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.