In the Bible, there are nine "Fruits of the Spirit" -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Because these concepts are somewhat abstract, children may need reinforcement from activities such as games to help them learn and understand what the Fruits of the Spirit are and how they can be applied to daily life. Studies have shown that games are a useful tool in aiding learning, especially for concepts that have a higher difficulty of understanding.
Role playing has been found to be an extremely useful and effective tool for aiding learning in children because it incorporates their own imaginations and gives them something visual to support what they have been taught. Adults can help children in role playing by having children act out the concepts with each other and guiding them as necessary. For example, an adult can pretend to be hurt and have children think of ways to show "love" or "gentleness." An adult can pretend to be a parent who has given the child an instruction and the child must show "self-control." Placing children in real-life roles through role playing will help them see how the Fruits of the Spirit apply to them in their individual lives.
Games played on paper, such as Bingo or a word hunt, can be helpful in teaching the actual words of the Fruits of the Spirit; however, in order to teach the concepts of the nine fruits, word games should be played in a way that allows for discussion or a reinforcement of the meaning behind the words. A word relation game can help make that connection. For example, have a list of the nine Fruits of the Spirit and a corresponding list of synonyms that children can choose from such as "joy," which can correspond to happiness, smiling or fun and "peace," which can correspond to quietness, calm or stillness.
Adapting well-known games from television can be a fun way for kids to feel like they are playing a game they know and may already be comfortable with while learning concepts that are still somewhat foreign. "Jeopardy" is a game that allows the teacher to give the answer or definition of the Fruits of the Spirit while engaging children in discovering an answer. Teams work very well in this type of game, rather than having children work alone. When an idea is new, having children discuss their answer before giving them will help children who are still working to grasp the concepts be able to participate in the game.
Board games are an activity that kids of any skill level can play and they can be modified as needed to make them easier or more complicated, based on the understanding of the children playing. For teaching the "Fruits of the Spirit," the 'memory' game can be used to draw a relation between the words and the ideas being taught. For example, teachers can create a set of pictures of different types of fruit and on one in a pair, write a fruit of the spirit, such as "patience" and on the other of the pair, write the practical application, such as "waiting without complaining." Teachers can also write a word with the opposite meaning, such as "joy" and "anger." Then, the pictures can be placed face down and kids and look for matches.
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