Sunday, September 18, 2011

Teaching the 10 Commandments with Hand Motions

I'm one of three Sunday School teachers at our church.  Because our church is so small, we teach using a "one room schoolhouse" format --- the kids are all in one room being taught the same material regardless of age.  The youngest in the room is Tom Thumb and the oldest is in 5th grade.  This proves to be challenging at times, but most of the time the older children step up to assist the teacher and the younger children.

Over the next couple of months leading up to Advent, we are teaching a segment on the ten commandments.  We'll be covering one commandment per week.  Since I was up to teach on week one, I offered to make a learning aid for the kids.  I made the typical looking tablets and printed out the commandments individually so the kids could tape them up each week.  

The number one thing I wanted to find for week one, however, was a good hand motion mnemonic to help them remember the commandments.  If you search online for "ten commandments hand motions", you will find a million You Tube videos and other links on how to do it.  I liked a lot of what I saw, but my problem was I liked #6 from video A and #4 from video B and #3 from video C and so on.    Not to mention, the motions on some of these videos were completely nonsensical and sometimes inappropriate.  There was even one for commandment #5 where you made a spanking motion on the word "mother" and the pastor mentioned in his teaching that "this may not be politically correct, but..."  What?!?!  In the end, I made up my own instructions for me, the kids, and the other teachers with all the motions that I thought made the most sense and would be easiest for the kids to learn.  

So for your commandment teaching pleasure (ha ha!), I present the Fairy Tale Mama version of the 10 Commandment Hand Motions:

Commandment 1:
You shall have no other gods before Me.
(Hold up one finger, like a big #1)

Commandment 2:
You shall not make any idols to bow down to and worship.
(Hold up your index and middle fingers together and make them “bow” up and down.)

Commandment 3:
You shall not take the name of the LORD in vain.
(Hold three fingers up to your lips, instead of the usual one finger, and say, “SHHH.”)

Commandment 4:
Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.
(Hold up your index and middle fingers on each hand, joined together like a steeple. Then, rest your cheek on your right hand like you're sleeping.  This is to represent going to church and then using the Sabbath as a day of rest.)

Commandment 5:
Honor your father and mother.
(Have child put 5 fingers of right hand to their temple in a military salute.)

Commandment 6:
You shall not murder.
(Hold up six fingers, pointing one finger like a gun into the palm of the other five.)

Commandment 7:
You shall not commit adultery.
(Hold out your left hand palm up and have your index and your middle finger of your right hand walk on the palm, like a bride and groom walking down the aisle.)

Commandment 8:
You shall not steal.
(Hold up five fingers on your right hand and three on your left.  Have your right hand grab the three fingers on your left.)

Commandment 9:
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
(Hold up nine fingers. Then, cover your mouth with one hand after the other.  No lying!  God always wants us to tell the truth!)

Commandment 10:
You shall not covet.
(Hold up ten fingers and pretend to “grab” in front on you as if saying, “Gimme! I want it!” )

Is there a special way you have learned to teach the 10 Commandments?  Any related games or crafts you've done? If so, please share!  We have 9 more weeks to go!


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. I have just spent half an hour trying to find hand motions and,like you, find some good and others I don't like from each selection. Yours are great, you have saved me lots of time.

Anonymous said...

On number 8 I hold up for fingers on each hand hiding the thumbs because in Jesus' day they would cut your thumbs off if you stole. Just a thought.

Benjamin Lotter said...

Thank you for these ideas. It inspired me to photograph my hands (like a time lapse) to show the motions of the 10 commandments. I switched up the motions a bit to make it flow better with the numbers 1 through 10. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

Tracie said...

We're studying the 10 commandments in my Bible study for moms and this is a great tool for us to remember them, and hopefully teach to our children. Thank you for compiling the list!

Anonymous said...

If you are Catholic, these ten Commandments are in the wrong order.