The Bible's Book of Esther describes how she came to be queen of King Ahasuerus of Persia and how she acted to save the Jews from genocide. The ten chapters of Esther are read during the Jewish holiday of Purim, which occurs in February or March. Sunday school teachers may tell her story of bravery and wisdom and use crafts to remind students of the story.
During the feast of Purim, the Jews use gragers, or noisemakers, to drown out the name of Haman during the reading of the Book of Esther. Preschool and elementary students decorate two paper plates with markers, crayons or coloured pencils. Students staple or tape the plates together. except for a small opening about 3 inches long. Assist the Sunday school students to pour dried beans, rice or gravel into the grager and secure the opening shut. As you read the story of Esther, the children shake their gragers whenever Haman's name is read.
Crown and Scepter
King Ahasuerus deposed Queen Vashti and made Esther queen in her place. Use long sheets of construction or manilla paper to cut out crowns for Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus. Allow preschool and elementary students to decorate the crowns with small gem shapes, glitter and markers. Decorate a paper towel tube in similar fashion to create King Ahasuerus' sceptre, which he extended toward Esther so she could approach and speak to him without being killed. Top the sceptre by gluing on half a polystyrene ball and decorating it.
The King's Proclamation
King Ahasuerus issued a decree to allow the Jews to protect themselves against Persian troops who would destroy them. Have elementary Sunday school students write, "All Jews may gather in their city to defend their lives against those who would attack them, their children or wives. They may destroy the armed force attacking them and take the enemies valuables for spoil." Have the students roll the paper into a tube and seal it with a rubber stamp impression or with a faux wax seal and stamp. Students may decorate a cardboard tube such as a toilet paper core to create a scroll holder.
An alms gift, a donation of money, given to the poor is one tradition associated with Purim. Make an alms box using an empty yoghurt container. Cover the outside of the container and the top with fabric and glue into place. Decorate the fabric with stickers, markers, fabric paint or adhesive-backed gem shapes. You can cut a hole in the container top or allow older elementary students to do so. Use the hole to drop money in the box. Students collect money in the alms box and bring it to church when it is full. The craft is suitable for all elementary age Sunday school students.