Here are some great activities to support teachings about Daniel in the lion's den, whether in the PreK class or Sunday school. There is a craft activity, a large muscle group exercise, and several other kids’ activities from which to choose. They are age appropriate for preschoolers and require minimal supplies or preparation time.
Before class, read the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den several times, and ask some comprehension questions. Use some or all of the books on the book selection list to enhance these activities.
Craft and Game Ideas
This craft reinforces the lesson while exercising fine motor skills and hand-to-eye coordination for preschool children. Cut the yarn into pieces prior to the activity. The following supplies are needed:
- Daniel in the Lion’s Den coloring page
- Duct tape
- Yellow and brown yarn, cut into 1’’ strips
Give each preschooler a copy of the coloring page, and let them decorate it. Help them glue yarn scraps around the lion faces to form manes, and then give them pieces of duct tape to close the mouths. Next, sing the song from the “London Bridge” game below to reinforce the story.
This activity develops gross motor skills while helping preschoolers internalize the theme of the story. Play the game “London Bridge” in the usual fashion but substitute the following verses for the traditional words:
- Daniel’s in the lion’s den, lion’s den, lion’s den. /Daniel’s in the lion’s den, trusting God to save him.
- Angel with Daniel in the den, in the den, in the den. /Angel with Daniel in the den, sent from God to save him.
- Angel shut up the lion’s mouth, lion’s mouth, lion’s mouth. /Angel shut up the lion’s mouth, sent from God to save him.
Lion Face Painting
Face painting is a fun way to make a lion mask and safer than conventional masks. By following a few simple safety rules, preschoolers can pretend to be lions-for-a-day. If a preschool child does not want to be a lion, paint simple phrases like "Trust God" or "God Saves" on one cheek.
- Buy FDA-approved face paints, cosmetic-grade or hypo allergenic products.
- Water-based paints are easier to remove than oil-based paints.
- Avoid craft, acrylic, or other types of paint and commercial glitters as they may cause allergic reactions or eye damage.
- Clean brushes after each child and use clean sponges with each preschooler.
- Clean hands with hand sanitizer before and after painting faces.
Here is a supply list:
- Face paints in yellow, brown, and black
- Cosmetic sponges
Face paint can be an elaborate work of art or as simple as 1-2-3:
- Using a damp cosmetic sponge, apply yellow paint all over the face as a base coat.
- Dampen another sponge, dip into brown paint and use to make dark areas around the eyes, down the sides of the nose and around the mouth.
- Use black paint to color the tip of the nose, and add a few dots around the nose. Paint whiskers on each side of the nose and viola – one lion. Print out an extra copy of the coloring page and use the lion image as inspiration, but do not stress about making perfect lion faces. Children love face paint and are happy with any results.
Recommended Book Selection
Try some of these books to extend the lessons and activities about Daniel and the lions:
- Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Jean Marzollo, [Little, Brown Young Readers, 2004] – look for drawings of ants at the bottom of the pages for discussion questions galore.
- The Story of Daniel (Board Book), Patricia Pingry, [Candy Cane Press, 1999] – simple words and illustrations for preschoolers.
- Daniel and the Roaring Lions, Louise Ulmer, [Concordia Publishing House, 1998] – the story of Daniel and the lions told in rhyme.
Using one or all of these activities for Sunday school about Daniel in the lion's den is an excellent way to help preschoolers learn and remember this favorite Bible story. These hands-on activities help even the youngest students retain the information better.