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According to tradition, the seven deadly sins are pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. Many churches have adopted the concept of the seven deadly sins as part of their doctrine. When they're discussed in Sunday school, the seven deadly sins may seem depressing and scary for kids. However, you can present the material in a creative way that will still allow the children to learn about the seven deadly sins---and how to avoid them.
Defining the Seven Deadly Sins
Children may have never heard of the seven deadly sins before, so start off the lesson by explaining what a "deadly sin" is. Sensitive children may be upset by the word "deadly," so make the distinction between something that is deadly and a deadly sin. Depending on the age of the class, some children may be familiar with the seven deadly sins. See if they can guess some of the sins, and explain what all of them mean.
Using visual aids helps children pay attention and better understand the lesson. Pictures are especially useful when describing each of the deadly sins. Incorporate art projects, as well. Have children colour black and white images of the deadly sins or use crayons to draw their own pictures of one of the deadly sins. Allow the kids to explain what is going on in their picture and hang the completed projects around the classroom. Another useful visual tool is to act out each of the deadly sins in a play.
Games engage children during Sunday school. For example, you can split the kids up into two groups and have them compete in a trivia contest. Give examples of a negative behaviour and have the kids guess to which deadly sin that act relates. You might also play a variation of charades. Kids can pick one of the deadly sins and act it out in front of the class while the rest of the group tries to guess which sin they are imitating.
References to each of the seven deadly sins can be found throughout the Bible. Select Bible stories that highlight each of the seven deadly sins and teach them to the class. Connecting the lesson to Biblical history with which the kids may already be familiar helps them better understand the concepts. For example, the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis illustrates the evil that arises from envy. Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery because they were envious of him. Allow older students to try to come up with their own examples for Biblical stories that correspond to each of the seven deadly sins.
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