Looking for a fun activity for your Birthday Party for Jesus or Christmas session? How about Christmas Tree Bingo? This isn’t your normal sit-at-a-table Bingo game. This is more active and way more fun.
Object: Find every item and mark every square on your Christmas Bingo card.
Option if time is limited: Play traditional five-in-a-row or require two Bingos, one horizontal and one vertical.
Preparation and planning:
- Print one copy of the Christmas Bingo card for each child. Printing two per sheet makes them roughly 5.5-by-8.5-inches and saves paper!
- Choose 35-40 tree decorations to correspond with your Christmas Bingo card squares.
- Print icons or words on a sheet of address labels. Icons are best for younger kids but may be harder to find. Each word should correspond with an ornament on your tree. Using standard size address labels, printed two words on each label then cut them in half. This will be square stickers kids will use to create their Christmas Bingo cards. Click here to download a sample list of some ornaments you could include.
- Decorate a Christmas tree with your chosen Christmas Bingo ornaments. Add more ornaments, garland, lights, or other tree decorations for additional challenge and fun.
The last time I played this game, I set our Christmas tree in a place that the children could not touch it. This was for obvious reasons, like I didn’t want someone to knock the tree over, but also to add an additional challenge. Part of my instructions to the kids included “You may not get within reach of the Christmas tree.” Kids had to find the items from a short distance away without touching the tree. There are 24 empty squares on each Christmas Bingo card so my goal was to have 35-40 ornaments, some represented by stickers and some not, and have at least 30 different words/icons on stickers to add variety.
- As kids arrive, guide them select one blank Christmas Bingo card.
- Kids select a different sticker (from the cut address labels) for each square and place it on his/her Christmas Bingo card. Stickers may not be on a card more than once. This allows each child’s Christmas Bingo card to be different, adding challenge and creativity.
- After each square has a sticker, kids are guided the Christmas tree to look for each item on their Christmas Bingo card. When an item is found, kids should mark that item off on their card. You can use stamps, pencil, or marker to mark off found items.
- If a kids finishes quickly, she can color her Christmas Bingo card to decorate a border or draw a picture on the back.
- If desired, have a prize for the first child who gets a “bingo,” or a prize for each child as he completes a “bingo.”
Kids love birthday parties. At least, every kid I have ever met does.
Jesus’ birth into the world is one of the most important events in all of history. Even the way we number our years is related to Jesus’ birth. For example, AD 2020 is “in the year of the Lord 2020.” Jesus’ birth is also, of course, one of the most important events in salvation history. With Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, all the history of the Old Testament would begin to come into focus. Jesus’ birth can also be seen as the launching pad for everything that followed this pivotal moment in time. If this isn’t enough reason to throw a party, I don’t know what would be!
So why not celebrate during the month of December with a birthday party for Jesus? Here are three tips for throwing a Birthday Party for Jesus.
Tip #1 – Make it a PARTY!
- Celebrate with decorations. Inflate balloons, hang streamers, give out party hats, and so forth. Decorations can be elaborate without being a burden on your budget and will give your space an instant face-lift.
- Celebrate with a one-day schedule change. If your kids ministry typically meets in separate classrooms, explore the option to bring everyone together for the party.
- Celebrate with invitations. Mail postcard invitations to every child on your roll. Provide additional invitations to each child and challenge kids to invite a friend. Everyone loves being invited to a party!
- Celebrate with singing. Not just “Happy Birthday,” though I would recommend singing this one too. Sing other Christmas carols that share the joy of Christmas.
Tip #2 – Make it FUN!
- Make it delicious. Have cake or cupcakes and juice boxes. Few things will raise the fun factor the way passing out cake will. Don’t forget to post an allergy alert and have a quick standby option for those with food allergies.
- Make it engage. Wearing party hats and providing noise makers can be an instant hit.
- Make it memorable. Give out party favors when kids leave. Have a small bag of goodies for each child to take with them. Bonus if each goodie bag item points kids to the gospel (i.e. glow-in-the-dark necklace for “Jesus is the Light of the World”)
- Make it active. Playing games will likely be a bullseye on the fun target.
- Assign kids to teams and play for points.
- Collect large scraps of paper or buy a pack of colored construction paper, mark a line down the center of your space dividing kids into two teams, and have a “snowball fight”
- Minute-to-Win It type games are usually easy to prepare and can be a huge hit.
- Check out Kid Min Toolbox: Great Games that Teach for a great source of quick games
Tip #3 – Make it about JESUS!
