I've been working with the story of Exodus with some of the kids at church, and I have to say that it was a surprise to me how much fun we've had with it. Religious Literacy is one of our goals for the RE program, and part of Religious Literacy is of course to have a basic knowledge of major Bible stories. But aren't Bible stories dull and boring, or worse - controversial and violent?
Yes, well, they are more violent than I would wish. But so are Greek Myths, most fairy tales .... really any story that's been around for more than the last few decades is violent. We have to find ways to process that violence, and see the truth and meaning that can be read from the story.
So, to the fun:
1. "Pass the Baby". With a doll baby, assign one child to play the part of Moses's mother and another to be Pharaoh's daughter, and all the rest lie down on the floor in a line. Everyone on the floor is part of the River Nile, and with their hands in the air they pass the baby doll from hand to hand. It's like crowd surfing, but for the baby to float down the Nile.
2. Playmobil re-enactment. The line of Egypt toys made by playmobil were perfect, but I also just have a jumble of random playmobil sets in a large bucket. I brought in the whole thing and, after reading the story from a Child's Bible Stories book, invited the kids to create their own version of the story with the playmobil toys. Even mature 5th graders had fun doing this.
3. Costume play-acting. The kids loved being Aaron and throwing their staff down and then changing it really quick for a rubber snake. That seemed to be their favorite part.
4. 10 Plagues Charades. Kids get to choose a plague and act it out, without words, and the rest try to guess. We had a lot of frogs, of course. But some darkness, as well, cleverly acted out with a black skirt from the dress-up box.
And, the kids haven't had it yet, but I've got this story basket set-up (pictured above) for our Spirit Play class, with a box of real sand (the desert box), and another class is going to make Peep Dioramas this Sunday.
We have also discussed what meaning we can get from the story, a bit of debate over probably historical accuracy (or not), and some comparisons to other freedom struggles from history.
Overall, I've really loved working with this story.