A ship huge enough to hold two each of all the animals of the world, rain that lasts for 40 days and nights, and a world where Noah and his family are the only humans left alive can be overwhelming concepts for preschoolers and younger grade school-aged kids to comprehend. Help make the concepts of Noah’s story accessible to them by using creative tools like hands-on activities, role playing and story telling.
What if Noah Lived Next Door?
Since it might be hard to appreciate how strange Noah appeared to those in the world around him, tell the children the story of Noah from the point of view of an amazed next door neighbor. You can make Noah’s story even more accessible to young children if you place Noah in a modern neighborhood, right in your town. Add the details of how a citizen in your town might acquire two of every animal in the world, and you'll help the children to appreciate the somewhat absurd circumstances Noah found himself in. By relating the story from the point of view of a mystified neighbor, you’ll give children a chance to see how the rest of the world viewed Noah’s acts of faith.
This is a painting or coloring activity. If possible, get a large roll of newsprint or other large size paper that you could spread across and tape to a floor or wall. Once your paper is hung, sketch the outline of a large rainbow that reaches from one end of the paper to the other. Tell the children that before Noah, there were no rainbows in the world. God gave the rainbow to Noah and all people as a promise that He would never destroy mankind through a Flood again. Ask them, using paints or markers that you provide, to color the rainbow as a sign that they each accept and value God’s love and promise.
How Big is Big Enough?
How big a boat would Noah have needed to house all those animals? Make a list of all the animals the children can think of. Once you have a long list, tell the children that they must "be" Noah and create or collect all of the animals. For this part of the lesson, encourage them to collect small stuffed and wooden animals, or to create animals from clay, Play Doh or other materials. Ask them to search for an "ark" that will hold all their animals. If you need to, suggest a basket, storage bin or even the bathtub! Discuss with them how Noah collected, loaded and lived on the ark with all those animals for the 150 days it took the earth to dry out from all the rain!
Rain, Rain and More Rain
Can the children really picture how long forty days and nights is? To make the passage of time clear, create a “rain” experiment. You’ll need a large tub or bathtub, a small watering can and an egg timer (Tell the children that the egg will help represent the 40 days and nights.). Set the timer 40 minutes (1 minute equals 1 day) and see if the children can continue to pour the water for that time. Encourage the children to share the work by trading off the task of pouring. Once the forty minutes has passed, talk with them about appreciating the patience and persistence Noah needed to endure 40 days of rain!