The Ten Commandments




Scripture:  Exodus 20:1-17


Memory Verse:

“I will write my laws on their hearts and minds.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.”   Jeremiah 31:33b (CEV)



1        God gives us rules to show us how to live with God and with others.

2        When we obey God’s laws we show that we love God.



This workshop will focus on teaching the children about an aspect of God’s love:  rules and obedience to those rules.  The children will learn that God gives us rules  to live by.  In this lesson, we are talking about the Ten Commandments.  These rules show us how to live lovingly with God (Commandments 1-4) and with other people (Commandments 5-10).  In teaching the above concepts, the children will have a mild exposure to Free Will.  Free Will is one of many things that God gives us:  God has the power to make us obey but God wants us to choose to obey God out of love.  God shows us love by giving us the choice to obey; hopefully, we return that love to God by freely choosing to obey.




Welcome and Introductions:

1.      Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your nametag.

2.      Tell the children that today they will use the puppets to learn more about God’s love for us and about how His laws reflect His love.


Bible Story: 

1.      Keep the story part at 10 minutes or less to allow enough time for puppets.   Practice the story beforehand-10 minutes goes by very quickly. For the first two weeks of the lesson, you will need to tell more about this passage of scripture to the class; after two weeks a review should suffice.   You might start with some basic Bible background before going over the Ten Commandments.  Here’s a sample of what you could say (you probably can’t cover all of these.) 


2.      This passage is from the Old Testament book of Exodus and is mostly just the Ten Commandments.  Has anyone heard of the Ten Commandments before?  What is a commandment?  (something you are told to do)  Who created these commandments?  (God) To whom did He tell them?  (Moses)  And how did God tell Moses?   (He said them and wrote them on stone tablets.)  To what people were the Commandments originally given?  (Israelites-the ones who had just been freed from slavery in Egypt about 3 months before.)  


3.      Read or have a child (good reader, 2nd grade and up only) or shepherd read the passage.  You could have a different child read each commandment.  (For this lesson, we are using one consistent abbreviated version from the CEV in this rotation.  A copy is attached.)  As each Commandment is read, allow a chance for students to ask questions.    You also might emphasize the following about each commandment.  


1.   Do not worship any god except me.   (There is only one God who wants you to love Him.)

2.   Do not make idols.  (God does not have a form that we know of.  If you make an idol, which is a form,    you are worshipping another god.)

3.   Do not misuse my name.  (Don’t use God’s name unless you are saying something true about him.)

4.   Remember the Sabbath Day.  (Sabbath Day is the seventh day of the week-God told us to honor him on that day by making it Holy, which means special or set apart.  Praise and rest are two examples of Sabbath activities.)

5.   Respect your father and your mother.  (Respect means obey, be nice, and take care of)

6.   Do not murder. (Murder means kill an innocent person.)

7.   Be faithful in marriage. (Be nice to your wife or husband; have only one wife or husband.)

8.   Do not steal.  

9.   Do not tell lies about others.

10. Do not want anything that belongs to someone else.  (Be happy for other people instead of jealous.)


4.      Tell the children that the first four commandments teach us how to live lovingly with God and the last six commandments teach us how to live lovingly with other people.  God wants us to obey these commandments so that our days will be filled with loving behavior.

5.      Many Bible stories teach us how God appreciates our obedience to Him.  That is because when we obey God, we show him how much we love him.  We do not have to obey him to earn our way to heaven because God has given us our way to heaven as a gift for believing in Jesus.  We obey him because we love him.



Note:  There are 4 skits (requiring respectively 2 puppets, 3 puppets, 4 puppets, 2 puppets).  You may not need or have time to do all skits or you may have to repeat skits to give everyone a chance to perform, depending on how many children attend.  You may choose which skits you want to use. 


Let each child have a chance to operate a puppet or they will be disappointed.  After each skit, ask questions that you feel are most relevant for your age group to relate the skit to the concepts we are teaching about God.

