Use this Crossing the Red Sea Sunday School lesson to teach children about the Exodus story.
Needed: volunteer to play Moses (you can be Moses if you want), long stick for a staff, index cards with plagues written on them, flashlight, baby doll, basket, blanket
Lesson: (Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)
Game: Wrapping Baby Moses – Remind students of how Moses’ mother put him in a basket and put him by the river for the princess to find him. Half of the kids line up on one side of the room, the other half on the other side. In the middle of the room is a baby doll, a blanket, and a basket. On “go”, one student from one side of the room runs up and wraps the baby in the blanket and places it in the basket. As soon as the baby is in the basket, a student from the other side of the room runs out and unwraps the baby. Then a wrapper wraps, etc. The goal is to see how much time it takes for everyone to have gone. Play a couple of rounds, switching which side wraps and which side unwraps. Try to beat your previous times.
Game: Moses and the Burning Bush – Remind students of how Moses saw God talking to him out of the burning bush and had to take off his shoes to show respect for God. Kids run in a semi-lit room. When someone turns on a light or shines a flashlight, everyone has to stop and take off their shoes as quickly as they can. Take turns letting people turn on the light or have the flashlight.
(Ask Moses to come in.)
(Moses reads the following script based on Exodus 4:18-14:31.)
Moses: (enters, carrying a staff) Hello again, everyone! I came to tell you a little more about my story. Last time, I said that God talked to me out of that burning bush and told me that He wanted me to be the leader who would bring the Israelites out of Egypt so that they wouldn’t be slaves anymore. I didn’t want to be the leader. I was too afraid. But when God says something, you just have to trust Him and do it. So I took my wife and kids and started on my way back to Egypt.
God sent my older brother, Aaron, to help me, and when we got back to Egypt, I told all the Israelites that God cared about them and wanted to take them out of Egypt so that they wouldn’t have to be slaves anymore. I showed them how God could make my staff turn into a snake and how God could make my hand get a disease but then get better.
After that, Aaron and I went to the palace to talk to Pharaoh. I told Pharoah, “God says to let His people go.”
But Pharaoh said, “I don’t believe in God, so I’m not going to let the Israelites go. In fact, now I’m going make their work even harder.”
So Pharaoh told the slave bosses to be even more mean to the Israelites. But God said, “Pharaoh will let the Israelites go because I will make him let them go.”
The next morning, Aaron and I went back to talk to Pharaoh. I said, “God says to let His people go.”
Pharaoh said, “What can you do to prove that your God is real and that I should listen to Him?”
Aaron took my staff and threw it down on the ground and God turned into a snake. But then Pharaoh’s magicians did a magic trick to make it look like their staves also turned into snakes. My staff then swallowed the magician’s snakes, but Pharaoh still wouldn’t listen to God and let the Israelites go.
So the next morning, Aaron and I went back to Pharaoh. He still wouldn’t let the Israelites go, so God told us to turn all the water in Egypt into blood. Aaron hit the water of the river with his staff and all the water in Egypt turned into blood. The fish in the river died and no one could drink any water. But then Pharaoh’s magicians did a magic trick to make it look like they could turn water into blood too. So Pharaoh still wouldn’t listen to God and let the Israelites go.
A week later, Aaron and I went back Pharaoh and said, “God says to let His people go.” Pharaoh still wouldn’t listen so God made frogs, thousands and thousands of frogs, come and cover the whole country. They were jumping up on people’s tables and bothering everything. They were really annoying.
Finally, Pharaoh asked us to pray for God to take away the frogs. But when we did, and God took away the frogs, Pharaoh said he still wouldn’t listen to God and let the Israelites go.
This kept happening. God made gnats come and bother everyone. Then He made flies, more flies than you’ve ever seen, come. Next, God made all the cows in Egypt die, but let the cows that Israelites had live. Then He made sores and a painful rash come out on all the Egyptians. Next, He made big hail fall on the Egyptians, like big rocks falling out of the sky. It crushed all of the farmers’ food and made holes in the buildings. Then, God sent a bunch of locust insects to eat the rest of the Egyptians’ food. After that, God made it totally dark for three days in Egypt. Nobody could see the sun or the moon or the stars for three days, except for the Israelites. And every time, Pharaoh still wouldn’t listen to God and let the Israelites go.