- Don’t forget to tell the Christmas story. Keep it short. Read the Bible passages or show a video, but be sure to include the reason for the party.
- Keep Jesus at the center. Don’t lose Him in the fun and games.
- Debrief each game with a gospel connection.
- Connect each party favor to a Bible truth.
- When choosing songs to sing, choose songs about Jesus’ birth and other worship songs to focus kids voices and hearts on Jesus.
Bonus tip—Provide this Take the Fun Home card with some suggested ideas for parents to have a Birthday Party for Jesus in their home and invite other families to join together.
With a little creativity and preparation, kids in your church and community will be engaged in a fresh way with the joy Jesus brings this Christmas season.
Need a quick break from your work day? Spend a few minutes doing this word scramble.
But wait! This isn’t just a fun activity. There’s a clue about the 2020 VBS theme hidden in here somewhere. Download it here!
Think you missed a clue along the way? Look back through past blog posts for an up-close photo, a Sudoku puzzle, and a noise related to next year’s VBS. Then post your best theme guess on our Lifeway VBS Facebook page.
Check back next week for our fifth and final clue before the big reveal on June 5 at 1:00 p.m. CT.
My oldest daughter is a high-achiever who’s SUPER serious about WINNING and is fully dressed and groomed before I even get out of bed every morning. She is also homeschooled.
Ever Grace is so driven and it has been a joy teaching her to read and write and identify the different parts of the axial skeleton (I don’t actually know much about the axial skeleton). But, the coolest part of homeschooling has been the opportunity to teach her about the real-life, everyday power of the gospel.
Let me tell you about what happened the other day.
I was being a very subpar mom. The frustration of tantrums from my younger daughters and scheduling and laundry had me snappy and impatient. But, it was a Tuesday, so I knew that no matter how I felt, I still had to educate my child.
So, with a too-loud exhale, I rattled off the bolded question I was supposed to read for the day in our Gospel Project Home Edition curriculum. The question read, “In the Bible, there are stories of people who God used to do great things for His glory. Can you think of any?”
The examples the book gave were David, Samson, Daniel, Moses and Elijah.
Half listening, I looked away from the book and pulled a few plates out of the dishwasher.
Ever said, “The woman at the well.”
I didn’t say anything at first, because I was genuinely confused by her answer. I, a professional gospel-centered writer and an unprofessional gospel-centered homeschool educator, basically forgot the gospel and didn’t understand her answer.
“The woman at the well?”
She said, “Yeah. Because Jesus forgave her and then she went and told people about what Jesus did for her.”
Crazy. How breathtaking, right? And how mind-boggling, that eight-year-olds can understand the beautiful mystery of the gospel even better than the adult, “mature” Christians who teach them.
Ever Grace didn’t answer the way I would have answered. She didn’t pick the Bible characters who “accomplished great things.” She picked an unfaithful woman who was recorded in the Bible for doing nothing more than meeting Jesus and telling people she was forgiven.
That’s the whole gospel. We can’t accomplish anything on our own. We’ve got nothing to offer and everything to gain. The greatest thing we’ve ever done is needing what Christ has done for us. We are all “the woman at the well.” And we are all loved.
I’m thankful for a curriculum that’s questions don’t just point my young daughters to the true and beautiful gospel and how it is the centerpiece of every Bible story and every life moment. It also teaches me. It reminds me. It corrects me and comforts me out of my homeschool huffs.
While I was unloading the dishwasher, steeped in selfishness, God used my eight-year-old to remind me that nothing I have failed at today and nothing I might win at tomorrow has any bearing on Christ’s love for me.
At our worst and at our best, we are to-the-cross-and-back loved. We can have to-the-skies joy. And we can embrace and extend the out-of-this-world forgiveness that is ours now and ours forever.
Learn more about The Gospel Project: Home Edition here.
Scarlet Hiltibidal is a very professional wife and mother. She is the author of Afraid of All the Things and He Numbered the Pores on My Face. She also writes a regular column for ParentLife Magazine. Scarlet loves sign language with her daughters, nachos by herself, writing for her friends, and learning how to be a pretend-farmer with her husband in Middle Tennessee.
It’s March 21: World Down Syndrome Day! All over the world, people will be decked out in cool T-shirts and brightly-colored socks to raise awareness for the rights, inclusion, and well being of people with Down syndrome.
Today is a great day to remember that differently-abled children will be much better equipped to make the life-changing decision to become Christians when churches open their doors, arms, and hearts to them and their families. Special Buddies can help!
