Amazing Beach Days
God Made the Animals
When we stop to look at the things in the world around us it is pretty amazing. God made all of these things, he created the earth. He made all of the animals from the tiny bug to the gigantic elephant. God looked after all of the details that make for the splendid variety of creatures, plants and terrain that cover the earth. It is exciting to realize that the God who did all of that, made us. He knows each of us intimately because he is our creator. He cares about us and He loves us.
God can seem big and distant to us. In this series God's unconditional love for us will be set against the backdrop of creation. Powerful yet personal.
The beach is a good place to recognize God's creation. This series will be set there. The beach like the "swamp" is the home of many interesting personalities who will teach and entertain the children. Our puppet cast was transformed into seaside residents. This was done by simple costume changes and some more complicated adjustments. Our vastly talented costume designer Sandra Pattison takes care of this.
The backdrop picture contained a boat. It was covered in fish netting and tropical fish. A lawn chair was set up. Beach balls, towels, shells and sand toys help create the scene. Use your imagination. The more you bring to it the better it will look.
Lesson Two - God made the World and All of the Animals !
In order to have a relationship with God we have to know who he is. An important aspect of God is that He is the Creator. He is the Author of life. Children need to know as much as possible in order to establish a personal relationship with Him. This series was to designed to emphasize the fact that God is "Amazing" but at the same time he loves us. Powerful yet personal.
In this lesson a puppet song was selected. It had to do with creation so it introduced the theme perfectly. It was also set on a beach so it had the perfect flavour. The puppets were dressed in tropical outfits and dancing to the music. The song was called "The Volcano Song".
Here we are back at the beach. It should be even more fun today!
It is very important to have little to no physical contact with a child particularly in a discipline situation. In order to protect the integrity of your ministry this should be standard policy. This should be made extremely clear to all volunteers. We have found that having a parent from the community attend and reinforce your rules can be a big asset. Often the parent will know the families of the children. Their presence can do wonders.
Designate a special time when your ministry can pray together. It is fine to talk about how important prayer is and to teach that to the kids but you must put your words into action. We have discovered that if a specific time is not set apart for prayer it will not happen. Once you pick a time stick to it. Do not make exceptions or it won't become a habit. We all need to pray consistently.
It is quite difficult to find music to suit this part of the program. If you have someone who can play the keyboard or guitar, you are fortunate. Our Zoo team is not musically inclined yet we still manage to have a great time in our singing portion. We have been able to find other individuals with talent who have made tapes for us. These tapes have just the music and we sing along with them. Anyone can do this, if you can carry a tune you can lead. Upbeat versions of songs the children are familiar with are a big hit. Souped up "Jesus Loves Me" is a Zoo favourite.
All of the games are altered to fit the beach theme. Be creative, if there is a game that your children know alter it to suit a beach. If a game went well, don't be afraid to repeat it the next week.
Game #1 - Stormy Seas
This game involves all of the children. Have the children form a line facing an open area. Select one child to be "the sea monster". Assign each child the name of an ocean creature. They must be one of four kinds of animal that you select. For example the first five children in the line are sharks, the next group are dolphins, the next group are tuna fish and the final group are whales. All of the kids should be included in one of the four categories. The person who is "the sea monster" yells out one of the creatures and all of the children with that title must run across the open area to the other side without being captured by the "sea monster". If you are captured you become a helper to the sea monster. If the "sea monster" yells out Stormy Seas then all of the creatures run. The last creature to remain after all of the others have been captured wins.
Game #2 - Jellyfish Game
Select four players/two from each team. The players will be partners. One partner will be given a mop and the other will have a basket. Twenty wet sponges will be put on the stage, the partner on the stage will sweep the "jellyfish" into the basket. The team that catches the most "jellyfish" wins.
This memory verse has two parts. The first is an interaction between a puppet, the leader and the children.
Part One - The character called OCTAVIA. returns from the ocean.
