Children practice patience techniques and are rewarded for their skills.
Faith, Hope, Patience
Small pop-up tent
Few minutes at beginning, middle and end of class
Before class, set up a small pop-up tent, or make one using a bed sheet and chairs.
WHAT YOU WILL DO:
As children arrive, they will be curious about the tent, and will probably want to go inside, but tell them to wait until everyone arrives. After everyone arrives, throw pieces of candy into the tent, one for each child. (If possible, try to sneak the candy in.) Then let the children look inside the tent, but do not let them go in yet. Once everyone has been able to see that there is candy inside, ask them "Who would like to go inside now?" Most likely, all the kids will want to, but say, "You can go inside now if you want, but if you wait until the end of the class, it will be much better. The Bible says, 'If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.'"
Some of the kids may still want to go in now, let them. Tell them all must share what is inside, so only take what is yours. Each child that goes in should only take one piece of candy. Also, make sure at least half of the class waits until later, to demonstrate the advantage in waiting.
About mid-way through the class, add another piece of candy for each child that waited. Let these children look inside again and ask them, "Who would like to go inside now? Again, tell them, "You can go inside now if you want, but if you wait until the end of the class, it will be much better. The Bible says, 'If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.'"
Again let those who insist go in, giving the same instructions as before. Make sure some of the children wait until the end of the class to demonstrate the advantage in waiting.
Near the end of the class, add one more piece of candy for everyone who decided to wait. This candy can be more special, such as a “fun size” candy bar or small pack of "M&Ms". Have everyone who waited look inside and then let these kids finally enter to get their well-deserved rewards. At this point, the activity may seem harsh to those who did not wait, but it will send a positive message they will not easily forget. Afterwards, tell the entire class that sometimes God wants us to wait for things. Not because He wants us to go without, but because sometimes, He wants to give us something that will make us even happier. So remember, when we hope for what we do not yet have, we should wait for it patiently, as it says in Romans 8:25. God can always be trusted to give us only the best. After all: He has already given us the best gift of all, Jesus!