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‘Fill the Gap’ is your vital off-the-shelf resource for adding life and energy to your children’s work, mission outreach and even school parties. 120 new and traditional children’s games get a Bible makeover giving you the same number of themed activities to link in to over 60 stories from all parts of the Bible.
The games can be the central pillar of your Bible teaching, a diversion to keep up energy levels or an up-your-sleeve time-filler for when the church service has overrun - and your left with energetic children needing to be occupied because your session finished on time! ‘Fill the Gap!’gives you two games for each of 60 Bible stories - one game for younger children aged 4–7, and one for older children aged 8–11. Each game builds in the fun element that helps children remember what they’ve learnt in your Bible teaching. Many can be easily adapted to fit another Bible story and this book even provides a section of ‘helpful hints’ to give you the greatest flexibility.
Quick and easy to put into action, the games are clearly presented so ready for immediate play. Tried and tested by children’s and youth workers, these games are a sure way of reinforcing your Bible teaching.
Fill The Gap by Rebecca Parkinson was published by Barnabas in October 2012 and is our 12012th best seller. The ISBN for Fill The Gap is 9780857460042.
Rebecca Parkinson's delightfully creative and engaging book will go a long way to eradicating such negativity. If you feel reading Bible stories with children is simply not enough, then get hold of this book instead and play some games!
Fill the Gap! includes 120 games for 60 different Bible stories taken from both Old and New Testaments. For each story there is one game for 4-7 year-olds and one for 8-11 year-olds. Importantly, none of the games need an extensive selection of resources but can be played with the kinds of things every children's corner is going to have. (For those of us who plan incessantly the author provides a list of common resources that could easily be kept together in a small box.) With each game there is a story reference, a recommended age band, a stated aim, full instructions and a helpful hint.
My sense is that the success of the book - in reinforcing the story behind each game - will depend on the activity leader telling the story more than once or perhaps telling the story several times as the game is played. Although not designed for school assemblies some of the action games could certainly be used in that context. A simple scripture index at the back of the book would be a useful addition.
- Games for Old Testament stories -
CREATION: Creation corners, God made.
ADAM AND EVE: Snaking around! Tempting keys.
NOAH: Listen to Noah, Noisy animals.
ABRAHAM AND SARAH: Announcements, Knowing Abraham.
ISAAC AND REBEKAH: Catching Isaac, Rebekah’s skill.
JACOB AND ESAU: Feely game, Guess who?
JOSEPH – ‘his dad’s favourite’: Joseph is missing, Escape the pit.
JOSEPH – ‘dreams, promotion, reunion’: Interpretation, Giant pairs.
MOSES – ‘birth to burning bush’: Where is the baby? Who looked in the basket?
MOSES – ‘escape from Egypt’: In the Red Sea, Moses, Moses, may we cross the deep Red Sea?
JOSHUA - ‘spies’, Carry the grapes, Bring me.
JOSHUA - ‘Rahab and Jericho’: Collect the rope, Find the spy!
GIDEON: Mighty warrior! Catch the Midianite.
SAMSON: Where are the Philistines? In the dark.
RUTH: Cold feet! You’re welcome.
SAUL: Whose is the instrument? Moving the donkeys.
SAMUEL: ‘Samuel, Samuel’, Listening twist.
DAVID AND GOLIATH: David’s aim! Victory!
DAVID, SAUL AND JONATHAN: ‘Saul, Saul… David.’ 1, 2, 3, fire!
SOLOMON: Solomon’s memory, Answering wisely.
JEROBOAM AND REHOBOAM: Jigsaw relay, The biggest coat.
ELIJAH: Making rain, Follow the brook.
ELISHA: Find a room, ‘I spot.’
THE TIME OF THE KINGS: May I come closer? Kingdoms!
NEHEMIAH: Funny faces! I pass these swords crossed.
ESTHER: Queenie-O, Queenie-O, Grab the sceptre.
ISAIAH: Pass the message, Squeezed message.
