The Book of Genesis introduces the story of Cain and Abel, two brothers who presented sacrifices to God. God was pleased with Abel's sacrifice but not Cain's. Cain grew jealous of Abel, resulting in homicide. Children can learn many lessons on maintaining self-control and healthy sibling relationships from the story of Cain and Abel.
1. Arts and Crafts
Craft activities can be used as keepsakes and will serve as a constant reminder of the story of Cain and Abel for children. Let children use paper plates to make simple crafts. Let children write the key verse, Genesis 4:9, "I'm I my brother's keeper?" on the paper plate. Have them decorate the plate with stickers and markers. Punch a hole at the top and pull yarn through. The plate can be hung on a bedroom wall. Another craft option is to have them draw a happy face on one side of the paper plate and a frowning face on the other side. Have them paste a Popsicle stick to the plate. As you read the story of Cain and Abel aloud, have them alternate between the the two faces and use the frowning face for Cain and the happy face for Abel.
Games that teach children how to react to unfairness and maintain self-control can accompany the lesson on Cain and Abel. Let children participate in opposing team games like tug-of-war. Divide the children into two equal teams. Have the teams line up facing each other. Have each team hold onto the ends of the rope. Create a dividing line between the two teams. On the word "go," each team must pull the rope to get members of the other team on their side of the line. The first team to accomplish this wins. After the game, open a discussion with children about how they felt about winning or losing. Emphasize to them that things in life will not always be fair and that there will always be winners and losers. Remind them to not let jealousy creep in like Cain but to be happy for the winning team.
3. Mock Sacrifices
A mock sacrifice will give children an idea of what Cain and Abel's sacrifices looked like to God. Let them create sacrifice altars with simple materials. Have the children drape blankets over two large tables. Let them place artificial fruit on the altars and place a toy sheep in the center of one table and straw in the center of the other. Have them place unlit candles on both tables. As an additional fun idea, have them act out the Bible story. Let one child dress as a farmer to act as Cain and have the other child dress as a shepherd to act as Abel.
You can improve the children's lesson on Cain and Abel by focusing on mending family relationships. Let them make cookies to be used as a learning tool. Have them roll out sugar cookie dough and press heart-shaped cookie cutters on it. Bake the cookies according to the instructions. Let cool. Cut each of the heart-shaped cookies in half to appear as broken hearts. Let kids use frosting to mend the hearts back together. For a different approach, have them make puzzle piece cookies and frost them together. Emphasize that although they might argue and fight with their siblings, they can use apologies and words of love to mend their relationships back together like the cookies.