Wet and wild water fight

At the start of your water fight, give each child a similar-sized small bucket or plastic cup.

As the parent, you will hold the refill hose. Play by the rule that your children can dump water on you or spray you, but you can only spray them if they forget to call Mercy! when they come for a refill.

Encourage your children to show mercy to you as well, by choosing not to soak you while you are refilling another child’s arsenal.

Prior to having the water fight, review “merciful” ways to wet each other down. One “merciful guideline” could be “no water above the shoulders,” since it can hurt to get water thrown in your face or ears.

After your game, remind your children that you were holding all the water power because you had the hose, but you chose to show them mercy.

Relevant Scripture

Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Row, swim, cheer and skate

Some sports demand precise coordination between team members. Search out online clips of rowing teams, pairs skating, or synchronized swimming or diving, and watch how precisely the athletes mimic each other. Or perhaps you’ll be fortunate enough to watch similar teamwork in person. Then, the next time you are at the pool or the ice rink, see if your family “team” can be as coordinated as the athletes.

Use the discussion questions below to link the beauty of the synchronized athletic performances with the joy of living in unity with others. Finish your chat by asking God to send His Holy Spirit to bring unity to your family. If you wish, your prayer can reflect the relevant Scripture passages, as follows:

“Lord Jesus, we know it is good and pleasant when we live together in harmony. Please help us to love like You do so we can be united like ________ (name your sport of choice). Remind us to think about others and not just ourselves. With Your help, we can remember to say, ‘Brother / Sister, let’s do it your way today.’ Amen.”

Questions for discussion
  • Can you think of some sports where the athletes need to be very coordinated?
  • What would happen if there wasn’t complete cooperation among the athletes?
  • Do you think working as a coordinated team is as easy as it looks?
  • Was it easy when we tried it?
  • Is it easy to get along with the people who live in our home?
  • What are some ways we can practice living at peace with other people?
  • What advice does Philippians 2:1-4 give about living in unity?
Key concepts

Rowing, synchronized swimming or diving, cheerleading and pairs figure skating are some examples of team sports that require incredible synchronization. The athletes competing in these sports often practice with their team or partner for years, and the results are a joy to watch.

God wants us to practice and develop an equally attractive kind of cooperation and coordination called “unity.” The Bible tells us that the secret to living in harmony or cooperation with others is to live unselfishly. We do this when we put the needs of others before our own.

Relevant Scripture

Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Philippians 2:1-4 “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

May I have this dance?

Ballroom dancing is a beautiful demonstration of a leader / follower relationship. Traditionally, the man leads and the woman follows. Either way, the dance couple needs to agree on who the leader is.

To enjoy the cooperative experience of ballroom dancing as a family, borrow a book or DVD from a library, or search online for instructions on how to dance a simple waltz.

Practice with another family member until you master the basic steps. Have fun laughing over missteps and the bumps that occur when one partner is not in step. Be sure to relish your sense of accomplishment when you are able to waltz well!

The power of unity

This game can be played indoors or out. To play, stand in a circle and have everyone, including the leader, hold hands. The leader then calls out different “hand to hand” combinations. For example, if the leader calls “Ben and Amy,” then Ben and Amy try to raise their joined hands in the air before the other players can all kneel on one knee. Raising hands or kneeling without breaking a hand-hold requires a cooperative effort. If a hand-hold is broken, or if the wrong hand-hold combination is raised, everyone who notices calls out “Oops!”

To add interest, share the leadership role, allowing everyone to take a turn calling out names. As people catch on to the game, you can also start calling out names more rapidly, giving less time for players to comply.

After you have played the game, take time to discuss each person’s reaction to this cooperative exercise. (You may want to postpone your discussion until you are travelling in your vehicle or having a meal together.)

