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Lesson Prep

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

Genesis 10, 11:1-9

Story Summary

Genesis 10 gives us an account of Noah's 3 sons that were in the ark with him and their lineage. "Those are the tribes of Noah's sons. They are listed by their family lines within their nations. From them the nations spread out over the earth after the flood." (Genesis 10:32)

Genesis 11 is most likely a narrative of what happened during the time described in Genesis 10. We are learning about something that happened as they spread out over the earth. It is useful to note that this happened not too long (in relative terms) after the floodwaters receded. Noah no doubt passed along very intimate details of what happened during that event.

This is probably the motivation for them building a tower so high - to protect themselves should the earth flood again. Although God promised that he would not flood the earth again, this whole episode is about humanity's ego. "Babel" literally means: "a confused mixture of sounds or voices."

What You Will Need

Snack Suggestion
graham crackers and icing, peanut butter or mashmallow cream and pretzels to build a tower

Resource Sheet

Tower of Babel Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts the Tower of Babel

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Introduce the lesson by speaking in a language that the students are not familiar with. Just a short phrase would suffice. Google Translate is very helpful if you do not know any foreign languages. Or invite guests of different nationalities that speak different languages.

Encourage students to say words in a different language. Teach them to say hello or love in several languages.

  Hello Love
Spanish hola amor
French bonjour amour
Hawaiian aloha aloha
Dutch hallo liefde
Slovak ahoj laska
Italian ciao amore

 

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

For most children, you can read Genesis 11:1-9 directly out of the Bible (especially if you are using an easy-to-understand version like the NIrV). Or, for the very youngest children, read the story from a Children's storybook Bible.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Genesis 11:4, 8-9

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?

  • Where were all the people living? (in a valley in Babylonia)
  • How many languages did they speak? (one)
  • Why did the people want to build a tower and a city? (to make a name for themselves)
  • Why do you think they wanted the tower to reach to the sky? (because they were probably very aware of the great flood, and they wanted to protect themselves should it happen again)
  • Did they finish building the tower? (no)
  • Why was God displeased with their efforts? (the people in the story got too big for their britches)
  • How did God punish them? (he scattered them and confused their languages so it was more difficult to communicate with each other)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • We just learned a couple weeks back that God created the world and everything in it, including humans. But the people at Babel got a little too big for their britches.
  • We should recognize that God is in charge of this world and we should always submit to His plans for our lives. Is God in charge of your life?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way. It is like a light that guides me. Psalm 119:105

Reinforcement Activities

Block Towers

Scripture They said to each other, "Come. Let's make bricks and bake them well." They used bricks instead of stones. They used tar to hold the bricks together. Genesis 11:3

Supplies see below

  • Provide different types of items to build with. (different blocks, Popsicle sticks, playing cards, plastic cups, toothpicks, toilet paper rolls)
  • While they are building, ask the students questions about what they might have used to build the Tower of Babel

Clay Bricks

Scripture They said to each other, "Come. Let's make bricks and bake them well." They used bricks instead of stones. They used tar to hold the bricks together. Genesis 11:3

  • Make clay bricks to remind the children that these ancient humans actually built a very large tower - probably using a method similar to this one.
  • You can have the children make the bricks and then pick them up the next week when they come back to class.

Language Lesson

Scripture The Lord said, "They are one people. And all of them speak the same language. That is why they can do this. Now they will be able to do anything they plan to. 7 Come. Let us go down and mix up their language. Then they will not understand each other." Genesis 11:6-7

  • Learn to say a Bible verse in another language
  • You can use Google Translate by typing in the text of a popular Bible verse (like John 3:16) and translating into another language
  • You might choose a typical foreign language (like Spanish) or a very obscure language (Vietnamese or Swedish)
  • If you have a device in the classroom (laptop, tablet, or phone) you can have Google Translate speak the translated verse as well so the children can hear it in the foreign language
  • Remind the children that our language differences began in this story from the Bible.

