This is a free Bible lesson for children teaching them about the changing seasons of life and the unchanging character of God. It was first prepared for a Children’s Church setting, but would work well as a Sunday School lesson also. Through a study of Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, students will identify time periods of life and how they can navigate through them. They will learn that God makes all things beautiful in its time through a Bible lesson, a game of Pictionary, and an art project.
Bible Story: Changing Seasons and Our Unchanging God
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
Target Age Group: 1st – 5th grade
Time: 45-60 Minutes
Learning Context: Children’s Church
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Supplies: Bibles, Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 on display, 2 whiteboards/chalkboards, dry erase markers/chalk, crayons or colored pencils, 11 by 17 pieces of white paper, index cards with the seasons of life listed on them (from Ecclesiastes 3), optional costume idea
Optional Costume Idea: Dress in accordance with your region’s current season. A fall outfit could include overalls, a farmer’s hat, and a flannel shirt. A winter outfit could include a heavy winter jacket, ski pants, boots, scarf, mittens, and wool hat. A spring or rainy season outfit could include a rain coat, boots, an umbrella, a hat or gardening clothes. A summer outfit could include sunglasses, a hat, flip flops, a t-shirt, and shorts.
Introduction: As the students arrive, say: Welcome! Welcome to_____________ (your region’s current season).
As a weather reporter may announce, say: Today’s current conditions call for a temperature of _____ degrees, with partly ______ skies, and a wind coming from the east at ____ mph. With weather conditions like these, we better plan accordingly and __________________. (List a number of appropriate seasonal activities such as taking a hayride, raking leaves, shoveling snow, building a snowman, planting some flowers, splashing in puddles, going swimming, or building a sandcastle at the beach.)
Express your like or dislike for the weather in this particular season and explain why. Ask the students: What is your all-time favorite season and why? What is your least favorite season and why? Allow for multiple students to answer.
Sometimes I wonder why God ever created _________ (your least favorite season.) Wouldn’t we all be better off without all this __________? (snow, freezing rain, heat, humidity, rain, etc.) Please tell me that some of you agree with me!
But God said that He created every season for a purpose. So, yes! Even ______ (your least favorite season) has its purpose. Not only do seasons have their purpose, but times of our lives have a purpose too. That means that there will be times when we will laugh, dance, keep, love others, be loved, and have peace. There will also be times when we will cry, mourn and grieve, give up, fix something that is broken, and have to deal with war.
Maybe you’re in a fun season of life right now. You are happy and your family is great and your friends just traded silly bands with you and you are doing well in school and you had cinnamon rolls for breakfast! (What could be better?)
But maybe you’re in a sad season of life right now. Maybe someone you love has died recently. Maybe you are trying hard in school and your grades aren’t getting better. Maybe your parents are fighting a lot and you think you may have to move to some place new. Maybe your friends haven’t really been friends.
What I want you to know today is that seasons will change. Bad times and good times will come and go. You will change. Your friends and family members will change. Your home, school, or church may even change. And your hair, that will probably change too! (You should see what I looked like in 5th grade!)
But you have to know that God will never change. If you have a relationship with Him, He will never leave you. He will always be there to help you through. God says that He has made everything beautiful in its time. That means that He can take even the worst seasons of life and turn them into something more beautiful than we could ever have imagined. Our God is incredible!
Learning Activity #1: A Time for the Word
Have the students open their Bibles to Ecclesiastes 3. In the event that they do not have Bibles with them, have verses 1-11 written for display. Have them wiggle their ears to listen for all of the seasons that God said we’ll have in our lives. The clue words to listen for are, “a time to…” Challenge them as a group to remember 10 of them.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, emphasizing each season. Once finished, hide the verses from eyesight and have students raise their hands to brainstorm as many seasons as they heard. Compile a list of seasons on a chalkboard/whiteboard. The heading should be, “A time to…” As you write student responses, help to explain the verses. (Does God really want us to kill? What does mend mean? Why does it say that there is a time to hate?) Celebrate however many seasons the students remembered. Read it a second time to listen for additional seasons.
Learning Activity #2: Guess the Season Pictionary
Prior to class, write each “season of life” on an index card. There should be 28 if you do all of them, but try to select simple seasons to illustrate. Some examples include: a time to be born, a time to plant, a time to tear down, a time to weep, a time to love, a time for peace, etc.
- Play the traditional game of Pictionary with the students. Begin by drawing a “season of life” yourself for them to guess as an example.
- Divide the students into two teams, each with their own separate chalkboard/whiteboard and writing implement. (Teams should be seated in such a manner that they cannot see the other team’s illustrations.)
- Invite two volunteers to come forward from each team. Show them the index card. Have them begin depicting this season for their own team members.
- The first team to guess correctly must then say, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” They will then receive a point.
- Continue playing until each team member has the chance to draw an illustration. The team with the most points wins. If time remains, play through twice.
Learning Activity #3: Four Seasons Art
- Divide an 11 by 17 piece of white paper into four panels with folds.
- Invite the students to depict pictures of fall, winter, spring, and summer on each of the four panels utilizing crayons or colored pencils. Have an example that serves as a model. For older students, other seasons of life, highlighted in Ecclesiastes 3, can be illustrated.
- For extra credit, have them write Ecclesiastes 3:11 on their papers.
Close the lesson in prayer, thanking God for the seasons in our lives and asking God to help us get through the good times and the bad times with His strength. Make sure that the students know that if they ever need to talk, you are always there to listen.