Published: August 7, 2023
Here are three back-to-school activities to get your kids centered on Jesus as they begin the school year.
Back-to-School Activity 1: Music Message
Tape three sheets of paper to the wall. Write each of the following titles on a sheet of paper: “a music group you like,” “a music group you don’t like,” and “your favorite song.”
Have kids form three groups, and hand each group a marker. Give the groups two minutes at each paper to write their answers under the title. Then have kids sit near the papers.
- What makes you like a music group?
- What kinds of messages does your favorite group sing?
- How can the messages we get from music affect how we feel?
Ask a volunteer to read aloud Philippians 4:8. Have kids get back into their groups and evaluate their favorite and least favorite music groups against each of the tests in this verse. Be sure to ask groups to report back to the entire class what they discovered.
Back-to-School Activity 2: Partner Pairs
- men’s large T-shirt
- trash can
This activity makes a wonderful icebreaker for kids in your class.
Place newspaper at one end of the room and a trash can in the center of the room. Form pairs and have them line up on the side of the room opposite the newspaper. Hand the T-shirt to the first pair in line and have both partners put on the T-shirt.
Say: Let’s play a game and see what it’s like to help each other accomplish something. When I say “go,” the first pair will rush to the newspaper. One partner will pick up a sheet of newspaper and crumple it. Then the other partner will take the newspaper and toss it in the trash can as the pair hurries back to the line. Then the next pair will go.
As each pair makes a “basket,” encourage everyone to cheer.
When each pair has had a turn, ask:
- What was easy about this race? difficult?
- How did you and your partner work together?
Say: It’s important to help each other—even when we don’t know the other person well. Jesus wants us to help everyone. And helping others is a good way to get to know them!
Back-to-School Activity 3: Peer Choice
- index cards
Before class, prepare two index cards, each with one of the following situations:
- You’re at school and you want to play football, but the kid who has a football is absent. Your friends tell you to take the ball from his locker. Decide which is the best choice:
- Take it because your friend would never know.
- Tell someone else to take it.
- Suggest that the group play something else.
- While riding bikes, you and your friends begin to talk about smoking and drinking. They pressure you to smoke. Decide which is the best choice:
- Say, “Why ask me? Ask Sarah to smoke instead.”
- Say, “I don’t want to try it” and then leave.
- Try the cigarette and pass it on.
What Did Jesus Do?
Gather kids and say: Many times our closest friends have the strongest influence over us. Let’s see how Jesus dealt with peer pressure from a close friend.
Read aloud Matthew 16:21-23.
- How did Jesus react when his close friend tried to persuade him not to go to Jerusalem and risk persecution?
- What might have happened had Jesus given in to Peter’s peer pressure?
- What would the world be like today if Jesus had given in to peer pressure?
Say: Peter was trying to protect Jesus. However, people who keep us from doing what God wants us to do aren’t good friends. We have choices to make in our friends and in how we act around our friends. Let’s look at some choices.
Have kids form two groups, and give each group an index card. If you have more than 15 kids, have kids form four groups and take turns reading the cards. Encourage each group to role play its situation with its chosen response. Then have the kids in each group explain why they made their choice.
When each group has finished, say: Pressure from friends can seem really strong. But Jesus is stronger. If we keep our eyes on Jesus and ask him to help us make good choices, we don’t need to worry about peer pressure.
Want more great lessons on peer pressure? Use Stand Strong: 4-Week Lesson Pack to teach meaningful Bible lessons to kids, help them discover deeper faith, and learn about how God wants us to live.
Looking for more elementary activities? Check out these ideas!
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