1.   Divide the class into groups of 2, 3 or 4 children that want to operate a puppet, depending on how you decide to perform the skits.  (Infrequently, a child does not want to operate a puppet.) 

2.   You have several options about who will read the parts.  You may pre-record the entire skit on cassette tape before Sunday (this always worked well for me when I was a PP workshop leader).  You can choose a narrator (add a child who will not use a puppet or use a shepherd or workshop leader) to read all the puppet parts while children act out with the puppets.  You may also allow each child to read and act out his/her own puppet part (this works well with 3rd grade and up).  

3.   Give out scripts to each group.  Let the children choose puppets.    Don’t worry about using animals as people--the kids love it.

4.   Allow the groups 5 minutes or so to practice their script.  Grades 1&2: The shepherd and workshop leader should help with the scripts, perhaps even “speaking” the voices while the children act them out. You may want to do this for the other grades as well to keep the pace moving and to allow the children to focus on what is being said and not the mechanics of reading.

5.   When performing the skits, you may use the pre-recorded version.

6.   After skit 1, ask the performers to sit down and have a brief discussion with all children about what happened in the play.  You might ask questions to make the children think about living with vs. without rules.  Examples:  Were Amanda’s rules “nice” rules or “mean” rules? Was Amanda’s Mom making life harder or easier for Amanda by giving her rules to follow for play dates?  Is it harder or easier to play with someone who obeys nice rules?  Don’t nice rules make other people treat you the way you want to be treated?  Are God’s Commandments nice or mean?  Would it be hard to live with people who don’t follow God’s Commandments?        

7.   Perform skit 2.  After skit 2, the workshop leader can ask a puppet a question.  Ex:  Reggie, which puppet (Cynthia or William) was helping you to be happy about your new bike?  Or go directly to the whole group questions, such as:  Which friend was nicer about Reggie’s new bike?  Is it hard to be happy about good things that happen to other people?  (You can give them examples of good things, such as getting a new toy, winning a soccer tournament, getting a good grade, or thinking of a good answer in class.)  How would they want people to act if those good things happened to them? Remind them that God has commanded us to be happy for the good things that happen to other people instead of being jealous.  Who had the better time that day-Cynthia on the bike ride or William, who was so jealous he wanted to be alone?

8.   Perform skit 3, both homes one after the other.  Then, gather the children for questions.  Ask children which home and/or parent seemed more loving.  Which child seemed more loving?  Which home would they like their home to be like?  Can they see that the second home is the way God wants us to act toward Him?  Ask for examples of this.  (God wants us to obey Him.  God has rules (like the parent’s clean up rule) for us.  God doesn’t use His power to make us do things.  God wants us to do things out of love and respect for him and out of gratitude for what he has given us.  This is called Free Will because we are free to choose how we act-obediently or disobediently.  God likes to reward us-He has an abundance of rewards for us-when we are loving to Him and to each other. )

9.   Perform skit 4.  Again, after skit 4, ask the children questions.  Have you ever thought about how powerful God is?  Have you ever wondered why he didn’t punish people immediately who do bad things? Why wouldn’t He?  Can you see why God wants us to choose to be good instead of just frightening us into being good?

10. If you have to repeat a skit to give everyone a turn, you may hold the discussion until the last time you have repeated the skit.



Review the two concepts covered and ask whether there are any questions. 

3        God gives us rules to show us how to live with God and with others.

4        When we obey God’s laws we show that we love God.



Reflection Time:

1.      Ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers.  Tell the younger children to think of a rule that either God or their parent has given them and draw a picture of them obeying it. (cleaning, clearing place, sharing, loving someone,  idol with x through it, hugging Mom and Dad).  They can write down the rule if they’re able and have enough time.  Ask the older children to write down as many of the Ten Commandments as they remember and if they still have time, they can illustrate one or more. 



Prayer:  Close with a simple prayer about love and gratitude.  Thank God for the Ten Commandments that help us to live lovingly with God and other people.  Ask God to help us be obedient and feel loving toward all people for the rest of the day.



