Another fascinating thing about this story is that Jesus doesn't just speak to heal the blind man. He spits in the dirt, makes some mud out of it and then puts it on the man's eyes. He gets dirty. So I took a deep breath, threw caution to the wind, and decided we should do the same. (Thankfully, we did not get NEAR as messy as I had envisioned in my head).
We went outside because it was beautiful and because messes out there stress me out less. :) We read the story of the man born blind from The Big Picture Story Bible. It was actually the only children's Bible we have that included the story. We also looked it up in Isaac's big boy Bible and found John 9 and skimmed over some of the verses. This story is so interesting and detailed that it can easily be read for elementary kids without the use of a children's Bible. In fact, I read it straight from the Bible (with occasional asides of explanation) when I did this lesson with the elementary group.
After reading the story, we made a set of 3 "puppets" to help us re-tell the story. This is one of those rare activities that can work for toddlers to pre-teens. I've done this with a group of about forty 2nd-5th graders and they loved it. As you'll see from my pictures, it was also a great activity to do with my almost 3 year old. (Silas, my 17 month old, may not have gotten quite as much out of it this time around. :)
It's also one of those activities that appeals to both girls and boys. A little crafty for the girls and a little messy for the boys. And when you get done, you can act out the story!
Here's what you'll need:
|You could use straws or sticks instead of popsicle sticks and any type of drawing utensil.|
Then we grabbed another circle and put a nose and mouth on them again. (I actually drew two little eyes on mine and Silas' and Isaac drew eyes for his as well so we would know where to put the mud).
Okay, insert deep breath.
I took an aluminum pie tin and filled it with some dirt. I got some water and poured a little into the tin. The boys mixed it with their hands and then dabbed it on the eyes while we talked about how Jesus spit in the dirt and made mud to put on the blind man's eyes. (Silas really just played in the mud and then spread a little all over the face, but, ya know...)
Real mud is totally not necessary here, but it was a nice day and I felt brave and thought it would help the lesson stick a little better. When I did it with the large group of elementary kids indoors, we used brown paint. They still got to use their fingers (I really think it helps them remember the lesson better), but it was just a small amount of paint and we used wet wipes to clean them off immediately. Note: If you use mud, it will kind of crumble off after it dries completely. If you want the puppets to last for a few days, it might be better to go the paint route.
|Isaac imagined that Jesus was a little messy with his mud rubbing. :)|
|I imagined that Jesus was much more tidy with his dirt. :)|
After rinsing off our hands, we grabbed one more circle to make our last face. This time we drew the mouth and nose and added googly eyes to the face. These are totally optional and you could just draw eyes, but my boys love googly eyes. We have a few books that have them and they love to shake them, so this was a hit with them! (Now, lest you think everything went smoothly, here's a picture of us in the midst of "Operation clean up a billion googly eyes off the back porch." Seventeen month olds are much quicker than they're given credit for! :)
|Isaac's finished set!|
So, when we got back at it the next day, we taped popsicle sticks (or you could use straws or dowel rods or even sticks from outside) to the backs of the faces. We then reviewed the events of the story and acted it out with our puppets and placed them in the correct order. You could have older kids retell the story to you. Isaac enjoyed this but was perplexed that there was no "Jesus" puppet, making it difficult to act out the story (good point, dude). So, I made up one more quick stick puppet so that the Healer could do his work! :)
I wasn't sure that Isaac actually understood what it meant to be blind, so we went on a "blind walk." I used a blindfold and held his hand as he walked down the hallway. He was intrigued, but a little uncomfortable with not being able to see. I didn't push him and he wanted to take the blindfold off after about 10 steps.
Before I took the blindfold off, I pretended to put mud on his eyes. When I pulled it off I asked him, "What did Jesus help the blind man do?" As you can see, he quickly answered with "See!"
We also did a fun sensory activity where Isaac used his sense of touch to guess what some objects I had in a bag were. I blindfolded him again so he couldn't see the items. We talked about how the blind man couldn't see anything and he used his hands to guess what each thing was. He was always super excited to yank the blindfold off to see if he had guessed correctly. Sometimes I had to hold it on him so he would guess before he peeked! :)
I got some of these ideas from Sermons4Kids. To find some more activities to go with John 9 from their site, click here. Many of their suggestions would work for older or younger kids.
This was a super fun lesson for us and one of those great ones that didn't really take much time to prepare. I love getting to spend some fun time together bonding over God's Word.