In my previous entry over the story of Jesus’ family fleeing to Egypt and eventually settling in Nazareth, I expressed how surprised I was when the students I teach in Bible school class thoroughly enjoyed the lesson (which I thought would be somewhat boring to them). I was also surprised by how much my kids enjoyed the very, very simply craft and corresponding class activity I did with them relating to the story. I thought I would share these ideas with you.
The first thing I did in class is what I would call an activity. To prepare the activity, I drew a very simple map of Israel on a piece of poster board. (By the way, if I can draw a simple map of Israel, anyone can because I am not artsy at all!) If your Bible does not include maps in the back, simply do an internet search for “Old Testament Map of Israel.” On the map I drew I included the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. I also included the three main locations included in this story: Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Egypt. While Egypt is not technically on a map of Israel, Egypt is next to Israel and could be easily included on the map. When I made my map I simply drew an arrow pointing to Egypt, but I think that my kids would have liked it better if Egypt was actually on the map. I added a small piece of magnet (with a sticky back) to each location (Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Egypt). Next I made strips of cardboard which stated each of the following: “Born in . . .”, “Fled to . . .”, and “Grew up in . . .”. I also put a piece of magnet on each of these strips.
First, I explained the story with the map showing the kids where the different locations were on the map. Next, I placed each magnet on its corresponding location: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Jesus fled to Egypt, and Jesus grew up in Nazareth. Then I allowed each child to come and do the same with the magnets: explain the story using the map and the magnet strips. The kids absolutely loved it! As you continue to tell more stories about Jesus’ life, you could add more places to the map and continue to use it as an aid in telling the story.
In my class I then allowed the students to make their own maps. The students could clearly see the large map I had drawn, and they mimicked it on their own paper. They also really enjoyed making their own maps.