Opening Activity | Saved from Lions
Choose one kid to be the “lion” and another kid to be “Daniel”.
Have the rest of the kids form a circle by holding hands with each other. Daniel should be inside the circle and the lion outside.
The goal of the game is for the Lion to tag Daniel. The lion can reach between kids to touch Daniel or she can try to break through the circle to reach Daniel. If the lion breaks into the circle Daniel can go outside to save himself.
The kids try to keep the lion out by moving their arms up and down, while still allowing Daniel to move in and out of the circle as needed.
Object Lesson | Bottle Den
Objects Needed: empty 2-liter soda bottle, two small pieces of paper, one with a person drawn on it, and one with a lion drawn on it.
Today in our story we’re going to learn about God’s protection. But before we get started, let’s take a look at something cool we can do with science.
Does everyone see this bottle? I’m going to name the bottle Denny, because it’s going to represent a den.
Now, who have we been talking about for the last few weeks? Daniel! I drew a picture of Daniel. I’m not sure if this is what he actually looked like or not, but it’s how I imagine him. I’m going to put Daniel inside the den. (place the paper inside the bottle).
Alright, so Daniel is inside the bottle, safe and sound, right?
Well, now I brought some other players to the game… These are LIONS!
Do you think Daniel will still be safe in there if I put some lions in?
(Crumble the paper with the lions into a ball and turn the bottle horizontally. Place the paper into it’s neck.)
Okay, I’m going to try to get these lions in. I’m going to blow on them with the straw. Ready, set, go!
(The ball won’t go inside)
Can I have any volunteers to try?
(Let the kids try to blow the lions into the bottle. They won’t be able to do it. The harder they blow, the more the paper will come out of the bottle, due to the air pressure.)
The air is already in your ‘empty’ bottle, just like God was with Daniel in the lion’s den. When someone tried to blow more air into the bottle, the air pressure inside the bottle became higher than the outside—and the paper was forced away from the bottle, instead of inside it. The same is true for Daniel! Daniel was in the lion’s den, protected by God. When Darius tried to put hungry lions in there with him, the force of God was too much for them! They ended up falling asleep! God protected Daniel, in the same way the air pressure inside this bottle protected Daniel.
Today is our final lesson (see the entire series here) about Daniel. And guess what? New lesson, new king. Last week we talked about how King Belshazzar saw a hand writing on the wall, and died that very night. God took away his kingdom because he was proud and never gave God glory.
So who took his place? A new king called Darius. Now, maybe you remember that Daniel had a big job in the kingdom, that he was given because he was able to tell everyone the meaning of the writing on the wall. So he worked with King Darius in the palace.
The king got to see how honest and good Daniel was. He really liked him! But there were some other people working with the king who didn’t like Daniel. They were jealous of him. Daniel was doing the work much better than they were, and the king was planning to put him in charge of the whole kingdom.
So these governors and supervisors wanted to find a way to trip Daniel up. Maybe then, King Darius would get rid of him!
But there was one problem:
Daniel followed God. So he wasn’t lazy or dishonest. He was trustworthy and always tried to do the right thing.
Finally they decided if they wanted to trip him up, they were going to have to put a banana peel in front of him when he came walking down the hall.
Just kidding. Their plan was to make a nonsense rule. An opposite rule that turned something right into something wrong!
Let’s take a break for a minute and play the “Opposites Game”. I’m going to tell you to do something, but you have to do the complete opposite. For example, if I say raise your right hand, you’ll raise the left one instead. Ready?
(Here are some suggestions:)
- Raise your left hand.
- Touch your right foot.
- Wave your hands up high.
- Smile at the person on your right.
The group of supervisors and governors went to the king and told him to make a new law. For thirty days, no one would be allowed to pray to anyone except King Darius! Wow— they were making something good into something “bad”. It meant no one could pray to God. Anyone who did would be tossed to the lions. And that’s not a joke—they would literally be thrown into a lion’s den.
This was the perfect law to get Daniel in trouble, because Daniel had a habit of praying to God. He wasn’t going to stop talking to God just because of some law. And those schemers knew it.
Sure enough, Daniel kept praying.
And he didn’t hide either. He went to his window and prayed there like he always did, knowing that someone could easily catch him and tattle on him.
Of course, that’s exactly what that group of schemers did. They all went together to catch Daniel praying. Then they went to the king and told him that Daniel was breaking the law! “You better toss Daniel to the lions,” they said. “You can’t undo this law.”
King Darius really wanted to save Daniel. He knew the lions would probably kill him. But the law was the law. Even he couldn’t change it. But he worked all night trying to get around it somehow.
There was just no way. No take-backsies! There was already a law saying that the laws of the kingdom of Medes and Persians couldn’t be changed. Yep, they had laws for their laws.
So Darius gave the order, and Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. He yelled out at him, “May your God save you!”
