Lesson 2: Fruit of the Spirit: Joy  01/27/2023
Classroom: My Classroom
Galatians 5:22; Nehemiah 8:1-3, 10-12 Leader Guide for Grades 1 & 2

Teachers Dig In

 

Dig In to the Bible

  • Read: Galatians 5:22; Nehemiah 8:1-3, 10-12
  • In This Passage: After they finish rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, Nehemiah and his friends read from God’s Word. They’re sad to realize they haven’t been obeying God, but Nehemiah tells them to celebrate because the joy of the Lord is our strength.
  • Bible Point: Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.
  • Summary Verse: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Dig Deeper

  • You’ll Be Teaching: Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Sometimes Christians mistakenly portray the message that if you love God, you’ll never be sad or go through a hard time. Sadness is a normal human emotion, and it’s what the Israelites felt in today’s story! But joy isn’t rooted in our circumstances. Help kids see that even when sad things happen, the joy of the Lord is their strength.
  • Think About: What brings you joy?

 

Dig In to Prayer

  • Ask God to fill your kids with so much joy, it bubbles over in their lives.

 

Quick Tip

  • There will be times your kids display attitudes that are anything but joyful. From a preschooler’s temper tantrum to a preteen’s obstinance, you’ll face challenges with all ages. Instead of scolding kids or forcing them to go along with things they don’t want to do, use these moments as teachable moments. Help kids see they can have joy from the Holy Spirit even when things don’t go their way.

This Lesson at a Glance

Opening

Kids share about a topic related to the lesson.

Supplies

  • Bible
  • red paper hearts, no smaller than 4x5 inches (1 per child)
  • pencils
  • tape

Easy Prep

  • Ensure your brown paper tree from last week is still intact with the “love” hearts on it. Leave it up for the entire unit on fruit of the Spirit.
  • Write the word “joy” on a whiteboard or somewhere kids can see and copy it.

Music Video

Kids sing songs of praise to God.

Supplies

  • “I'm All In” (watch or download here)
  • “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (watch or download here)
  • “To God Be the Glory” (watch or download here)

Core Bible Discovery

Kids act out the story, have a joyful party, and cheer for God.

Supplies

  • Bible
  • upbeat music
  • music player
  • small snack (1 per child)
  • small drink (1 per child)
  • wet wipes
  • crepe-paper streamers
  • inflated balloons
  • tape

Easy Prep

  • Place all the party supplies out of sight.

Core Bible at Home

Only available in One Room class format.

 

Talk-About Video

Kids watch a video and discuss the Bible point.

Supplies

  • “Joy in Africa” teaching video (watch or download here)

Preschool Puppet Skit

Recommended for preschoolers.

 

Object Lesson

Kids make straws wiggle with joy.

Supplies

  • jumbo smoothie straws (2 per child)

Easy Prep

  • Prepare straws (1 per child) by cutting in a spiral pattern from one end of each straw to the other. Leave about an inch of uncut straw.

Deeper Bible

Kids practice finding joy.

Supplies

  • Bible
  • white construction paper (1 piece per child)
  • large craft sticks (1 per child)
  • washable markers

Easy Prep

  • Cut a large construction-paper circle for each child. Tape each circle to a craft stick to create a round sign.

High-Energy Game

Kids play a version of Tag.

Supplies

  • spray bottle of water (use mist setting)
  • box of tissues
  • upbeat music (optional)
  • music player (optional)

Low-Energy Game

Kids balance cups and plates.

Supplies

  • paper plates (1 for every 2 kids)
  • 8-ounce foam cups (1 for every 2 kids)
  • upbeat music (optional)
  • music player (optional)

Craft

Kids make pompoms to help them celebrate.

Supplies

  • 3-ounce paper cups (4 per child)
  • various colors of curling ribbon
  • Glue Dots
  • washable markers
  • Bible
  • child-safe scissors

Easy Prep

  • Make a sample craft to show kids.

Life Application Wrap-Up

Kids cheer for how God has brought them joy.

 

Take-Home

Kids receive a take-home page about the lesson.

Supplies

  • this week’s “Dig In @ Home” handout (1 per child) (download here)

Easy Prep

  • Add your church announcements to the “Dig In @ Home” handout.

*Marked supplies can be reused from Core Bible Discovery

Let's keep kids safe! You can help by using supplies as instructed for only ages 3+, purchasing child-safe items, and being aware of allergy concerns.

