101 Fun Ways to Celebrate God’s Special Day
Here are some great activities for Friday night and Sabbath afternoon. Some can be done with your friends, family, or Sabbath school class; others you can do by yourself.
A total of 101 Sabbath activities for kids were published in Guide. They are now available in the book Sabbath Action Blast, found at Adventist Book Centers. Some of the Sabbath activity ideas here are included in the book; others are bonus activities available only online!
Bonus: Musical Balloons
Get a number of balloons, and have only one that is an odd color from the rest. (You might use all green balloons, and one red.) Write questions/statements about a certain topic, and put them inside each balloon. The odd-color balloon should have a piece of paper that asks the person to lead the group in a blessing prayer.
How to do it:
Seat all the participants in a circle. Explain that this is like musical chairs except no one is going to get squashed and no chairs are going to be broken. Instead you will begin the music and they will pass the balloons to the right.
When the music stops, the person with the odd-color balloon must take one of the other balloons and pop it. He or she is to read the statement on the piece of paper and then respond to the group.
If you have seven in your group, it’s best to have about 15 balloons and replenish them as they get popped. When you get down to an equal number of balloons to people, then you’ll begin to eliminate the person who has to pop the balloon—-have him or her respond and then move out of the circle.
When the last person remains, he or she pops the odd-color balloon and prays as directed.
This game is good because it gets people to open up and reveal themselves in a way that does not appear heavy. It gives a chance for people to reveal their feelings.
Bonus: If you number the balloons and have them broken in a specific order, they can provide leading questions or verses for the lesson.
By Adapted from: http://mcdonaldroad.org/kids/Sabbath.html
Bonus: Shabbat Dinnner
Sabbath Evening Service
When Shabbat (Sabbath) is over, we gather at the table for a Havdalah service. Havdalah is Hebrew and means “separation,” a time to separate the holy day from all the other days. First my mom says a prayer thanking Yahweh (God’s name in Hebrew) for the Sabbath and thanking Yahushua (Jesus’ name in Hebrew) for bringing light into the world and saving us.
My mom then lights the havdalah candle, which is very big with many wicks. It makes a huge flame. She blesses Yahweh for creating the light of fire. We all reach out our hands to feel the warmth and see the brightness on our hands.
My dad then reads John 1:1-14. He blesses Yahweh for the grape juice. He pours it into a pretty goblet that is on a plate. He pours it so that it spills onto the plate. This shows how Yahweh’s blessings overflow. He also reads Matthew 26:27-28, which says that the grape juice symbolizes the blood of Jesus.
Next one of the kids is selected to put out the candle into the spilled grape juice. This reminds us of the darkness that fell on the world at Yahushua’s crucifixion when He shed His blood.
Next my father passes around a container filled with spices. It has cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and dried orange peel. You can put whatever sweet spice or flowers you want in it. We take a deep breath, smelling the wonderful aroma. It reminds us how sweet Sabbath is and helps us to look forward to the next Sabbath. It also reminds us that Yahushua’s body was wrapped in linen and spices. My dad reads John 19:40 and John 10:10.
My dad reads Psalm 23 and then prays for the family. He ends with Isaiah 52:7.
Challah Bread (vegan recipe)
2 packages dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar or sucanat, divided
3 heaping tablespoons ground flaxseed
3/4 cup water
6-9 cups flour (we use 4 cups whole wheat and the rest unbleached flour)
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees). (We do this by mixing 1 cup cold and 1 cup boiling water together.) Add 1/4 cup sugar, and allow the yeast to work for about 10 minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.
In blender, or in separate bowl using hand blender, blend flaxseeds and water for about 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens. This replaces the egg that is in traditional Challah.
Place 6 cups flour, salt, and remaining sugar in a large bowl. Add flaxseed mixture, oil, honey, and yeast. Mix until dough forms, adding more flour if needed.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, flour your hands and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Add flour as necessary until the dough no longer sticks to the board or your hands.
Oil a deep bowl. Put the dough in it, turning to grease it on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for about 1-1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and allow to rise a second time (about 1/2 hour).
Punch down again and knead briefly. Use a heavy, sharp knife to cut the dough in half. Cover one half while you shape the first loaf.
Oil a baking sheet. Divide one dough ball into three equal parts. Roll each one into a “snake,” using a back-and-forth motion and keeping the dough under the palms of your hands. Each strand should be about 16″ long. Allow them to rest a few minutes, then pinch the three strands together at one end. braid them, and pinch them together at the other end. Place on oiled baking sheet and repeat with other ball. Allow the loaves to rise again.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush loaves with cold water before placing in oven. Bake 25-35 minutes. Should sound hollow when you tap the bottom of the loaves.
This recipe was adapted from The Jewish Vegetarian Year Cookbook by Roberta Kalechofsky and Rosa Rasiel.
Micah Publications Inc.
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Marblehead, MA 01945
By Rebecca Oliva
Idea #22: Spiritual Food
I was reading my devotional, and it spoke about spiritual food. After some thinking I came up with this “Spiritual Food Dinner.” Bon appetit!
