any way, God wants to offer us comfort! The important question is, will we let Him, or will we be stubborn and sullen and choose to go it alone?

Relevant Scripture

Psalm 91:1-4 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”

Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”

Isaiah 40:11 “He will tend His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arms; He will carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”

Life is like a crazy carpet ride

Questions for discussion
  • Which sled run or water slide was your favourite?
  • Which do you prefer: a sled that you can steer, or one that does not have a steering wheel?
  • Which do you think would be scariest: riding with your eyes closed, or with them open?
  • What kind of routines do you do every morning?
  • Are there any other kinds of routines you follow almost every day?
Key concepts

The familiar things we do each day are called “routines.” Routines are comfortable because they make life predictable: we know what to expect. Not knowing what lies ahead can make us uncomfortable or even frightened.

Trusting God is like riding down a toboggan run with a parent who is steering the sled, or like sliding down a water slide with your mom or dad. Most kids feel safer when a parent is with them. Another name we use for God is “Heavenly Father.” He is always with us. We can feel comfort and peace, even when life gets “slippery,” because we know that God is in control of our lives and the entire universe.

Note: After your discussion, pray and thank God for knowing and planning the future. Let Him know that you are willing to go along for the ride.

Relevant Scripture

Jeremiah 10:23 “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Outdoor responsibility test

Gather up some sand toys and visit a park or the beach. Or take some sleds and shovels to a tobogganing hill.

As you travel to your destination, use the discussion questions to talk with your kids about what it means to be “responsible citizens” while at public recreation areas.

When it’s time to leave, don’t remind your kids to pick up their toys. If they remember their toys on their own, reward your children with verbal affirmation, stressing that they have gained your trust, and the in the future you will be able to trust them with more responsibility.

If your children didn’t remember to gather their toys before leaving, get into your vehicle before asking if they remembered to bring their toys with them. Return to the park to retrieve the forgotten toys and assure your children that you will give them another “responsibility test” in the future. Be sure to follow up by creating another opportunity for them to keep track of their possessions.

Questions for discussion
  • If we’re not careful, how could we get hurt on the toboggan hill / at the park?
  • Are there ways we could we end up hurting someone else on the hill / at the park?
  • We have some toys with us. How can we be responsible with our sleds / buckets?
  • Has anyone ever bothered you at a sledding hill / park?
  • How can we make sure we don’t become a nuisance to others?
  • What are the basic toboggan hill / park rules?
  • Can you think of some rules everyone should follow while playing on the hill / at the park?
Relevant Scripture

Luke 16:10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

Walking in their shoes

Begin by doing an inventory of all the shoes each member of your family owns. List all the different types of shoes you have, such as formal shoes, casual shoes, running shoes, golf shoes, tennis shoes, high heels, flip flops and summer sandals.

If it’s seasonally appropriate, set up different barefoot experiences in your backyard by providing a variety of surfaces for your children to walk on. You might be able to include concrete, gravel, bare dirt, grass, and even “snow” made by shaving or finely crushing ice cubes.

If it’s too cold to do the barefoot exercise outdoors, create a sensory experience for your children using a shag rug instead of grass, Lego blocks spread on a mat for a rougher surface, a cold concrete basement floor, and crushed ice or snow in a bathtub.

Finish with a foot bath where you get to soak your dirty, sore feet in a tub of warm water. While you are soaking your feet, use the discussion questions to help your children connect their experience to the harsh realities of life for other children who have no shoes at all.

Give your children an opportunity to show compassion by collecting shoes for those who need them. Begin by checking with inner-city churches or shelters to see if they are in need of footwear donations. Then ask at a local recreation centre or gym if you can collect used running shoes for the homeless in your community. Set up a large bin and a sign explaining that all donated footwear will be given to those in need. You may also want to canvas friends, family and neighbours for items they would like to donate.

Perhaps you’d like to broaden your scope of collection. When you are in contact with your local charities, ask for a list of items needed to help those less fortunate. Once you have gathered the items, make sure they are clean and in good repair and deliver them to the charity of your choice.

