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Group Story Time

20 Ways to make large group story time more meaningful:

1) Drama~ let the kids help act the story out occasionally. Videotape them and show the tape the next week. Use cool props.

2) Give out cards with words from the story on them. Instruct the children to hold up their word cards when they hear the words mentioned. This is a great way to get the kids to listen closely.

3)Use a story prop bag. Tell the story, pulling out one item at a time and passing it around to the children

4)Make a story puzzle. Cut apart a picture that represents the story. As you tell the story, have the children come up, one at a time, and put a piece of the puzzle on the board until the story and the puzzle are complete.

5)Use large story pictures. Place magnetic tape on the backs of the pictures and hang them on metal boards as you tell the story.

6) Use a clothesline and hang the story pictures or props, one at a time, to the line with clothespins. Have children help with this.

7)Attach yarn to each story picture and attach numbered tags to the other ends of the yarn.Place the story pictures in a box, but leave the numbered tags hanging over the sides of the box. As you read the story, at the appropriate times, allow a child to pull out the right picture or prop and show it to the group(start with #1, then #2, etc.).

8) Choose a version of the story with a lot of action.Read the story slowly, and let the children make up motions or follow motions as you read the story line by line.

9)Use one big prop. For example, when telling about Jonah, a huge blanket can be a boat, then the sea, then the children can hide under it like they are in the belly of the whale and then roll out from under it when the whale spits Jonah out! For 50 kids, have helpers divide them into groups that share blankets!

10)Make a giant display on posterboard with flaps that open to reveal pictures behind them. Let one child at a time come up and open the flaps at the right time in the story.

11)Use sand trays. Divide the children into groups and have a helper with each group of 10 kids or so. Give each group a baking dish of sand and tell them what to add to the scene and when. Use chenille stems and toothpicks for people, pebbles for rocks, etc…

12) Have the children pair up or group together with 3 or 4 people and then act out the parts of the story. For example, for Elijah and the Ravens, have 3 children feed Cheerios to one child in each group, etc.

13) Teach the children chants or rhythmic songs or patterns to do at certain times in the story. For example, when teaching about Noah’s Ark, have the children make rain then thunderstorm sounds by first rubbing two fingers together, then rubbing hands together, then rubbing hands on knees, then patting hands on knees, then stomping and clapping, then back to the other motions as the storm slows down and stops…etc.

14)Let the whole group be involved in stories that have crowds! Choose a few children to be main characters and have everyone else be the crowd.

15) Share 10 mins. of a special video with the group.

16) Set up an easel and painting station facing away from the children. As you tell the story, have one child at a time come up and paint the part of the story you are reading or telling into the picture! Reveal the complete picture at the end and have each child explain what part they painted and why.

17) Use echo reading. Read a small section of the story at a time and then have the children repeat what you say, in different funny voices if you like.

18) Fold pieces of paper and mark dark lines to be cut by the children. Begin by giving out the folded papers and having the children cut on the lines. Next, begin telling the story and have each child unfold his surprise picture at the appropriate time. Tell children not to reveal their pictures until it’s time! This may take some experimentation with the paper. For example, for the story of Jesus’ resurrection, you may prepare a green leaf (for the waving of palms), a black cross, a brown stone, a yellow angel, etc…

19) After telling a story, review by having a bag full of props. Have the children pull one item out of the bag at a time and tell where it fits into the story they just heard.

20)Mad Lib.

1.Choose a storybook with the story you want to teach.

2. Find words in the story that could easily be replaced with other words.

3. Rewrite the story on a large writing pad/easel, leaving the replaceable words out. Draw blanks in their places and number the spaces underneath.

4. Number another sheet of the big paper with the same numbers you used for the missing words in the story. Beside the numbers, write what kind of word you need to fill each blank with. For example, if the original word was boat, write the number for boat and the word transportation or noun beside the number.

5. When you get ready to teach the lesson, tell the children that they are going to help you tell today’s story! Before they see the actual story, ask them for words for each number/category.

6. When you’ve written a word beside each number, give the children something else to do while you fill in the blanks in the story with the words they gave you! (This would be a good time to have a helper serve snack, to have a bathroom break, or to do an activity sheet or coloring page!)

7. When you’re finished, have the children help you read the new story out loud together!

8. Tell the children that this is not really how the story goes at all. Read the real story and tell the children that it is important to read the Bible for themselves so that they will know if someone is teaching them the truth or not!

by Angela Simmons

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