Ark Kids Elementary: Thanks & Giving

Thanks & Giving Week 2: Don't Grumble, Say Thanks!

Herman and Hannah are snowed in with the most annoying houseguests in history. Can they learn to be thankful even in this situation?



Large Group Full

Large Group Full Instructions

Countdown / Rules
Materials: Lesson Plan
Leader
Note:

Prep for Engage 2

The Russian Rings are an effective illusion that can be purchased online from laflinmagicstore.com. The purchase includes a detailed tutorial on how to perform the illusion. If you are not able to find the Russian Rings, you can substitute with a different illusion or use this alternative activity. Have the Co-Host read a short, but detailed story to the kids. While he/she is reading, have someone walk through the room wearing crazy clothes, wig, etc. After the Co-Host has finished, ask the kids to describe the person who entered. Then, discuss how it’s easy to miss God’s blessings.

Materials: Labcoat (2)
Hosts
  • Host and Co-Host enter.

Host I hope you guys are ready for the most fun hour of your week!

Co-Host You’re going to help me prep my Thanksgiving turkey.

Host How is that the most fun part of the week?

Co-Host If they do it, then I don’t have to and that makes it the most fun hour of my week because I can catch up on Candy Crush.

(Plays on his/her iPhone.)

Host They are not prepping your Thanksgiving meal. We don’t even have a kitchen.

Co-Host Point taken. If you can’t prep my turkey, then you can dance like one. I’m giving this candy to the best turkey dance dancer.

Host There’s no such thing as a turkey dance.

Co-Host I just invented it by switching out turkey dance for chicken dance. Go!

Note:

Play music for Chicken Dance. Co-Host judges and gives one or more kids a piece of candy.

Host That was fun! Now let’s get check up on Herman and Rusty in the lab.

Materials:
Materials: Lab Coat (2), Button, Bubble Gum
Hosts
  • Host and Co-Host enter.

Co-Host I can understand why Hannah is so upset. If Skip McDougall was living with me, it would drive me crazy.

Host Have any of you guys ever had a house full of guests for the holidays?

Co-Host It’s fun at first, but they can get on your nerves after a while.

Host When you get frustrated it’s easy to focus on what’s bad. Our Big Point is a great reminder of what to do instead. Let’s choose an assistant to reveal our Big Point.

(Host and Co-Host choose a kid to volunteer.)

Co-Host Press that button after we count down from three.

Co-Host 3…2…1!

Co-Host Let’s all say it together, “Don’t Grumble, Say Thanks!” I agree. My mother always told me to stop mumbling.

Host Not mumbling. Grumbling. (To the kids) What does it mean to grumble?

Co-Host She also told me to not do that either.

Host When you are full of grumbling, there is not much room other stuff. Let’s do a little challenge to demonstrate. We have chosen an Adult Volunteer. He/She is going to stuff themselves with a bunch of this gum.

Co-Host Did you have too much garlic for breakfast? That’s why that kid sitting next to you passed out?

Host The adult has to say a line that we give him/her and you guys have to try to guess what he/she is saying. You must keep chewing the gum the whole time.

  • Play the game. Have volunteers stand in front of the different sections in the room or split the room up before the game into teams. Have the kids shout the answers to their team captain. The team captain must run to the stage and say the answer on the microphone first to win that round. The team with the most points wins.

Co-Host It’s hard to talk with that much gum in your mouth.

Host Yep, and it’s really hard to be thankful when you’re full of grumbling. Instead, remember to fill your mouth with thankfulness. Let’s see if Hannah can learn that lesson.

Materials: Labcoat (2), Button, Russian Rings
Hosts
  • Host and Co-Host enter.

Host Would you be upset if people were in your house breaking things?

Co-Host Me too. Have you ever had cousins visit who play rough with your favorite toys or games? It’s hard not to grumble when that happens.

Host Like Herman said, that’s when you have to remember things to be thankful for and use our Big Point.

Host Don’t Grumble, Say Thanks! I need another assistant to help us reveal the Big Verse.

(Host and Co-Host choose a kid to volunteer.)

Co-Host I need you to hit the button as we count down from three.

Co-Host 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV), “Give thanks no matter what happens.” How do we give thanks no matter what? Can you give thanks when something bad happens?

Host Like Herman shared earlier, you’re not thanking God for a bad event. You’re choosing to focus on what God has already done for you and saying thanks for that.

Co-Host My brain just seems to focus on the problems.

