This series of three lessons was designed for
discipleship. The children will have an opportunity to learn Bible
stories that have an important message for everyday life. It is our aim
to try to give the children some knowledge of Biblical content. This
will hopefully help them to grow stronger in their faith and develop
Decorations for submarine - The Zoo Bus was used as
the set for this series. It is long and like a capsule so it is easy to
use your imagination to help make it into a submarine. This could be
done using a long classroom. Fish on windows to give the under the sea
look. Old rustic control panels and dials, periscopes and radar
Lesson #1 - Jonah and the
The first lesson in the series is based on the
story of Jonah and the fish. It is the introduction to the submarine and
to the new cast of characters that work on board the vessel. The story
focuses on being obedient to God.
- to teach Biblical content
- to teach the children the importance of
- to emphasize that God knows what is best for
us so we should obey.
- to teach the children that God loves them.
The opening of this lesson is a puppet song. It is
about Jonah and will help to introduce the content of the lesson. Fish
puppets and props help to attract the attention of the children. Use
squirt bottles or water guns in order to make it even more fun.
The rules in the Zoo program do not change. It is
important to maintain consistency. As time progresses the children know
what is expected of them and they rarely cross the line. It gets easier
as they adapt to the guidelines.
Prayer changes lives. Changed lives are what we are
after. More than anything else, more than a flashy program we want to
see children come to know and love Jesus Christ. We pray for this daily
and all through the program. Pray during each segment that God will use
it to touch the lives of the children.
Take a short period of time to talk to the children
about the theme. Prior to the program it is helpful to do some
promotion. We usually try to deliver flyers every two weeks. This gives
us some time to visit with the children but it also allows us to
advertise upcoming themes.
The children will be on a submarine called the
"HMS ZOO" (HMS of course means His Majesty's (Jesus') Service). It
is a very old submarine that is used in ocean research and exploration.
All the games are adapted to suit the submarine
theme. Since there is very little space on the Zoo Bus, the games
involve very little movement. Use word games that help the children with
reading, spelling and writing.
- Submarine Memory
In this game one contestant is selected at a time. The player is
competing on behalf of their team. The participant stands in front of a
board with pictures on it. The pictures are all duplicated. The player
must remember where each picture and its match are located. The cards
are then turned over and the memory work begins. The player has one
minute to find as many matches as possible. There can only be two
pictures in play at any time. The team that gets the highest number of
matches wins. All of the cards are the same size and have nautical theme
pictures on them.
In this game entire teams can participate together. One team goes
first and then the second team gets a turn. The game leader has a card
with a definition on it. The leader will read the definition of
something from the ocean and the team must guess what it is. The team
tries to see how many definitions they can "blurt" out in one minute.
The team with the most wins.
An old sea captain puppet presents the memory verse
leader with an old captain's log book. The captain explains that it was
owned by the very first captain of the HMS ZOO and it has some very
important messages in it. The captain in those days recorded what he
learned as he explored the bottom of the ocean.
Leader: I would like to introduce you to a very important
friend of mine. He is the captain of the HMS Zoo. He has been piloting
the sub for years. Welcome
CAPTAIN C LEVEL.
Captain C. Level: Hello there, all of you. I am pleased to
have you aboard my submarine.
Leader: We really would like to learn about submarines.
Captain C. Level: I bet some of the kids out there already
know a little about submarines. Let's ask them a few questions. (allow
What is a submarine?
Have you ever seen one?
Is there lots of space in a submarine?
Leader: Wow they sure knew a lot about submarines Captain C.
Level. I am pretty impressed.
Captain C. Level: Now that I have shared that with you, I'll
show you what I brought with me.
Leader: What is it?
Captain C. Level: I brought a special book with me. It is a
Captain's log. That is a book that the captain of a submarine or a ship
uses to record important things that happens on board the vessel. This
one is very old. It belonged to the first Captain of this submarine.
Leader: That is really exciting. Show it to us.
Captain C. Level: Well, I'll show you this page. It is written
in a special ancient sea submarine code. Take a look.
Leader: Interesting but we can't read it. Do you have
something to help us understand it?
Captain C. Level: I sure do. Here is a copy of the code see if
you can figure it out.
Leader: Let's try it. (allow time for the leader to interact
with the children and solve the puzzle.)
"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Luke 11:28
Captain C. Level: That must have been a very important verse
if the captain wrote it in the log. I wonder what it means?
