Many Christians celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the church and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The holiday falls 50 days after Easter Sunday. So this lesson may be particularly appropriate at that time, but could also be used any time in exploration of the Bible text found in Acts 2.
This lesson would work for Sunday School or Children’s Church. It was written by contributing writer, Nicole VanderMeulen, Children’s Ministry Coordinator at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Renton, Washington.
Bible Story: The Pentecost Party
Scripture: Acts 2:1-21
Target Age Group: Age 3 – 12 (U.S. preschool – 6th Grade)
Time: 45-60 Minutes
Learning Context: Children’s Church
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Learning Objectives: Through story, craft, game, and snack children will explore Acts 2:1-21 and learn about Pentecost, the birthday of the church, and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
- Bible/Children’s Bible
- DVD: The Bedbug Bible Gang Pentecost Party (optional)
- Balloons and/or Tennis Balls
- Trick Candles (the kind that you can’t blow out)
- Paper Lunch Bags
- Embellishments: stickers/foam/sequins/etc.
Story: To introduce the story of Pentecost to the children, you may want to share Acts 2:1-21 from the Bible or a children’s bible. Another option, which may be especially appropriate for preschool and kindergarten aged children would be to show the first 7 minutes of the DVD, “The Bedbug Bible Gang Pentecost Party”, which can be purchased here. Make sure to discuss what you read or view and ask comprehension questions.
Games: Play parachute games!!! Talk about how the Holy Spirit is like the wind. It holds us up and fills us up and makes us float. The Holy Spirit first came to the disciples like a rushing wind.
- “Spirit Says” -like Simon says…Spirit says wave the parachute fast, wave it slow, make it still, put it over your head, turn around and hold it, etc.
- “Tent Time” –everyone raises their arms up holding the parachute together, takes a few steps in toward the center, brings the parachute behind them, and sits down on the edge to make a mushroom, tent, dome, etc.
- “Ball Bounce” -use balloons and tennis balls on the parachute. You can try to keep them all on, try to bounce them all off, split into two sides and try to get the balloon off the other team’s side, etc.
- “Switch Places” –number off the children, in 4’s maybe? Raise up the parachute, call out a number or two, and those kids run under the parachute and switch places or find a new place.
Snack –Birthday cupcakes!!! Pentecost marked the first birthday of the church, so when we celebrate Pentecost, we celebrate the birthday of the church. Light trick candles, sing “Happy Birthday”, and talk about how the Holy Spirit is like a flame in our hearts that won’t go out. It keeps us burning with love for Jesus. Eat and enjoy!
Craft –Windsocks! Pentecost is when a rushing wind brought The Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is like the wind; we can’t see it, but it’s there. Sometimes, we can feel it though! Each child can choose a colored paper bag, cut off the bottom to make a tube. Decorate with stickers, foam, sequins, and markers. Glue/tape streamers to one end, and tape a piece of yarn to each side of the other end to make a handle.
Prayer: Consider using a “repeat after me prayer”. Pause between every few words, allowing the children to echo what you have said. Dear God/Thank you/for the gift of/the church/and your Holy Spirit./Help us to/feel and see/and be filled with/your power. /Amen.