Note:

The Russian Rings are an effective illusion that can be purchased online from laflinmagicstore.com. The purchase includes a detailed tutorial on how to perform the illusion. If you are not able to find the Russian Rings, you can substitute with a different illusion or use this alternative activity. Have the Co-Host read a short, but detailed story to the kids. While he/she is reading, have someone walk through the room wearing crazy clothes, wig, etc. After the Co-Host has finished, ask the kids to describe the person who entered. Then, discuss how it’s easy to miss God’s blessings.

Host That’s the temptation. It’s like these rings. (Show the Russian rings) You look at them and they’re all black. That’s all you see, kind of like when you grumble you only see the problems. Is it possible that you missed something? (Show the colored ring) Grumbling makes you miss the good things God has done because you’re only seeing the bad. (Show the black ring) That causes you to miss all the blessings that are already in your life. (Show all three colored rings).

Co-Host When I think back, the more time I spend with Jesus the easier it is to be thankful.

Host I agree. Praying and chatting with Jesus is a great way to get rid of the grumbles because He reminds of why we can be thankful. Big Point,

Host Don’t Grumble, Say Thanks! Let’s say thanks now with our worship!

Materials:
Materials:
Leader

You may have a lot of reasons to feel like grumbling today, but I want to encourage you to try giving thanks instead. For a moment, let’s bow our heads and stay quiet at our seats. You may have never tried this, but you can pray the Bible. That means you can use scriptures in the Bible as part of your prayer. When you pray them over and over, it’s called meditating on God’s Word. It’s a way to help you get the Bible into your heart. So, I’m going to bring up our Big Verse again,

and for the next few moments let’s quietly repeat this verse over and over as our prayer to God. I’ll say it as well. (Repeat the verse several times) This is something you can do at home. You can pray this week’s Big Verse and believe that God will help you be thankful.

Materials:
Materials: Labcoat (2)
Hosts
  • Host and Co-Host enter.

Co-Host It really helped Hannah when she listed reasons why she could be thankful.

Host It helps you follow the Big Point.

Host Don’t Grumble, Say Thanks! Let’s choose an assistant to help us with a quick interview.

(Choose a volunteer.)

Co-Host I want you to interview some of your fellow kids and ask them one question. What is one thing you are thankful for today?

(Volunteer asks the question)

Co-Host I think we’ve proven that we all have something to say thank you for today.

Host Whenever you feel the urge to grumble this week, say thank you for at least one good thing in your life. I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with more.

Host Don’t Grumble, Say Thanks! Let’s gather with our small groups and talk about what we learned.

Materials:
Small Group Leader
  • Gather the kids into small groups and discuss the following.

  1. Why was Hannah grumbling? Would you have reacted the same way if you were in her shoes? Why? Why not?
  2. Were you surprised to hear the Israelites say they had it better in Egypt? Were they right or wrong? What did they have to be thankful for?
  3. If you catch yourself grumbling, what should you do? Let’s all list one thing we can thank God for today.
  4. What did Herman tell us to do in the Big Do? Track your family's "Thankfuls" and "Grumbles"
Materials:
Leader
  • Choose two kids from the audience to come on stage and answer the question.

  1. Our Big Point says Don’t _____, Say Thanks! a. Mumble b. Grumble
  2. What was everyone stuck at Herman’s house? a. Thunderstorm b. Snowstorm
  3. Why did the Israelites complain in the Big Story?
  4. Why was Hannah grumbling?
  5. Did the Israelites claim they had it better or worse in Egypt? a. Better b. Worse
  6. Complete the Big Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV), “Give thanks _____ _____ ____ happens.” a. When good stuff b. No matter what
  7. Why does grumbling make it hard to have a good attitude?
  8. Did God still help the Israelites after they grumbled? a. Yes b. No
  9. How did Hannah change her attitude?
  10. What challenge did Herman give us as this week’s Big Do? Track your family's "Thankfuls" and "Grumbles"


Large Group Abbreviated

Large Group Abbreviated Instructions

Countdown / Rules
Materials: Lesson Plan
Materials: Labcoat (2)
Hosts
  • Host and Co-Host enter.

Host I hope you guys are ready for the most fun hour of your week!

Co-Host You’re going to help me prep my Thanksgiving turkey.

Host How is that the most fun part of the week?

Co-Host If they do it, then I don’t have to and that makes it the most fun hour of my week because I can catch up on Candy Crush.

