I first taught this lesson in the late 70’s, it’s a favorite lesson of mine with a great message for kids and adults. The late Eleanor Harwood formerly with Child Evangelism Fellowship® of SW AL adapted it for the Good News Club®.
All you need is a pumpkin! Make sure you cut out a SIMPLE happy pumpkin face. Be sure to save the cut-out parts for your lesson. Be extremely careful not to break any of the cut-out parts (eyes, nose, mouth) because you will use them during the lesson.
You can download the complete lesson with visual aids at the bottom of this post.
Review Game Idea: Kids always love “Mystery Phrase.” Use a wipe board and draw blanks for the phrase: “Let Your Light Shine!” Let children take turns guessing letters for the phrase but they MUST answer a review question to guess a letter and guess the mystery phrase. Have a small treat for the winner!
Alternative Learning Activity: To reinforce the challenge to “Shine for Jesus” put on a wipe board, “Be a Light!” Create 10 mystery words of ways children S. The children can take turns calling out letters (you fill in the letters for all the words that the 1 letter applies for) the child who called out the letter can try to guess one of the 10 mystery words. Examples: Be friendly, Be cheerful, Be loving, Be kind, Be forgiving, Be helpful, Be polite, Be respectful, Be obedient, and Be honest.
Fun Ice Breaker Game: Fill a jar with candy corn and let the children guess how many candy corns. The one closest to the correct number without going over wins! Give a small treat and share the candy corn with all the children. (You can now get marshmallow candy corn! A great alternative for the really sweet candy corns.) Alternative: Fill a jar with un-popped popcorn instead and serve popcorn for a treat. Have a popcorn ball for the winner.
Musical Pumpkin: Have a small pumpkin and play the song “This Little Light of Mine” while the children pass the pumpkin from one child to the other. Stop the music randomly and the child holding the pumpkin must choose an activity card from a ball or bag. The child can choose rather he/she wants to do the activity, call on someone else raising their hand to do the activity, or everyone do the activity. (For activity cards, make 12 cards and place on each card a random fun activity depending on your age group. For younger children you may want to write activities such as: clap your hands 10 times, jump up and down 5 times, name your favorite color… For older children make the activities more challenging: do 10 push-ups, do 15 squats, run in place for 30 seconds, give everyone a high-five…. )
Dessert: For a great activity, I let the children create their own pumpkin face on their cookie. I gave them a plain sugar cookie, orange frosting with a plastic knife or Popsicle stick to spread, pretzel sticks, and sprinkles. I told them they could break the pretzels to create their pumpkin face. They really had fun and created some awesome pumpkin faces! I also gave them some candy corn and pumpkin marshmallows (the candy corn marshmallows went over better than the original candy corn! They loved them! )
Word-Up: I had a small plastic pumpkin and had a word-up for the day. Every-time I tossed the pumpkin up in the air, the class chanted “Shine for Jesus!”
Song: YouTube has two great videos of the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” One for younger children and one for older children.
For younger children: This Little Light of Mine – For younger children
For older children: This Little Light of Mine – Older
I have an old CD that has This Little Light of Mine with a great rhythm and blue arrangement sung by a child (He sounds like a young Michael Jackson). You can find it used on Amazon: Good News Rhythm and Blues CD
- Roast the Pumpkin Seeds for a nutritious treat. My medium size pumpkin yielded 1/4 cup of seeds.
- Pumpkins keep a long time before carving but once you carve your pumpkin it won’t last long. I put mine in the refrigerator to keep for Thursday to Sunday (I taught the lesson 3x.) To control sweating, I brought it to Sunday School in a cooler bag and didn’t take it out until ready to teach the lesson. I just wiped the sweat off of it and it worked beautifully! The kids LOVED it and all wanted to take the parts on and off.)
- The simplest way to puree your pumpkin to make delicious smoothies is to cut into small pieces and microwave until tender, (put in a covered casserole dish with a tablespoon of water). Remove the shell while the pumpkin is still warm and freeze to use in smoothies later.
- Instead of using a candle, you can purchase battery operated Tea Candles at a Dollar Store. Buy extra and use them with the children when you sing the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” You can purchase is large quantities from Oriental Trading.
Hand-Out for Kids: Don’t forget the fun Pumpkin tract from LettheLittleChildrenCome.com ; I filled my with marshmallow candy corns!
Click here to download lesson: Pumpkin Story
Click here for Memory Verse Visual: Memory Verse Visual 1 John 1:9
Click here for Memory Verse Tokens: Memory Verse Token 1 John 1:9