The first thing you may notice is that there are TWO stories of creation! The first story is about God creating the earth, sky, sea, land, and their inhabitants in order over six days, and resting on the seventh day. The second story is about God creating the animals and, ultimately Eve (whose name means “mother of all living), to be Adam’s helper (Adam’s name means, in the words of Richard Swanson, “mud guy”). Most Sunday School curriculums just pick one, normally the first one, and that’s probably a good plan, especially with young learners. If you’ve got older kids (middler schoolers, perhaps) it might be helpful to compare the two stories. Ask gentle questions about why there might be two stories and what is in common? The most faithful thing I draw from these two stories is that God is the loving artist behind all creation, no matter how everything is made, God made it.
- Full text at Oremus Bible Browser (NRSV)
Useful Resources for Understanding the Story
- Luther Seminary’s Enter the Bible article on Genesis.
- The Text This Week’s list of links for Genesis 1:1-2:4, 2:4-14, and 2:15-3:21.
- Worshipping With Children’s suggestion on Trinity Sunday, Year A; Baptism of Our Lord, Year B; Lent 1, Year A; Proper 22, Year B
Make and Do
- Fold a regular piece of paper so there are seven sections (or eight and make the first rectangle a “title”). Draw the seven days of creation. Or make big numbers, 1-7, and color them in with what was created each day.
- Fold a paper in thirds. Draw an animal so that its head is in one rectangle, its body in the next one, and its hind end in a third. Then cut up the animals and exchange so everyone makes a new animal. Or, make three loops of paper, one with animal heads, one with animal bodies, one with animal tails. Thread them through another piece of paper with slits cut in it so you can make lots of different animals! Imagine the traits of the new animals you create. What does it eat, where does it live, what does it do?
- Use clay to make a landscape. Include hills, mountains, rivers, creeks, lakes, and the sea. What lives where? What grows where? Why?
- Make a bug home.
- Plant seeds.
- Make a peanut butter, birdseed, and pine cone bird feeder (make a few extras and pastor will deliver to shut ins!)
- Use a paper plate, blue paint, and green tissue paper to make a picture of the earth. Like this.
- Make a 3D picture of the land and sea with a ziplock bag and some dish soap (glitter is a bonus!).
- Make “hanimals.”
- Make an ocean in a bottle.
- Describe animals by their less familiar characteristics and have the kids guess the animal you’re describing.
- Play 20 Questions with various animals as the subject. Or, prepare index cards with animals on them, tape them to the kids’ backs and have them walk around asking each other questions about the animal on their back until they can guess it.
- Make slips of paper with the names of animals, 2 different animals per round. Hand out the slips of paper, at “go” the kids must find their mate/group by only making that animal’s sound. Add well known animals, considering adding real stinkers for the last round, just for fun, like a platypus.
- Play Scategories, using the days of creation as prompts (such as, something that is in the sky, something in the sea, something on the land, a plant, etc).
- Group Juggle – use a variety of stuffed animals. Stand in a circle. Have each person introduce him or herself. Say a person’s name and gently toss an animal to them. They say, “Thank you, ___” and then say another person’s name and toss it along until everyone has had a turn and it is back at the start. Repeat, always passing to the same person, this time, add more animals, until the whole group is juggling. Reverse the order for a challenge.
- Consider reading a book like There Was An Old Man Who Painted the Sky
- Consider reading one of the stories in Does God Have a Big Toe, such as “Partners” or “Adam’s Animals.”
- Science: make a “cloud” by microwaving ivory soap.
- Tell the story using creation nesting balls. Or put an item representing each day of creation in easter eggs and open up as you tell about each day. Or bring in lots of stuffed animals and introduce them as “helpers” for Adams – weigh their pros and cons as helpers for a person.
- God made the sky coloring page; God made the land coloring page.
- A variety of creation coloring pages.
- Games and puzzles about the creation story.
- Cooking – rice crispie earth.
- Even more lesson links from mssscrafts.com