The Book of Joshua in the Bible describe the story of the early Israelites and their military leader, Joshua, crossing the Jordan River into the promised land. Children learn best when using visual, auditory and tactile means. It is possible to teach the Bible story using a variety of activities using different tools and methods.
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Draw a picture of the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant in front of the Israelite people. When the priests' feet were in the Jordan, the waters receded. The picture might include a break in the water where the people passed through on dry ground. Draw a picture of the stone monument Joshua built in remembrance of the crossing. Colour pictures from the story. Several of the references include pictures you can print and use in your class.
Create a model of the Ark of the Covenant. You could use a large, 10-ream box covered in paper to start with. Use the description in the Biblical book of Exodus, chapter 37, to decorate the box. Use the plastic rings from a soft drink six-pack to create rings at the top four corners for carrying the Ark. Use wooden dowels or long wrapper paper cores to create the poles for carrying the Ark. Dress four students in long robes to represent the priests carrying the Ark. Place the poles in the Ark and demonstrate how the priests carried it before the people and into the Jordan River.
Create a skit that retells the Joshua story. If you have a small class, you might tell the story from the perspective of a father repeating the tale to his children, as described in the Book of Joshua. If you have a larger group, you could appoint someone to be Joshua directing the people, then choose four students for the priests and 12 others to represent each tribe that helped build the stone monument.
Building an Altar
Use the passage found in the book's fourth chapter for this activity. You will need 12 stones to build the altar of Gilgal. Take two pieces of blue cloth to represent the bisected Jordan River. Stretch each piece of cloth out with an empty space between them. Place the 12 stones in the area between the river sections. Have the students walk through the Jordan on the dry land and pick up a stone on their way across. Have your Joshua stack the stones in the middle of the Jordan to build the monument.
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- eBible Teacher: Crossing the Jordan
- Resources for Catholic Educators: Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua: Coloring Pages
- Standard: God's People Cross the Jordan River
- Kids Coloring Pages: Crossing the Jordan River on Dry Ground
- Calvary Kids Pages: Crossing the Jordan
- Calvary Chapel: Crossing the Jordan River