Building Self-Control : A Lesson Plan for Children’s Church

Objectives: To define self-control and lack thereof.  To identify tools that the students can use to build self-control.  To develop students who display self-control in their personal lives.  This lesson is geared towards a children’s church classroom setting of 1st -5th graders.

Materials: A game like Jenga or Operation, cardboard bricks or building blocks with words  from Proverbs 25:28 on each brick/block, Proverbs 25:28 written on a white board or construction paper, Bible, gum drops in baggies with toothpicks, paper plates, an example of a gum drop tower

Self-control coloring page

Click above to preview this coloring page

Optional Coloring Page: You can download our free self-control coloring page to use along with this lesson plan. It pictures a young boy throwing a temper tantrum while shopping with his mom. Opposite this scenes is another with a young girl patiently walking beside her mother’s cart.

Optional Game Idea: We’ve made a video demonstrating a new game about self-control. We call it Ninja and it has quickly become a favorite with our older children.

Bible Basis: “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”  – Proverbs 25:28

Anticipatory Set: If you have the game Jenga, utilize it to catch the students’ attention.  If not, use any type of game that requires self -control and slow and careful movements (Operation is another great game to use as an example.)

  1. Select a student to play against.
  2. Begin play while you introduce self-control.  Explain that self-control isn’t easy.  It takes time and wise choices.  It means thinking before you act.
  3. Give an example of self-control.  (Possible examples could include:  speaking kindness towards someone you may not like, not gossiping, not complaining, using your time wisely, making healthy food choices, not hitting someone or getting in fights, etc.)
  4. Have the students brainstorm examples of self-control also.
  5. Share Proverbs 25:28 with the students (using the visual.)  Ask the following questions:  What would happen to a city if its walls were broken down?  (It would be easily attacked by enemies.)  What if we don’t have self-control?  What happens to us?  (We become weak.  Sin destroys us little by little.)
  6. Review some examples of people who lacked self-control in the Bible with a Guess Who Game.
  • Who lacked self-control by eating a piece of fruit, even though God had commanded against it?  (Eve)
  • Who lacked self-control by giving into peer pressure and ate a piece of fruit also?  (Adam)
  • Who lacked self-control by letting jealousy control him and killing his brother Abel?  (Cain)
  • Who lacked self-control by complaining in the wilderness to Moses?  (the Israelites)
  • Who lacked self-control by spending all of his money on wild living?  (the Prodigal son)

Bible Lesson: Matthew 4:1-11:  How Jesus Used Self-Control in the Desert

  1. Ask the students if they have ever gone a meal without food?  A day?  Have them imagine 40.  Tell them that in our story today, Jesus has gone 40 days and 40 nights without food.  Ask them to imagine what Jesus would have felt like.  (Weak, tired, dizzy, confused maybe)
  2. Explain that Satan is going to try to get Jesus to sin.  He tempts Him when He is weak.  He tempts us when we’re weak too.  Ask the students to listen for what Satan asks Jesus to do.  When they hear his temptation, have them put their hands on top of their heads.
  3. Have the students open up their Bibles to Matthew 4:1-11.  Read verses 1-3.  (All hands should be on students’ heads.)  What does Satan ask Jesus to do? (Tell stones to become bread – be relevant.)   Read verse 4 as a choral reading.
  4. Read verses 5-6.  (All hands should be on heads.)  What does Satan ask Jesus to do?  (Throw himself down – be spectacular.)  Read verse 7 as a choral reading.
  5. Read verses 8-9.  (All hands should be on heads.)  What does Satan ask Jesus to do?  (Bow down and worship him – to be powerful.)  Read verse 10 as a choral reading.  Finish with verse 11.  Give Jesus a round of applause for showing self control, even when he was weak, tired, and hungry!
  6. Ask the students what Jesus kept repeating when He responded to Jesus.  (Hopefully the choral reading will help them identify the words, “It is written.”)
  7. Explain that Jesus used scripture to fight Satan.  Jesus knew the Word of God!  Explain that there is no better tool for fighting temptation.  The Word of God will help us all with self-control!

Application: Ask the students to think about the following questions:  Is there an area of your life that needs self-control?  Is it your tongue?  Do you talk about people?  Do you complain?  Do you use language that would hurt the heart of God?  Or maybe you have a hard time keeping your hands to yourself if you’re angry or frustrated about something.   Do you hit, push, or kick?  What about your free time?  Do you spend time with God during the day?  Do you help around the house and do your homework?  Or do you lack self-control and spend too much time on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games?

Tell the students to consider memorizing a verse (like Proverbs 25:28) to help them have self-control.  Since another important tool is prayer, pray for the students that God will grow self-control in them this week.

Memory Verse Game: Ahead of time, tape the words of the memory verse individually on the bricks or blocks available.  Make another set as well, making certain to keep it separate from the first set.

  1. Separate the students into teams and distribute a pile of memory verse blocks to each.
  2. Tell the students that they are to build a tower with their memory verse.  The verse should start on the top and end on the bottom.  (So they will have to figure it out backwards!)  The first team to have their tower completed will win.
  3. Once a winner has been identified, the students are allowed to knock over their towers, shuffle their bricks, and begin building again for a round two.

Self- Control Tower Art Project: Have the students build gum drop towers with toothpicks.

