Nathanael seems to encompass various parallel ideas in his short passage, there is the question of identity, the invitation, and the character trait of honesty. These games explore these ideas so choose the game that best supports the idea you are trying to highlight.
Who am I?– This is an classic party game. The idea is that each person is assigned a character and the name is then stuck on the persons forehead or back. By only asking yes/no questions the individual must discover the identity written on the paper. Choose people that the whole group will be familiar with and with younger children choose a specific that the child agrees on – e.g. which character from SpongeBob SquarePants are you? or what Disney princess are you?
Guess who – if you have a small group and can access enough individual games then play this classic game. If not then make a human sized one by splitting your group into 2 and having each player pick a person from the opposing side. Get everybody to stand up and when they are excluded have them sit down. For smaller groups don’t split, rather have the leader write a name on a piece of paper and answer the questions.
Follow the leader – Another classic that tie in well with this lesson is a simple follow the leader game. Simply appoint a leader, and trail behind them copying their actions. Great for younger children and those with space as the movements and actions become more and more exaggerated.
And then he saw… – a game for the older kids tying in with the idea that Jesus ‘saw’ Nathanael while he was praying under the tree even though Nathanael was alone. Have one person face away from the rest of the group and describe what they imagine they can see. As they describes the scene the group need to respond to create it. This leads well into a discussion on how God sees us even when he can seem very far away.
That’s the truth – Nathanael was honest but being honest isn’t always an easy think to model, we tell little white lies all the time. give your youngsters the following 3 examples and have them come up with an answer that is 100% truthful.
1. A girl you know at school asks you if you like her picture of a horse. The picture isn’t very good and doesn’t look like a horse, but you know she spent a lot of time working on it and is very happy with the result. How do you respond?
2. You see your neighbour with tears in her eyes. When you ask why she is upset, she tell you that her friend thought her new dress made her look fat. Her friends comment was true. How do you respond?
3. Your young friend wants to show you a magic trick. The trick should make a coin disappear. The trick does not work and you can see the coin at the end. Your friend doesn’t know you can see the coin. They ask if you are impressed by their magic. How do you respond?