Adding just a touch of creative storytelling to a Bible story helps to captivate the minds and hearts of the children in your classroom. Creative storytelling is a process of asking questions, providing props, and encouraging children to share their creativity and insight by using their imaginations.
Read a story to the class and then encourage them to become a part of the story. As children become active participants in stories, they make connections between Bible stories and their own stories.
Invite them to actively participate as:
- story character actors who deliver lines, make use of props, and wear costumes that help the class to understand both the culture and the historical background of the story;
- narrators who read a script or tell the story in their own words, as if the Bible story was taking place in their neighborhood in the twenty-first-century;
- observers who are on the scene to report on all the sights, sounds, and actions that are a part of the story that is being told.
Teachers assign the parts or ask for volunteers and then direct the children to tell the story again, offering support and direction as needed.
Once the children have re-told the story, help them make emotional and sensory connections by asking questions. If the feeding of the 5,000 from Matthew 14:13-21 is your story, ask:
- Who do you see around you? Lots of people trying to find a place to sit? Jesus healing people who are sick? The disciples passing out bread to hungry people?
- What do you hear around you? A growling stomach? A baby crying? The water lapping against the shore? A noisy crowd?
- What are you feeling? Tired and ready to go home? Excited about spending time with Jesus? Thankful that sick people are feeling better?
- What questions do you have? What is it about Jesus that makes people want to follow him? If people were healed and fed in this story, what kinds of miracles does Jesus do today?
Wrap up your time together by affirming the way the entire class worked together to tell the story. Then offer a prayer of thanks to God for providing these stories to help us learn about God’s promises and presence in the world. May our hearts and lives continue to be open to all that God continues to say and do.