Sometimes life is tough and the only way to survive is to have Jesus
in your life. As Christians, we continue to face different problems
daily. We need to be careful about what we expose ourselves to. No
matter what circumstances we do find ourselves in, Christ will help us
When you think about a tangible place that is tough and difficult to
survive in, many different locations may come to mind. In this series we
have selected the swamp. The animals sound scary, the fog covers the
ground and the path is hard to find. For children, life can sometimes be
this way. They are often faced with situations that are hard to wade
through. We will look at some of the problems that kids face and how
Jesus can help us through.
The setting for this series is a wet, cold, dark and ugly marsh. It
is called "Slug Slime Swamp". It is the home of many creatures and
personalities who will teach and entertain the children. All of the
background props and equipment were designed to set the stage. The
puppets were transformed into characters who were born and raised in the
swamp. The pictures should provide some ideas. We don't have a large
number of puppets and our resources are limited, so our talented puppet
costume department (Sandra Pattison) creates the looks we need.
"Slug Slime Swamp" sign, backdrop picture of swamp, old junkyard
items (heavy rope, old hubcaps, gas container, old safe). Use your
imagination. Frogs, crocodiles, bugs.
Lesson One - Garbage In -
Every day our minds are overloaded with different images. Our fast
paced multi-media society presents us with opportunity to view violence,
sex, crime and immorality right in our own living rooms. This is not
what the Bible instructs. We are told to think about "whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is
lovely, whatever is admirable..." Philippians 4:8. This bible
truth is not just for adults, it must begin at an early age.
This lesson presents the idea that children must also be careful
about what they watch and read. After all, when our focus is on God, we
produce His fruit. When our focus is on the world, it is garbage in -
- To teach the children that Jesus loves them
- to teach that we need to be careful about what
- to teach the children that they don't need to
watch what everyone else is watching. In the Bible it says we are to
In the introduction to this series some props were suggested. For
this lesson the old gasoline container will be needed. The memory verse
and first piece of the antidote.
This program was written to be used with our outdoor Zoo Van. The
games require some space but the program could easily be adapted to suit
Since this was the first lesson in a series we decided to change our
opening slightly. In this short segment we simply asked questions. The
children could answer using the props that were visible and their
What place do you think we are visiting with The Zoo?
What kind of creatures live in the swamp?
Have you ever been in a swamp?
Consistency is the key to discipline. It is important to set a
standard for acceptable behaviour and stick to it. Do not make
exceptions to the rules. If you need to add rules do so at will, as long
as they don't contradict what you have already established.
No child is ever an exception to the rules. Even if they come from
the worst circumstances.
Prayer should be included in the outdoor program. Since it will be
heard by the entire community, you might want to pray for things that
concern them as a whole. If you are aware of any situations, this would
be a good time to teach the people that they can take these things to
Singing is a fun time in the program. Most of the children enjoy it.
For a change in the program the teams can compete against one another to
see who is the loudest. Another interesting alternative is to change the
actions or have teams take turns singing different parts.
The games in this program fit in with the Swamp theme that we are
trying to create. They are probably quite familiar. We have used them
before in the Zoo program but they have been given a Swamp flavour.
Game # 1 - Snake Babies Select two players from each team. In
this game there are "snake babies" loose. They are all over the stage
area and we need to get them off. One team member stands on the stage
with a broom while their partner stands on the ground with a basket. The
object of the game is to see which team can capture the most babies.
This game can be done using rubber snakes but it may be expensive to
purchase a large number. As an alternative we suggest an old green
garden hose cut up into small sections.
Game # 2 - Survival Kit Select four players from each team. In
this game the contestants from each team will line up behind a pylon. On
"GO" the first player will put on a pair of huge rubber boots and run up
to the survival equipment and pack it in a bag. The player will then run
back to the line and tag the next person. The second contestant will put
the boots on and take the bag back to the other end and unpack it. This
will repeat until all of the players have stopped. The first team to
have all of its members complete the event wins.