Questions for discussion
  • When a hand-hold combination was broken, did we still have a circle?
  • Did you ever stop someone from raising their hand?
  • Did you help someone find the correct hand to raise?
  • What part of the game did you enjoy the most?
  • Was there any part of the game you did not enjoy?
  • How was the game similar to living in a family?
  • What things do you do that break the unity in our family?
Key concepts

When we stand in a circle holding hands, we create a complete circle. However, if one person lets go of another person’s hand, it breaks the continuity of the circle. Family life is like a circle in that we all play an important part in maintaining unity. For example, have you ever waited your turn to tell a story, only to have another family member interrupt you just as you finally get started? It only takes one person to create potential discord. The good news is that you can choose to maintain unity. The key is how you react to someone else’s thoughtless actions.

God wants us to live in unity to let others know that God sent Jesus into the world and that He loves them (John 17:23). We show God that we revere Him when we submit to others, putting our own wishes and preferences aside in order to maintain peace (Ephesians 5:21). This is not always easy to do, but with God’s help it is possible (Romans 15:5, 2 Chronicles 30:12).

Relevant Scripture

Romans 15:5 “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus . . .

Philippians 2:1-2 “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Colossians 3:14 “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Cooperation operation

Do you remember the children’s game called Operation? In this game from Hasbro, players use a pair of tweezers to remove organs and other body parts from a pretend body. A successful “operation” occurs when you remove a body part without touching the surrounding metal. (If you do touch the metal, a loud beep sounds.) If you have access to the game, play it, but have an adult partner with a child and hold the tweezers together instead of playing as individuals.

For even more fun, you can work as a family to create your own life-size version of the game using materials found in your home. You’ll need a large surface area such as a long table or couch to serve as an operating table.

These ideas will help you build a “body” to operate on, but encourage your children to come up with their own creative variations:

  • Create feet from a pair of slippers. 
  • Form legs from cardboard tubes or two-litre pop bottles.
  • Create knees from upside-down yogurt cups.
  • Form a body from empty cereal boxes placed end to end.
  • Arrange arms from long kitchen utensils.
  • Add hands by placing rubber or winter gloves at the ends of the arms.
  • Create a skinny neck from a juice box.
  • Join a head to the neck, represented by an upside-down plastic bowl.
  • Add facial features by forming eyes from carrot slices, trimming cauliflower to resemble ears, shaping a button nose from a mushroom, and cutting cucumbers or celery to resemble smiling lips and arched eyebrows.
  • Finish with some hair formed from yarn or string.

To play the game, use two rubber spatulas to remove various parts of the body. Have people work in pairs, coordinating their efforts to lift the objects off the operating table and into a large bin. For added complexity, make notecards with illustrations of various body parts. Each team then draws a card to discover which body part they must remove. To add a competitive twist, time each round to see which team is the quickest to complete their operation.

Terrific traffic

In this activity, you will work with your children to build an indoor “roadway” where they can practice safe “driving.” You will need coloured paper, markers, scissors, glue, tape, rope and chairs.

  • Using red and white paper, make “yield” signs and “stop” signs. Also make a “slow” sign similar to those that traffic controllers use during road construction. Place white paper strips across your roadway to mark a pedestrian crossing and add a pedestrian crossing sign.
  • Next, with the help of your children, set up a roadway by placing rope (or another indicator) on the floor. Be sure to include intersections where cars have to stop or yield. Tape the appropriate signs on chairs beside the road.
  • Help each child make a pretend car to drive. These can be either simple or elaborate. For example, you can tape a picture of your child’s preferred car onto their shirt, or make a car out of a cardboard box that is large enough for a child to wear over their body. Cut head and arm holes and allow your child to decorate it.
  • Begin by having your children follow you along the road listening to your directions on how to obey the traffic signs. Then allow your children to drive the course on their own, obeying the signs. You can hold the “slow” sign or have stuffed animals line up at the pedestrian crossing. Give out stickers as safe driver awards for your children to stick on their cars.

Afterward, read the Scripture verse provided below, then have your kids answer the following “safe driver quiz.” Give out “cooperative driver’s licences” in recognition for passing the test.

