Although somewhat obscure, the Feast of Tabernacles – also called the “Sukkot” – has relevant lessons for both Christians and Jewish people. By diving into Old Testament festivals, you can learn important concepts about salvation and Godly character. Make these lessons come alive for your kids with engaging and educational activities about the Feast of Tabernacles.
Build a Sukkah
One of the most exciting parts of the Feast of Tabernacles is obeying God’s command to leave your home and live in a temporary dwelling. In modern days, this generally means a hotel or condo. In ancient days, this meant building a “sukkah” – otherwise known as a “booth” or a tent. Try creating a basic tent in the backyard with old sheets, tarps, bungee cords and tent stakes. Let your kids eat in the tent or even take a nap so they can experience life in a sukkah. Kids might enjoy making miniature sukkahs, too, out of craft sticks, a shoe box or even card stock paper. Let imaginations run wild as they create innovative sukkah designs.
Look for opportunities to help others during the Feast of Tabernacles. Tell your kids that God wants to make sure that everyone has a wonderful Feast, but sometimes people might be lonely or sad because they don’t have friends and family. Find someone who could use a pick-me-up and involve your youngsters in a loving gesture toward this person. Perhaps you could take someone out to lunch, invite them to your temporary home or give a meaningful gift that the person will appreciate. You might have your little ones draw pictures or make cards to give to people, also.
Lions and Lambs
God promises a time when people won’t have to be afraid of animals anymore because they won’t be wild anymore – known as the millennium. Not only will animals not hunt and eat each other anymore, but people and animals will be able to hang out peacefully without having to worry about animals getting hungry for a piece of human flesh. Traditionally, lions and lambs have been a symbol of this peaceful time coming in the future with a little child playing alongside the animals, knowing no fear or danger. Have your kids look through magazines to find as many pictures as possible of wild animals and help them cut out the pictures. Once you have a generous assortment of pictures, glue them all together onto a large sheet of poster board to make a peaceful millennium collage.
In ancient days on nearly every day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests would hike down to the pool of Siloam in the morning to fill a pitcher with water. As they made their way back to the temple, the shofar would blast to announce their arrival. Once there, they would pour the water from one pitcher along with wine from another pitcher into bowls near the altar. The water symbolized water from wells of salvation and the people rejoiced heartily during this ceremony. The ceremony also served as both thanksgiving for water from the previous year and a plea for rains to continue in due season during the coming year. Try a simple water activity involving buckets and measuring scoops. Fill several buckets with water and provide various measuring scoops. Turn the kids loose with the water and let them have fun filling scoops, transferring water between buckets and getting wet. As they play, talk about living water from God that can give people eternal life.
- Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles; David Brickner
- Judaism 101: Sukkot
- Christian Broadcasting Network: Finding Jesus in the Feast of Tabernacles
- United Church of God: Sabbath School Feast of Tabernacles
- David Silverman/Getty Images News/Getty Images