Leader: I believe it is important. It talks about "the word of
God", that is the Bible. We are supposed to do what it says or obey it.
God has told us some important things that we should do, they will help
Captain C. Level: That is important. We should do what God
This segment of the lesson was used to introduce
the story. Two characters (puppets) have a conversation that sets the
stage for the story. The characters are Captain C Level seen in the
memory verse and an ocean researcher, a lobster called
Jacques Crusteau: Allo dere, I am Jacques Crusteau, ocean
explorer. I have been traveling with Captain C. Level on de HMS Zoo. We
use the submarine to study things in de ocean.
Captain C. Level: That's right. I sail the submarine and
Jacques Crusteau does the research.
Jacques Crusteau: We have been searching de bottom of de ocean
for a sunken ship. It has a lot of treasure on board but we haven't been
able to find it in all dis time.
Captain C. Level: Look Jacques! Look at the monitor, there is
a huge sea cave below us.
Jacques Crusteau: Plonge, Plonge! Let's go down dere . I tink
dat is la cave.
Captain C. Level: What cave?
Jacques Crusteau: It's de cave where le grand fish used to
Captain C. Level: What fish?
Jacques Crusteau: I'll tell you about it. (both walk off
A puppet dressed in a ragged t-shirt and covered in
seaweed enters the stage area. The leader begins to tell a story to the
children. There are pictures drawn to depict different parts of the
story. They are held up at appropriate times so that the children have
more to look at.
A long time ago there was a man named Jonah. He doesn't look too
great, he had a really bad week. I don't think too many people have had
an experience as bad as his. He is a mess. I'll tell you what happened
One day God spoke to Jonah. I know it sounds crazy but God really did
talk to him. He told Jonah to go to a city called Ninevah. The people in
that city were doing all kinds of bad things and God wanted Jonah to
tell them to stop.
Jonah didn't like the idea at all. No way, forget it, he thought. I
am not going to go to that rotten place. So Jonah took off. He ran away
from God. He got on a big ship and he figured God would never catch up
to him there.
While he was on the boat a storm came up. The sailors were very
frightened. They wanted to know, why there was such a huge storm. Jonah
told them it was probably because of him and the way that he had treated
God. Jonah told them to toss him overboard and it would stop. You would
never believe it, as soon as they dropped him into the sea the storm
stopped. He floated around in the water for a while wondering what to do
when this great big fish came along and swallowed him. Boy was it
disgusting inside a fish! It was wet and sticky. When Jonah's eyes
adjusted to the dark he thought he was going to be sick. He could see
everything that the fish had eaten before him. Every now and again that
fish would swallow some more stuff and it would land right on his head.
It was awful. Jonah sat there stuck in the worst situation ever. He knew
that only God could help him now, so he began to pray. He prayed and
prayed and after three days God saved him. The huge fish spat him out on
dry land. (makes a loud spitting noise) Just like that, Jonah was ok.
He got up off the beach and ran. He went all the way to the city of
Ninevah and told the people to stop doing bad things. This time he did
exactly what God wanted and things started to go a lot better. (Jonah
* This story was written with some reference to the Beginner's Bible
which is included on our resource list. Captain C. Level and Jacques
Crusteau return .........
Jacques Crusteau: See, I told you it was very exciting. Some
people say dat le grand fish lived in this cave.
Captain C. Level: Amazing, that guy Jonah had a really hard
time. He should have done what God asked.
Jacques Crusteau: Sometimes it is difficult to obey God but
you have to remember that He loves us and knows what is best for us.
Captain C. Level: (looking in the periscope) Oh my, uh
Crusteau you had better come and take a look at this.
Jacques Crusteau: What is it? Qu'est que c'est? (looks in) Oh
la la, mon ami. Un..deux...two eyes in la cave, maybe it is le grand
fish. I ope he doesn't want to swallow our submarine. Let's get us out
of ere !
Captain C. Level: (panicking too, begins to yell at the crew)
Surface this submarine, reverse our thrust, full speed, get us oot of
(while all of this screaming is taking place the two exit the scene)
This segment of the program is used to ask
questions to make sure that children understood the material.
- What did Jonah learn in the story?
- What does it teach us?
- What kinds of things does God tell us to do?
- What is another way that God speaks to us?
Dismissal: Quiet seat prizes and closing prayer.
Copyright 1997, Bread of Life Ministries