Questions for discussion
  • When you see a “stop” sign, what should you do?
  • What should a driver do when they come to a “yield” sign?
  • If two drivers want to drive in the same lane at the same time, how do you decide who gets to go first?
  • What do the words “defer to” or “submit” mean?
  • Who makes up the rules drivers must follow on the road?
  • What happens to drivers if they do not submit to these rules?
  • Who makes the rules we follow in life?
  • What does God think when people don’t follow the rules?
Key concepts

If a driver comes to a “stop” sign, the rules of the road require that they stop. Likewise, if a driver comes to a “yield” sign and sees another car coming down the road, they are required to stop and wait for the other car to go by before entering that roadway. The road signs tell drivers who has the “right-of-way” and who has to wait.

Obeying traffic signs is similar to obeying God’s rules or a parent’s instructions. Obedience is rewarded with blessings, and there may be discipline and pain involved when there is disobedience. For example, the driver of a car stops or “submits” when the road signs tell them to, because the driver knows that if they don’t obey the rules of the road, an accident could happen!

Note: If you live in a larger town or city that has a traffic safety centre, you may prefer to skip this at-home activity and instead take a field trip to learn about vehicle and pedestrian safety.

Relevant Scripture

Romans 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

You’re a treasure!

Give your kids a few minutes to hide, then go searching for them. As you are searching for your kids, let them to hear you lamenting, calling out something like this:

Oh where, oh where are my precious children? How dreadful this is, I have lost my lovely kids! What will ________ (Grandma or Grandpa) say when I tell them I have lost our dear children?

When you find your kids, smother them with love, hugs and kisses and declare how happy you are to have found them.

After everyone tires of the game, sit down for a snack or cuddle time and use the discussion questions to help your children understand how much you love them.

Questions for discussion
  1. Where was your favourite place to hide?
  2. What was the best part of the game?
  3. Did you have more fun hiding, or being found?
  4. Would I / we be more concerned about losing you, or about losing $1,000?

Note: For further discussion and a Biblical application, see “bought with a price” in the Bible stories section of this lesson.

Lost and found

Choose five “treasured” items to hide (such as favourite toys, stuffed animals or special treats). When your children find their treasures, they’ll also find a quiz question taped to each item. When they put all their questions together, they’ll uncover the joy-filled message of salvation! (You’ll find the list of quiz questions at the end of this activity.)

To prepare your scavenger hunt, first pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give your children understanding of the truth of the good news of salvation and, if they have not yet done so, pray that they would accept it.

Next, print out a copy of each the numbered quiz questions (see text provided below).

Tape one clue to each of the five items that will be hidden in the room. (Or, to reduce competition, you can hide five items per child, rather than have all the children search for the same five items.) The quiz questions do not need to correlate to the items that will be hidden.

Before the hunt begins, let your children know where the search boundaries are. Tell them that the questions they find on their treasured items will help them uncover the answer to the bigger question, What is the greatest treasure in the whole world?

Have your children search until they find all the hidden items. Provide assistance as needed, using the terms “hotter” and “colder” to provide direction.

When your children have found all their treasures, help them place the treasures in order, one through five, according to the numbers on the quiz questions.

Ask your children if they can think of a story in the Bible that tells about a person losing a special possession. Take a few minutes to read The Parable of the Lost Coin from Luke 15:8-10. Compare your children’s hunt for their treasures to a parent looking for a lost child, or to God seeking “lost children.”

Note: If your kids show avid interest, you can conduct the treasure hunt a number of times before reviewing the quiz questions.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did the woman in the story lose?
  2. What did she do when she found it?
  3. How hard was it to find all your treasures?
  4. What did you do when you found everything that had been hidden?
  5. What does the Bible say is the reason for rejoicing in heaven?
  6. What is the difference between a person who is “lost” and a person who is “found”?
  7. Has Jesus found you or is He still looking for you?
Key concepts

When we lose something of value, we search for it diligently until we find it. God is like a parent who loses a child: He searches for that lost child until he or she is found.