Finally, God told me to tell all the Israelites to kill a lamb and to put its blood on the doorframes of their front doors. That night, God sent His angel to kill all of the firstborn children in Egypt. The angel killed the oldest child in every house. But he skipped the houses of the Israelites, because when the angel saw the blood on the doorframes of the Israelites’ front doors, he would skip that house and not kill any children living there.
Pharaoh woke up in the middle of the night and saw that even his oldest child had been killed by the angel. Then he told me and the Israelites to leave right away. He was afraid that God might do something worse to him if he didn’t let us go. The other Egyptians even gave us money so that we would be nice to them and leave as fast as we could. None of the Egyptians wanted God to punish them even more.
So in the middle of the night, I took all of the Israelites and left Egypt. We weren’t slaves anymore. God had said that He would make Pharoah let us go, and that’s what He did. God didn’t want to do all of those bad things to the Egyptians. If Pharaoh would have listened, God wouldn’t have had to do all those things. But we were happy because God had freed us from our slavery.
That night, we camped by the sea. But Pharaoh decided he wanted to chase us and bring us back to Egypt to be his slaves. So he sent his army to attack and bring us back.
But do you think God would let Pharaoh take us back to be his slaves again?
No, God put a wall of fire between us and the Egyptian army so that they couldn’t get to us. Then God said, “Moses, stretch your staff out toward the sea.” I did and God started moving the water in the sea to the right and to the left so that there was a wall of water on both sides of us, but dry ground in the middle.
God told me, “Lead the Israelites through the sea on the dry ground.” In the morning, we had all crossed through the sea on dry ground. When we were on the other side, God moved the wall of fire so that the Egyptians could see us on the other side of the sea. They started to run through the sea on the dry ground to chase us, but then God said, “Stretch your staff out toward the sea again.”
I did, and God made the wall of water on the right and the water of water on the left come back down and drown the whole Egyptian army so that they couldn’t get us.
And that’s how God rescued us from slavery in Egypt.
(Have the students thank Moses.)
Why did Moses’ staff eat the magicians’ staves? (To show that God is more powerful than the magicians’ magic tricks.)
What did God want Pharaoh to do? (God wanted Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of Egypt and to stop making them be slaves.)
Game: Impersonating the Plagues – Give each child or group a card with a plague written on it. They have 2 minutes to figure out how to act out that plague without using words. The plagues are the river turning to blood, frogs everywhere, gnats everywhere, flies everywhere, cows dying, sores on everyone, hail, locusts eating everything, total darkness, death of the oldest children. You can also act out the plagues as a whole class.
Why did make all those terrible things happen to Egypt? (God was punishing Pharaoh because he wouldn’t listen to God.)
Do you think you should listen to God when He tells you to do something? (Yes.)
Pharaoh sent his army to get the Israelites, but what did God do for the Israelites? (God parted the sea and let the Israelites pass through so that the Egyptians couldn’t hurt them. Then He made the water come back down and drown the Egyptian army.)
When you find yourself in a hard situation, do you think God can rescue you like He rescued Moses and the Israelites?
Game: Crossing the Red Sea - Divide students into two teams. One team is the Israelites, the other the Egyptians. Have the Israelites stand a few feet in front of the Egyptians. Tell the Israelites to run in a certain direction when you say go. Tell the Egyptians to chase the Israelites, but they can’t cross a certain line. Don’t tell them where the line is. Let the Israelites cross the line. When the Egyptians do, tell them they’re out because they crossed the line. They’ll complain that that this isn’t fair, but explain that this is what God did for the Israelites. He let the Israelites cross the Red Sea (the line), but not the Egyptians. He protected the Israelites, but destroyed the Egyptians.
Find more Sunday School lesson ideas on our Free Children Sunday School Lesson Helps page.
Find more Sunday School lesson ideas on our Free Children Sunday School Lesson Helps page.