(Plays on his/her iPhone.)

Host They are not prepping your Thanksgiving meal. We don’t even have a kitchen.

Co-Host Point taken.

Host Now let’s go check up on Herman and Rusty in the lab.

Materials: Lab Coat (2),
Hosts
  • Host and Co-Host enter.

Co-Host I can understand why Hannah is so upset. If Skip McDougall was living with me, it would drive me crazy.

Host Have any of you guys ever had a house full of guests for the holidays?

Co-Host It’s fun at first, but they can get on your nerves after a while.

Host When you get frustrated it’s easy to focus on what’s bad. Our Big Point is a great reminder of what to do instead. Let’s choose an assistant to reveal our Big Point.

(Host and Co-Host choose a kid to volunteer.)

Co-Host Read it for us after we count down from three.

Co-Host Let’s all say it together, “Don’t Grumble, Say Thanks!” I agree. My mother always told me to stop mumbling.

Host Not mumbling. Grumbling. (To the kids) What does it mean to grumble?

Co-Host She also told me to not do that either.

Host When you are full of grumbling, there is not much room for other stuff. It’s really hard to be thankful when you’re full of grumbling. Instead, remember to fill your mouth with thankfulness. Let’s see if Hannah can learn that lesson.

Materials: Labcoat (2),
Hosts
  • Host and Co-Host enter.

Host Would you be upset if people were in your house breaking things?

Co-Host Me too. Have you ever had cousins visit who play rough with your favorite toys or games? It’s hard not to grumble when that happens.

Host Like Herman said, that’s when you have to remember things to be thankful for and use our Big Point.

Host Don’t Grumble, Say Thanks! I need another assistant to help us reveal the Big Verse.

(Host and Co-Host choose a kid to volunteer.)

Co-Host I need you to help as we count down from three.

Co-Host 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV), “Give thanks no matter what happens.” How do we give thanks no matter what? Can you give thanks when something bad happens?

Host Like Herman shared earlier, you’re not thanking God for a bad event. You’re choosing to focus on what God has already done for you and saying thanks for that.

Co-Host My brain just seems to focus on the problems.

Host That’s the temptation. When you grumble you only see the problems. Is it possible that you missed something? Grumbling makes you miss the good things God has done because you’re only seeing the bad. That causes you to miss all the blessings that are already in your life.

Co-Host When I think back, the more time I spend with Jesus the easier it is to be thankful.

Host I agree. Praying and chatting with Jesus is a great way to get rid of the grumbles because He reminds of why we can be thankful. Big Point,

Host Don’t Grumble, Say Thanks! Let’s say thanks to God now!

Materials:
Leader

You may have a lot of reasons to feel like grumbling today, but I want to encourage you to try giving thanks instead. For a moment, let’s bow our heads and stay quiet at our seats. You may have never tried this, but you can pray the Bible. That means you can use scriptures in the Bible as part of your prayer. When you pray them over and over, it’s called meditating on God’s Word. It’s a way to help you get the Bible into your heart. So, I’m going to read our Big Verse again,

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV), “Give thanks no matter what happens.”

and for the next few moments let’s quietly repeat this verse over and over as our prayer to God. I’ll say it as well. (Repeat the verse several times) This is something you can do at home. You can pray this week’s Big Verse and believe that God will help you be thankful.

Materials: Labcoat (2)
Hosts
  • Host and Co-Host enter.

Co-Host It really helped Hannah when she listed reasons why she could be thankful.

Host It helps you follow the Big Point.

Host Don’t Grumble, Say Thanks! Let’s choose an assistant to help us with a quick interview.

(Choose a volunteer.)

Co-Host I want you to interview some of your fellow kids and ask them one question. What is one thing you are thankful for today?

(Volunteer asks the question)

Co-Host I think we’ve proven that we all have something to say thank you for today.

Host Whenever you feel the urge to grumble this week, say thank you for at least one good thing in your life. Remember our Big Point.

Host Don't forget about our Big Do this week.

Host Track your family's "Thankfuls" and "Grumbles". Let’s gather with our small groups and talk about what we learned.

Materials:
Small Group Leader
  • Gather the kids into small groups and discuss the following.

