Participants in groups of children(age 6-10) will build the wall of Jerusalem as described in Nehemiah 1-6 with toy bricks. Each participant work as an individual to complete sections of the wall and help others in the process as needed. During the structured playtime, the schedule is divided into sections by the facilitator to progress the story and narrate the play experience. There are five different key points spread throughout the experience. The goal is not about driving home all the key points or all the questions, but to allow for the group or individual to take in points and discussions that resonate with them. You may also choose one as a primary teaching point throughout the experience.
Ice Breaker Game Option #1: Color Me Bricks
Each child pick a brick and answer the following questions:
What’s your name?
What is your favourite thing that is the same color as this brick?
The color of bricks will determine the grouping
Ice Breaker Game Option #2: Take down the Tower!
Prebuild an interlocking tower with the bricks being used for the wall.
Children will then have to deconstruct the tower and sort out the colors and shapes.
Allow children to delegate themselves and collaborate on the process.
Today we are going to learn about a story in the Bible by building it. This story has a lot of twist and turns so you will have to follow my instructions and the story carefully.
There will be times when I will need you to pause, so when you hear this bell *ring bell, empty your hands and put your hands on the shoulder of the person beside you.
There was a man whose name was Nehemiah and he was living far from his homeland because his country was invaded. He was a cupbearer for a king of another country. A cupbearer is someone that taste the king’s drinks and food to make sure there’s no poison.
Now his brother and some of his friends came from their home city of Jerusalem to visit and Nehemiah asked them about how everything is back home.
So what do you think Nehemiah’s friends say?
His brother and his friends say: Those who were left in Jerusalem are in big trouble: the city wall is broken, their gates are burned, and people from other places make fun of our city.
Now you guys are going to play the role of the people left in Jerusalem.
Now after Nehemiah has heard the report from his friends he cried and didn’t eat for days. And during those days he pray to God, asking Him to forgive his people and to bring his people back to the city.
Do you think God answer his prayers?
Yea one day the king saw Nehemiah was not very happy and ask him what is wrong. Nehemiah told him how he wanted to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls and gates. After the king and the queen heard his story, they let Nehemiah go along with some materials to build the wall. God answer Nehemiah’s prayers!
So why don’t we pause and pray first before we see what happen next.
* Intro Prayer
Keypoint: God answers prayers when we place our problems and desires into his hand.
2. Nehemiah assess the wall at night
So Nehemiah made it to Jerusalem, but he didn’t tell anyone that he wanted to rebuild the walls and the gates
But after 3 days he decided check out the broken walls and gates at night.
• Turn off the light / Turn on the lamp
So after he checked out the damages he told the officials of the city why he came and that he wanted to rebuild the walls so that the city will be strong again.
Everyone was glad and they started gathering all the stuff for the build!
Show the bricks they have to work with
3. Division of work
Now everyone in the city came to rebuild the walls and the gates! The bible listed all the different people, man, women, priests, warriors, farmers, Everyone came to do their part!
Ask the children to pick a character they will pretend they are like: priests, blacksmith, rulers, guards, goldsmith, merchants
To help us with what the city looks like here’s some pictures that will help us rebuild the walls...
Keypoint: When we work together we share the load!
Assign group leaders
Review map / legend
4. Opposition from Sanballat
Now there were some people who were not very happy that the Israelites were rebuilding the wall. The two men named Sanballat and Tobiah made fun of them and even say: if a fox climbed on what they build, the wall will come tumbling down.
These two men tried to discourage the builders and they even planned to attack them to stop them from building. But Nehemiah found out and he put guards around the walls and the builders now build with one hand and held a weapon on the other hand.
We are going to see how they feel as we now also build with one hand and the other one we hold one of the utensil/form weapons.
Everyone now build with one hand, carry (plastic utensil/shield/foam swords) on the other hand.
5. Justice in the community
Ok you guys have done a great job and made some huge progress on the wall. So let’s take a quick snack break!
But wait! It turns out a lot of people who had been working on the wall does not have food to eat! Because their city and people were invaded a lot of them had nothing, and they even had to become slaves to some of the officials and nobles of the city! They were slaves to their own people!
Nehemiah was very upset when he heard what happened to his people and so he told the noble man and officials to free them and give back their land so they can grow their own food again.
Nehemiah made sure God’s people treat each other generously and with mercy. They should not take advantage of each other but take care of one another.
Keypoint: Be generous and merciful with one another.
How should we treat one another?
Did Nehemiah wanted to build the wall to keep people who are in need out of the city?
How should leaders take care of their group?
Now remember the two men who made fun of the Israelites and tried to stopped them? Now they’re back and they’ve brought their friends to try and kill Nehemiah. They tried many different ways from taunting him to trying to trick him into meeting with a friend. But God gave wisdom to Nehemiah and he saw through it. Every time they ask him to meet Nehemiah say “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” (v3)
Nehemiah knew that they were trying to distract him from the important work of finishing the wall. Even though he started the building project, he wants to make sure he finish it too.
Keypoint: Finish what you started. Good work is not easy sometimes, but it’s important we finish well.
If someone made lies about you, how would you respond?
What good work are you doing now?
7. Completion of the wall
Great job! The wall is completed!! Do you know what happened when the Israelites finished the wall?? The bible say:
When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
Wow! When their enemies and those that made fun of them in the beginning heard about the completion of the wall they weren’t upset or angry, but they were afraid. They were afraid because they knew it was God who helped them finish the wall.
When God is for us, no one can be against us. There will be times when we have to take on a big challenge, maybe its school test, maybe it’s a sport game, or maybe it’s standing up for what is right or standing up for others. And we may be scared because it’s such a big job! But Nehemiah reminds us that when we trust God, He will be with us, and everyone will know we are with God.
Keypoint: We don’t need to be afraid when we take on big challenges because God is with us.
How did you feel when you first found out what you have to build?
Would you want to play with these friends again?
What did you think of the kids you work with on this project?
How do you think the Israelites feel about each other after?
How did you think God helped Nehemiah and the Israelites in rebuilding the wall?
What are you building/rebuilding today?
Photos/polaroid with kids and their creation to take home.
AND OR small take-home items like minifigures/keychains.
Clean Up Activity
Children to the take apart their wall and sort the bricks back in their respective color buckets/holders.
Allow children to delegate their tasks (i.e. which child gathers the red brick, blue bricks, etc).
6 unique colors of 4x1 bricks x100
Additional 2x1, 1x1 bricks for fillers with each color
Include hinges: 2 per color
Large 48x48 gray baseplates x3
2 yellow 4x2, 2 red 4x2, 2 blue 4x2, 2 pink 4x2 bricks
~10 Plastic utensils / foam weapons
- Time: 1.5-2 hrs
Age groups: ~6-10, Adults
Visual legend of the wall sections
Neh.1-6 (Powerpoint or Bible)
Designate starting point for each person/group
Max. groups = 8 (6 unique colors of (4x1)x100)