Opening [5 min]

Welcome

Supplies

  • Bible
  • red paper hearts, no smaller than 4x5 inches (1 per child)
  • pencils
  • tape

Easy Prep

  • Ensure your brown paper tree from last week is still intact with the “love” hearts on it. Leave it up for the entire unit on fruit of the Spirit.
  • Write the word “joy” on a whiteboard or somewhere kids can see and copy it.

Welcome

  • Thank kids for coming.
  • Make announcements.
  • Introduce new kids.
  • Collect the offering.

 

Introduce the Lesson

  • Say: Last week and over the next few weeks, we’re learning about the fruit of the Spirit. One place fruit grows is on a tree. Point to the tree you made ahead of time. Last week we added “love fruits” because we learned about love.
  • Give each child a red paper heart.
  • Say: This week we’ll learn that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Hold up a heart, and tell kids to copy “joy” from the board onto their own paper hearts.
  • Say: Today we’ll find out that being friends with God brings us joy and happiness. Since God brings each of you joy, write your name on your heart fruit, too. Kids may flip their hearts to the side without “joy” to write their names, as they may need the entire space.
  • Lead kids to tape their fruit to the tree.

 

Share

  • Say: As we learn about joy today, we’ll hear how much joy and excitement God’s friends had when they listened to the Bible. Let’s begin by talking about books we enjoy having read to us. Share about a book you loved to have read to you as a child.
  • In small groups, have kids share about a book they love to listen to.
  • After small groups have discussed, have a few kids share with the whole group what they talked about in their small groups.

 

Summarize

            Open a Bible, and say: It’s great to hear a good story. As we look into the Bible, we’ll find out that it’s full of true stories about real people who lived a long time ago. Today we’ll read about some people who had so much joy and happiness when they got to hear God’s Word, the Bible. And we’ll find out that joy comes from God. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and being friends with God brings us joy and happiness.

            Pray, thanking God that joy is a fruit of the Spirit that he gives us to share with others.

Music Video [10 min]

I'm All In

Supplies

  • “I'm All In” (watch or download here)
  • “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (watch or download here)
  • “To God Be the Glory” (watch or download here)

Tip

  • Don’t have internet in your classroom? That’s okay! You can choose your own worship songs from our Best Of Dig In Music DVD here.

 

Sing Songs to God

          Sing the three songs in any order.

Core Bible Discovery [20 min]

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy (Galatians 5:22; Nehemiah 8:1-3, 10-12)

Supplies

  • Bible
  • upbeat music
  • music player
  • small snack (1 per child)
  • small drink (1 per child)
  • wet wipes
  • crepe-paper streamers
  • inflated balloons
  • tape

Easy Prep

  • Place all the party supplies out of sight.

Tip

  • You can purchase downloadable music and other items to enhance your DIG IN program here.

 

Act It Out

          Say: Today we’ll learn that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. That means when we’re friends with God, he helps us feel joy and happiness in our hearts. Let’s read in the Bible about some people who got joy from God.

           Open the Bible. Say: It says here all God’s people gathered together in a place called the Water Gate. Point to a door in your room. Let’s pretend that’s the Water Gate and gather together there. Lead kids to gather in closely around the “Water Gate.” Hold the Bible behind you as kids settle, and stand away from the Water Gate.

          Say: All the people were there because they wanted to learn about God. So they asked a church leader named Ezra to bring out a Bible. In exaggerated motions, bring the Bible in front of you and open it up, showing a sense of awe. The people knew the Bible was the most special book ever and that they could learn about God from the Bible. All the men and women and children who were old enough to understand were there. That’s like us! Give me a cheer if you want to get to know God from the Bible! Lead kids in a short cheer.

          Say: So Ezra brought out the Bible. Emphasize again that you’re holding a special book, and move around the group so you’re standing by the Water Gate, facing kids. Say: Then… Read Nehemiah 8:1-3. Lead kids to put a hand up to an ear to show they’re listening carefully.

          Say: The people were so happy to learn about God from the Bible! And their leader, Nehemiah, told them to celebrate about all they’d learned and about God’s love for them. He said to have a big party with food and drinks and gifts. He reminded them that “the joy of the Lord is your strength!” That means God brings us joy, and joy helps us do hard things!

 

Have a Party

          Say: So let’s have a joyful party like Nehemiah said to, and we’ll celebrate our loving God who brings us joy and happiness. Remember, joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Bring out the party supplies. Lead kids in decorating the room for a great party for several minutes. Play worship music as kids work.

          After kids have finished decorating, lead them in singing a favorite worship song with joy and excitement.

          Next, gather the children in a circle and have some children help you pass out a snack and a drink to each child.

