Lesson: The Tower of Babel

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Teach students to practice humility. Includes a lesson, game, and craft.

Needed: Charade cards, Charade cards printed in another language (you can use Google Translate to get an approximate translation of the phrases you enter), a picture of a world map , drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils or markers

Game: Charades

Prepare a number of charade cards beforehand with familiar words or phrases written on them. The leader should start the game by silently acting out one of the words or phrases. The first student to guess what you’re acting then takes the next card and becomes the next actor. Play until everyone has had a turn to act or as long as time allows. After the game, point out that it’s hard to get someone to know what you’re talking about when you can’t speak to them. It would have been much easier if the actors could have just said what their word was.

Round 2

Tell students that you’re going to make things easier. Instead of the actor acting out the word or phrase on their card, they’re just going to show it to the class. The first person to read the card wins. Give a couple of students a card printed in your language and watch the children race to call out the words. Then, give them one written in a foreign language. When they can’t guess what it says, pretend as if you don’t know what the problem is. As you “catch on,” explain that the word or phrase is written in another language.

Lesson

Ask students, Have you ever heard someone speaking in a different language?

Why do you think there are so many different languages in the world? Where did all those languages come from?

Summarize Genesis 11:1-9 with following Bible story, asking the included questions as you read.

In the beginning of the world, when God created Adam and Eve, everyone spoke the same language. People were still speaking that same language when Noah and his family came off the Ark after the Flood. But when Noah’s grandchildren grew up, some of them moved to a certain area and decided to build a city. “C’mon,” they said, “let’s make bricks and build a city. And we can make a huge tower that stretches all the way up to the sky and everyone will see it. We’ll have the biggest tower, and we’ll be famous for it.”

Why did the people want to build a tower? (So that everyone would see it and so that they would be famous.)

Do you think God wants us to try to be famous?

Do you think God wants us to brag about ourselves and make everyone pay attention to us?

It’s okay to be famous if we’re good at something, but we shouldn’t try to be famous. We shouldn’t brag about what we can do or how good we are at something. Instead, we should talk about how good God is and what God has done for us. If you’re good at something, it’s not because you’re so great. It’s because God made you to be able to do it. He’s the one who gave you your skills and talents in the first place.

So God came down and looked at the city and the tower the people were building. He saw how much they were bragging about their tower and heard them talking about how famous they would be, so He confused their language as a punishment to them. He made it so that some people were speaking one language and some people were speaking another language, and no one could understand what the other person was saying. It just all sounded like gibberish! Someone would say, “Hand me a brick,” but all the other person would hear was, “Flaffa re backenugen.” And they had to stop building the city and the tower because they couldn’t understand each other well enough to work together.

Everyone, talk gibberish to each other!

Good. Now, you might know what you’re saying, but no one else does. It would be very difficult to work on a project together if no one could understand each other.

What did God do to punish the people for bragging and just wanting to be famous? (He made it so that everyone was speaking a different language and they had to stop building the city and tower.)

So, then, all the people moved away. (Illustrate this point by grouping the children together.) The people who could understand each other went off by themselves and lived in one part of the world while another group of people who could understand each other lived in another part of the world, and a third group of people who could understand each other lived in another part of the world. And that’s how all the different languages got started. The city that the people were trying to build was named Babel after that because everyone sounded like they were just babbling to each other. Babble, babble, babble!

So, remember to not brag about yourself. Don’t try to be famous or popular. If you’re good at something, just be quiet about it and thank God for giving you that talent or skill.

Craft: Languages of the World

Show your students a picture of a world map. Have them choose a country to draw on their piece of paper. Tell them to draw the shape of the country on one side of the paper along with the name of the primary language people speak in that country. On the other side of the paper, ask them to draw a picture of how they could help someone in that country if they knew their language. Point out that as Christians, we try to learn other people’s language so that we can tell them the Good News about Jesus.

Game: Charades

Continue playing the regular game for as long as time allows.

Closing Prayer

Father, help us not to brag or become too prideful. We know that everything comes from You, even our skills and talents. We also know that You punished people when they became too prideful by making them speak different languages. But now, You want us to help people who speak different languages, so help us know how to do that. Amen.

You can also find this children’s Sunday School lesson for your Kindle reading app or in print form in Created: Children Sunday School Lessons for Genesis 1-11.

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