Balderdash

Heads up! If you have the game, feel free to use it. If not, just follow the instructions below

Scripture The Lord said, "They are one people. And all of them speak the same language. That is why they can do this. Now they will be able to do anything they plan to. 7 Come. Let us go down and mix up their language. Then they will not understand each other." Genesis 11:6-7

Supplies Dictionary, pencils, hat or bowl, several strips of plain paper for each child

  • Give 4 or 5 strips of paper to each child
  • Choose several words out of the dictionary that you are fairly confident that your children won't know the definition of
  • Read and spell the first word
  • Have the children write down a definition that sounds real onto one of their slips of paper (the object of the game is to trick others into voting for your definition)
  • Write down the real definition on a slip of paper
  • Read each definition aloud, being careful not to tip off which definition is real
  • Have the students close their eyes and read through the definitions again, this time having the children vote for the definition they think is real
  • Tally up the votes - each student gets one point for every vote they got for their fake definition and two points if they voted for the correct definition
  • Remind the children that our languages have changed over the years, but God gave us the ability to communicate with others

Reverse Balderdash

Scripture The Lord said, "They are one people. And all of them speak the same language. That is why they can do this. Now they will be able to do anything they plan to. 7 Come. Let us go down and mix up their language. Then they will not understand each other." Genesis 11:6-7

Supplies Dictionary, pencils, hat or bowl, several strips of plain paper for each child

  • See the "Balderdash" activity
  • Play Balderdash, but instead of having the children write down a definition, this time give the children a definition, and have them make up word
  • Children vote for the word they think is real
  • Make sure you choose odd sounding words to throw them off - like "finnimbrun", "mungo", or "chinkers"

Human Pyramid

Heads up! You know your kids - be safe with this activity

Scripture Then they said, "Come. Let's build a city for ourselves. Let's build a tower that reaches to the sky. We'll make a name for ourselves. Then we won't be scattered over the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:4

  • Have the children make a human pyramid
  • Start with 2 children on their hands and knees and have a 3rd child get on their hands and knees on top
  • Then expand to 3 children on the base with 2 on top of them, and 1 on a third level
  • If your kids are daring and you think it is safe, try 4 children on the base with 3 levels (total of 10 children)
  • Tie this activity back to the Tower of Babel by reminding the children that in the story, humans wanted to build a tower as high as they could to demonstrate their own abilities

Marshmallow tower

Scripture Then they said, "Come. Let's build a city for ourselves. Let's build a tower that reaches to the sky. We'll make a name for ourselves. Then we won't be scattered over the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:4

Supplies dry spaghetti noodles or stick pretzels, large marshmallows, miniature marshmallows

  • Divide students into groups.
  • Give each group some dry spaghetti noodles or pretzel sticks, small pile of large marshmallows and large marshmallows.
  • See which group can build the largest tower.

Ritz cracker and peanut butter towers

Heads up! Be aware of peanut allergies!

Scripture Then they said, "Come. Let's build a city for ourselves. Let's build a tower that reaches to the sky. We'll make a name for ourselves. Then we won't be scattered over the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:4

Supplies ritz crackers, peanut butter, plastic knives

  • Spread peanut butter on a ritz cracker.
  • Stack another on top and repeat to make a tower.
  • Eat and enjoy!

Your Tower is How High?

Scripture Then they said, “Come. Let’s build a city for ourselves. Let’s build a tower that reaches to the sky. We’ll make a name for ourselves. Then we won’t be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4

Supplies building supplies (blocks, cards, cups, etc)

  • Divide class into two groups.
  • Provide each groups with the same number and size of building materials
  • It would be good to provide a variety of materials, so it will allow for more creativity.
  • See which group can build the tallest tower.

Jenga

Scripture Then they said, "Come. Let's build a city for ourselves. Let's build a tower that reaches to the sky. We'll make a name for ourselves. Then we won't be scattered over the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:4

Supplies Jenga game

  • Play Jenga.
  • Take one block out at a time and place it on top.
  • Try not to knock over the tower!

Tower Craft

Scripture Then they said, "Come. Let's build a city for ourselves. Let's build a tower that reaches to the sky. We'll make a name for ourselves. Then we won't be scattered over the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:4

Supplies Large paper, 1 inch squares of paper, cotton balls, glue

  • Glue paper squares onto the large paper.
  • Put one on top of another to make the tower tall.
  • Glue cotton balls for clouds at the top.

Read a Book in a Different Language

Scripture The Lord said, "They are one people. And all of them speak the same language. That is why they can do this. Now they will be able to do anything they plan to. 7 Come. Let us go down and mix up their language. Then they will not understand each other." Genesis 11:6-7

Supplies book in a different language

  • Choose a popular children's book.
  • Invite someone that speaks a different language to read the book to the class.
  • Listen to a book on CD in a different language.
  • Read a book written in a different language. (Check you local library)