Teacher preparation in advance:


1.      Pray:  Ask God to give you the talents, words, assurance and patience you need to teach His children this lesson. 

2.      Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

3.      Make at least 5 copies of each script page.  Cut the scripts into pieces so that each player can have a copy.  You can also post copies of the script at each end of the stage so puppeteers can refer to it.

4.      Practice the Bible story for presenting in 10 minutes or less.

5.      Prepare a closing prayer.

6.      Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.

7.      (Optional) Pre-record the scripts using a tape recorder. Family members and their friends can have a lot of fun playing the different parts.



5 or more - Copies of the script.



Notes supplied by Lori Houck for curriculum writers' Bible study in June 2002.





Amanda:  “Tommy, what do you want to play?”


Tommy:  “I want to build creatures and fight with them until they fall apart.”


Amanda: “I don’t like fighting games, but we could play your game for 15 minutes then some game I like for 15 minutes.  That’s my Mom’s rule for play dates.


Tommy:  “I only want to play my game.  And I don’t have that rule.”


Amanda:  “Well, OK, we’ll just play your game.”  (reaching for toys)


Tommy:  “Hey, those are my creature parts.  Don’t use them.”


Amanda:  “My Mom’s rule is to share my toys with play dates at my house and then they’ll share theirs with me at their house.” 


Tommy:  “My Mom doesn’t make me do any of these things your Mom does.  She says I can do whatever I like as long as I don’t bother her while she’s doing housework.”




Reggie:  “Let’s all ride bikes.  I have a new bike.”


Cynthia:  “Whoa!  Great bike!  Let’s ride the bike trail around the lake.”


William:  “I wish I had a bike like that.  It makes mine look really old and boring.  I don’t want to ride bikes now.”


Reggie:  “But I’m really excited about my bike. Don’t you want to ride the trails?”


William:  “Maybe if you let me ride your bike.”


Cynthia:  “William!  Reggie should be able to ride his new bike first.”


William:  “I don’t feel well.  I’m going home.”





Two different homes.


Home 1


Mother:   “Mary, it’s time to clean up your room.”


Mary:    “I’m in the middle of playing.  Can’t you clean it up?  Why does it need to be clean anyway?”


Mother:   “Clean it up or you can’t have anyone over to play this week.”


Mary:  “That’s not fair.  You can always make me do what I don’t want to because you’re bigger than me.”


Mother:  “The room needs to be cleaned, and that’s the only way I can get you to do it.”



Home 2


Mother:    “Freddy, it’s time to clean up your room.”


Freddy:  “I’m in the middle of playing, but I’ll stop and clean up.”


Mother:  “Thank you, Freddy.  It’s so nice when you do things I ask you to.”


Freddy:  “I love you, Mom.  And I want you to know it, so I always try to do what you ask me to do.”


Mother:  “Freddy, you are so sweet.  Let’s go get an ice cream after you clean up.”






Mother:  “Kevin, did you say your prayers tonight?  God likes you to talk to Him.  He wants you to spend some time with Him every day, thanking Him for everything and letting Him know what you need.”


Kevin:  “If God wants me to do things, and He’s so powerful, why doesn’t He just make me?  And why doesn’t he just use lightening on people who break his commandments?  That would sure scare everyone into being good all the time.” 


Mother:  “He could do that-He’s that powerful.  But I think He wants us to choose to obey His Commandments out of love and gratitude not because we’re afraid of what will happen the next minute if we don’t.  His Commandments make life a lot easier.”


Kevin:  “That’s true.  I sure wouldn’t want to be around people who murder and lie and steal all the time.” 






The Ten Commandments


1.   Do not worship any god except me.

2.   Do not make idols.

3.   Do not misuse my name.

4.   Remember the Sabbath Day.

5.   Respect your father and your mother.

6.   Do not murder.

7.   Be faithful in marriage.

8.   Do not steal.

9.   Do not tell lies about others.

10. Do not want anything that belongs to someone else.