Main Point: Celebrate what God has done.
Bible Story: A Psalm of Thanksgiving
Bible Passage: Psalm 100:1-5
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV
FIND YOUR FOCUS
WHAT YOU NEED: magic picture cards (6 pictures, 8 copies of each)
WHAT YOU DO:
- Start by introducing yourself and welcoming kids to your eGroup. Ask them about their week and interests. Use the following questions to generate discussion:
- What’s something cool that happened this week?
- What was the best part of your week?
- Have you ________ (seen/eaten/listened to/read) any good _________ (movies/TV shows/food/music/books) lately?
- What are you looking forward to next week?
Once you have five to six kids begin “Find Your Focus.”
- Divide kids into two teams. Choose one kid from each team to be the first guesser for their team.
- Explain the rest of the group will study a magic picture to find the image hidden in the background of the picture. Since many children may not have seen magic pictures before, share the following tips for seeing the hidden image:
- Hold the magic picture card right in front of your nose. It should be blurry. Try to focus like you’re looking through the image instead of at it.
- Move the picture away from your face very slowly. The page should continue to look blurry.
- Look for a 3-D image to pop out of the background. If the page no longer looks blurry and you can’t see the 3-D image, bring it back to your nose and begin again.
- Keep staring until the 3-D image appears.
- Give each team four copies of the first magic picture card (the one labeled with a “1”).
- Once the group has figured out what the hidden image is, they will begin acting it out as a group until the guesser can guess what the image is. The group that guesses correctly first may keep one copy of that magic picture card; the other group must give all theirs back.
- Choose a new guesser from each team and repeat with the second magic picture card. Continue until teams have guessed all six magic picture cards or until time runs out.
- The team with the most magic picture cards at the end wins!
Magic Picture Card Answers:
WHAT YOU NEED: word collage sheets (8), pens, question card (1), whiteboard (1), whiteboard marker (1)
WHAT YOU SAY:
“Welcome to eGroup! My name is _______ and I’m your eGroup leader! As an eGroup we will hang out together during Motion, hear stories from the Bible, learn what it means to live for Jesus, and play games!
This week we begin a new series called reFocus, where we’ll learn about focusing on showing gratitude. Let’s dig into God’s Word together now and learn more about how we can show gratitude no matter what!”
WHAT YOU DO:
- Have kids sit in a circle with their Bibles and instruct kids to turn to Psalm 100. NOTE: This may take time, but it helps kids learn skills for reading the Bible on their own. If needed, encourage kids to use the table of contents in their Bible and then decide if the book is in the Old or New Testament.
- Read Psalm 100:1-5 aloud.
- Divide the group into pairs. (It’s fine to have a group of three if there is an odd number of kids in the group.) Give each pair a word collage sheet and a pen.
- Explain you will ask the group questions about the Bible story. All of the answers can be found in the word collage, but they may be tricky to find in all the jumbled up words. Kids will have to focus on the right words to find the answer.
- When a pair finds the answer, they should jump up and put their hands in circles around their eyes like binoculars. If they found the correct answer, the pair who found it first will circle the answer with their pen.
- Ask a question from the question card and encourage pairs to find the answer on their word collage. Allow the pair who finds it first to circle the answer with their pen. The pair with the most words circled at the end wins!
- eGL TIP: For younger groups with new readers, discuss the question first and share the answer as a group. Write the answer on the whiteboard first so kids can see what word to look for, then signal kids to begin racing to find the answer on the word collage sheet.
WHAT YOU SAY:
“God has done so many wonderful things for us and it’s important to celebrate all He’s done. That’s what gratitude is all about—letting someone know you see how they’ve helped you. We can celebrate and let God know we’re grateful He’s helped us by praising and thanking Him.”
CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE
WHAT YOU NEED: pop-out streamers (1 per kid)
WHAT YOU DO:
- Seat kids in a circle and put a pop-out streamer on the floor in front of each kid, but tell kids NOT TO TOUCH them yet.
- Explain you will read about a situation where they could choose to focus on celebrating what God has done even when it might be easy to focus on something negative. If a kid would like to share about their experience in that kind of situation or if they have an idea how they think they would respond if it happened to them, they can pick up their pop-out streamer and pop it straight up into the air.
