Jonah and the Fish
This series of three lessons was designed for discipleship. The children will have an opportunity to learn Bible stories that have an important message for everyday life. It is our aim to try to give the children some knowledge of Biblical content. This will hopefully help them to grow stronger in their faith and develop spiritually.
Decorations for submarine - The Zoo Bus was used as the set for this series. It is long and like a capsule so it is easy to use your imagination to help make it into a submarine. This could be done using a long classroom. Fish on windows to give the under the sea look. Old rustic control panels and dials, periscopes and radar equipment.
Lesson #1 - Jonah and the Fish
The first lesson in the series is based on the story of Jonah and the fish. It is the introduction to the submarine and to the new cast of characters that work on board the vessel. The story focuses on being obedient to God.
The opening of this lesson is a puppet song. It is about Jonah and will help to introduce the content of the lesson. Fish puppets and props help to attract the attention of the children. Use squirt bottles or water guns in order to make it even more fun.
The rules in the Zoo program do not change. It is important to maintain consistency. As time progresses the children know what is expected of them and they rarely cross the line. It gets easier as they adapt to the guidelines.
Prayer changes lives. Changed lives are what we are after. More than anything else, more than a flashy program we want to see children come to know and love Jesus Christ. We pray for this daily and all through the program. Pray during each segment that God will use it to touch the lives of the children.
Take a short period of time to talk to the children about the theme. Prior to the program it is helpful to do some promotion. We usually try to deliver flyers every two weeks. This gives us some time to visit with the children but it also allows us to advertise upcoming themes.
The children will be on a submarine called the "HMS ZOO" (HMS of course means His Majesty's (Jesus') Service). It is a very old submarine that is used in ocean research and exploration.
All the games are adapted to suit the submarine theme. Since there is very little space on the Zoo Bus, the games involve very little movement. Use word games that help the children with reading, spelling and writing.
Game #1 - Submarine Memory
In this game one contestant is selected at a time. The player is competing on behalf of their team. The participant stands in front of a board with pictures on it. The pictures are all duplicated. The player must remember where each picture and its match are located. The cards are then turned over and the memory work begins. The player has one minute to find as many matches as possible. There can only be two pictures in play at any time. The team that gets the highest number of matches wins. All of the cards are the same size and have nautical theme pictures on them.
Game #2 Ocean Blurt
In this game entire teams can participate together. One team goes first and then the second team gets a turn. The game leader has a card with a definition on it. The leader will read the definition of something from the ocean and the team must guess what it is. The team tries to see how many definitions they can "blurt" out in one minute. The team with the most wins.
An old sea captain puppet presents the memory verse leader with an old captain's log book. The captain explains that it was owned by the very first captain of the HMS ZOO and it has some very important messages in it. The captain in those days recorded what he learned as he explored the bottom of the ocean.
Leader: I would like to introduce you to a very important friend of mine. He is the captain of the HMS Zoo. He has been piloting the sub for years. Welcome CAPTAIN C LEVEL.
Captain C. Level: Hello there, all of you. I am pleased to have you aboard my submarine.
Leader: We really would like to learn about submarines.
Captain C. Level: I bet some of the kids out there already know a little about submarines. Let's ask them a few questions. (allow for response)
What is a submarine?
Leader: Wow they sure knew a lot about submarines Captain C. Level. I am pretty impressed.
Captain C. Level: Now that I have shared that with you, I'll show you what I brought with me.
Leader: What is it?
Captain C. Level: I brought a special book with me. It is a Captain's log. That is a book that the captain of a submarine or a ship uses to record important things that happens on board the vessel. This one is very old. It belonged to the first Captain of this submarine.
Leader: That is really exciting. Show it to us.
Captain C. Level: Well, I'll show you this page. It is written in a special ancient sea submarine code. Take a look.
Leader: Interesting but we can't read it. Do you have something to help us understand it?
Captain C. Level: I sure do. Here is a copy of the code see if you can figure it out.
Leader: Let's try it. (allow time for the leader to interact
with the children and solve the puzzle.)
Captain C. Level: That must have been a very important verse if the captain wrote it in the log. I wonder what it means?
