The author has partnered with a retired vet to write about pet health and enjoys researching and sharing tips for pet owners.
Use these ideas for Sunday school activities based on animals with a wide variety of lessons and crafts to engage more of the kids’ senses and provide a rich learning environment.
Try some or all of these activities in your classroom or home education program and see how much fun kids have learning about the Bible in multisensory, interactive ways.
Animal Memory Match
This Sunday school activity is age appropriate for kindergarten and early elementary students and is a great way to encourage pre-reading skills. Making the game is easy and quick, and elementary age children enjoy helping to create it. Here is what you need:
- Cardstock or index cards – 3” x 5”
- Assorted pictures of animals (these can be torn or cut from magazines or coloring books)
- Laminating sheets
- Glue or glue sticks
Glue an animal picture to one side of the card, and write the animal’s name neatly underneath the picture. There needs to be a pair of cards for each animal; 24 cards yields 12 matches and is challenging enough for older kids without being too difficult for the younger ones. Laminating the cards is optional, but it makes the game last longer.
To play, shuffle the cards well. Lay them with the picture side down on a flat surface like a table. Children turn over the cards two at a time looking for matches. If there isn’t a match, they turn them back over and the next child takes a turn.
The object of the game is to remember where to find the matching pairs. If a child makes a match, he/she takes the two cards and continues to play until there are no more matches on his turn. The winner is the one with the most matches.
This game, and the others below, are wonderful connecting activities for stories like Noah and the ark, Moses and the burning bush, Daniel in the lion’s den, or the parable of the lost sheep. Encouraging the child to say the animal’s name as they reveal the cards builds literacy and fluency skills. Use these cards for other activities like Animal Charades or Please Pass the Animals (see instructions below).
Ideas for Sunday School Activities: Feed the Animals
This is another versatile activity for a wide range of stories. For instance, use it with the story of Jesus’ birth, lessons about creation, or stories about Noah and the ark.
It uses simple supplies that most Sunday school classrooms have in abundance and a healthy dose of imagination and creativity.
Let each child choose a stuffed animal to care for. They take turns telling about what their animal eats, how often they feed it, how much water it drinks and so forth.
After everyone has a chance to share about their animals, have them pass their animal to the left.
Using memory and recall, they repeat the care information about their new animal and add some extra instructions.
Keeping passing and adding tips on how to take care of the animals until the kids lose interest.
Alternate option: Spread a large blue blanket on the floor to represent the ocean.
Spread a smaller brown blanket on top of it to represent the ark. Let the children choose an animal and take it onto the ark.
Dim the lights and let them pretend to be on the ark. Encourage them to share their feelings and tell about how they will feed and care for their animals.
If you have access to a nature sounds machine, rain and storm sound effects make this especially exciting for most children (without being scary).
This is a good quiet time activity to help students transition from playtime. You need pictures of animals like dogs, cats, owls, cows, sheep and so forth. If you made laminated cards for the Animal Memory Match game, you can use them for this activity as well.
Shuffle the cards and put them in a large bag or basket. Have the kids to sit in a circle on the floor. The play starts with one child picking a picture from the bag and imitating the actions or sounds that the animal would make. The other kids guess what the animal is, and the one who guesses correctly earns the next turn.
Please Pass the Animals!
In addition to the laminated animal cards from the memory match game, you need a kitchen timer or watch with a second hand.
Put the cards into a large paper bag, and have the kids pass the bag around the circle until the timer buzzes.
The child holding the bag when the timer beeps reaches in, pulls out a picture of an animal, and makes the sound of that animal.
Use music instead of a timer, and play this as a variation of musical chairs. Simply scatter the animal pictures across the floor, and when the music stops, the kids try to put a foot on an animal picture.
Kids need to touch, hear, smell, see and experience their world to learn.
These ideas for Sunday school activities, which are planned around an animal theme, can be used with many lessons and crafts from both the Old and New Testament.
Use them as fill-in activities, transition activities, or as companion activities to support Sunday school lessons and children’s church sermons.
They are fun, interactive, and hands-on ways to get kids interested in learning.
Helpful Sunday School Resources
- The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Parable of the Good Shepherd: Lesson Plan and Edible Crafts
Yummy, edible crafts to extend a lesson on the Good Shepherd.
- Ancient Money Lesson Plans: Math Fun Worksheet with Money of the Bible Problems
Make math lesson more fun by learning more about the ancient money of the Bible and what it is worth today.
Exploring God’s World Curriculum Guide, Gospel Light, 2003
Author’s own experience in the classroom
© 2011 Donna Cosmato
Share Your Ideas About Great Sunday School Activities
Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on March 29, 2011:
Thank you for the kind words! I hope people will use these as a springboard for their own creativity when working with kids :-)
loriamoore on March 29, 2011:
Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.