Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Exodus 15:22-17:7

Story Summary

The Israelites had left Egypt and God led them safely across the Red Sea. For the next three months, the Israelites were in the desert heading eastward toward the land the Lord promised. During this time, they defended themselves against people in this region that did not appreciate the intrusion into their territory. The Israelites became unhappy about the lack of food. So God sent bread and quail miraculously from heaven for them to eat. Shortly after God sent manna and quail to eat, they began grumbling about the lack of water.

Manna means "What is it?"  Manna was white in color and the size of coriander seed.

It would be collected in the morning as the dew evaporated, six days a week.  On the sixth day, they would collect two days worth to have a portion for the seventh day, the Sabbath.  Only the portion saved for the seventh day would keep overnight.  Otherwise, it would rot if it was kept for the following day.  It had to be collected fresh each day. If the Israelites went out to collect manna on the Sabbath morning, they found none. God was serious about them following his instructions.

Israelites ground the manna and pounded it into cakes, which were then baked. 

What You Will Need

tent to teach in
Snack Suggestion
Make tents out of graham crackers and frosting, or thin wafer crackers with honey, water to drink

Video Options

God's Story - Wilderness

From Crossroads Kids Club

Moses in the Wilderness

From Saddleback Kids Hey-O Series

Sabbath and Manna

From LifeKids

Resource Sheet

Manna, Quail & Water from Heaven Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts the Israelites gathering manna and quail in the desert.


1. Warm Up get your kids talking and engaged

If using Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs activity, do that now. 

What would you like to have fall from the sky? Today, we are going to learn about a time in the Bible when something very unusual fell from the sky and covered the ground.

2. Teach the Story teach a holistic story

Teach in a tent, if possible.

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

3. Bible Mastery give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud Exodus 16:2-8, 16:31-32

4. Comprehension Questions make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • What were the Israelites upset about?
  • They were hungry
  • Where did they wish they could be?
  • Back in Egypt as slaves
  • What was on the ground in the morning?
  • Bread from heaven
  • What did the Israelites call the bread?
  • Manna, which means "what is it?"
  • How much manna were the Israelites supposed to gather in the morning?
  • Only enough for one day, except for the 6th day, when they would gather enough for the Sabbath as well
  • What happened to manna that they tried to keep overnight?
  • It was rotten in the morning
  • What happened when they went out to gather manna on the Sabbath?
  • There was none on the ground
  • What covered the ground in the evening?
  • Quail

5. Faith Questions open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer

  • God gave the Israelites just enough manna and quail for one day. The Israelites had to learn to have faith that God would provide what they needed each day.
  • Do you ask God daily to provide what you need each day?

6. Memory Verse hide God's Word in their heart

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. John 3:16

Reinforcement Activities

Tent Making

Scripture Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water. Exodus 15:27
Supplies tent making supplies, like blankets, sheets, chairs, etc
  • Use blankets, tables and chairs to make tents (ala making "forts" when you were a kid)

Trying new foods

Heads up! Be aware of food allergies!
Scripture Exodus 16:15 The people of Israel saw the flakes. They asked each other, "What's that?" They didn't know what it was. Moses said to them, "It's the bread the Lord has given you to eat.
Supplies foods that your students may not have tried before (radishes, asparagus, sauerkraut, beets, kiwi)
  • Provide some food samples that may be new to your children.
  • Allow them to try the samples.
  • The Israelites were given manna to eat. They had never had manna before.
  • For older classes, you can do this "Fear Factor" style and get food that might be disgusting (baby food, strange combinations like skittles in gravy, etc)

telling the story

Supplies shallow tub with sand, popcorn, wooden figures
  • To tell the story, use a tub of sand for the dessert and wooden figures for Moses and the people. Use popcorn as the mana to sprinkle over the dessert floor. Also give the kids some to munch on during the story.

Look at Coriander Seed

Heads up! This activity is best done while reading the Bible story.
Scripture The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seeds. It tasted like wafers that were made with honey. Exodus 16:21
Supplies coriander seeds (found in spice aisle of the supermarket), cilantro
  • Coriander Seed is the dry fruit of cilantro (also known as coriander leaves or Chinese parsley).
  • Allow students to observe the color of the coriander seed.

Bread Basket

Heads up! Print basket templates on card stock and cut strips of construction paper (optional) before hand
Scripture "I will raindown bread from heaven...." Exodus 16:4; "Jesus is the bread of life" John 6:35
Supplies templates, crayons, scissors, glue, snack
  • print templates
  • have kids color the basket templates (optional-weave construction paper into the lines)write on the basket "Jesus is the bread of life"
  • cut out and glue together
  • pass out crackers, bread, or manna for snack in the baskets

'God's Provision' chain

Heads up! cut strips of construction paper (2 per child)
Supplies construcion paper, markers, glue
  • Pass out strips of paper
  • have kids write one thing that God has provided for them on each strip
  • glue strips together into a chain and hang in the room

Colored Sand

Scripture The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, Exodus 16:1
Supplies thick paper, colored sand, glue
  • Make pictures with colored sand and glue. Colored sand can be made by mixing sand and food coloring.
  • Let dry before using.

Sand Play

Scripture The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, Exodus 16:1
Supplies sand, small containers, spoons, small camel toys, rubbermaid container, tarp
  • Have a sand table or rubbermaid container with sand and small items that might be found in the desert (lizards, snakes, camels).
  • A tarp or large sheet underneath will help keep the mess contained.
  • The Israelites were led by the desert road to prevent war with the Philistines.

Cotton ball shower

Scripture Then the Lord said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. Exodus 15:4
Supplies cotton balls
  • Have cotton balls hidden behind you as you are teaching the lesson.
  • When you get to the part of the story where manna falls from heaven, throw cotton balls up in the air to fall on the students.
  • Have a cotton ball fight.
  • Imagine with the students how they felt to find the ground covered with their food.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Heads up! Use as an introduction to the lesson
Scripture Then the Lord said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. Exodus 16:4
Supplies Cloudy with a Chance to Meatballs by Judy Barrett
  • Read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
  • Talk about what happened when it rained meatballs.
  • What would you most like to fall from the sky?

Permanant sand castles

Heads up! Will want to make this just shortly before using. Can add a bit of water to soften, if begins to get stiff
Scripture The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, Exodus 16:1
Supplies 3 cups of fine sand, 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch, 1 1/2 cups of water Large old pot
  • Mix the ingredients together in the pot.
  • Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.
  • Remove from stove and allow to cool.
  • Scoop out onto work surface (plastic tablecloth works well, if inside)
  • Sculpt your castle.
  • Allow to dry

Pass the Sand Game

Heads up! Activity needs to be done outside.
Scripture The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, Exodus 16:1
  • Divide the class into two teams
  • Have the first person in each line grab a handful of sand from a container.
  • They must pass the sand to the next player, who passes it to the next, and so on down the line.
  • When the sand reaches the last player, he/she pours what is left of it into a different container. The team with the most sand wins the game.