The woman at the well story is packed full of symbolism, many elements can be expanded in the activities you choose to do, some less suited to various age groups than others. Choose your games to reflect what you think your group most needs to concentrate on and take away from this lesson. The first 2 play on the water theme, the next 2 on the idea of worship, and the last 2 on the idea of mission.
Empty Water Jars – This is a silly game suited to those people who have an outdoor space they can get wet. Find two large containers, outdoor planters or jars if possible. You will also need a measuring stick. Fill both containers half full of water. Split the children into 2 teams and give each child a plastic or disposable cup. Announce that the winning team will be the one with the most water in their container. It may also be wise to include the rule : you are not allowed to block people from taking water.
Water Pictures – For this game you will need tiles or laminated papers and a small amount of water. Put the children in small groups and explain this is a guess the picture game. Give each group a tile and a small amount of water. Have the chosen child draw a picture on the tile with water while the other children guess what it is. For younger children add some paint or food colouring to the water. Once the group has guessed they must choose the next artist and send them to the leader to find out the next item to draw. Eg. 5 rounds could be : house, car, eye-glasses, shoe, phone.
Worship Positions – have the children make up three worship positions to represent the three different ways of worship represented in the story – on the mountain, in the synagogue, and in spirit and truth. Examples could be; kneeling, arms raised, laying down, bowing your head etc. Adapt according to the space you have. Quick fire test the children using first an explanation of the position, second the place of worship and thirdly the character in the story who would have worshipped that way. Continue this game throughout the rest of the session as a memory aid.
Holy Spaces – adapt the game four corners to the worship places mentioned in the text. have the person who is designated ‘it’ to stand in the middle of the room and assume a worship position with their eyes closed. Designate 4 points in the room to be the synagogue, the mountain, the cross or spirit, and the Truth. The children run to the place they think the person in the middle is worshipping, once everyone has chosen the person in the middle calls out where they are worshipping. those who correctly guessed repeat until there is nobody/one left.
Gathering Wheat – This is a simple search and jigsaw game that can be played alone or incorporated into review questions.. Give each child an empty wheat card and place the wheat pieces in a closed bag. Have each child put their hand into the bag and pick a wheat piece in turn. If the piece is not needed return it to the bag. the first completed card is the winner. PDF download.
Mission possible – The mission you give to your children is to send a message from one person sitting at one side side of the room to a person sitting at the other side. The message must be “Jesus wants to tell you all about his father”. Have the kids come up with ideas and give them 5 minutes to put their idea into action. Make sure you leave the children with the idea that the easiest thing could be to send the first person to talk to the second person.