Leader: I believe it is important. It talks about "the word of God", that is the Bible. We are supposed to do what it says or obey it. God has told us some important things that we should do, they will help us.
Captain C. Level: That is important. We should do what God wants.
This segment of the lesson was used to introduce the story. Two characters (puppets) have a conversation that sets the stage for the story. The characters are Captain C Level seen in the memory verse and an ocean researcher, a lobster called JACQUES CRUSTEAU.
Jacques Crusteau: Allo dere, I am Jacques Crusteau, ocean explorer. I have been traveling with Captain C. Level on de HMS Zoo. We use the submarine to study things in de ocean.
Captain C. Level: That's right. I sail the submarine and Jacques Crusteau does the research.
Jacques Crusteau: We have been searching de bottom of de ocean for a sunken ship. It has a lot of treasure on board but we haven't been able to find it in all dis time.
Captain C. Level: Look Jacques! Look at the monitor, there is a huge sea cave below us.
Jacques Crusteau: Plonge, Plonge! Let's go down dere . I tink dat is la cave.
Captain C. Level: What cave?
Jacques Crusteau: It's de cave where le grand fish used to live.
Captain C. Level: What fish?
Jacques Crusteau: I'll tell you about it. (both walk off stage)
A puppet dressed in a ragged t-shirt and covered in seaweed enters the stage area. The leader begins to tell a story to the children. There are pictures drawn to depict different parts of the story. They are held up at appropriate times so that the children have more to look at.
A long time ago there was a man named Jonah. He doesn't look too great, he had a really bad week. I don't think too many people have had an experience as bad as his. He is a mess. I'll tell you what happened to him.
One day God spoke to Jonah. I know it sounds crazy but God really did talk to him. He told Jonah to go to a city called Ninevah. The people in that city were doing all kinds of bad things and God wanted Jonah to tell them to stop.
Jonah didn't like the idea at all. No way, forget it, he thought. I am not going to go to that rotten place. So Jonah took off. He ran away from God. He got on a big ship and he figured God would never catch up to him there.
While he was on the boat a storm came up. The sailors were very frightened. They wanted to know, why there was such a huge storm. Jonah told them it was probably because of him and the way that he had treated God. Jonah told them to toss him overboard and it would stop. You would never believe it, as soon as they dropped him into the sea the storm stopped. He floated around in the water for a while wondering what to do when this great big fish came along and swallowed him. Boy was it disgusting inside a fish! It was wet and sticky. When Jonah's eyes adjusted to the dark he thought he was going to be sick. He could see everything that the fish had eaten before him. Every now and again that fish would swallow some more stuff and it would land right on his head. It was awful. Jonah sat there stuck in the worst situation ever. He knew that only God could help him now, so he began to pray. He prayed and prayed and after three days God saved him. The huge fish spat him out on dry land. (makes a loud spitting noise) Just like that, Jonah was ok.
He got up off the beach and ran. He went all the way to the city of Ninevah and told the people to stop doing bad things. This time he did exactly what God wanted and things started to go a lot better. (Jonah exits)
* This story was written with some reference to the Beginner's Bible which is included on our resource list. Captain C. Level and Jacques Crusteau return .........
Jacques Crusteau: See, I told you it was very exciting. Some people say dat le grand fish lived in this cave.
Captain C. Level: Amazing, that guy Jonah had a really hard time. He should have done what God asked.
Jacques Crusteau: Sometimes it is difficult to obey God but you have to remember that He loves us and knows what is best for us.
Captain C. Level: (looking in the periscope) Oh my, uh Crusteau you had better come and take a look at this.
Jacques Crusteau: What is it? Qu'est que c'est? (looks in) Oh la la, mon ami. Un..deux...two eyes in la cave, maybe it is le grand fish. I ope he doesn't want to swallow our submarine. Let's get us out of ere !
Captain C. Level: (panicking too, begins to yell at the crew) Surface this submarine, reverse our thrust, full speed, get us oot of this cave.
(while all of this screaming is taking place the two exit the scene)
This segment of the program is used to ask questions to make sure that children understood the material.
Dismissal: Quiet seat prizes and closing prayer.
Copyright 1997, Bread of Life Ministries