          Say: God loves when his friends have joy. God is the one who gives us joy and happiness! God was happy that his friends in the Bible had a celebration, and he’s happy for us to have a celebration, too. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, so let’s talk about some joyful things now.

          Share a few amazing things about God, and talk about how those things bring you joy. Have kids cheer after each thing you share. For example, one amazing thing about God is that he made the whole world, and maybe it brings you joy to think of how God made you exactly how he did. Or maybe you share how amazing it is to be loved by God and that knowing he loves you, no matter what, brings you joy.

          Ask: • What’s something amazing you know about God? Help kids if needed. It’s okay if they repeat ideas, such as God loves me, God takes care of me, God is my friend, and God made the whole world. After each child shares, briefly explain how that thing can bring the kids joy, and then lead them all in a cheer.

          Say: Joy is a fruit of the spirit, and it comes from being friends with God and getting to know him more and more like the people did in the Bible. Let’s cheer one more time for God! Lead kids in one more joyful cheer for God.

Core Bible at Home [20 min]

Not available for this age level.

To use this feature, please ask your DIG IN Director to create a One Room classroom. For instructions and tips on creating a classroom for at-home lessons, click here.

Talk-About Video [10 min]

Joy in Africa

Supplies

  • “Joy in Africa” teaching video (watch or download here)

Tip

  • Don’t have internet in your classroom? That’s okay! You can download the videos before class using the “download” button at the link provided, or purchase DVDs here

 

Discuss and Watch “Joy in Africa”

          Say: We’re learning that joy is a fruit of the Spirit.

          Ask: • Tell about something that makes you really happy. Share your own story first.

          Say: Usually we associate being happy with having everything we want. But joy is a little different! Let’s see how God brought joy to a school in Africa…even when the kids didn’t have everything we might think makes us happy.

          Watch “Joy in Africa.”

          Ask: • Which of the things that we said make us happy were in the video?

          • What were some things the kids experienced that seemed really hard?

          • How do you think the kids in the orphanage were able to have joy even though they had hard lives?

          • After watching this video, how would you describe the difference between happiness and joy?

          Say: We don’t need to have everything we want to have joy. That’s because joy doesn’t come from what we have. Joy comes from God, because joy is a fruit of the Spirit.

Preschool Puppet Skit [10 min]

Preschool Puppet Skit

Not available for this age level.

Object Lesson [10 min]

Joyful Straws

Supplies

  • jumbo smoothie straws (2 per child)

Easy Prep

  • Prepare straws (1 per child) by cutting in a spiral pattern from one end of each straw to the other. Leave about an inch of uncut straw.

Tip

  • If you decide to do this activity before the Core Bible Discovery activity, consider using your straws to celebrate during that block, too!   

 

Blow Into a Regular Straw

            Say: We use straws to help us drink water, juice, or even milkshakes. 

            Ask: • What do you like to drink through a straw?   

            Say: Let’s do something different with straws. Let’s blow through them.   

  • Give each child a regular, uncut straw.
  • Encourage kids to take a deep breath and then blow through the straw.

 

Blow Into a Cut Straw

            Say: Now let’s blow through straws again. But this time you’ll blow through a special straw, like this.

  • Show kids one of the pre-cut straws. Stretch out the straw so they can see the spiral cut.
  • Give each child a pre-cut straw, and show kids how to blow into the uncut end.
  • Encourage kids to take a deep breath, blow through the straws as hard as they can, and watch what happens to the straws. They’ll wobble and wiggle back and forth.
  • Laugh with kids and encourage them as they make their straws wiggle and move for several minutes.   

 

Talk About It

            Say: We blew through two different straws. Hold up a regular straw and a pre-cut straw. 

            Ask: • How was blowing through the second straw different from blowing through the first one?  

            Say: The second straws were funny! We were surprised when they wiggled. It’s like our breath filled the straws with joy and made them dance around and have lots of fun. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Like we put wiggles in the straws, God puts joy, happiness, and laughter into us when we’re friends with him!

Deeper Bible [15 min]

Down in My Heart to Stay

Supplies

  • Bible
  • white construction paper (1 piece per child)
  • large craft sticks (1 per child)
  • washable markers

Easy Prep

  • Cut a large construction-paper circle for each child. Tape each circle to a craft stick to create a round sign.

Talk About Joy

          Give each child a round sign.

          Say: Today we’re learning that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. When God’s friends got together to learn more about God, they celebrated. When good things happen, it’s easy to feel joy. Have kids use the markers to draw a smiley face on one side of each sign.