This section involves a story that will run over the period of three
RANGER RUSS has been posted to the Swamp. It is his task to solve
"The Legend of Slug Slime Swamp". For a number of years there has been a
problem in the swamp, the water is turning pink. This water is causing
the swamp residents to sprout pink hair. Russ has been in the swamp for
a while and has encountered Dr. A.M.Phibian. This mad scientist has
developed the antidote to cure the problem. However, he doesn't want to
give up the antidote. He is grouchy and he finds the pink hair problem
amusing. Frogs don't grow hair anyway. He thinks that he knows
everything and will only give up the antidote if you can tell him
something he doesn't know. The children will learn a memory verse and
recite it to him. If he doesn't know it, they get the antidote. Dr. A.
M. Phibian is forced by Ranger Russ to keep his word. He hands over a
piece of the lily pad that the antidote is written on. If the children
are able to learn a verse each week for a three week period they will
get the whole antidote and Ranger Russ will give them a reward.
Leader will introduce Ranger Russ.
Ranger Russ: Well, hello there. It is a pleasure to be here.
As you have just heard I am Ranger Russ. I have been posted to work here
at "Slug Slime Swamp". They really needed my help. There is a problem in
the swamp. It has to do with the water, the water is turning pink. This
may sound kind of funny but it is a serious situation. The residents of
the swamp are starting to grow pink hair. That's right, I said pink
hair. However, I am trying to find a way to fix this problem. I met a
fellow who might be able to help us.
Dr. A.M. Phibian: Well Ranger Russ, you are absolutely right.
I am the fellow who can help you. I am the only person who can help. I
am the most intelligent creature that lives in this swamp. I am a
professor. I was here when the pink water problem started and I have the
cure. I made an antidote but I don't want to give it to you. I think
this whole pink hair thing is quite funny. I am a frog so I don't grow
hair but I like to watch everyone else turn pink.
Ranger Russ: Dr. A.M. Phibian, you are not very nice! I think
you are very selfish. You should help your neighbours.
Dr. A.M. Phibian: I don't have to do what you say. I am much
smarter than you and I will do what I want.
Ranger Russ: I know Dr., why don't we make a deal? If we can
tell you something you don't know, that will prove that we are just as
smart as you. If we succeed then you will have to hand over the
antidote. What do you think about that?
Dr. A.M. Phibian: No problem. That sounds like a great idea. I
hope you don't think that you will get the antidote. You will have to
think of something better than that. There is nothing that I don't know.
I guess you'll never get the cure. (exits)
Ranger Russ: I think that we can do it. I have seen this crowd
learn some pretty important things before. What do you think (leader)?
Leader: Well Ranger Russ, I have been listening to your
conversation with that frog. He does seem really smart. I think this
group is even smarter. I brought just the thing. I brought this memory
verse. We will try to learn it and when we do we will call Dr A.M.
Phibian back into the room. Then we will see if he has heard the verse
before, if he knows what it means and where it is found in the bible.
Let's get started! First we will read it together: "Don't copy people
but be a new and different person in all you do and think." Romans 12:2
(Read it a number of times and then have them try to do it without
looking.) Excellent now we know that verse but what does it mean. It
tells us something that Jesus wants us to do. He wants us to be like him
not the people around us. He wants us to be different. He wants us to
think and do what he wants. Ok, we've got it. Ranger Russ, we did it. We
know something that the frog doesn't know. Go get him, Russ. (Russ takes
off to find the Dr. The two reappear)
Dr. A.M. Phibian: Ranger Russ tells me that you guys know
something that I don't. Even though I don't believe that is possible
I'll let you try.
Leader: Ok, go ahead. Let's say the verse together without
looking at it. (the children recite it)
Have you heard that before Dr. A.M. Phibian?
Dr. A.M. Phibian: No as a matter of fact I have never heard
anything quite like that. Where did you find it?
