Throughout the Old Testament, God called people to share His message with others. These messengers are called prophets. The story of one such prophet is found in Jonah.
- God calls people to repent.
- We need to obey God.
- God forgives people who ask His forgiveness.
Lesson Guide – Jonah
During the time of the Old Testament, the Bible didn’t exist like it does today. Although we know how God wants us to live by reading His Word, in the Old Testament God often told people how to live through the teachings of men called prophets. God would entrust them with a message to tell others. Name some other Old Testament prophets.
It was important for prophets to follow God’s directions. Jonah ran away and tried to hide from God. Play a game of hide and seek with your child. After you finish, talk about how you both had to look for each other. God knows where everyone is. Play a game thinking of places that we could hide where no one would find us. After you have played for a while, you may read Psalm 139:1-14. You may create gestures to help exemplify what you are reading e.g. sit down and stand up in verse one.
Talk about obedience and explain that if God says we need to do something, we need to do it. Talk about times that it is easy to obey (eating a sweet), and times when it is hard to obey (cleaning one’s room).
Jonah eventually did as God commanded, but it was not first-time obedience. Make up scenarios such as, “Mommy asked you to clean your room, but first you play outside and eat a snack, did you obey well or not?” It is always better to obey immediately and with a good attitude.
Play a game of opposites. Jonah was not only slow to obey, he went in the other direction. Speak about how Jonah repented inside the fish. Even though Jonah did the opposite of what God told him, when he repented God gave him a second chance.
When the people of Nineveh heard Jonah preach, they repented. Repentance means to be sorry for what you did wrong and turn away from it and do the opposite. Offer some sins such as stealing, and then ask the child to come up with what they feel would show repentance (such as working and donating to charity.)
God forgives sin and fills our hearts with new life when we repent. Use a whiteboard and write some sins. Talk about how dirty the whiteboard is. Now wipe it clean and talk about how Jesus makes our hearts clean from our sins. Now write Jesus on the whiteboard and talk about how He comes to live in the hearts of those who repent and follow Him.
Read Psalm 103:12. Pray and thank God that He offers us a way of forgiveness. Ask Him to help you be truly repentant.
Free Printable Bible Story
Games and activities
Walk the plank
Create a thin plank on the floor using paper or tape. Have your children walk down the plank without falling into the sea. If they fall in, shout ‘man over-board’.
Speak about how Jonah did not walk the plank but offered to be thrown into the sea because he caused the storm. Remind your children, that God was gracious and saved him with the big fish.
A simple way to explain repentance to children is ‘to turn around.’ Jonah and the people of Nineveh where walking away from God, until God called them to turn around.
In this game children should walk away from you. When you shout ‘repent’, they must turn around a quickly as possible. The last person to turn around is out.
Sackcloth and ashes
Create a texture bag with different objects. Ask your child to feel the object and to explain it. Is it rough, smooth, messy, soft and so on?Try to include some rough cloth and ashes. Explain how all the people in Nineveh wore these clothes as a sign they were really sorry for their actions.
Keep it dry – STEM project
Speak about how God protected Jonah from drowning inside the big fish.
Wrap some paper people in various household objects to try and keep them dry inside a bucket of water. Some ideas could be fabric, paper, cling film, and silver foil.
Have your child predict whether the items will keep the paper person dry or not.
Free Bible Coloring Pages – Jonah
Craft – Jonah and the big Fish
What you need:
- Template pages,
- Colored pencils,
- Metal Brad.
What to do:
- Color the template page.
- Cut out the fish and mouth.
- Fix mouth to fish with brad.