          Tell about a time something really good happened in your life and you felt joy. You might share about getting married, celebrating a special birthday, or going on a special trip.

          Ask: Tell about a time you felt really joyful. Kids may share about going someplace special with their families or getting a special gift.

          Say: But sometimes sad things happen and we don’t feel very joyful. Have kids draw a frowning face on the other side of their signs.

          Share about something sad that happened to you. You may have lost a loved one, moved away from friends, or not gotten a job you were hoping for.

          Ask: • Tell about a time you were sad. Kids may share about losing a pet, breaking a favorite toy, or not getting to go someplace special.

 

Practice Finding Joy

          Say: Let’s play a game with our signs to see how God can give us joy even when sad things happen.

          Say: When someone really special, like Grandma, comes for a visit, how do you feel? Encourage kids to show you with their signs. When it’s time for her to leave, how do you feel? Encourage kids to show you with their signs.

          Say: If you feel sad, you can remember that Jesus has put joy in your heart that never goes away. Because we know how much God loves us, we can have joy even when our hearts are sad. Listen to this. Read aloud Psalm 47:1.

          Say: That reminds me of a fun song about joy. Sing “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart.” (If you aren’t familiar with this song, you can find it online.) Have kids all turn their signs to the smiley sides as they sing.

 

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. (Where?)

Down in my heart. (Where?)

Down in my heart.

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. (Where?)

Down in my heart to stay!

         

          Say: Let’s try another example. When you get a cool toy for your birthday, how do you feel? Encourage kids to show you with their signs. If that toy gets lost or broken, how do you feel? Encourage kids to show you with their signs.

          Say: But remember, Jesus is always with us, and he puts joy into our hearts because joy is the fruit of the Spirit. Sing the song again. Have kids all turn their signs to the smiley sides.

          Say: Let’s try one more. When you’re going to play in the park, how do you feel? Encourage kids to show you with their signs. When it starts to rain and you can’t go, how do you feel? Encourage kids to show you with their signs.

          Say: Let’s sing our song one more time to remember that God puts his joy deep in our hearts to stay. Sing the song again. Have kids all turn their signs to the smiley sides.

          Say: When sad things happen, we don’t feel happy. But because we know God loves us, we can trust that he’s always with us. That gives us joy because joy is a fruit of the Spirit.

High-Energy Game [10 min]

Tagged With Joy

Supplies

  • spray bottle of water (use mist setting)
  • box of tissues
  • upbeat music (optional)
  • music player (optional)

Tip

  • You can purchase downloadable music and other items to enhance your DIG IN program here

 

Play a Version of Tag

            Say: Today we’re learning that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. That means God’s Spirit can help us have joy no matter what’s going on in our lives. We can also help others find that joy—we can spread joy when others are feeling sad. Let’s see what that’s like with a fun game!

  • Invite two willing people to be the Tagger and the Joy-Giver.
  • The Tagger will be trying to tag everyone by misting others with the spray bottle. When a person is misted, he or she will freeze and pretend to cry.
  • The Joy-Giver will hold a tissue, and when he or she spots people who are “crying,” the Joy-Giver will unfreeze them by tagging them with the tissue—to symbolize drying their tears. Then those people are free to run again and will shout with joy.
  • Play a few rounds, allowing new people to be the Tagger and Joy-Giver.
  • If you’d like, play upbeat music while kids play.

           

Talk About It

            Ask: • What was it like when you were stuck being sad and someone freed you to run and play with joy again?

             • What was it like to unfreeze people and help them go from sadness to joy?

            Say: You were only pretending to be sad and cry in the game, but we’ve all had times in real life when we’ve been sad. It’s a relief when we shake off the sadness and find joy again.

            Ask: • Tell about a time someone helped you have joy when you were sad. Share your own story first.

            Say: Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and it does our hearts and our lives so much good. Joy frees us from sadness, and when we have joy, we can share it with others so they’re not stuck in sadness, either.  

Low-Energy Game [10 min]

Set the Table

Supplies

  • paper plates (1 for every 2 kids)
  • 8-ounce foam cups (1 for every 2 kids)
  • upbeat music (optional)
  • music player (optional)

Tip

  • You can purchase downloadable music and other items to enhance your DIG IN program here

 

Carry the Dishes

            Say: The people we read about in the Bible had a big feast to celebrate what they were learning from the Bible. It must’ve taken a long time to set the table for all those people. Let’s play a game where we’ll carry some dishes and pretend to get ready for a big feast.