JEREMIAH: Escape from the well, To the rescue.
DANIEL IN THE LIONS’ DEN: Are you sleeping? Escape the lion!
JONAH: Hidden away, Fishes.
- Games for New Testament stories -
JOHN THE BAPTIST: What am I? Without words.
THE CHRISTMAS STORY: Mary’s in her house, Noughts and crosses.
THE CHRISTMAS STORY: This is, Christmas pictures.
THE BOY JESUS IN THE TEMPLE: Line up, Time challenge.
JESUS’ BAPTISM: River Jordan, Cross over.
JESUS’ DISCIPLES: Name five, People pairs.
MIRACLES: JESUS WALKS ON WATER: Remove your shoes, Cross the water.
MIRACLES: JESUS HEALS A CRIPPLED MAN: Swap the friend, Carry your mat!
MIRACLES: JESUS AND BARTIMAEUS: Blind drop, No peeping.
MIRACLES: JESUS AND LAZARUS: Expressions, Lazarus, come out!
PARABLE: A STORY ABOUT A FARMER: Keep the seed tray full! Seed storm.
PARABLE: THE STORY OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN: Funny people, Long walk.
PARABLE: A STORY ABOUT TWO SONS: Squeaking piggy, Going home.
PARABLE: A STORY ABOUT TWO BUILDERS: Big house, little house, Knock it down.
MARY AND MARTHA: This and that, Which woman?
ZACCHAEUS: Thief, Grab the bag.
PALM SUNDAY: Donkey, Catch the donkey’s tail.
LAST SUPPER: Where’s the shoe? Walking feet.
EASTER: We have seen him! Origami cross trick.
EASTER: Pass the stone, Can you walk out?
JESUS AND PETER: I draw a sheep, Find the leader.
ASCENSION: Pass it on, Ascending arms!
THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: Flap the flame, Fan the flame
PETER AND JOHN: What I have, I give you! Walk and leap
PHILIP AND THE ETHIOPIAN OFFICIAL: Ready, steady, go! Run!
THE EARLY CHURCH: Working together, All in this together.
DORCAS: Hanging out the clothes, Sewing.
PAUL AND SILAS: Earthquake, Chained!
SHIPWRECK: Row, row! Man overboard!
THE BIBLE: Old or New? Fizz… buzz!
About the games: Fill the Gap! covers 60 well-known Bible stories and suggests two games for each story, one aimed at younger children aged 4-7 and the other at older children aged 8-11 years. Each game is designed to bring a fun element to every Bible story, to help children remember what they have learnt. Many of the games can be easily adapted to fit different Bible stories (see 'Helpful hints').
About group sizes: Most of the games in this book are suitable for both smaller and larger groups of children. For large groups, it is suggested that more teams are used rather than having large numbers of children in each team. It is hoped that leaders will join in with the games and will make up numbers where necessary.
About age bandings: The age bandings given in this book are only suggestions. Most games can be modified slightly to make them appropriate for older or younger children. Where children of mixed ages are playing a game, particular care should be taken of the safety of the younger children; it is suggested that less physical games are used with younger children. For groups with a wide age range, the most suitable game relating to each story is also noted as 'All ages'. In some cases, both games are appropriate for mixed age ranges and are therefore both noted as such.
“Rebecca, with her expertise, creativity and scriptural basis, provides a fantastic opportunity for children to engage with scripture so that it becomes a part of their everyday lives.” - Roy Crowne, Executive Director, HOPE.
“For anyone engaged in children’s ministry, this will provide a fantastic resource, and I want to affirm anyone in children’s ministry to see the potential of that transformation happening in children’s lives.” - Roy Crowne, Executive Director, HOPE
I was a little worried by the title ‘Fill The Gap’ in the context of its contents – children’s games that link into Bible stories. In church based children’s work there are always gaps to fill, usually related to the unexpected activity or non-activity of grown ups rather than that of the children. If you’re a children’s ministry leader you’ll be well used to having to change your plans and programmes due to the non-arrival of one of your helpers. This means you have time to fill, an activity to invent on the spot or children without the leadership you’d expected. And everyone – children and grown ups, are looking to you for the solution. Sometimes your ‘gap’ originates in too much activity, especially if your children’s ministry coincides with some other activity of the grown-up church family.