Octavia: Hello there, I made it back. I was heading back out to the ocean when I decided that I wanted to return to the Zoo. I had such a lovely visit last week.
Leader: We are really glad that you could come back again. How are things in the ocean?
Octavia: Great. Things are great. I have been visiting friends of mine all week. There are lots of creatures that live under the ocean, you know. Whales, sharks, sting rays, tuna, swordfish, clams, oysters, dolphins, starfish and that is just a few.
Leader: That sounds exciting. I think it is amazing. I would like to meet all of your friends some day.
Octavia: If you went scuba diving, I bet you could meet a few.
Leader: Cool. Octavia, did you know that God made all of the animals that live under the sea?
Octavia: He made all of them?
Leader: Yes, it is true! God also made all of the animals that live on the land. Can you think of some? (Give the children opportunity to respond) All of those creatures were made by God.
Octavia: That is amazing. God has really done amazing things.
Leader: That's for sure.
Octavia: I had better get going. I am starting to get a little too warm. I can't stay out of the water too long. I'll be back next week to learn about God again. See you later. (She exits.)
Leader: Thanks for dropping in Octavia! You know I have a memory verse. It is a verse right from the Bible that tells us that God made the animals. Let's take a look at it.
This section is a game. The children will be shown a verse that is nothing but blanks. They will be asked to guess the letters that fit in the verse. It is like hangman. When an incorrect letter is guessed the water will rise on a picture of a boat. The object of the activity is to solve the puzzle before the boat sinks. The team with the most points wins.
"God made the big animals that live under the sea and every living thing." Genesis 1:24
After the game is completed the verse will be repeated until they can do it without looking. One effective way that we have encouraged the children to remember is through rewards. In a typical Sunday school program the children are rewarded through stickers or stars on a chart. At the Zoo if you can remember the verse you can play the game the next week. After the first child has recited it, the other people who want to play will have to recite it too. This might help them to remember it too.
Revelation Rex (the dinosaur costume) has returned. He doesn't speak, he communicates through exaggerated gestures and hand movements. This is an interaction between Rex and the leader.
Leader: Right now we have a very special guest. He was here last week and his name is Revelation Rex. Come join us Rex!
Rex: Rex enters waving to the crowd. In his other hand he is carrying what appears to be a tool box. He has a whistle and a flutter board.
Leader: Rex, we are really glad that you could make it. It is nice to have you here two weeks in a row. Are you glad to be back?
Leader: I was talking to your Mom Rex and she told me that you got a new summer job. Is that true?
Rex: nods and holds up the items that he has taken with him.
Leader: (speaking to crowd) What do you think Rex's new job is? (allow the children to respond) Is that right Rex? Are you a lifeguard?
Rex: nods vigorously
Leader: Will you show us what is in your first aid kit?
Rex: nods and pulls out an item and hands it to the leader.
Leader: Those are band aids. They are really important. You never know when someone might get a scrape and need one of those, right Rex?
Rex: nods and pulls out another item
Leader: A bottle of peroxide, that will clean out any cuts. You could get some sand in your cuts when you are playing at the beach. What else is in there Rex?
Rex: holds up another item
Leader: Who knows how we could use this item? (addressing the kids) That is absolutely right. It is a sling. If the lifeguard thought that you might have broken your arm he could wrap it in that until you got to the doctor. Wow Rex you sure do have a lot of useful items in that kit. Are there anymore?
Rex: nods while holding up one finger. He is indicating that this is the last object. He passes it to the leader.
Leader: Hmmmm ... a book, maybe it is a manual to help you do first aid. (flips the book over) A Bible! Why would you have a bible in your kit? (asks the kids) That is a pretty hard question. The Bible is a very important book it can help you in your life. It contains God's word. It was written to tell you about God and to tell you how to live your life. Do you use it to help you Rex?
Rex: nods and makes a motion with his hands. He slides it across parallel to the floor indicating all the time or everyday.
