This Sunday School lesson on Noah and the Ark is designed for 2nd – 4th graders. It’s part of The Book of Life curriculum that is available inside the BetterBibleTeachers membership.
What follows is a lesson script. Read it, study it, and then make it your own. No one wants to watch a teacher straight up read a lesson off a paper!
Have any of you guys ever heard of The Escape Game?
Well, The Escape Game is this really cool game for adults. You go in a room with a few people you know, and they lock you inside with clues on how to get out. You have an hour to try and ‘escape’ the room, but in order to do so, you have to solve a LOT of clues. I’ve done it a few times, and I’ve never been able to escape!
How many of you guys think that sounds like fun?
I bet for some of you, it doesn’t sound like too much fun. It sounds really cramped. If you’re at all claustrophobic, maybe you think it would be hard to breathe in there! So many people. It would have to get hot and gross, right?
Well… Now imagine if I had packed up all of my animals at home, drove to the nearest farm and gathered all of them, and put all of them in there with you?
Do you think that would make it better or worse?
Worse, right! Animals smell. They smell BAD. If you’ve ever been to a petting zoo, you know that.
Noah’s Ark = A Sardines Situation
Well, today we’re going to talk about a man who… well, he was stuck in a sardines type of situation…. But in order to talk about him, we’re going to have to go wayyyyy back in time.
So I want everyone to rewind…. Ready?
(Have kids stand up, make a rewind sound with their mouths, and spin around like a VCR that’s being rewound–not that they really know what that is! You might even have them sit facing a different direction than before to signify we’re in a different time period)
There was a man named Noah, and God had given him a super duper special mission. You might remember it from last week… does anyone remember what God told Noah to do?
That’s right! God told Noah he needed to build an ark! A boat! For rain! But what was so funny about that?
There was no rain! Nobody had ever even heard of rain before. But God gave Noah the plans, and Noah started building that ark. I want to see how good of guessers you are…. Who thinks they know how long it took Noah to build the ark?
It took Noah about fifty years to build the ark! Can you believe that? Can you imagine working on anything for 50 years? Especially when people call you crazy the entire time?!
Well, Noah did. He hammered away to build the ark the exact way God wanted it built. Then one day, after about 50 years, Noah heard God.
“Noah! Go get two of each animal to bring on the ark with you and your family.”
Now, imagine Noah’s surprise. He just built this massive ark, right? He was probably thinking he was going to get to relax. Maybe he would get his own room on the ark. All of his kids would get their own room on the ark. They could hook it up with Plasma screen TVs and all the fixtures. I mean, they had a mansion of a boat. This boat was HUGE! I’m sure Noah was thinking he was going to live it up.
I mean, they had a mansion of a boat.
But God didn’t design the ark that big just so Noah could live it up. God designed the ark that big so Noah could fit all of the animals on the ark.
So pretty soon, Noah saw all types of animals heading straight for the ark:
He saw horses.
He saw ducks.
He saw alligators.
He saw elephants.
He saw hornets.
He saw butterflies.
He saw penguins.
He saw lions.
He loaded all of those animals on the boat, and it was a super chill time. No problems, no smells. Just pure bliss. Right?
Noah and The Food Chain
Have you ever heard of the food chain? The food chain basically says that in order for humans to live, we must eat certain animals, and in order for those animals to live, they must eat certain animals, and on down the line until you get to something super small like an ant who eats the crumbs.
Did you ever think about the food chain and Noah’s Ark? God told Noah to bring two animals of each kind on the ark. Only two. Only the mama cow and the daddy cow. Only the mama bee and the daddy bee. There were no back-up animals…. Doesn’t this kind of seem like it could be a problem? Like maybe the animals at the top of the food chain would… you know? Find some dinner on the ark and bam! No more monkeys? Wouldn’t you think that if all of these animals were stuck on an ark together, there’d be some casualties? Like maybe God would bring an extra lion, tiger, and bear…. Just in case one of the originals died or got eaten, so he could repopulate the earth with lions, tigers, and bears.
Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us that there was no food chain on the ark, but it does tell us that Noah brought ONLY two of every animal… and if you’ve looked around a zoo lately, you’ve seen some lions, tigers, and bears. I’m thinking God must have done something super cool to make sure all of those animals were satisfied on the ark while they were there.
