If you tell a child to listen for God's direction, his literal mind will expect a big, booming voice from the sky. The story of Eli and Samuel in 1 Samuel 3 illustrates instead that God's voice comes softly, and a child must listen carefully and be willing to respond to his call to hear what he is saying. You can use crafts based on the Eli and Samuel tale to illustrate how a child should respond easily to God's direction. Help children demonstrate their understanding by using story models to retell the tale of God's call to Samuel.
Samuel and Eli Puppets
Kids have more fun retelling stories with puppets in hand. Use yarn, wiggly eyes, fabric scraps and markers to create Samuel and Eli puppets out of old clothespins. Or cut out paper figures of the characters and glue them to a craft stick, paint stick or drinking straw to make stick puppets.
Props can enhance the telling of the story of God's nocturnal call to Samuel. Make model beds for Eli and Samuel using slotted wooden clothespins, craft sticks and cardboard. To make the bed posts for the head and foot of the bed, hot glue a slotted wooden clothespin to each end of two craft sticks so the slots are perpendicular to the sticks. Cut two 1-inch wide strips of cardboard to the length you want the bed to be. Slide the ends of the strips into the clothespin slots to make the sides of the bed. Cut a cardboard rectangle the width and length of the bed and lay it across the craft stick supports on either end. Use small doll figures or puppets of Eli and Samuel to re-enact the story. If you want, you can make a blanket for your characters out of fabric scraps.
God's Direction Windsock
God's direction is like the wind, which nudges a windsock to move in a certain direction. Just as the windsock easily yields to the wind, so believers are to follow Samuel's example of yielding willingly to God's instruction. Have the children decorate a wide strip of construction paper or craft foam with markers, glitter and sequins. Wind the paper or craft foam into a cylinder and staple at the top and bottom of the join. Punch a series of evenly spaced holes around the circumference of the bottom edge. Tie ribbons, yarn or crepe paper strips through the holes, letting them dangle freely. Punch two holes opposite each other in the top edge and tie on a ribbon or yarn hanger. Hang the windsock in a breezy area as a reminder to listen for and respond to God's call as Samuel did.
Listening to God Mirror
The busyness and noise of life often distract people from hearing God's "still, small voice" (1 Kings 19:12). A mirror craft gives children a daily reminder to slow down, turn off the TV or video games and listen to God, just as Eli advised Samuel. Cut out a circle of colorful construction paper a little bigger than the circumference of an old CD and glue it to the printed side of the CD. Cut out another circle in a different color, smaller than the first, and write in the center, "Speak Lord." Glue this in the center of the first circle. Cut out a third circle, just large enough to cover the center area of the shiny side of the CD. Write on it, "I am your servant and I am listening." Glue this circle in the center of the reflective side. Keep the mirror in a highly visible place as a reminder to respond willingly when God calls.