Leader: You use it all the time. You kids should try reading the Bible it is a great help. Thanks for showing us all of the things in your first aid kit. We are really glad that you could be here again today. See you later Rex.
Rex: waves and exits.
This story is told by a puppet and his friend. It involves some interaction between the two and the leader.
Leader: Last week we had a very important guest. He works under the ocean. Does anybody remember him? (asks the children) Oh look, well here he is now. It is diver Dan.
(yelling back to someone) No problem Captain. No trouble at all. That is what I'll do alright. I know I would have no difficulty getting down there to get the treasure.
Leader: Hi Dan, it seems that you are talking to someone.
Diver Dan : (Looks around behind him) Yes my friend the Captain Souwester was right behind me.
Captain: (enters still having the conversation with Dan) Sorry, I tripped over some barrels on my way in here so I got behind. As I was saying my son I don't think you'll think it is so easy when I tell you where the boat sank. It is just off the coast near Devil's Bay. The water is shark infested.
Leader: Diver Dan, that sounds like a scary job are you going to do it.
Captain: I sure hope he will do it. I really want to get the treasure. Will you Dan?
Diver Dan: I'll try. (both puppets exit and a few minutes later a sign comes up. It says "ONE WEEK LATER")
Leader: How did it go Dan?
Diver Dan: I'll tell you all about it. The next day Captain Souwester and I got into my boat and went down to Devil's Bay. When we arrived I put on my wet suit. I slipped into my wet suit. I jumped over the side and down I went. I had a big light with me so I could see. I swam down and soon found the broken ship. No sign of sharks anywhere. I searched through the entire wreckage looking for the treasure. Then suddenly it was right in front of me. It was half buried in the sand so I had to dig it out. As I was digging I felt something move in the water above me. A great shadow passed over me and I knew it was a shark. I was so scared that I couldn't move. Then another shark appeared from out of nowhere. I was shaking like crazy. I knew that they had seen me and I hoped it wasn't shark lunch time.
I was so frightened. I figured if I got the treasure and swam really fast to the surface I would be ok. I tried to lift up the treasure chest but it was very heavy. I pulled and it began to move. The sharks were moving too but they were moving closer to me. The chest was just too heavy. I knew that I would have to leave it behind. I dropped the treasure chest and swam like crazy. I got to the top and jumped into the boat. The captain had seen the sharks. He was glad to see that I was ok but he was a little upset that I didn't get his treasure. He got more and more upset. Soon the captain started yelling about sharks. He said they were the worst creatures ever and he didn't know why God would make such nasty animals.
Leader: Diver Dan that is an incredible story. I am glad that you did not get hurt, but that Captain did have a good question. Why did God make such a mean animal?
Diver Dan: I was kind of wondering the same thing. I asked my friend Phoebe. She told me that God made the heavens ant the earth and he even made sharks. He did that on purpose none of it was an accident. Sharks are a very important part of the balance in the ocean. All of the creatures and plants that live down there have a special job. They have to live and grow and eat to keep things down there in order. If there were no sharks in the ocean there would be too many fish and the fish would eat too much and cause other plants and animals to die. It is part of God's plan to keep the system working under the water. It is actually quite a complicated system which is sometimes called a balance.
Leader: That is very interesting. God was not being mean when He made sharks he was just keeping things working properly under the water. God sure is amazing. He made all of the animals that live on land too. So Dan, what about the treasure?
Diver Dan: Captain Souwester and I came up with another plan. We are going to use a cage that was designed to be used in shark infested waters. I will go in it and I will be lowered down to the treasure and load it into the cage. So the whole time I will be safe behind the bars. I have a diagram. (holds up a picture of a guy in a cage surrounded by sharks.)
Leader: What a great idea! I am glad it all worked out for you Dan. See you again soon. (Dan exits)
Leader's Conclusion: at this point the leader could ask some questions about the story and have the kids discuss some of the animals that God made.
Quiet seat prizes and prayer.
Copyright 1997, Bread of Life Ministries