  1. Why was Hannah grumbling? Would you have reacted the same way if you were in her shoes? Why? Why not?
  2. Were you surprised to hear the Israelites say they had it better in Egypt? Were they right or wrong? What did they have to be thankful for?
  3. If you catch yourself grumbling, what should you do? Let’s all list one thing we can thank God for today.
  4. What did Herman tell us to do in the Big Do? Track your family's "Thankfuls" and "Grumbles"
Materials:
Leader
  • Choose two kids from the audience to come on stage and answer the question.

  1. Our Big Point says Don’t _____, Say Thanks! a. Mumble b. Grumble
  2. What was everyone stuck at Herman’s house? a. Thunderstorm b. Snowstorm
  3. Why did the Israelites complain in the Big Story?
  4. Why was Hannah grumbling?
  5. Did the Israelites claim they had it better or worse in Egypt? a. Better b. Worse
  6. Complete the Big Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV), “Give thanks _____ _____ ____ happens.” a. When good stuff b. No matter what
  7. Why does grumbling make it hard to have a good attitude?
  8. Did God still help the Israelites after they grumbled? a. Yes b. No
  9. How did Hannah change her attitude?
  10. What challenge did Herman give us as this week’s Big Do? Track your family's "thankfuls" and "grumbles"


Midweek / Classroom

Midweek / Classroom Instructions

Countdown / Rules
Materials: Lesson Plan
Leader
Note:

Optional music selections for this lesson:

  • Game music for Lab Wars
  • Soft instrumental music for Big Story
Materials: Lab Coat
Leader
  • Leader enters wearing a lab coat.

Hey, everyone, welcome to the Lab! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means a Thanksgiving feast! So much work goes in to preparing the meal. If your family is like mine, everyone chips in. It can be hard not to complain when helping with all the chores, but when you find things to be thankful for, the hard things don’t seem to matter as much. A great way to practice being thankful is through worship. Let’s stand up and do that now.

Materials:
Materials: Lab Coat, Mini Pumpkin Pies (1 per group)
Leader
  • Leader enters.

You guys did a great job worshipping God! It’s time to break up into your small groups. Go ahead and turn to your small group leaders now.

It’s time for Lab Wars! This is a time when each small group battles it out for the chance to win 5,000 points! Tonight’s lab war will get you into the Thanksgiving spirit. We are having a pie eating contest! Small group leaders, send up your contestants, and make sure it’s someone who loves pumpkin pie. (Allow the kids to get into place.) There are 30 seconds on the clock. Whoever eats the most, wins! Here’s the catch, you can only use your mouth, no hands! On your mark, get set, go!

  • Play optional game music. Have two skinny tables on stage with a pie for each group. The contestants stand behind each pie. Whoever eats the most of their pie, wins!

Congratulations to our winner! That was a pretty tasty competition. I love Thanksgiving and all the yummy treats. Even in the middle of a joyful time, it can be a challenge to stay thankful. Let’s check-in with the lab to see if they find it easy to give thanks.

Materials: Lab Coat, “Speak Out” Mouth Piece (1 per group)
Leader
  • Leader enters.

I can understand why Hannah is so upset. If Skip McDougall were living with me, it would drive me crazy. Have any of you guys ever had a house full of guests for the holidays? It’s fun at first, but they can get on your nerves after a while. When you get frustrated, it’s easy to focus on what’s bad. Our Big Point is a great reminder of what to do instead. I need a small group to help me count down from three.

  • Choose a small group

Ok, let’s count it down,

Let’s all say it together, Don’t Grumble; Say Thanks! It is impossible to give thanks and grumble at the same time. This makes me think of a fun game! Your small group leader is going to put a mouthpiece in his or her mouth. Then they will say something that they are thankful for, it’s your job to guess what they are saying. Keep track of how many you guys get right. Let’s turn to your small group and play that now.

Small Group Leader
  • Place the mouthpiece in your mouth and say the following phrases. See if your small group can guess what you are saying!

I am thankful…

  • for a comfy bed!
  • for my house!
  • for sandwiches!
  • I have socks for my feet!
  • for air conditioning in the summertime!
  • for my family!
  • for my church!
Leader

How many of you guessed all of them correctly? It’s hard to talk with that mouthpiece in your mouth! The same is true with being thankful. It’s really hard to be thankful when you’re full of grumbling. Instead, remember to fill your mouth with thankfulness. It’s just like our Big Point says,

Don’t Grumble; Say Thanks! Let’s see if Hannah can learn that lesson.

Materials: Lab Coat, Engage 2 Activity (1 per child), Coloring Utensils
Leader
  • Leader enters.

