The Bible says that Jacob and Esau were twins. Esau displayed shortsightedness when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Jacob proved himself a trickster when he pretended to be Esau to claim a blessing from his blind father, Isaac. Children in your Sunday school class will be able to relate to the sibling rivalry between Jacob and Esau. Use meaningful activities to teach the story's important lessons.
Tell children that although Jacob and Esau were twins, they were complete opposites. Give each child two identical human cutouts, and let them decorate them to look like the two brothers, making sure to add hair to Esau's legs and arms.
Esau sold his birthright for lentil stew, but many children may not know what lentils are. Show the children different types of uncooked lentils and beans. Then let the kids make pictures by gluing the food to construction paper.
Play a game that teaches kids the difference between earthly and eternal value. Before class, inflate at least 25 balloons. On each balloon, write a word that represents something that has either earthly or eternal value. (An example of earthly value is money, while prayer is an example of something with eternal value.) Divide the kids into two groups, and give each group a garbage can. Release the balloons into the room, instructing the kids to put as many "eternal" balloons into their bags as possible. The team with the most correct balloons wins.
Conduct an object lesson by bringing a delicious dessert to class. Let the children see it and smell it. Ask, "What would you give me for this treat?" See how the children respond, and then tell them how Esau traded his valuable birthright for a mere bowl of stew.
Another idea is to show kids an antique. Tell them that some old things are actually very valuable and worth a lot of money. If someone didn't know that object's value he would just throw it away. Explain that Esau didn't fully realise the value of his birthright, so he gave it to his brother.
Act out the story by choosing children to be Jacob, Esau and their parents, Isaac and Rebekah. Give each child simple costumes to wear, such as a sash for the chest or head. Give Esau fake fur to wear on his arms and legs. When Jacob pretends to be Esau, let him wear the fur.
Another idea is to have the kids act out life application scenarios in which they have to choose between doing what is right and what is convenient. A sample scenario could be a child has to choose between keeping plans with a good friend or ditching his friend to go out with a group of cooler kids.
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