Blind Bartimaeus is a fantastic story because it holds many layers of meaning without reverting to complex or Jewish symbolism. For younger children Bartimaeus is a sick man who wants to be healed. As they get older the idea that he had listened and waited and was making a fool of himself for shouting at the air, hoping to be heard by Jesus, highlights both his faith and the importance of listening. As we move into the teens the significance of his cloak becomes more apparent, that this one form of shelter and identification can be so bravely abandoned, challenges them to move their faith beyond their own security.
Blind mans bluff – This traditional game is a great introduction for younger children to the concept of blindness and a good for older children to reinforce the faith it took for Bartimaeus to move towards Jesus.
Is that a Cloak – The point of this activity is to reinforce the value of Bartimaeus’ cloak. Sit the children in a circle and place in the middle a large shawl or cloak. Ask the children to think of creative uses for the garment. have the child demonstare the use – eg, coat, dress, skirt, blanket, pillow, wrapping for beloingings, hammock, picnic mat, batmans cape, butterfly wings…..
Sound Effects – If you have access to the internet within the church building then use this youtube video to play guess the sound, the sound plays then the curtain lifts to reveal what made the sound. Others available too!
Whose zoo – This is a game I used to play with my youth group but also work well with kids. Chose a child to be the zookeeper and send them out the room, then have each child chose an animal to be and share their animal noise and movement with the group (this ensures there are no duplications). Have the children leave the sitting area and move around the room. Invite the zookeeper back in and say the animals have escaped, they will come back (to their seats) if the zoo keeper calls out their names.
I would sacrifice – open a bag of counters or sweets and pour them on the table. explain to the children that these sweets represent the precious things in our lives. have the children list things important to them rewarding each with a sweet (but they can’t eat them now). when all the sweets are handed out talk about how each of us have a different number. Then ask the children what would make them give up their precious things. for example: how many sweets would they sacrifice to meet a celebrity? have the number put in the middle of the table. continue until you ask ending with meeting Jesus. did anyone still have sweets left? (if using sweets share them out at the end of the lesson)