Leader: Dr. A.M. Phibian it comes from the Bible and it is
something that we are supposed to do. It means that we are to be like
Jesus. We don't have to do things just because everyone else does. We
are to think and do good.
Ranger Russ: I guess they knew something that you didn't. You
promised that you would give us the antidote.
Dr. A.M. Phibian: All right I'll go get it. (He disappears and
returns a few seconds later with the antidote.) Here it is. (he hands it
to the leader and exits quickly)
Leader: Thank you Dr., Wow, he left in a hurry but thank
goodness we got the cure.
Ranger Russ: Wait a minute (leader) let me see that. Oh no,
just as I thought we have been tricked. That mean Dr. only gave us part
of the antidote! I'm going to try to find him. I will try to convince
him to give us another piece of it. While I go after him, you guys come
back next time and try to think of something else the professor doesn't
know. If you can do it and I get the antidote you can all share in the
Leader: Bye Russ. At least we have part of it. We will try
again next week and maybe we will get the reward.
Leader will introduce the puppet who will do this section and tell
the story. His name is
MUDDY WATER MEL and he lives in the swamp. He likes to collect items
that he finds in the swamp and has his collection spread all over his
shack and his property.
Muddy Water Mel is standing on an old crate.
Hey there you guys. Nice to see y'all. I understand you are visitin
the "Slug Slime Swamp" for the next few days. Welcome. Let me give you a
quick tour of my place. (He points out interesting pieces of junk until
he comes across an old gasoline container.) Well my oh my! Look what we
have here it's my old gasoline container. I just found that this very
mornin. Everyday I get up and get dressed and go out into the swamp to
see if I can find some new stuff. I was walkin through the slime and I
came across this tin. Yeeehah! I yelled. I had just found me a tank of
gas for my swamp boat. I was goin fishin. I rushed back to the boat and
started pourin that gas in. It didn't look too good though. Then I tried
to start the boat and it just would not go. Man, that is too bad. I
guess that gasoline was trash. When you put garbage into something
garbage comes out. That reminds me of another story......
Muddy Water Mel continues to tell his story. In the puppet stage it
is being acted out by the characters. It is as though we are having the
opportunity to view what is taking place in Mel's mind.
I have this friend and he is a monster. He is not scary though, he is
a nice monster. His name is
BOG, THE SWAMP MONSTER. I am goin to tell you about somethin that
happened to him.
When Bog was younger he liked to go down to Slug Slime Video Store.
His swamp monster momma always told him not to rent scary movies and
most of the time Bog listened. One day Bog went to the store with his
friends. They were planning a big sleep over party for Bog's birthday.
They were going to rent movies and stay up all night. When they arrived
at the store Bog picked out a funny movie but his friends went to the
Horror movie section. They thought it would be fun to watch something
really scary. Bog knew his mom didn't want him to watch those movies but
he didn't want his friends to think he was a chicken. So he let them
pick "Attack of the Killer Monsters". They went home and later that
night they turned the movie on. It was really dark and now Bog was
getting nervous. Sometimes he had to hide his eyes with his pillow but
he didn't tell his friends that he was scared. After the movie was over
Bog tried to go to sleep but he kept rememberin the movie. Finally he
slept. That night Bog had a horrible nightmare. It was terrible. He
dreamed that the killer monsters were chasin him. He couldn't get away.
It was miserable. When he woke up he was all sweaty and very upset. He
wished his mom was there. The next day, Bog told his momma about the bad
dream. Bog's momma made him feel better.
Muddy Water Mel's Conclusion: You know that's just like my old
boat. When I put trash in it that's what came out. When Bog put bad
stuff in his head, he had a nightmare. We need to be careful about what
we put in our heads.
At this point the leader might want to come out and ask some
questions and do some further explaining of the subject.
Prayer and quiet seat prizes.
Copyright 1996, Bread of Life Ministries