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Daniel and the Lion’s Den Game

Daniel and the Lion's Den Game

Today we would like to bring you a great game you can use in any children’s ministry context, be it a small-group session or a large group service like children’s church. It’s a simple take on rock-paper-scissors themed to the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den (from Daniel chapter 6). It works like so:

  • 2 players stand back-to-back and choose one of three poses: Daniel’s praying hands, the angry fist of the governor, or the claws of the lion (see photos below).



  • On the count of three both players turn around and compare their poses.

  • The governor beats Daniel (because the governors were able to manipulate King Darius to throw Daniel in the lion’s den).

  • Daniel beats the lion (because he trusted in God and God’s angel shut the mouths of the lions).

  • The lion beats the governor (because after Daniel was saved, King Darius then threw the governors into the lion’s den).

  • In the case of a tie, try again.

This game is best used when discussing this passage in Daniel, or whenever you’re talking about prayer, trust in God or the power of God. Of course, the game is also just plain fun so you can also use it as a fun additional activity when you planned your meeting too short or when adult service is too long.

We first learned this game from our good friends and mentors Pastors Paul and Jessica Dietzel of Faith Family in Owosso, Michigan. Upon some checking the Dietzels did not recall where they discovered the game but we would love to credit them as helping to popularize this version.

If you’ve already heard of this game you might recognize the angry fist as relating to guards instead of governors. The reason we use the concept of the governors is because of what’s written in the text. The English Standard Version calls these men “presidents and satraps” (Daniel 6:3, 4, 6, etc.). Likewise the NIV calls them “administrators and satraps.” No big deal. Just thought an explanation was appropriate.

For a large group, an alternative approach is as follows:

  • Have everyone in your large group get in a pair (if you have an odd number of kids, make sure the odd one out gets to play with a ministry team member).
  • Have all groups play at the same time, so someone on-stage or with a microphone will do the three-count.
  • The losing member of each pair must sit down.
  • The winner of each pair must find another partner.
  • The last child standing wins (You can give them a prize if that’s how you roll!).

BONUS: If you’re teaching on Daniel and the Lion’s Den you can use the basis of this game (rock, paper, scissors) as a good object lesson. Grab a rock, a piece of paper and a pair of scissors (I know. You’ll be shopping for months to find such rare items!). You can say the rock which we use for Daniel represents Daniel’s rock-solid trust in God. We often talk of Jesus as our “rock.” The paper (representing the governors) can represent the machinations of evil men and how they try to use earthly power to harm us but their power is as brittle as paper. If you have a sheet of flash paper available it might be a fun addition (flash paper is paper that disappears in a flash when lit on fire. It can be found at most magic shops or on Amazon.com ). Scissors (representing the lions) are sharp and dangerous to the body but cannot hurt the soul. Roll with it!

Well, I hope this game will be helpful in your ministry! Godspeed!

P.S. Aimee hijacked this article to add a relevant song: Lions by Lost and Found. The song can be heard by clicking on the YouTube video below.


9 Comments to Daniel and the Lion’s Den Game

  1. jocelyn guerrero

    wow thanks alot for this it is really helpfull espesially since we have a small church and small kids ministry and it helps to try to find diffrent ways to reach out to the kids.

    thanks.

    • Aimee

      Hi Jocelyn! Thanks so much for your comment. Sorry that it took me so long to write back! I hope that your ministry to children is going well. Glad that you liked this resource! We were happy to hear it. God bless!

  2. thank you so much for this one!! God bless all the more!!

    • Aimee

      Hi Micah! Sorry I’m so late in responding but I just wanted to say thank you for your comment! :) Glad that you liked reading this post. :)

  3. Nancy

    Those Sampson kids are so cute on here!! Well, they still are. lol

    • Aimee

      Oh my goodness, they are adorable! Haha. They look so little in these pictures! Thanks for your comment, Nancy! :)

  4. carol

    Thanks for the idea look for more 2mor we are doing this lesson…do u have anymore ? Ages 5-12

    • Aimee

      Hi Carol!

      Thanks for your message! That’s great that you happened to find something that fit in with your lesson for this past Sunday!

      To answer your question, we do have other games we do. Off of the top of my head… If you haven’t done sword drills before you could always name a chapter of the Bible and a verse and have the kids try to find the scripture the fastest. Then whoever finds the verse can read it aloud. It can be a great opportunity to minister to the kids that have trouble finding books within the Bible because volunteers or some of the older children can help them find out how to find the specific books, chapters, and verses within the Bible.