All night, Darius stayed up worrying. He didn’t eat. He didn’t sleep. Have you ever been so worried about something that you couldn’t sleep? It’s awful, isn’t it?
The next morning, King Darius hurried over to the lion’s den to see if Daniel had made it through the night. “Did your God save you from the lions, Daniel?” he called out.
What do you think happened that night? Yes, God saved Daniel. He answered back, “I’m here! God sent an angel to close the lions’ mouths. They couldn’t hurt me.”
Wow. How many of you have seen a lion before? (Allow for answers).
Maybe the ones you’ve seen at the zoo wouldn’t attack you if they’re not hungry. You don’t want to jump in and find out though.
But a hungry lion? They’ll have you for dinner!
These lions were extremely hungry. The king gave them very little food so that he could throw his enemies in there and they would be devoured.
But not Daniel. God worked a miracle so that he could be saved. He was in control of the lion’s mouths!
How do we know those lions were hungry? Well, after Daniel came out of the den, the king ordered the people who accused him to be thrown in. The lions gobbled them up even before they could hit the floor. Yikes!
After that, King Darius made a HUGE change. He made a new law saying that everyone needed to fear and respect Daniel’s God. He realized that God is the living God, and he has the power to save his followers. His kingdom will never end. He’s in charge!
God’s in charge of your life, too. When troubles come, he has the power to save us. Now that doesn’t mean we should go jump into the lion’s den at the next zoo we visit. But it does mean that we can trust him to take care of us.
(Close in prayer, thanking God for his love and care in our lives).
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Group Game | Roar!!
Objects Needed: blindfold
Have students sit in a big circle. One student will sit in the middle of the circle, blindfolded. The leader will silently pick someone from the outside of the circle to crawl to the middle of the circle and roar in the ear of the person in the middle. They should try to disguise their roar. That person will return to his/her seat.
The person in the middle will try to guess who the lion that roared was. Give them one guess for every 8-10 people playing.
If they get it right, they’ll switch places with the person who roared. If not, they stay in the middle.
Daniel, and his buddies, were all men who grew up knowing and loving God. But one day, their entire lives changed. They were taken to a town where nobody loved or knew God—and a town that wasn’t very accommodating of people who did. However, it didn’t matter what was going on around him, Daniel was faithful to God.
One of the ways Daniel was faithful was by being obedient, loyal, and trustworthy. Daniel spoke the truth, he did the right things, and he showed his faith in God by the way he acted. When people looked at Daniel, they saw a man who was faithful to God, and because of that, they couldn’t find fault in him. When we obey God and we follow what he says, we are being faithful, too.
Small Group Questions
Who was now the king of Babylon?
Was Daniel important still to this new King?
YES! He was a supervisor!
Why did the other supervisors hate Daniel?
They were jealous of him. Daniel was doing the work much better than they were, and the king was planning to put him in charge of the whole kingdom.
What was their evil plan?
They convinced Darius to issue a law saying everyone must pray to him, even though they knew Daniel would continue to pray to God
How was Daniel punished for breaking the law?
Thrown into the lion’s den
How did God save Daniel?
He closed the lion’s mouths so they wouldn’t eat him
What happened to the supervisors after Daniel was saved by God in the lions den?
They were thrown into the lion’s den and eaten by the lions.
What does Daniel 6:4 say?
“But they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.”
– Daniel 6:4
Which part of the verse applies to the lesson from today?
Answers will vary
Where in your life do you need to remind yourself that God is always with you?
Answers will vary
Small Group Activity | Lion Cookies
Objects Needed: one cooked sugar cookie per child, yellow icing, orange sprinkles, brown gel icing, white gel icing, plates, knives
How to make a lion cookie:
– Take your sugar cookie and cover the face with the yellow icing.
– Add orange sprinkles around the side of the cookie to make a mane.
– Draw an anchor in the middle of the cookie face (to be the nose and smile) with the brown gel icing.
– Draw two large white dots with the white icing where the eyes would go.
– Put one drop of brown icing in the middle of the white to make the pupils.
As you make your cookie, discuss with the small group how Daniel must have felt when he was in the lion’s den. Do they think he was afraid? Can you be afraid and trust God at the same time?
Words For This Week
Today’s Scripture: Daniel 6
Memory Verse: But they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. -Daniel 6:4
As we finish our series on Daniel today, we are introduced to a new King, Darius.
Darius knows how good Daniel has served other kings but King Darius’s supervisors and governors aren’t quite as excited about all that Daniel has done. So they decide to make a law against praying to anyone but Darius, and since Daniel regularly prays to the one true God…he gets in trouble.
In fact, his punishment is being thrown into a den of lions. But God controls even the mouth of lions and he shuts their mouths so they don’t touch Daniel.
When troubles come, God has the power to save us. Now that doesn’t mean we should go jump into the lion’s den at the next zoo we visit. But it does mean that we can trust Him to take care of us.
Decide now to obey God no matter what!