A person who is “lost” is someone who has not admitted that he or she is sinful and has not asked God to forgive their sins. They don’t know what it means to have Jesus as a friend and have not asked God to be the leader of his or her life. Many people in our world are “lost.” They don’t know that the greatest treasure in the world is knowing and loving Jesus, so they go hunting for other treasures, trying to make themselves happy in other ways.

Treasure hunt questions

Question 1

Who made you? How do you know if God loves you?

Key concept

God made each of us and He considers every person to have equal value. He loves each of us simply because He does.

Relevant Scripture

Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Colossians 1:16 “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.”

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”


Question 2

Does God love you even if you have sinned? What kind of things do we do that are called sin? How do you think God feels about sin?

Key concept

As much as God loves us, He does not love our sin.

Relevant Scripture

Genesis 6:5-8 “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of His heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

Romans 3:22-24 “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:22-24 (paraphrased for younger readers) “Every person sins and no matter what a person does, they can’t get rid of their sin. It is impossible. All of us who sin deserve to die, but God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins. Jesus died so that we don’t have to. This great gift is called “grace.” Even though we don’t deserve to be forgiven, God forgives us and sets us free from our sin simply because He loves us!”


Question 3

Do you have a choice about what to eat at suppertime? How about snack time? What kinds of choices do we (your parents) give you? Can you choose to obey or disobey? What happens if you disobey? Does God force you to obey Him? Does God make you love Him?

Key concept

Every person has a choice to make in life: a choice to ask God to forgive their sins, to follow God and obey His commands, or a choice to live following their own plans and pleasing themselves.

Relevant Scripture

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”


Question 4

What does God say will happen to those who choose to disobey or ignore Him? What will happen to those who love and obey God and His Word?

Key concept

God has made it very clear that those who believe that Jesus’ death paid the penalty for their sins, who love Him and follow Him, will spend eternity in heaven with Him. Those who don’t let God know that they are sorry for sinning, and who choose to live to please themselves, will not be able to go to heaven because their sins have not been forgiven.

Relevant Scripture

John 1:12 “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God . . .”

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”


Question 5

How can God tell if we love Him?

Key concept

The questions God wants us to answer for Him include: Do you love Me? Are you ready to admit that you sin? Does it make you sad to see how much your sin disappoints Me? Do you want Me to forgive you? Am I your king, or are you living to please yourself instead of Me? (John 14:15,21).

Relevant Scripture

John 14:15,21 “ ‘If you love Me, you will obey what I command. . . . Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him.”

For another story that helps explain salvation to your children, see “the parable of the lost sheep” in the Bible stories section of the forgiveness lesson.

Footprints in the snow

Later, ask these questions to start a discussion time:

Questions for discussion
  • Did Jesus walk with a swagger and expect others to treat Him like a king?
  • Can you think of any Bible stories that give us clues about how Jesus treated other people?
  • How can we care for others as Jesus did?
Key concepts

Share with your children that you try to “follow in Jesus’ footsteps” i.e., live as He lived. Point out to your children that Jesus “walked” or lived in a way that showed He was always looking out for the needs of others. Jesus gives us His Spirit to live in us so that we can live and love like He does.

Pray and ask Jesus to fill each of your family members with His love so you have lots of Jesus’ love to share with others. Introduce the theme Jesus in me means I care for you. During the holiday season, use this phrase as a way to affirm your children when you notice them being respectful or considerate, or treating others with kindness or gentleness.

Relevant Scripture

1 John 2:5-6 “But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.

Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Cleaning house – a reminder about forgiveness and righteousness

Point out to your children that, just as it’s much more pleasant to live in a clean house, God delights in living or dwelling in hearts that are clean and free from sin.

Pray based on Psalm 51:10 and Matthew 5:8 and ask God to forgive your sin, cleanse your hearts, send His Spirit to live there, and help you continue to make choices that keep your hearts “clean” and free from sin.

Relevant Scripture

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.