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Enhancing Sunday School

We receive requests for Sunday School or Children’s Church curriculum referrals. Yet, many teachers do not have the option of switching curriculum that they feel is unexciting, nor will a curriculum that works well for someone else necessarily meet the needs of your class. Regardless of your situation, there are things that you can do to enhance your class, creating interest and enthusiasm in your students. Enhancing your curriculum can be as easy as just adding in any one of the visual media such as (ballooning, cartooning, illusions, object lessons, puppetry, rebus) in your class session. Visual teaching methods not only spark excitement among the kids, but aide in retaining what they learn! To add in even one of these media techniques with your lesson to cover the day’s topic is beneficial. You may say, Wait, I can’t do any of those things and I certainly don’t have time to learn a whole new art form! Actually, it’s much easier than you think, because most children’s ministry books give you step-by-step instructions for creating just one item at a time as well as the application to go with it! Sound as clear as mud? Well, here are some examples to clear it up.


You can very simply use a ballooning to tell a Bible story (or teach a biblical concept) instead of just telling the Bible story. Create a ballooning based on an object or animal in a story or illustration you are using. For example, let’s say that you are teaching on Daniel in the lion’s den. Create a balloon lion while you are telling the story. Or, for the story of Jesus’ Baptism, create a balloon dove. Maybe you have an object lesson based on a basket. Instead of just showing a basket while you talk, make one with balloons while you are teaching. You can also use an animal known for a particular characteristic related to your story. Make an elephant, known for his memory, in a story on communion, in which you would be focusing on the kids’ need to remember Jesus’ death. Most ballooning instructions will take you through the sculpture step by step, telling you approximately how many inches down the balloon to make the next twist. (For further info on ballooning, see the “Balloons Can Enhance Your Lesson” article in the Vault or ballooning materials in the Outlet Mall.)

One of our favorite teaching methods is trick cartooning. Drawing has a unique way of holding people’s attention more than almost any other method. You don’t have to be an artist to draw these easy but fun pictures! (Instructions for non-artists are contained in the Picture This! book.) You draw a simple, sometimes humorous picture that relates to your Bible story or Biblical concept, and as you continue drawing, it changes into a completely different picture emphasizing your main point. You can see is an example in the Picture This! book description of the Outlet Mall or read the Trick Cartooning workshop in the Vault.

Rebus graphics can be used for teaching scripture verses instead of just teaching verses by rote memorization. Rebus uses pictures in place of words, so students now become involved in a type of game to solve the individual words of the verse. You can make transparencies, handouts, or even PowerPoint presentations.  See a sample in the Rebus description of the Outlet Mall.

Mop & Broom Puppetry is also great visual method as well as a wonderful audience involvement tool as every person in the class is involved in the story at one time. Stories vary from Bible stories, armor of God, to peer pressure and controlling temper. The humorous story is read, a few kids act out the stories with mop and broom puppets (instructions for making the inexpensive puppets are included in the script book), and the rest of the kids make sound effects to key words highlighted throughout the story.  “The Ultimate in Classroom Participation” book has numerous scripts and complete instructions for making your own Mop & Broom Puppets.

Gospel magic is a good visual teaching method as well. Most of what we offer on the site is self-working and takes little practice.

Hopefully, these suggestions will spark some interest and creativity in using some new visual methods in your Sunday School class. You can find more detailed information on any of the above methods in other sections of the Online School. None of the methods are beyond the ability of the average children’s worker. They also make teaching much more of a joy to both the teacher and the student.

Is Budget an Issue?

As budget is always an issue, keep in mind that books on visual teaching methods can even be shared among teachers on a checkout basis from the Christian Education Office, or whatever department oversees your teacher’s curriculum and supplies.

To assist with the budget issue, we provide many other free helps through our internet site which may be beneficial to your ministry. Each month we send out a Children’s Ministry Today Update, an email newsletter, which keeps you informed of children’s ministry conferences, ministry opportunities, new ministry-related helps on the internet, new ministry materials, new free lesson pages, etc. The free lesson pages on our site consist of an object lesson, illusion application, family devotion (take-home activity and Bible lesson for the family), and kids’ game pages. The free pages are changed monthly and are all themed to a common topic. (To be added to the CMT Updates, click the Newsletter link on the side column of a website page.)

More Resources and Ideas!

The Linx  is actually our links area. It is divided into categories of interest to children’s ministry people. There are links to many free helps. The Drama Page has links to free, non-copyrighted Christian dramas. The Lessons Page has links to free online children’s church curriculum, group games, printable crafts, and more. The Puppetry Page of The Linx has links to free puppet skits online. The Ballooning Page links to the balloon archives, consisting of 100’s of balloon figure instructions. One would just need to write an application. There are one or two sites on the Clowning and Magic Pages containing free object lessons or illusion applications.   Free materials are just that, free to use in your own classroom; just be sure to observe copyright laws by not reprinting any free materials in publishable form.

© by Gary R. Linn
Children’s Ministry Today

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