Questions for discussion
  • Even though it’s fun to go barefoot, what are the dangers of walking around without shoes on?
  • What did it feel like to walk on the ________?
  • What was the softest surface? And the hardest?
  • Which surface did you walk on that made you wish you had shoes on?
  • What could you do if it was winter and you had to go outside, but you owned no shoes?
  • Would you like to help some people who don’t own any shoes?

Note: If your children notice homeless people in your community, encourage your children to have compassion for them, rather than viewing them with fear or disdain. Tell your children that many of these people do not have jobs or homes to go to. Talk about what it must be like to live without warm clothes, shelter or access to water for hygiene. Explain that homeless people sometimes look dirty or unkempt, but that doesn’t mean they are unkind or prone to criminal behaviour. Remind your kids that God loves the homeless just as much as He loves your family.

Relevant Scripture

1 John 3:17 “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.’

Blanket tag

As the parent, you have the task of being “it.” You will need a bath towel or a small blanket – a baby blanket is ideal. Have your children run around and tease you as you try to “catch” them by touching them with the blanket. As soon as you’ve caught a child, wrap the blanket around their head and shoulders like a shawl and give them a hug saying, I forgive you for teasing me, because love covers sin!

Play blanket tag for as long as you wish. When it’s time to catch your breath and wind down, talk about how sad it is that we often forget to show compassion and forgiveness to others, and instead are quick to condemn others – even though we know we have been forgiven by God, and have received His mercy and forgiveness.

Follow-up by role-playing some familiar scenarios from your home to help your kids practice correcting someone else’s behaviour with kindness and gentleness, rather than with harsh condemnation or an accusing tone.

Example scenarios might be when someone:

  • refuses to share a toy
  • speaks rudely
  • insists on having their own way
  • unkindly teases a sibling
  • disobeys parental instructions.

Have your children suggest appropriate and inappropriate ways to correct family members, and act out some of their ideas.

Note: For a related discussion see “condemnation is God’s job” in the Bible stories section of the forgiveness lesson.

Relevant Scripture

Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

James 2:12-13 “So speak and act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.

Come alongside

When you are out on your walk, go ahead and allow a safe distance to separate you and your children. Hopefully at least one of your children will call out, “Wait for me!” Use the opportunity to discuss how simply walking beside someone can be an act of compassion. Use the discussion questions provided, if you wish.

You may want to follow up your discussion by reading the familiar poem Footprints. Talk about how God not only walks with us, He “carries” us during hard times.

Read Matthew 19:13-15 and point out that Jesus touched little children to let them know they were important to Him.

At the close of your discussion, pray with your children and ask God to give you opportunities to encourage others. Then watch for practical ways your children can put their suggestions into action.

Questions for discussion
  • Why do we usually want another person walking alongside us?
  • Can you tell about a time when you felt really sad or disappointed about something?
  • Who or what helped you feel better?
  • How can we “come alongside” a person who is having a tough time? (Examples of a tough time might be losing a pet or loved one, being sick, feeling lonely, moving to another place, getting injured, being laughed at or made the brunt of a joke, or feeling embarrassed over a mistake such as spilling food or drink.)
  • If a friend or family member is having a hard time, how can you remind them that God is with them?
Key concepts

Having another person walk alongside us is encouraging. To encourage simply means to help another person find the courage he or she needs to continue on. When we are miserable, it usually feels better if we know someone cares about our sadness.

We can encourage someone who is feeling sad, worried, scared, disappointed or hurt through a kind touch or by simply being with them. In Matthew 19:13-15 we read that Jesus touched little children to let them know they were important to Him.

God provides comfort through His Holy Spirit, but He also wants us to comfort and encourage each other.

Relevant Scripture

Romans 12:6-8 “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Matthew 19:13-15 “Then children were brought to Him that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And He laid His hands on them and went away.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.