We created this lesson plan for a stuffed-animal theme night at our church. Each child was allowed to bring their favorite toy pet. The lesson began with puppet skit improvisation that to introduced the theme, Bible verses, and some random tips for safety with animals.
The main lesson is contained in the PowerPoint below. Just for fun, I included about 15 extra slides with cute or remarkable animal photos. After each one I would say something like, “Wow, God is so amazing to have made that animal.” Several of the adult volunteers in the audience would make similar remarks to help children connect these cool animals with their Creator God.
Key Verse (Memory Verse)
- “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” Proverbs 12:10 NIV
Kids should realize that none of us have been perfect caretakers of God’s creatures. We have also failed to see his Glory in the creatures all around us. A trip to the Zoo should be a time for worship! Jesus came to take away our sins and re-create this fallen world. One day, in his perfect Kingdom, even the animals will sing praised to Christ. We need his grace & help even now to be better caretakers of this world and better see Christ’s glory in the his creatures.
Outline: What does the Bible say about Animals?
- God made the animals in Genesis 1-2. But why?
- Show his glory. (Gen 1:25)
- Sacrifice (Gen 3:21)
- Food (Gen 9:3)
- Because of sin, people have misused animals.
- Making them into idols. (Romans 1:23)
- Not caring for them properly. (Proverbs 12:10)
- Did Jesus like animals?
- They were with him in the wilderness. (Mark 1:13)
- He rode a young donkey into Jerusalem. (Mark 11:7, John 12:15)
- Will there be animals in Heaven?
- Horses & chariots of fire took Elijah away. (2 Kings 2:11)
- All the creatures in the New Earth will worship God. (Revelation 5:13)
- Jesus will ride a white horse in the final battle. (Revelation 19:11-14)
- “Wolf & lion” ..all animals will be kind. (Isaiah 65:25)
More about animals in Heaven – This can be a touchy subject with kids. My answer has always been to stick close to what the Bible says and encourage children to draw their own conclusions. As the verses in the lesson illustrated, there will clearly be some animals in the New Creation. However, the Bible does not specify if these will be new animals or resurrected animals. My final answer is this, “We can’t be sure our pets will be with us in heaven, but we can trust that God will make us perfectly happy — even better than we can imagine. My personal guess is that God will somehow honor our love for our pets, even if that means resurrected animals in the New Creation.”
Stuffed Animal Games
We finished the last part of our class with games. For this special occasion, all the games involved their stuffed animals. I always referred to the animal as the one playing, not the child. You might bring extra toy pets to include children who may have forgotten. Another disclaimer, don’t try this with real animals! Feel free to think up your own ideas and leave suggestions below.
- Pump It Up – Invite several volunteers to come to the front of the room and lay down flat on their backs. Then invite them to hold the stuffed animal above them with both hands. This is similar to a bench press motion. Have one additional child bring up their animal to serve as a “spotters” for each contestant. The spotter will count the number of reps completed. The stuffed animal who completes the most in the allotted 30 seconds wins. Repeat several times until all the child/stuffed animal teams get a turn.
- Flying Leap – Have children toss their animal from a set starting line into a box. The distance should be close enough that many children will succeed, but not so close to seem easy. Using a wall as a backboard helps. Each animal gets one turn and then goes to the back of the line to start over. I would hold up the stuffed animal and have the kids applaud when it went in the box.