The book of Daniel – which takes some weird turns we rarely read (see chapters 4, 7, and 12, for example) – takes place during the exile of the people. Among its theme is the question – what does it mean to praise God in a foreign land? The twists and turns of the average life often take us to places that seem like a foreign land. How do we praise God, then? This is an important lesson for Christians of all ages. We may not be tricked or trapped like Daniel, but the lions still snap at us (see 1 Peter 5:8), yet the one who calls us is faithful, and will deliver and redeem us.
For young kids, the most important lesson to learn from this story may be, God is with me when I’m scared. A great lesson can be created out of talking about Halloween or maybe talking about the movie Monster’s, Inc (since monsters are a common fear).
- Full text at Oremus Bible Browser (NRSV)
Useful Resources for Understanding the Story
- Luther Seminary’s Enter the Bible article on Daniel. Specifically on Daniel 6. On the exile.
- LSTC Old Testament Professor Emeritus Ralph W Klein’s resources on Daniel.
- Wikipedia on Daniel.
Make and Do
- Make a stand up paper lion. Here is a template. Here is one made from construction paper (but the directions aren’t in English). This one is even more intricate. Or a paper cut-out with a moveable tail. Another variation.
- Make a lion mask.
- Use cupcake papers to make lions and draw a scene from the story.
- Make an “origami” lion (using the old fortune teller…I wonder what neat things you could write on the inside?).
- Make a paper bag puppet lion.
- Make a handprint lion.
- Make a courage bracelet.
- Make a lion pony bead keychain.
- Make a God’s eye for kids to keep in their bedroom to remind them that God is with them, even when they are afraid. Consider a craft that can be on their backpacks to remind them that, even where they’re afraid at school, God is with them.
- Feed a lion prayers about the things children are afraid of.
- This is a GREAT story to act out! Make sure you’ve read the story first to simplify some parts of the story.
- Play Lion, Lion, Daniel (like Duck, Duck, Goose).
- Play pin-the-tail on the lion.
- Play Daniel-Lion-Governor (a variation on rock, paper, scissors).
- Daniel in 30 seconds – a GREAT YouTube video. I especially like how they summed up Darius’s final edict, calling God, a God who rescues. What a cool thing for kids to learn!
- Daniel and Lion’s Den Action Rap – midway down the page.
- Even more lesson links from mssscrafts.com.
- Daniel color-by-number.
- Daniel word search.
- Paint kids’ faces like lions (maybe not this fancy).
- VeggieTales, Where’s God When I’m Scared? Include a retelling of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.
- Teach kids a simple prayer to pray when they’re afraid.