The dramatic story of Lazarus' resurrection from the dead stretches children's imaginations beyond the bounds of their experience. Bible school teachers can use it to drive home the point of Jesus' authority and sovereignty even over seemingly irreversible matters of life and death. Crafts for the Lazarus story reinforce the theme that you can believe and put your trust in God because he is still in control, no matter how hopeless the situation.
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Open the Flap
Make an interactive story aid as an opening activity to set the tone as the children arrive. Make a small paper figure of Lazarus in his grave clothes and tape a long pipe cleaner to his back sticking out perpendicular to his body. Paint or colour the underside of a heavy paper plate in browns and blacks to resemble a cave and cut it in half. Cut an opening in the flat edge tall and wide enough that the paper Lazarus can move freely through it. Staple the two halves of the plate together with the unpainted side on the inside so there is space between the front and back edge. Poke a small hole in the back wall opposite the door and insert the pipe cleaner on Lazarus through so that he can move freely in and out of the cave tomb by pushing and pulling on the handle. Cut out a stone large enough to cover the door and tape a long piece of heavy poster board to the back, folding it to stick out one side as a lever. Cut two vertical slits, about the width of the stone's lever, in the front wall of the tomb on one side of the door. Thread the poster board lever through both slits so that you can open and close the tomb by operating the slide. As you read the story, ask children to open the tomb when Jesus says, "Remove the stone," and to help Lazarus walk out of the tomb and to call out, "Jesus can do anything!" when Jesus commands, "Lazarus, come forth."
Young children enjoy edible crafts to munch on while they listen to a Bible story. Give each child a gingerbread man cookie and some strips of rolled fruit snacks. As you read about Lazarus' death, explain that in those days people would wrap their dead in cloths for burial. Let the children wrap their gingerbread Lazarus with the rolled fruit snacks. When Jesus calls out, "Lazarus, come forth," and instructs the crowd to remove the burial clothes, have the children unwrap their cookies and shout out, "I believe in Jesus!" Let them wrap and unwrap Lazarus as they wish and eat their treats together or separately.
Clothes Pin Puppets
With puppets, children can retell the story in their own words as many times as they like. Provide traditional one-piece wooden clothes pins, yarn for hair, wiggly eyes, markers, glue, scissors and cloth scraps for clothing. Let each child decorate and clothe her puppet to her own satisfaction. The Lazarus puppet can be loosely wrapped in gauze or cotton strips for the burial clothes. As time allows, each child can make Lazarus, Mary, Martha, Jesus, some disciples and townspeople. Give the children time to work together to retell the story with their puppets.
Children may enjoy making a more permanent diorama of the scene at Lazarus' resurrection. Use a large piece of heavy cardboard with shallow edges as a base. Fill it with dirt and rocks for ground. Add trees, flowers and bushes as desired. Sculpt a clay or coffee salt dough cave in one corner leaving an opening for the door. Run a stiff wire through the back wall and out the front door making a small hole just large enough to allow the wire to move freely. Let it air dry during the week. Attach a small figure of Lazarus to the door wire. Attach another piece of wire to a stone large enough to cover the door. Add other figures to represent Jesus and his disciples, Mary, Martha and the townspeople. Let a child retell the story using his model as a visual aid to drive home the point that God can turn any situation around.
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