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We normally have about ten kids in our Junior church. Their ages range from 4 to 12, so we have readers and non-readers. We often have some very wriggly childen with us. So as well as creatively teaching the bible through story telling and crafts (we’re currently looking at the life of the prophet Samuel) we try to include a runabout game which reinforces what we’ve been learning.

I reckon that there are three ‘games’ that be readily adapted for any bible story and include some bible reinforcement along with fun and (hopefully) enough physical activity to keep the kids engaged.

Roundabout games can be lots of fun

1. The first game I use is an adaptation of Port Starboard Bow Stern (PSBS). I used to play PSBS when I was in the Girl Guides – you label the ends and sides of the hall and run between the walls and do various actions as commanded by the leader (in PSBS eg ‘Captain’s Coming’ = stand straight and salute).

What I do is adapt PSBS to the bible story. So when we were looking at Samson the other week, we had the kids running from Gaza to the temple, to Delilah’s house and then to the country of the Philistines. They had to stop to scoop honey from the lion or pretend to drink wine. They brought down the temple columns and had their hair cut. I think they all remember the story of Samson pretty well now.

2. A big favourite with the kids is any adaptation of ‘Simon Says’. We might play ‘Samson says’ or even ‘Jesus says’ (cos you should do something if Jesus says it!). And then they can all be encouraged to run around or to do silly actions or some based on the story. Very simple.

3. The other game option I sometimes employ is a relay race with some tangential allusion to the story, but I use these less now, as the first two games are easier to prepare and also give you more opportunity to reinforce the teaching. Also the first two games ensure that all the kids are running all the time and get nicely tired out. And there are not really any winners so everyone stays happy.

How do you help your active Sunday schoolers use up their energy?

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This summer I was looking for ways to help the Queen to improve her ‘working memory‘. She struggles to hold facts and numbers in her head for long enough to manipulate them with ease. Or where she just put something down.

So I went on a little google hunt and found a brilliant game, which  is designed to teach facts and improve working memory. It’s called Brainbox and consists of a series of cards on a variety of subjects. The set we got this summer was on nature. Other topics include maths, history, football and the World. You take it in turns to study a card for ten seconds. You can play on line to see what sort of cards are included (you’ll have to concentrate!). Once your ten seconds are up, you roll a die and answer the question with the corresponding number from the back of the card.

The children loved this game – it’s quick to play, interesting and doesn’t seem like hard work, as you might expect from an educational game. It comes in a robust box which means that it will last. So many games seem to come in boxes not designed to store their contents for longer than a couple of plays, which drives me loopy. I have the maths and a history one tucked away for Christmas stockings. Mind you, as these evenings get darker and more uninviting, I might be getting them out before then.

Prices on Amazon seem to range between £5-£10. I originally bought them from the Happy Puzzle Company, who do an excellent range of games, but they charge £12.99.

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