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Form a circle with one child in the middle as "Jesus." Have children hold hands and walk in a circle around Jesus. Lead kids in singing this song to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell":

Jesus in the manger,
Jesus in the manger,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Jesus in the manger.

Jesus takes Mary,
Jesus takes Mary,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Jesus takes Mary.

Have the child in the middle choose someone to stand in the middle with him or her.
Use these additional verses:

Mary takes Joseph.
Joseph takes a shepherd.
The shepherd takes a wise man.
The wise man takes a star.

As the number of children in the center of the circle increases, the children forming the circle may need to drop hands and walk around the circle without holding hands while singing.

After everyone is in the circle or all the verses have been sung, have all the children leave the center of the circle except the star. Sing this last verse:

The star shines alone,
The star shines alone,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
The star shines alone.
Rita Hewson
Larned, Kansas


I use this activity when we discuss all God's gifts we're thankful for at Thanksgiving, creation, the new life and growth in spring, and any time I want children to remember all God has made.

Ahead of time, clip from magazines pictures of God's creation, such as trees, the ocean, grass, people, and animals. Glue these pictures onto 6-inch squares of poster board to make creation cards.

As you lead children in singing this song, choose one of these ways to use the creation cards.

*Pass out creation cards to children. Be sure children are familiar with their creation card picture. As you sing the song, insert the creations that are on the creation cards. As children each hear their creation called, they can hold up their card high.

*Pass out creation cards to children. Sing the song, and as you come to the portion, "He made the ____ and the ___," point to children to hold their cards and shout out their creations.

*Hold the creation cards yourself, and as you show the cards, have children shout together in the song the creations they see.

Here's the song, sung to the tune of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm":
God made the world and this I know,
A very long time ago.
He made the sun and the trees,
The Bible tells me so.
With a sun here,
And a tree there.
Here a sun, there a tree, everywhere a sun and tree,
God made the world and this I know,
The Bible tells me so.

Charlotte Lesko
Oakfield, New York

Play Pin the Tail on the Turkey with your kids to celebrate all they're thankful for.

Before class, draw a large turkey without tail feathers on a sheet of poster board and tape it to the wall. Cut out turkey tail feathers to give to each child. Have them each draw a picture of something they're thankful for on their feather. Have kids show and explain their pictures. Line kids up in front of the turkey. Then blindfold children one at a time and turn them around three times. Have blindfolded kids tape their tail to the turkey. Afterward, serve children turkey sandwiches and celebrate all that God has done for them.

Nancy Paulson
Portland, Oregon

Kids love a surprise. So use these paper sack creations to give them surprise endings to Bible stories.

Create a black hole or cave on the flap of a paper sack (see illustration). Color a rounded section on the outside flap black. Color the area under the flap black like an empty cave.

Use this "cave" paper sack with these stories:

*Joseph (Genesis 37:13-28)-Place a small Joseph figure under the flap, using Velcro. Tell the story from the pit's perspective. The pit "overhears" the plot against Joseph and tells about the conversation. Open the flap at the point where Joseph is tossed in, and show a little Joseph figure in the pit. Close the flap as the pit tells about the brothers removing Joseph and selling him. Then remove Joseph from the pit.

*Lazarus (John 11:1-46)-Place a small Lazarus figure, wrapped in grave clothes, under the flap using Velcro. Have the tomb describe the many weeping people and the arrival of the disciples. Then tell how a woman came out to meet the disciples. At the point where Jesus goes to the tomb and says, "Lazarus, come forth!" open the flap to show Lazarus.

Marie Chapman
Lynchburg, Virginia

Tell children the story of the blind man at Bethsaida from Mark 8:22-26. Talk about how thankful the man must've been to be able to see after Jesus healed him.

Afterward, give children paper plates and Crayola Changeables markers. (These are available anywhere markers are sold.) Have children each scribble a large blotch of a single color in the middle of their paper plate. Then have children take turns using a "color changer" marker to draw a picture of something they're thankful for that God has made.

Have children hold up their paper plates as you lead them in singing this song to the tune of "Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?":

Have you ever seen name of picture on a plate? (Children cover their eyes.)

A name of picture? A name of picture?

Have you ever seen a name of picture?

And the blind man said, "Yes!" (Children uncover eyes and shout "yes!")

Repeat the song with each child's picture. Then make a bulletin board display with the paper plates or hang them from the ceiling with colored yarn.

Robyn Kundert
Gibbon, Nebraska

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