  1. Present your tower example and tell the students that our art project today will utilize self-control and patience.   The students can choose to take their towers home with them to eat or  place them in their rooms to remind them to have self-control this week!
  2. Distribute supplies:  paper plates with student names on them, toothpicks, and baggies of gumdrops.
  3. Have the students create their Self-Control Towers!


Comments

  1. Terrella says

    All I could do was praise God after reading this lesson. This is such an awesome lesson which I’m going to use on tomorrow! Instead of Ninja, I’m going to have the children play silent ball. While standing or sitting in a circle, they’ll have to pass the ball around quickly, in complete silence and without expression/emotion. The one who makes noise, changes expression/emotion is out of the game.

  2. MaryMartha says

    thank you for giving, it will be giving back to your when Jesus brings His rewards w/Him… and I pray that you will be blessed beyond measure on this earth for sowing kindness and goodness to those of us without!!!!

  3. Sister Loretta Allen says

    What an awesome lesson on self-control. Thank you.You are a blessing to Sunday School Teachers.

  4. Warren says

    Love your material. Only critique (not criticism :)) is that after pointing out that we all have lost control at some time your material does not point them to Jesus who died for their lack of control so that they may receive forgiveness…Only after they have received forgiveness can they receive the Spirit who will help them bear the fruit of self-control. Have a blessed day!!!

  5. Barbara Davis says

    a. Thank for the lesson on self control the class enjoy it .May God bless your ministry .

  6. Diana Ortiz says

    Thank you for a great lesson on self- control. The games & ideas I will definitely use. God bless your ministry & I will continually use your web-site.

  7. Tammy says

    Thank you for this lesson plan and many others that I have used. You are a great blessing!.

  8. Shalom says

    Thank you for being a blessing to our Kids, you make our work easier when we are teaching kids.

    Shalom Sunday School Teacher

  9. Marian Maxey says

    i need help in puting on a play for the kids to act out parts of joy,kindness,faithfulness and self-control. do you have a play that you can email me today this is for grade 4 to 6th.
    Marian

  10. rita navarro says

    thank you so much for free lesson.. the lesson outline was great and so easy to follow… God bless your ministry and MABUHAY..

  11. Natasha says

    I’m looking for any lessons on self control using the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as well as any crafts to go with the lesson. Plase help! thank you and God bless.

  12. Susan says

    Thank you for the free lessons. We are studying Proverbs in church and finding this lesson was great. The lesson was easy to follow.

  13. jessica says

    I have been searching hard for my summer camp theme of self-control. And this stuff is so helpful to me. I can not wait to share with the kids. They are between 7 -12. thanks !

  14. Rachel says

    Thank you so much for this website!! I especially love this lesson on self-control. I am a new(er) childrens church teacher and this lesson was very easy to get into. Another teacher happened to be in my class the day I taught this lesson and she said I did a good job explaining it and I think the kids liked it as well. I didn’t do the gumdrop tower; instead I wrote out the memory verse and cut each word out so the kids could put it in order. That was also a hit! Thanks again!!!

  15. Leena Sundaram says

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you for the lesson plan on self-control, it is very useful for my Bible Story Club that I take in the school. God Bless your ministry.

  16. says

    I did this lesson last week. Thank you so much. The kids had a good time. They learned a little about self-control. They also had a blast making the gum drop towers. For a couple of students, it was more like gum drop mansions!

  17. becky says

    thank you so much for sharing this wonderful lesson, I intend to use it tonight, it is so full of important and useful information. May God Bless you and your family! Thanks again for helping others!

  18. Elvie Junio says

    Thank and praise God for what God is doing in your lives, for the wisdom, strength and joy in doing your ministry. You are a great blessing to all of us who are engaged in children’s ministry. We will use this in teaching Sunday School. May the good Lord richly bless you!

  19. Jacqui Ristow says

    Hi Tony, thanx for all your wonderful lesson plans. I especially love this one on self control…can’t wait to share it with my children and have a gumdrop tower building competition. May God bless you mightly – in what you are doing and how you are sharing with everyone at no cost.
    Blessings
    Jacqui

  20. Monica Romero says

    Thank you for all your information regarding children’s ministry, I have found information that could help me to teach and train new teachers! I just simply print them out go over and share. Are your teachings available in Spanish? Majority of my helpers are Spanish Speaking.

    Thanks again, and God Bless You and your Ministry

    Monica Romero

  21. jaden says

    i am a new sunday school teacher and i teach different nationalities,chinese,filipino
    and nepalese.( age 4-11) and building self-control lesson is just what i need.
    Thanks Tony for this helpful tips.

  22. Jackie Mccallister says

    Thank you for these lessons! My pastor called @ 3:00pm on Wed. to ask if I would be willing to teach a class for the kids tonight because the teacher.’s son was sick and the husband had to work. I usually teach Jr. Church, and I didn’t want to use my lesson for to cover.
    The lesson from your site was so easy to understand I grabbed it and went over it. I even created a memory verse game to go along with it (Very similar to the one provided…)
    Thank You!
    ps. thanks for being a free site… I can barely afford food, but God provides. Thanks again!

  23. MaydeleneA. Ancheta says

    Thank you for your very interesting and helpful tips. They’re just what I need because I am running out of creative ideas for our kids. You are a great blessing!

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