      We also used to make up a story as a listening activity (in preparation before the main message was given). Then we’d ask a few tiny pieces of information from the story that if the children were listening closely they might be able to provide the answer. We’re modifying this now to make it a Bible story tied into the lesson and we’ll probably post soon and let everyone know how it goes! The key of this is that it is fun and encourages listening. It’s not your everyday question and answer after hearing a lesson. The story has to be a bit whacky and have random bits of information in it. One way you could accomplish this is by making silly comments from your own point of view as you tell the story and include lots of whacky tidbits that might be clues to things you might ask. We’ll try to make a video of an example sometime soon.

      One of my favorite games was where we bought a giant piece of paper (school supply stores would have these) and we used an old slide projector to project a maze drawing I had printed out. Then we traced the maze onto the giant paper. So basically, in short, finding a creative way to make a giant maze. Then we’d ask questions that might have related to the lesson for the day and whenever someone guessed the question right, they had 5 seconds to try their hand at completing the maze. The kids -loved- this game. The other kids would count to 5 while the kid drawing on the maze was drawing.

      I’m not sure this is a game so much, but it seemed to be enjoyed like the rest of the games. Sometimes we had a re-cap the main message in 60 seconds game. We asked for a volunteer from among the kids to re-cap the main message as best as they could in 60 seconds.

      And also in the not-so-sure it’s a game category, we bought one of those extra-large koosh balls (the balls that are stress-relievers because they are squishy, but when you buy the large ones they are really fun to throw and catch and hold) and then used it during a question and answer time after the main message. It really encouraged the kids to ask questions because sometimes even the shy ones wanted a chance to hold the giant koosh ball. It loses its mystery if you leave it out for times other than a special point in the service, I’ve noticed! If you are unfamiliar with what a koosh ball is, you can Google it and it will pop right up with an image.

      Then another game I really enjoy is to create a board out of something that has pieces of paper covering game or activity options. At the end of the church day sometimes if we had enough time for 1 more activity we could pick a mystery activity from the board. Some of the activities might have been ones I mentioned above. Then occasionally we’d place a special activity like “pie pastor Dwayne in the face.” That was always fun. :) But I admit some weeks we didn’t want to pie anyone and we didn’t make that one of the secret options!

      In non Bible games but ones you could use between other lesson-related activities some of my favorites I again would have to borrow from Pastors Paul and Jessica Dietzel who also have borrowed from others so the origins are a bit unknown! :) But a good one is “counts.” The kids team up with a partner (much like this Daniel & the Lion’s Den game). Then they secretly pick a number that they can count to with their fingers on one hand. They go back to back and raise the number of fingers they have picked. Then we count to 3 and turn around. When each of the kids turns around they have their hands held up with their chosen amount of numbers shown on their fingers. The first child to add together both numbers wins. So if one child is holding up 2 fingers and the other child is holding up 3 fingers, the first child to say “five!” is the winner. It is a great ice breaker and they kids really get into it.

      Four corners is also a fun game depending on what kind of space you’re working in. If you have enough space for the kids to move safely around, you can hang up 4 numbers in the corners of the room (1, 2, 3, 4) then tear up a bunch of paper strips and write down 1, 2, 3, 4 on them and place them into a hat or a bucket or whatever you might have. If you can play some music while the kids are walking around that’s great and makes it a little more energetic. Basically, the game is played by the kids walking around until the music stops and then they have to pick a corner and stay there until the number is drawn from the bucket/hat. If their number is called then they have to sit down. The game repeats until there’s just one winner. You can relate this game back to your lesson, even, because the corners of the room don’t need to be 1, 2, 3, 4. For example, if your lesson is about learning about the four gospels of the New Testament you can name your corners Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (and then you would change the paper slips in the bucket/hat to say Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, too).

      There’s one game I’d like to do that I haven’t tried yet. I’m borrowing the game from a children’s therapy activity/game that builds listening skills in children. A child pulls a question out of a bag, answers it, then whoever they are paired with in the game has to repeat back what the child’s response was. It is very simple and it is possible that some kids might find it boring but I want to try it out and see how it goes! In a children’s ministry setting, the questions written on slips of paper in the bag might have to do with the day’s lesson or a Bible story. So one child would pull a question out of the bag (let’s say for example’s sake that the question is “What is your favorite book in the Bible”), give their response, and their game partner would say something along the lines of, “Your favorite book in the Bible is ____.” It is a game that really pushes the kids to think because in order to do well in the game they have to listen to each other well enough that they can repeat back what the other child has said.

      So hopefully that’s a good start. We’ll try to post some video examples of some of these activities and more as time goes by. In the meantime I hope that you find some of those ideas helpful. And if you have any more questions you can ask anytime! Thanks again for writing, Carol! :)

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