Simon Says

Play a game of Simon Says and then use the discussion questions and related Bible verses to help your children understand God’s willingness to help us say no to temptation.

Questions for discussion
  • Which of your five senses did you use during the game?
  • Which of your five senses confused you?
  • At times, did you find your body doing something even though, in your mind, you didn’t want to do it?
  • How did you avoid being tricked when you were playing Simon Says?
  • Which of our senses can Satan use to tempt us into not following God’s plan for our lives?
  • Which body parts can be used to do wrong?
  • How can we use our hands/feet/mouth/ears to do right?
  • Do you have any weaknesses or ways in which Satan likes to tempt you to sin?
  • How can we avoid temptation?
  • When we have a hard time controlling our thoughts and actions, who can help us?
Key concepts

In life there will be times when you will experience temptation to sin. You might see something that does not belong to you. You may be tempted to envy the person who has it or be tempted to use your hands to steal it. With your feet, you can be tempted to kick and hurt another child. You might also be tempted to think unkind thoughts.

God promises to send His Holy Spirit to live in us to help with overcoming temptations that Satan sends our way. In life, just like in Simon Says, we need to listen carefully to God’s instructions so we can avoid being tricked by Satan. We use our ears wisely when we listen to God so that we can obey Him. We use our hands and feet for righteousness when we choose to do things that are kind, helpful and encouraging to others.”

Relevant Scripture

Romans 8:26-27 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Flee from wrong

This adaptation of the game What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf? encourages kids to flee from unrighteousness. You will need a home-free base (such as a blanket) and a large open space where your children can run.

Begin by sitting on the ground with your children standing a “safe” distance from you. The home-free base should be placed about 5-10 metres away from all of you. As your children cautiously approach you, encourage them to ask, “What are you doing today, Mr. Snake?” Playing the part of the “snake,” you reply, “Today I am ________.” (List an action that is either sinful or not sinful).

When the snake calls out an action that is not a sin, the questioning continues. When the snake calls out an action that is a sin, he/she then gets up and chases the others, trying to tag someone before they get to home base. Sample replies that do not involve chasing could be, “Today I am being kind,” “Today I am listening to my parents,” and “Today I am using self-control.” Sample replies requiring the snake to give chase include, “Today I am losing my temper,” “Today I am being selfish,” and “Today I am disobeying my parents!” Give each child a turn as the snake. After playing the game, debrief using the discussion questions.

Questions for discussion
  • Why do you think the chaser was called Mr. Snake?
  • What animal is Satan sometimes compared to in the Bible?
  • How do you think Satan tries to cause you to sin?
  • What does the Bible say we are to flee from?
  • What should we pursue instead?
  •  In the game, you were free from Mr. Snake when you reached home base. What do you think the home-free base could be in real life?
  • How do you “run to God” when you need help getting away from sin?
Key concepts

The chaser was called Mr. Snake because Satan is often referred to as a serpent in the Bible. Satan likes to cause people to choose to sin, because that is “his work” (1 John 3:8). Any time we sin, it makes Satan happy and it makes God sad. When Satan is chasing us, God is our “home-free base.” We can run to God in prayer, asking for help any time we are tempted. We can also read the Bible or repeat memory verses. This is what Jesus did when Satan tempted Him to sin. (You will find this story in the self-control lesson, in the Bible story entitled “Jesus fights temptation” (Luke 4:1-13). Close by praying together. Ask God to send His Holy Spirit to help you be wise and strong when Satan is tempting you to sin.

Relevant Scripture

1 Timothy 6:10-12 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

1 John 3:7-10 “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God, nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

Revelation 20:1-2 “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”

Like a city

Visit a fort in your vicinity, if there is one. You can also take a book out of the library on forts or build a fort out of snow, blocks or cushions. Talk about how those inside the fort are protected by the walls. Explain that in Bible times, they put walls around their cities to protect themselves from enemies.

Read Proverbs 25:28 and Ephesians 6:10-18 to find out how to secure protection from Satan’s attacks. Emphasize Ephesians 6:11 (“so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”) and verse 18 (“pray in the Spirit on all occasions”). The questions for discussion can be used to enhance discussion.

Key concepts

When we lose self-control, we are like a city whose walls have been broken down. It is much easier for Satan to tempt us to sin when we have lost self-control. To prevent this from happening, we need to be ready for Satan’s attacks by wearing the “armour of God.”

Close by praying, asking God to give you his armour to help you fight temptation to lose self-control so you can keep the walls of your city intact. Also ask that you and your children will be able to resist temptation with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Other ideas

If your children enjoy the “spiritual battle” theme, you can further the activity by making a complete set of the armour of God for themselves, an animal or a doll. Duct tape, tin foil and cardboard can be used creatively for this additional activity.

Questions for discussion
  • What do you think the pilgrims were protecting themselves from when they built wooden forts?
  • What are we protecting ourselves from when we build snow forts?
  • In our spiritual lives whom are we trying to protect ourselves from?
  • When you think of temptation to do wrong as “flaming arrows,” what kinds of arrows does Satan shoot at you?
Relevant Scripture

Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self control.”

