Robbers, a Hurt Man, and … Donkey? OH, MY!

“Let’s act it out!”

This is a pretty loved directive in most children’s classes. There are several ways to see if children “got” the message of the day while reinforcing it.

  • Questions, plain old review question time.
  • Quiz games, with teams and winners to heighten the focus.
  • A “craft” that symbolizes the theme or action – even a coloring sheet.

But none, I think, capture the full scope like retelling the story itself. You’ll see (and hear!) what parts the children took in and which parts they are still wrestling with. And, yes, it has been a long week here so I am ok with ending sentences on a preposition.

Yes, it’s been the kind of week where if preschool Ian (if he was still a preschooler) asked if we could play Good Samaritan at home, then I’d reply, ‘”If I can be the hurt man.” I’d say that because then I could mostly just lay on the couch.

You been there?

I know that you have.

And it would be ok. Because even though Ian is an only child, he would be content to play every other character in that story. Oh gosh, I remember those days. Do dramatic play at home, mamas. Do it.

Every time that we played Good Samaritan at home, I got to see two sides of Ian’s personality.

THE ROBBERS!!! Oh yes, most of us are a bit consumed by villains. And when you see your child get into robbing with such voracity, it can be a bit disheartening.

I was soon saved every time by the turn of character, though. Because eventually Ian became THE GOOD SAMARITAN. The care that he took wrapping my hurts in band aids and then pretending to lift me on an imaginary animal was breathtaking. The robbing was done loudly and quickly. The helping was done quietly and slowly, a compassionate gentleness oozing out of those big brown eyes.

It can happen in the classroom setting, too.

Although I am going to just interrupt this blog post right now with this caveat –

Don’t be surprised if someone wants to be the donkey.

It happens. The first time that we did the Christmas pageant, children dressed in costume, nativity photo-op at Apostles during the Luke 2 reading at Lessons and Carols, I was appalled that our fourth and fifth graders added a character to my play. Unbeknownst to me, someone had to be the donkey – and he was the most coveted role. So, just expect it. Someone may want to be the Samaritan’s animal. Unless it causes possible bodily harm to it or the other characters – GO WITH IT.

A couple of my favorite curriculums use the act of retelling stories by encouraging children to play with wooden props and peg people from bible stories they have heard. You’ll see the emphasis on a worship atrium in CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD and the use of “I wonder” questions that I’ve copied for myself from GODLY PLAY.

Play GOOD SAMARITAN this week. You’ll experience the action and emotion of it all. You’ll find out if there’s a little something in your story that you need to tweak to make correct for your students. You’ll make a memory. Trust me, memory making is priority. More on memories in a later post!

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37

(You shall love) your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27

“Good morning” Question:   Where will you go tomorrow? Tell me all the places …


Free Play Choices: Doctor kit/dolls and band aids, animals, neighborhood pictures (Give hints to the upcoming story while children play. Where do you live? In this neighborhood picture, if you lived here then which one shows where your neighbor lives? Do you know your neighbors? Do you use the car to go most places? Look, in Jesus’ time, they walked or rode animals. In our story today, someone is hurt and someone else takes care of him.) 

Word for the Day: Neighbor. A neighbor lives near you. Right? Well, today Jesus changes the meaning of the word “neighbor” by making it bigger. It’s because he wants our love to be bigger!

Memory Work:

How can you glorify God?

(By loving him and doing what he commands)

Circle Time:

Name Song/Chant: Everybody do this, do this, do this. Everybody do this just like me. (CHANT. LET EACH CHILD HAVE A TURN CHOOSING WHAT TO DO WITH THEIR BODY – clap, snap, rub belly, etc – AND INSERT THEIR NAME “just like ____ “)

Manner Review: Your eyes here, listening ears, hands in lap.

Story: Use this finger play to begin bible study time. The children may echo each line after you.

I open my bible. And listen to God. He tells me what I should do. I know that he loves me. He hears when I pray. And all of his stories are true.

Today Jesus explains what we should do. Someone had asked him how to obey the command – You should love your neighbor as yourself. A man asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told this story. Turn to Luke 10. Let children touch the bible at this scripture. Read the story. Don’t get too worried about describing priest (a pastor/preacher,) Levite (a church worker,) or Samaritan (person from a place called Samaria.) For the youngest children, we are describing what love looks like – not who should or should not have known to show love.

Group Activity:  Do you remember the story? Let’s act it out! Give out parts.

Songs: Try to just listen to some of these! Really. I love them. You might not be able to lead them yourself, but they are free and you can sing along. SONGS FOR SAPLINGS

Quiet Time / Prayer Time:

Make this “fun/memorable.” And set the tone. Make them aware that they will do something like this every week. This is where we are trying to cement a “memorable” experience from/about the facts of the day. Consider making your own
“name” for this time.   

       If you can secure a large map of your city or town, then get it out and attach it to the wall. If not, then consider making a large collage of places that children go in your town. (Local magazines, newspapers, and pamphlets are great resources for pictures.)

Look at some of these places that you may go next week. Let’s pray through our day. Close your eyes and listen to my words. We are going to think about our day. Think about where you go, but don’t say the places out loud! Now, prayer eyes and hands. Closed and folded

Dear God, You are always with me wherever I go. Help me to show your love all the time. Help me to show your love when I wake up in the morning. Where are you on Monday mornings? Do you go anywhere? God, help me show your love when I am ______. Afternoons. Where are you? God, help me to show your love when I am _____. God is with us all day long. Where are you in the evening? At dinner or supper time? After you eat? Who are you with? Dear God, help me to show your love when I am ______.

Closing Free Play:

Coloring sheet of Good Samaritan or group coloring of a city mural or map to hang on the wall.