- Each child who pops their streamer for a question may share their experience or what they think they would do, but remind kids they can only pop their streamer to share ONE TIME, so they need to think carefully about whether they have something to share before they pop it open!
- Read the situations below and encourage kids to pop their streamers when they would like to share. Remind kids to focus on sharing about how they could celebrate something good God did even in a tough situation.
- Your parents wouldn’t let you do something you really wanted to do.
- You had to move to a new town.
- You didn’t get a Christmas gift you really wanted.
- You had to miss out on something you’d been waiting for for a long time.
- A friend got something you wanted (a toy, a part in a play, a trip somewhere, etc.) and you didn’t.
- Your best friend chose someone else to do something fun with them instead of you.
WHAT YOU SAY:
“When something sad, upsetting, or disappointing happens, it can be hard to find a reason to celebrate anything. But if our focus is on gratitude, we can still find something to celebrate in almost any situation. Even when things feel tough, we can choose to focus on the good things God is doing and celebrate them.”
- “What are some things you can always be thankful for, no matter what situation you’re in?”
- “When is it easy for you to be thankful? When is it difficult?”
- “How does it change your attitude when you choose to celebrate what God has done instead of pouting or whining?”
JOURNAL AND PRAYER
WHAT YOU NEED: eKidz Prayer Journal (or eKidz Prayer Journal page), pen
WHAT YOU SAY:
“Today we learned to celebrate what God has done. When your gratitude lets you refocus your attention on the great things God is doing, you can see God do great things through you!
I want you to share one thing God is doing in your life that you can celebrate this week. I’m going to write your name and what you share in our eKidz Prayer Journal so I can celebrate and thank God with you.”
WHAT YOU DO:
Write down what kids share in your eKidz Prayer Journal. Take your eKidz Prayer Journal home with you and pray for your kids throughout the week.
“Dear God, thank You for all the great things You do for us that we don’t even notice. Help us choose to focus our attention on celebrating Your goodness instead of thinking about what we would change in our lives. We are so thankful for all the ways You help us each day. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Head to Large Group after this activity.
WHAT YOU NEED: Bibles, Bible tool kits, camera cards (30)
WHAT YOU SAY:
“Our Bible verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, tells us God wants us to give thanks in every situation. He doesn’t want us to show gratitude because He needs our thanks, but because He wants us to experience the joy that comes with having a consistently grateful heart!”
WHAT YOU DO:
- Read the verse out loud: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- Help kids look up the memory verse in their Bibles. Encourage them to use tools from the Bible tool kit to mark the verse in their Bible. Tell kids who didn’t bring a Bible they will receive a memory verse card during the Bring It! Challenge so they can practice it at home.
- Ask kids if there are any words or phrases they don’t understand and explain them as needed.
- Choose a memory verse activity: “Camera Walk” or “Verse Practice.”
- Split kids into two teams. Place the cards in a big circle around the eGroup space with the activity title facing up.
- Tell every kid to stand behind a card. Explain kids will walk from card to card around the outside of circle while you say the verse aloud. Once you finish saying the reference (1 Thessalonians 5:18), kids must freeze behind the card closest to them. When you tell them to turn the card over, kids will read the card and follow the instructions.
- eGL Tip: For young groups with new readers, choose a few kids each round to turn over cards, then read the cards aloud for them.
- The goal is to be the first team to collect all the camera cards with memory verse phrases and put the verse in order. Some cards have verse phrases, some are blank, and some are penalty cards. If a kid turns over a penalty card, the whole team must complete the instructions on the card before the next round can begin. The first team to assemble the whole verse wins!
- Assign a spot for each team to collect and assemble their camera cards with verse phrases.
- To begin the game, say the verse aloud (see sidebar). Once you’ve finished saying the reference, remind kids to freeze!
- Tell kids to turn over their camera cards. Show each team where to begin assembling any verse cards they collect and guide teams in completing any penalties. Verse cards will be removed from the game as they are collected; blank and penalty cards can be returned to the same spot in the circle.
- Repeat until one team wins by assembling the entire memory verse!
- Use the following methods to help kids practice the memory verse:
- REPEAT AFTER ME: Have kids repeat phrases of the verse after you.
- PAIR UP: Have kids pair up to practice the verse together.
- MOTIONS: Come up with motions to represent phrases in the verse. Practice it together.