1. Make menus for the number of guests you want to invite. Make categories such as Appetizers, Entrees, Dessert, and Today’s Special.
2. Instead of real food items, in each section list Bible verses that you think apply to that category. Place about four to six verses in each section, except for Today’s Special, in which you put one big, important, and unique verse.
3. Invite friends and family over for the “dinner.” Before they arrive, set the table with plates and place a Bible on each one, or tell your friends to bring their own Bibles.
4. At the dinner everyone looks at the menu, chooses their “order,” and then reads the verses they selected from the Bible. You can close with prayer.
5. As an extra, you can serve real food from Bible times or a simple snack.
Have fun. It’s a great thing to do at Friday sundown especially!
By Priscilla Odinmah
Idea #5: Quick Draw
Who is the quickest on the draw? Try this game to find out who has the fastest fingers.
1. Pick a person to be the mediator. That person makes a list of 10 different Bible objects or events: for example, the burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, the stable where Jesus was born.
2. Divide the rest of your group into two teams on separate sides of the room. Each team will need a writing instrument and some paper.
3. The mediator sits in the center with the list, hiding all but the first item.
4. When the mediator says “Go,” one member from each team comes to find out the first item. They must then draw a picture of it for their team. When their team guesses it, a second team member goes and gets the next item to draw, and so on. Each team member must take a turn drawing.
5. The first team that completes and guesses the list is the winner.
By Heather Down
Bonus: Dynamic Duo
1. Tie a sturdy string about three feet long between two table or chair legs. Leave some slack in the string.
2. Fill two plastic film containers (or other small containers) with equal amounts of clay, coins, or washers for weight.
3. Cut the hooks off two wire clothes hangers, leaving horizontal stubs of wire at the bottom of the hooks. Tape the hooks securely to the tops of the film containers.
4. Hang your pendulums on the string several inches apart.
5. Gently pull back on one of the pendulums and let it go. It will start the other pendulum swinging! Then watch how the two pendulums influence each other.
6. Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 about the importance of friendships. Is your influence on your friends good or bad?
By Adapted from www.exploratorium.edu/snacks
Idea #9: Great Leaps
In 1 Corinthians 12:27 Paul wrote, “”Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”” When each part of the “”body”” does his or her job, amazing things will happen for Jesus! This activity is a good example of having fun while working together toward a common goal.
In an open area, create a starting line and then have the first participant jump as far as possible from the line. Measure the length of the jump and mark the spot. Another person now jumps, and their measurement is added to the first one. All participants jump, and their total jump length is recorded.
Now go back and repeat the activity, trying to break the previous record. Do this as many times as you wish, or until you get sore!
Option: take turns flinging a Frisbee and see what total distance the group can achieve.
By Adapted from Non-Competitive Games
Idea #4: Scripture Scavenger Hunt
You will need at least two individuals or teams for this hunt. Each person or team will need:
—A New International Version Bible
—A paper or plastic bag for their collection
1. Look up the Bible verse clues.
2. Pick out the object named in each verse. (If several objects are named, choose one to find.)
3. Find the objects and place them in the bag. The person or team done first wins!
1 Samuel 17:18
By Violet Nesdoly
Idea #58: God’s Scrapbook
The Real-Time Faith Sabbath school lesson suggests that we can think of the Bible as “God’s journal of the things important to Him.” Imagine what it would be like if God had given us the Bible as a scrapbook with photos, news clippings, and other memories of His family on earth, along with His letters to them and His plans for their future. Then use your creativity to make up some pages from God’s scrapbook!
For instance, some pages of God’s scrapbook might include “Photos of My best friends.” Draw pictures of Bible heroes and famous Christians, and add a caption telling what they’ve done for God. Don’t forget to include yourself and maybe some people from your church! Another page might be “My Son-I’m so proud of Him.” Here you’d include stories and pictures from Jesus’ life on earth. Other pages could include “My best advice for life” and “Snapshots of the home I’m building for you in heaven.”
By Rachel Whitaker
Idea #8: Potluck Visitors
You’ll need an emcee and four actors for this make-it-up-as-you-go skit. One actor is the host of a potluck. The other three actors are given a secret name of a Bible character or other spiritual role model chosen by the emcee.
One by one the three actors ring the doorbell and enter the potluck. They must act and talk like their character without saying their names aloud. For instance, if you were Peter, you might talk about fishing or about miracles you’d seen Jesus perform.
The host (or other guests) then guess who they are.
By Heather Down
Idea #3: Photo Vision
For this game you will need two teams, each with about two to three players. It helps if one player is an adult. You will also need two digital cameras, a notepad or chalkboard, and a timer.
This game begins with each team going out and taking four or five pictures. These pictures should show how you see God in nature. It makes the game more fun if the pictures are weird-looking.
When the teams are through taking their pictures, everyone should gather in one place. One team will show its pictures while the other team guesses what they are. They have two minutes and three guesses per picture. If the team runs out of guesses, tell them what the picture was. Then the team that took the picture explains what that item tells them about God.
Each picture is worth two points. On the notepad or chalkboard, tally up the points for each team. The team with the most points wins.
