Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors (A Children’s Church Lesson)

This free Children’s Church lesson plan was first written for elementary aged students. It covers the story of Joseph and the interaction with him and his brothers. This material could also be used as the Bible lesson for children’s Sunday school. Be sure to consider your own ministry context and modify it as needed. Please leave any feedback or suggestions for improvement in the comment box at the bottom of this page. We also have a preschool lesson about Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors.

Bible Story: Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors
Scripture: Genesis 37:1-4, 18-28
Target Age Group: Age 7 – 11 (U.S. 1st – 5th Grade)
Time: 20 Minutes
Learning Context: Children’s Church
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Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate an understanding of the story by answering questions.

Items Needed:

  • PRINT PRINT this lesson plan
  • Bible: Genesis 37:1-4, 18-28. There is a detailed explanation below to help bring out some of the important parts of the story.
  • Paper, markers, crayons
  • Whiteboard, whiteboard markers
  • CD player, musical CD
  • (optional) If you have younger kids, then our printable booklet about Joseph and his brothers will be helpful.

Worship: Use Family Songs (extra print out) to lead the children to sing before the Bible lesson.

Teaching Plan: Joseph and His Brothers

Welcome Activity: Welcome activities are things to have out for the children to do as they are arriving for class. These activities will get them engaged as soon as they arrive and will help the transition from their parents.

Have the children draw their family on a piece of paper. If they finish early, they can write a little something about each person they drew.

Worship: Family Songs

Bible Lesson Introduction
“Our Bible Story is going to be about Joseph, his brothers and his father. We will learn a little about Joseph’s family. How many of you have a family? (allow for responses – everyone should raise their hand) I want you to think about some things that people of your family like to do. What does your mom like to do? What does your dad like to do? What does your sister or brother like to do? (Write these ideas on the white board)

We are going to play “Family Charades”. You are going to act like people in your family doing different things and we are going to try to guess what you are doing. Who’s ready to play? Let’s get started.”

Play “Family Charades” with the children – taking turns with all of the children who want to participate

Bible Lesson
Have the children open their Bibles to Genesis 37:1-4, 18-28. To help them find it, use the following questions. Answers are in italics.

  • What part of the Bible is Genesis in? The Old Testament
  • What book of the Old Testament is Genesis? #1

Read Genesis 37:1-4, 18-28 (NIRV) aloud to the children – or have the children take turns reading outloud.

1 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2 This is the account of Jacob.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented [a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”
“Very well,” he replied.
14 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”
17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’ ”
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the richly ornamented robe he was wearing- 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels [b] of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

Discuss Bible Lesson
1 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2 This is the account of Jacob.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented [a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

• Israel – God changed Jacob’s name to Israel
• Jacob has 12 sons and 1 daughter
• Jacob loved Joseph the best (along with his brother Benjamin who comes along later) because they were the children from his favorite wife, Rachel

12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”
“Very well,” he replied.
14 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”
17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’ ”
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan.

• Jacob sent Joseph to find his brothers and then report back to their father

18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.

• Joseph’s brothers plot to kill him
• Reuben gets the others to not kill him, but to put him in a well so he could rescue him later
• “Why do you think Reuben didn’t tell his brothers to leave Joseph alone—instead of just changing their plans?” there is no right answer

23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the richly ornamented robe he was wearing- 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

• The brothers take Joseph’s coat and put him in the well

25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels [b] of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

• Joseph gets sold

Bible Lesson Activities
Use the following activities to reinforce the learning goals. If time is short, move on to the evaluation portion of the lesson plan.

Activity: Act Out the Story

Characters:

  • Joseph
  • Joseph’s 9 brothers
  • Reuben
  • Jacob

You can either read the Bible again or simply use the summaries written above for the children to follow along with

Activity: Bible Verse Memorization
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons and he made a richly ornamented robe for him.” Genesis 37:3 (NIV)

Have the children do the following hand motions along with repeating the words after you, to help them learn the Bible Verse:

Now Israel loved Joseph: hug yourself
more than any of his other sons: point to imaginary people
and he made a richly ornamented: make sparkling motions with hands
robe for him: act like putting on a robe
Genesis 37: hold up three fingers and then seven fingers
3: hold three fingers up

Do this a few times with the children. Make it fun for them to do the motions and say the words. Involving them in active learning is essential for memorization.