Oh, and not just that! Think of the smells. Animals are gross. They smell REALLY, REALLY bad. But there is Noah… and his family…. And 1,000 of his closest animal friends, all crammed into this boat.
Now it’s been three days since they got on the boat. Still sunny outside. Maybe people are playing frisbee right outside the boat’s window. But not Noah.
Okay… Maybe Noah didn’t hear God exactly right? Maybe he got something wrong… Maybe he wasted 50 years and has been smelling bad for a week and he’s wrong… Maybe all of those people were right?
And then. Seven days later. Something starts to happen. It starts to rain… Let’s make it rain.
(Separate kids into three sections. Have section one begin by rubbing hands together, then slowly add in section two, then section three. Have section one begin snapping fingers together while the others rub hands, then slowly add in sections two, and then three. Then have section one pat their legs, followed by sections two and three.)
Okay, pause. Freeze.
It’s now been raining for 150 days. That is a very, very long time. That is the distance from New Years Day to June 7th. That’s how long Noah has been on this boat. That’s how long he has been surrounded by these smelly, dirty, animals.
And meanwhile outside, all there’s been is water. A lot of water. Water from everywhere. Water from the sky. Water from the ground. Water from the left and the right. So much water.
A massive flood. But then…. The rain stops. A huge gust of wind is heard.
(Lead children in bringing the rain down by going in the opposite order as the original rainmaking activity. Start with all kids patting their legs, then section by section go down to the snapping fingers, then down to rubbing hands, then nothing).
No rain coming from the clouds. No water coming from the ground. Nothing.
So Noah just opened the door and walked right out on to dry land, right?
No way! It was still wet out there! There were still puddles. And by puddles I mean oceans! Oceans of water outside. There was no way Noah was getting off that boat.
So Noah waited 40 days after it stopped raining, and then he opened the window and sent out a raven, hoping the raven would come back with dry land. But the raven didn’t.
Noah Sends Out a Dove
Then, Noah sent out a dove and…. Nothing. The dove came right back to him.
So Noah waited another week. There is still wind outside, drying up all of the rain. Noah sends a dove out again.
This time, the dove comes back with a leaf. A small piece of a tree, but even just a small peice of a tree signals to Noah what he has been hoping to find! There are trees above the water! There is dry land somewhere closeby!
Noah waits another seven days. He hopes it’ll dry up even more and the boat will be able to land. He sends the dove out again… but the dove never returns.
Now, Noah knows there’s dry land somewhere. But Noah still waits. He waits on God. He waits on God to tell him what to do next. Most of us would have tried to rush out that ark as soon as possible! We would want to get away from the smells and the people and get in our own rooms! We would want off that boat!
And I am sure Noah did too, but Noah waited. Do you know why Noah waited?
Because Noah knew. Noah knew that God had a plan. The same God that created all of the living things. The same God that told him exactly how to build an ark. The same God who knew what rain was before it even existed. The same God who kept the animals from being so hungry they would eat each other. That same God who had a plan for everything up until this point? Noah knew he had a plan for everything past this point too.
So Noah waited for God to tell him when to come out of the boat.
And then, God did.
And God said, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”
So Noah listened. He and his wife and his sons and their wives. All of the animals that were on the ark. They all piled out of the ark…. It probably looked like some sort of mass chaos getting everyone out of that cramped little space! But they did it.
And God was so proud of Noah for following his plan. God put a rainbow in the sky–the first rainbow in all of time. And He said to Noah, “Never again will I send a flood to destroy the earth.”
Do you know how rainbows are made?
Rainbows are made when rain hits light. God was telling us something, when he put the rainbow in the sky. He was telling us that even when we mess up. Even when our lives are stormy and yucky. If we look to Him, the light of the world to fix it, it will all be okay. Our stormy lives, mixed with the light of God, creates something beautiful and colorful. It creates a rainbow.
God always has a plan for us. No matter what is going on in our lives, God is there for us. His plan is the best plan.
So when you see a rainbow, remind yourself of God’s promise. Remind yourself that even when it’s storming outside, the God who created light can make something extra extra beautiful.
(end lesson by singing “Arky, Arky”)