For some reason, the leaders and participants of adult church services, when they run concurrently with your children’s ministry, seem incapable of concluding their services at the same time as your work comes to its planned end. This creates not so much a gap, as a chasm. The gap of time isn’t the biggest issue; it’s gap of energy, ideas, patience on the part of exhausted leaders, and the gap of attention on the part of the children. There’s no fooling the children. They know you’re spent, they know something’s gone wrong and they know what they want. They want out of the room in which you have them gently imprisoned and they want to expend the energy they still have (which seems forever boundless) on noise and movement not entirely conducive to the worship still being enjoyed (or endured) by the adult church.
Rebecca Parkinson and The Bible Reading Fellowship created ‘Fill The Gap’ for such a time as this. Rebecca’s book of 120 ready use gives you a wide selection of ready to play, attention grabbing, energy burning, mind engaging, fun creating, stress releasing… games. She’s even though about the age ranges of the children you might be trying to divert from running through the unfinished service to descend upon their parents. The games are divided in 60 ideal for the 4s to 7s, and another 60 suited to the older children in the 8s to 11s. Of course, Sunday morning isn’t the only time that such a gap might suddenly gape open. If you’re running a midweek children club, special mission or teaching in school, you’ll appreciate the relief this resource offers you.
My worry was that the idea of playing games in children’s ministry was only over a way of filling in gaps. As though play itself had no role or value in demonstrating the message of the Bible to young people. I’m sure that every one of you reading this, and involved in children’s work in church, knows precisely what I mean. As the old wisdom goes, and as I’m sure you all know and prove week by week: ‘tell me - I forget, show me - I remember, involve me – I understand’. And nothing is more involving to young children than creative, purposeful play. But a quick read of this book’s introduction and foreword makes clear that that is just what the author and publishers have in mind. “…In this respect,” says Roy Crowne, Executive Director of ‘HOPE’ “respect, children brought up in our most visually sophisticated age need creative, dynamic, participative material. Rebecca, with her expertise, creativity and scriptural basis, provides a fantastic opportunity for children to engage with scripture so that it becomes a part of their everyday lives.” Maybe the grown ups in the service you’re still waiting to end should read this book too. – Les Ellison.
Rebecca Parkinson lives in Lancashire with her husband Ted and their two children. Rebecca is a teacher and leads the youth and children's work in their church. She started going to church when she was little after someone invited her family along to a Holiday Bible Club. Rebecca realised that the Bible wasn't a boring old book but a book that came alive and was full of exciting stories. She now loves to pass these stories on to other children in a way that everyone can understand. Her hope is that you enjoy reading and using her books and resources as much as she has enjoyed writing them. Among her other work is the ‘Hidden Heroes’ series about people in the Bible who did brave things for God.
BRF (The Bible Reading Fellowship) is a Christian charity started in January 1922 in a Brixton Anglican church. The vicar wanted to help his congregation to, in his words, 'get a move on spiritually'. He began to offer a monthly leaflet of daily Bible readings, linked to a midweek discussion group and encouraged them to pray for the parish. This so transformed the spiritual life of St Matthew's Church that, before long, other churches were asking for copies of the leaflets for their own congregations.
90 years later, Bible reading, prayer, spirituality and discipleship are still the three core strands of BRF's ministry, summarised in their statement of purpose: 'resourcing your spiritual journey'. At the heart of BRF's ministry is the desire to help children, adults and families explore Christianity and to grow in faith.
|Author / Artist||Rebecca Parkinson|
|Publisher||Barnabas (October 2012)|
|Number of Pages||240|
|Page last updated||10th October 2018|