Special Buddies is designed for children in grades 1-6 who have intellectual and developmental special needs. It is part of the Bible Studies for Life curriculum line. One of the primary differences about Special Buddies is that a new Bible story is introduced every other week instead of every week. This enables kids to learn and grow at a gentle (and individualized) pace, allowing time for extended activities or repetition of meaningful activities over the two-week span.
A child with any of the following characteristics can thrive in an environment where the Special Buddies curriculum is taught:
• a child who would benefit from remaining in the same classroom with familiar teachers for several years in a row
• a child with social limitations
• a child who has minimal reading, writing, and verbal communication skills
• a child who needs individual attention and assistance to complete hands-on activities
• a child who is unable to tolerate typical classroom noise
• a child who requires an adapted physical environment
Special Buddies is versatile. Try one of these methods:
• Implement it in a self-contained classroom comprised of children with special needs.
• Use it with an individual child who receives one-on-one care at church while parents attend Bible study.
• Plug it in as a supplemental resource for a child with special needs who attends a typically-graded Bible study group but responds well to modified lessons and individualized attention.
Want to learn more? Visit TeachKids@Lifeway.com or contact William.Summey@lifeway.com for a free sample.
Register now for our Special Buddies Giveaway on March 25! You will have until 8 a.m. on 3/25 to follow this link and register here
To learn about Special Friends VBS, follow this link
Joy Fisher is Content Editor of Bible Studies for Life Special Buddies. Her 20-year-old son, Samuel, has Down syndrome.
Click below to download these fun Scripture reminders for your desk!
I have learned so much working with the Bible Studies for Life: Kids team this year and had such joy helping produce this ongoing curriculum for preschoolers and children. One of the most valuable resources we produce for teachers may be the least known — the leader pack. Of the many questions I receive from teachers new to our Bible study curriculum, I often hear these two: “What is a leader pack? Is it worth the extra cost each quarter?”
My answer is always a resounding yes — Leader packs are so valuable for teachers in the classroom! The challenge we face is to engage today’s visual learners and spark their imaginations with art and other engaging visuals that capture the attention and engages preschoolers and children to go deeper into understanding Bible Stories and how they apply to them. The leader pack helps us engage the visual learner.
Leader packs also make teaching easy. They are designed to go hand in hand with the leader guide, providing colorful pictures, posters, and other visuals that support teaching as well as games and materials that are connected to activities teachers will lead each week as part of their Bible teaching. Here are some details that show how valuable this resource is.
Teaching Pictures: The leader pack contains a teaching picture for every Sunday of that quarter. Teaching pictures bring alive the Bible story for children with an engaging visual of biblical art. Pictures are suitable for hanging on your focal wall and holding as you tell or review the Bible story. Our philosophy is that teaching pictures are not something just to be gazed upon (although they should be intriguing, beautiful pieces of art) as if kids will learn all that need to know on their own simply by looking, but they are to be engaged with interaction between teacher and learner (what are they thinking? what are they feeling? at what point of the story do you think this happened? what happened next?) so that kids understand on a deeper level what is happening in a Bible Story.
Memory Verse and Visual Posters: Each quarter kids’ packs will have three unit verse posters, one for each unit verse, making it easier to post on your focal wall for that month to help kids memorize it. Many age groups also have other unit posters that can be added to the focal wall to engage learners.
Teaching Aids: The leader pack contains many of the go-to teaching aids each week that connect back directly with activities in the leader guide and make teachers’ preparation easier. These colorful, creative items engage kids with that week’s Bible story and real life application.
Ultimately leader packs, through engaging visuals and teacher aids, help us reach our goal in Bible Studies for Life — for kids to receive the gospel message and to apply what they are learning to their lives each day.
William Summey is the Publishing Team Leader for Bible Studies for Life: Kids. He is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Vanderbilt University. William lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Christy, and their two sons.
The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered chronological Bible study for babies-adults. On today’s podcast, Brian Dembowczyk, managing editor of The Gospel Project, shares the vision of The Gospel Project and why sharing the gospel with children is of the utmost importance.
Brian Dembowczyk is the Managing Editor of The Gospel Project, a Bible study curriculum used by over one million people each week, and the author of Gospel-Centered Kids Ministry: How the Gospel Will Transform Your Kids, Your Church, Your Community, and the World and Cornerstones: 200 Questions and Answers to Learn Truth. Prior to being the managing editor, he served as the Publishing Team Leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. Before coming to Lifeway Christian Resources, Brian served in local church ministry for seventeen years, primarily in family ministry and discipleship ministry. Brian earned a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He, his wife Tara, and their three children live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.