In the Bible, the story of Daniel tells how a law was passed making it illegal to pray to anyone but the king. By praying to God, Daniel broke that law and was thrown to the lions as a punishment, yet the lions did not eat him. The moral of the story is that faith in God will protect you; games are a great way to teach this to kids.
One game that illustrates this lesson is a variation on the game “Simon Says.” In this version, one child should be God and should give commands like, “Sit down,” “Stand up,” or “Jump on the spot.” The other children must follow this command only if the sentence begins with, “God commands you to…” If the children do something that God did not command, they are out. This teaches that, like Daniel, being faithful to God and obeying him offers protection.
In the Den
Although he had faith in God, Daniel would have been terrified going in to the lions’ den. Illustrate the story with a game by having one child play a sleeping lion, with his back to the other children and his eyes closed. Place a small beanbag behind him and then have the children take turns trying to take the beanbag without the lion noticing him. This game teaches that although you should have faith in God, it is also okay to be afraid.
To make sure the children have been paying attention to the story, play a game called “Lion Spinner.” Before the lesson, make a simple spinning lion. Use a paper plate as a base and attach a cardboard lion picture to the center with a pin. You should also make up playing cards, some with questions about the story, but others with actions like, “Roar like a lion.” The children should then take turns spinning the lion. Whomever it lands on must draw a card. Older children could consult their Bibles to come up with their own questions first, and then mix them in the deck.
Daniel, Daniel, Lion
In this final game, the children can have a bit more fun running around after learning the story of Daniel. It is played like “Duck, Duck, Goose,” where children sit in a circle while one child walks round them, tapping the others on the head and saying either, “Daniel” or “Lion.” If the child says, “Daniel,” she continues on to the next person, but if she says, “Lion,” the child sitting down must jump up and chase the other child round the circle and back to the empty space. If the child running away gets back to the space without being caught, she is safe and the other child must go round the circle.
Ross Garner began writing professionally in 2008. Before this he took part in placements with the "Press & Journal," "G41" and "G42" magazines, then began paid freelance work for "Enterprise Matters" magazine. He now works for "Scottish Television" online. Earlier this year Garner graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in journalism and creative writing with English.