Ephesians 6:10-18

Giggle game

To play the giggle game, name one person as “it.” The other family members can do anything they want to make this person laugh, except touch them. After the person who is “it” laughs, another person takes a turn being “it” until all family members or players have had a chance.

After the game, talk about self-control. Explain that it is usually okay to laugh in life, but there are times when we shouldn’t laugh. We should not laugh when someone is hurt or sad, during quiet time at school or church, or if they are somewhere where they have been asked to be quiet. The following questions will help to clarify this for young children.

Questions for discussion
  • Can you think of some times in life when we shouldn’t laugh?
  • Eating is fun, like laughing is fun, but there is a time to eat and a time to stop eating. When is it time to stop eating?
  • Playing is fun. But when Mom or Dad say it is time to stop, it can be tempting to continue. When is it time to stop playing?
  • Chasing around and being silly is fun, but there is a time and a place for silliness.
  • When is okay to be silly?
  • When is it not okay to be silly?
  • How can you have self-control in these situations?
Key concepts

There are times when we need to obey the instructions of parents and stop doing what seems to be fun. Even though it is tempting to do what feels good instead of stopping, we can ask God to help us be self-controlled and to choose to stop what we are doing.

Relevant Scripture

Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven. …a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

I wanna hold the hand that holds the world

An outdoor walk with your children is a great opportunity to discuss fear and nature. Many people fear natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or thunderstorms. To help a child who fears nature’s power, remind them that God made the world and is in control of all that happens in nature. As you walk along, hold hands and explain that when we love and follow God, it is like we are holding His hand all the time. A fun song to sing as you walk along is He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

Teach your children to repeat the phrase, “I’m trusting God to keep me safe. I’m holding the hand that holds the world.” Read your choice of the verses listed below where God speaks of His power and control over nature. Balance your discussion by reminding your child that God doesn’t want us to be foolish, and we should never knowingly put ourselves in harm’s way. He wants us to be wise and to prepare for emergencies, so we can not only keep ourselves safe, but also be ready to help others.

Relevant Scripture

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

John 10:27-29 “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

Job 38:34-35 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?”

Job 38:37-38 “Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together?”

Job 38:39-41 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?”

Job 39:26-28 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high? He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is his stronghold.”

The powerful tongue

Here are a number of activities that help illustrate the power of the tongue, as described in James 3:2-12. As you participate in these activities, talk about how much power our tongues have. Discuss ways that words can be used to encourage and build others up, or to discourage and destroy others.

  • Light a fire in a fireplace or fire pit and observe how quickly the initial flame grows and spreads.
  • Light a candle and carefully supervise your child as you guide them to hold their hand close enough to feel the heat. This is a good way to demonstrate how much pain we can cause others if we let our tongues “burn” out of control.
  • Visit a stable and allow your children to witness first-hand how a rider can control a horse by the bit in its mouth. Alternatively, rent a small sailboat to give your children a hands-on opportunity to feel how a rudder controls the course of the boat.
Relevant Scripture

James 3:2-12.

Faithfulness to the sky

Go outside on a clear day. Talk about what it must have been like to live in Bible times when people spent most of their day outside. David was a special kind of farmer called a shepherd. Shepherds were always outside caring for their sheep! When David was outside and enjoying nature, he often wrote and sang praise songs to God called Psalms. Read one or more of the verses listed below. Just as the sky goes on forever, so does God’s faithfulness. Use the following questions to stimulate more discussion.

Questions for discussion
  • How far away is the sky?
  • Can you reach the sky?
  • Can a bird?
  • Can a plane?
Relevant Scripture

Psalm 36:5 “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.”

Psalm 57:9-10 “I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of You among the peoples. For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

Hide and Seek – Sardines version

Play the Sardines version of Hide and Seek. After one person hides, all the others search for them. When a seeker finds the hidden person, they quietly join them in their hiding place. Continue until everyone finds the hiding place and joins in the huddle.

After the game, talk about how good it feels to be included. Ask your children how they would have felt if those in the huddle had told them to go away instead of joining the huddle. End by praying that God would help them be children who readily include others in play.

Note: Younger children may need to be paired with an adult to play this game.

Modelling inclusiveness

Set your children up to want to be included. Play an active, fun game involving yourself and another person within earshot of your children. Hopefully, they will come over and ask to be included. Model inclusiveness by saying, “Of course, we’d love to have you play.” Then play the game together.

Ask the following questions to debrief after the game:

Questions for discussion
  • How did you feel when we included you?
  • Was it fun to join in?
  • How would you have felt if we had said, “No, we want to play by ourselves. Go away!”?
  • When and where might you be tempted to exclude someone?

Explain that telling a child that he/she is not welcome to play can be one of the most hurtful things they could ever say to another child. It feels terrible to be left out. End by reading Luke 6:31 and then close by praying together.

Relevant Scripture

Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would want them to do to you.”