Activity: Double Circle Bible Verse

• Split the children into 2 groups (equal groups work best, if possible)
• Have one group be the outside circle and the other group be the inside circle
• The two circles need to face each other
• Play the CD and have the circles turn in opposite directions
• Stop the CD and the children are now partners with the person in front of them (make sure that everyone has a partner)
• The outside circle needs to say the Bible Verse – then it’s the inside circle’s turn
• Do this again, and have the inside circle go first
• Do this a few times to help the children remember their Bible Verse

Evaluation:
Have the children answer the following questions:
• Who was the main character of the Bible story today? Joseph
• Who was Joseph’s father? Jacob (Israel)
• Why did Joseph’s brothers not like him? He was his father’s favorite
• How did his brothers know that their father liked Joseph the best? He gave him a colorful robe
• What did the brothers do to show their distaste for Joseph? They threw him in a well – then sold him

Need More Ideas? Then browse our list of children’s  Sunday School material or find a children’s church game.


Comments

  1. Silvia Land says

    I`am using the lesson plan along with `Heroes of the Bible`, thank you

  2. Terry Sue Sandifer says

    Cute lesson!!!! I plan on using as a sermon in Children’s Church.

    Thank you for the creative idea on the family charades.

  3. Rachel says

    I like this lesson but I have to disagree on the bible verse selected- I think a different one would be more age appropriate since this seems to focus on the favoritism of Jacob too positively. A two yr old is not going to take away the theme of Gods provision through this verse. He or she may wrongly associate a parent demonstration of love and gifts to a favorite sibling. I like the rest of the lesson but I will be tweaking that part.

  4. luanna says

    wow…thanks..i was looking to see wat this story was really about so i clicked on it and it gave me very important details thanks again..i learned and im not even a kid really…

  5. Karneshia says

    I absolutely love the story of Joseph. It has such a great reward set out for him even though he had to endure such cruelty. When the favor of GOD is on you, no one can take that away!

  6. brianna says

    wow what a great lesson and activity! this will sure edify kids all over the world in every way! they will grow a bigger better relashonship with God. I thank God because he has put people out here for a purpose and he is using peole to bring other people to him! Thank You so much
    God Bless!!!!

  7. Carmen says

    Bill, this may be a bit late but I disagree. That question is perfect for pointing out that there is nothing wrong with families that do not fit the criteria of a “standard” family. Some kids are raised by their grandparents, a single parent, or perhaps not even a blood related relative at all. When asking this question, the diversity makes this question a unique opportunity to point out that all families are different, but that it does not make them any less loved just because it’s not the same as “Susie’s” who has both parents at home. A family is not established by a title of a mother and a father, but of the love and faith that is shared with in their home.

  8. Pat Iriana says

    I will be taking this information to Honduras this week to lead a Sunday School class of 80. Thank you for making my job a little easier. I had two days notice of needing a story and craft to go together and this will be a wonderful presentation because of your work. Thank you

  9. Pat Henry says

    We are revamping our children’s church from head to toe. So, we are in between traditional lessons and something brand new. These lessons are perfect for this time and I’m grateful for all the work someone has done to compile such wonderful lessons. Thank you. God Bless you!!

  10. Janet LaFara says

    This web sight has been an answer to prayer
    Thank You
    We are a small new church plant and the expensive printed stuff just didn’t work for us. we wasted so much of the Lords money, and this is so much easier because we have different teachers each week and if a teacher doesn’t get the material ahead of time or the week before I can just e-mail it to them or if they can’t figure out something they can e-mail me and I can help them because I have access to the same materials, what did we do years ago before you mad this available? again god bless and Thank you

  11. bill Simpson says

    my only negative comment is that this addresses children asking them who has a family, and in a minority of cases there will be those, who for whatever reason do not have a family, and this question would just isolate them more

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