Hope you have a great time!
By Ernst Louis-Jacques
Idea #46: “What Did You See?”
One person goes out of the room, and the rest decide on a Bible story. After they decide, Person A walks back into the room and says, “Nora, what did you see?” Let’s say they decided on Moses crossing the Red Sea. Nora comes up with something that she might have seen if she had been there, such as, “I saw a large body of water.” Person A tries to guess the story. If the guess is wrong, he/she asks the next player. “Jamie, what did you see?” Jamie replies, “Lots of red.” The game keeps going until Person A finally guesses the story. Then the person who gave the last clue trades places with Person A. To make it easier and more fun, use all of the senses, such as smell and hearing. For instance, you could say you smelled a lot of salt.
By Esther Corina Gow-Lee
Idea #7: Guess This Tune
Play a game of Guess This Tune with family or friends. You will need either a piano or CDs of familiar or not-so-familiar Christian music. Divide your group into two teams. Play a note or two of a song on the piano or a second or two on the CD. Have each team guess. If neither side gets it right, add a note or play the CD a little farther.
When a side actually guesses it, you can continue by singing along with the song!
By Heather Down
Idea #2: Picture This
Choose a Bible text (or other cool quote) you’d like to learn, and draw pictures to stand for letters or sounds in words. For example, for the first few words of John 3:16 (KJV) you could draw: 4 God (picture of needle and thread) (picture of heart + ed) the (picture of globe) (t + picture of hat) he (picture of arms reaching out with a gift).Try it with a friend and see if you can each figure out the other’s verse.
By Ron Reese
Idea #36: Bible Dash
Choose one leader who is not on either team. Before the game, the leader makes a list of Bible verses containing a word that is drawable, and writes down how many words from the beginning that word is. (The leader should be sure to write down the answer for each verse!)
Divide players into two teams. You will need at least 3-4 people on each team to make it work right, but this game can be played with as many people as you want, as long as the teams are even. It is more fun the more people you have.
Have each team sit in chairs placed in two single-file lines. Give the last person in line on both teams a Bible.
The leader tells a verse and says how many words from the beginning. For example, “Exodus 40:25, fifth word from the beginning.” The person holding the Bible will then look up the verse and find the chosen word. (In the example, the word is “lamps.”) They whisper that word to the person in front of them, and that person will whisper it to the person in front of them, and so on.
As soon as the person in the very front hears the word, they will run up to a whiteboard, chalkboard, or table with paper for each team. They will then draw that object, and the leader should be able to tell what it is. As soon as they’re done, they will run back to their seat and sit down. Whoever sits first will earn a point for their team.
The whole line will move up, so the person who just drew goes to the back to look up the next verse. This game can be played as long as desired, and whichever team gets the most points wins.
This game is fun because it’s a mixture of Telephone and Pictionary. Sometimes the drawings will end up being nothing like what was mentioned in the verse. Have fun!
By Carly Sim
Idea #6: Waldenses in the Wilderness
This game takes its name from a group of Reformation-era Christians who spread God’s Word despite persecution. Bibles were scarce, so the Waldenses memorized large portions of Scripture.
The game is best played in a large outdoor area with lots of hiding places. Players are divided into two teams, Soldiers and Waldenses. Prior to the game, the leader—who will not be on either team—marks 10 safe zones spaced throughout the play area. The Soldiers are not allowed to know ahead of time where these safe zones are. At each safe zone, place copies of a different short Scripture promise inside a container. Include enough copies for each of the Waldenses.
At the starting point (the first safe zone) the Waldenses are given the first Scripture promise and a map of the safe zones. The object is for the Waldenses to collect all 10 Scripture promises, memorize as many as possible, and make it safely to a designated finish zone.
The Waldenses are allowed a five-minute head start, and the Soldiers may not watch where they go. The Waldenses may remain up to five minutes at a time at each safe zone to work on memorizing each Scripture promise. Five minutes after the start of the game, the Soldiers may begin to hunt and capture Waldenses by tagging them between safe zones. (A Soldier is not allowed to remain at the safe zone waiting for the Waldenses!)
When Waldenses are tagged, they may go free by quoting one of the Scripture promises collected. Players may repeat each verse only once unless they have been caught so many times that they’ve quoted all the verses. If a tagged player cannot quote a Scripture promise, the player must give up one Scripture slip, return to the starting zone, and wait five minutes before starting again. The leader returns the slip to the correct safe zone.
To finish, Waldenses must collect the Scripture slip from each safe zone and cross the finish line with all slips in hand or memorized.
Waldenses who finish may return to the playing field as the partner of another player. When their partner is tagged, the person who finished previously may help by quoting a Scripture promise. (A player who has finished may not be sent back to the starting zone.)
By Janette Wahlman
Idea #1: The Three-headed Storyteller
Choose a “show host” and three participants. The host decides on a Bible story that the three participants must tell in their own words. The only catch is they can say only one word at a time. Going in order, they must completely relate the Bible story given to them by the host. Option: Make it more challenging by having them sing the story instead. Try it with your family for sundown worship!
By Heather Down