I would be really upset if people were in my house breaking things. Have you ever had cousins visit who play rough with your favorite toys or games? It’s hard not to grumble when that happens. So, what do you do when life is crazy and your family is driving you nuts? Let’s take a look at our Big Verse. I need a small group to help me count down from three to reveal what it is.

  • Choose a small group

Ok, count it down from three!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV) says, “Give thanks no matter what happens.” This verse makes it clear, no matter what is happening around us, we can give thanks. When there are a bunch of wrong things happening, it can be hard to see the good. This reminds me of a fun game. Your small group leader will hand you an activity sheet. On it are all kinds of hidden objects. There are 10 in all. Your job is to find the objects, and you can color the objects, too. Let’s do that now!

Small Group Leader
  • Pass out the activity sheets to each child and place the writing utensils in the center of the circle. Have the kids search for the hidden objects. If time permits, they can color the picture as well.

Leader

You really had to search for the hidden things in this picture. The same is true in our lives. The good things that happen can be hard to see when there are a lot of bad or hard things. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there! When you choose to find the good things and show gratitude, you are following our Big Point,

Don’t Grumble; Say Thanks! Let’s take a look at a story in the Bible about a group of people who had a bad habit of grumbling.

Materials: Lab Coat, Ball, Bead Counter Keychain (1 per child)
Leader
  • Play optional soft instrumental music

You may have a lot of reasons to feel like grumbling today, but I want to encourage you to try giving thanks instead. It may take some time to forget the hard things and find the good, but I know you can do it. When you do, your life will be filled with so much joy. Let’s turn to our small groups and spend some time talking about how we can follow our Big Point.

Small Group Leader
Note:

The goal in this segment is to create a place where kids can openly share and to bring accountability to becoming more like Jesus. Do this by truly listening, responding with love, and showing them what it looks like to be a friend and follower of Jesus.

  • When is it hardest not to grumble?
  • Does your life get any better when you grumble?
  • When you find yourself grumbling, what can you do instead?

The best way to get rid of grumbling is to start listing things you are thankful for. Turn to a neighbor and hold up your hand. For each finger, take turns sharing something you are thankful for. See if you can think of things you don’t usually say! Do that now.

Leader

Your small group leaders are right! The best way to get rid of grumbling is to say, “Thank you!” You each get to take this keychain home. Put it in a place that you will always see it, like on your backpack, or in your bedroom. Each day, use it to help yourself count your blessings. For each bead, list something you are thankful for. As you do, you will begin to notice that you grumble less and notice more of the good things in your life. And before you know it, you will be living out our Big Point,

Don’t Grumble; Say Thanks!

Materials: Lab Coat, Big Do Cards, Big Candy, Popsicle Sticks (10 per child)
Leader
  • Leader enters.

It really helped Hannah when she listed reasons why she could be thankful. If you feel like life just isn’t going your way, and you feel like you can’t help but complain, stop and list things that you are thankful for. It will completely change your attitude and your life. Our Big Point is so important,

Don’t Grumble; Say Thanks!

This week, you can practice the Big Point by doing the Big Do as a family. Choose one day to track your family's thankfuls and grumbles. Give everyone a few popsicle sticks with their name on them. Every time someone says, "Thank you," they get to put one of their sticks in the jar, but anytime someone complains, they have to pull one of their sticks out of the jar. At the end of the day or week, see who has the most sticks. Mom and Dads play, too!

Small Group Leader
  • Have a post-game huddle with your group. Pray for them, do a little cheer, whatever you decide is a good way to end your group.

Materials:
Leader
  • Choose two kids from the audience to come on stage and answer the question.

  1. Our Big Point says Don’t _____, Say Thanks! a. Mumble b. Grumble
  2. What was everyone stuck at Herman’s house? a. Thunderstorm b. Snowstorm
  3. Why did the Israelites complain in the Big Story?
  4. Why was Hannah grumbling?
  5. Did the Israelites claim they had it better or worse in Egypt? a. Better b. Worse
  6. Complete the Big Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV), “Give thanks _____ _____ ____ happens.” a. When good stuff b. No matter what
  7. Why does grumbling make it hard to have a good attitude?
  8. Did God still help the Israelites after they grumbled? a. Yes b. No
  9. How did Hannah change her attitude?
  10. What challenge did Herman give us as this week’s Big Do? Track your family's "Thankfuls" and "Grumbles"

About Ark Kids Elementary

This content is provided free of charge by The Ark Church.