  • Form two groups, and have the groups stand on opposite sides of the room.
  • Give the cups to one group and the plates to the other.
  • Show kids how to carry a plate with a cup balanced on top without touching the cup.
  • Have kids pair up in their groups. Each pair will work with a pair in the other group to form a team of four.
  • On your cue, have one child from each team carry a plate to a teammate who has a cup.
  • The teammate with the cup will take the plate, stack the cup on it, and carry it carefully to a teammate who has a plate, trying not to touch the cup while traveling across the room.
  • Play continues, relay-style, with kids adding their cups or plates to the stack until all the cups and plates for a team are stacked.
  • If you’d like, play upbeat music while kids play.

           

Talk About It

            Say: We worked hard today to get ready for our pretend feast. It’s fun to celebrate something special with a meal, even if it takes some work.

            Share an example of a special meal that you enjoyed. It may have been a holiday dinner, going out to celebrate a new job, or a meal celebrating the birth of a new baby. Explain what you were celebrating and why the meal was special.

            Ask: • What’s a special meal you’ve shared with your family or friends? Kids may say a special birthday celebration, Thanksgiving, or Christmas dinner. Encourage kids to share why the meal was special.

            Say: We have lots of ways to celebrate special times in our lives. God gives us so many reasons to celebrate and be joyful. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and it’s always a gift from God. Sharing a meal with our friends and families is a great way to celebrate, just like God’s friends in the Bible did.

Craft [20 min]

Yay, God! Pompoms

Supplies

  • 3-ounce paper cups (4 per child)
  • various colors of curling ribbon
  • Glue Dots
  • washable markers
  • Bible
  • child-safe scissors

Easy Prep

  • Make a sample craft to show kids.

 

Make Celebration Pompoms

            Say: God gave us the Bible to help us know him better. The people we read about in the Bible learned some amazing things about God when Ezra read to them. They even had a party to celebrate! We can be excited about all the amazing things we’re learning about God, too. Let’s make something special to help us celebrate how great God is.

  • Give each child some ribbon, and have kids each cut about forty 18-inch pieces.
  • Give each child two cups and several Glue Dots.
  • Help kids put the Glue Dots around the outside and bottom of one of the cups.
  • Show kids how to attach ribbons to the bottom of the cup so the ribbons hang down past the top of the cup when it’s turned upside down. 

  • After kids finish gluing about 20 ribbons to the cup, show them how to add a few more Glue Dots to the bottom of the cup and then stack the other cup over the ribbon cup to seal the ribbons inside the pompom. 
  • Give each child a second set of cups, and have kids repeat the process to create a second pompom.
  • While kids are waiting for others to finish, allow them to color the outer cups with markers.

 

Celebrate God’s Promises

            Lead kids to an open part of the room with their pompoms. Show them how to hold the pompoms so the cups are in their fists and the ribbons flow freely.

            Say: When someone promises to do something for us, just thinking about the promise can bring us joy.

            Tell about something you were promised that was exciting. Maybe a friend promised to come and visit, your spouse promised to paint the kitchen, or your mom promised to make your favorite dinner next week.

            Ask: • Tell about an exciting promise someone made to you. Kids may share about cookies Mom promised they could eat if they finished their dinner, a trip to the park Dad promised for next weekend, or a special place Grandpa promised to take them next summer.

            Say: God puts his joy in us when we learn more about him. This joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Let’s look at the Bible to find out some promises God’s given us that we can celebrate. Read each of the following promises from the Bible aloud, and lead kids to wave their pompoms in the air and shout “Yay, God!” after each one. Continue reviewing promises as time allows.           

  • John 3:16: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (Shout: Yay, God!)
  • Isaiah 40:31: “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Shout: Yay, God!)

  • Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ ” (Shout: Yay, God!)

            Say: We can celebrate God’s promises. When we’re friends with God and we remember that he keeps all his promises, he gives us joy. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Thank you, God, for promising to take care of us!

Life Application Wrap-Up [5 min]

Jump and Shout

Cheer for God

          Say: Today we found out that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. We heard how God’s friends were filled with joy. One way we show joy is by jumping and shouting. Let’s think of things that make us feel joy and happiness, and then we’ll jump and shout and cheer for God because God gives us every single good thing we have!

          Share about one thing that brings you joy, and then lead kids in jumping and shouting “Thank you, God!” for the good thing God gave you. You can share about anyone or anything that brings you joy.

          Ask: • What brings you joy? Kids might share about family members, toys, foods, or things they love to play. Lead kids in cheering “Thank you, God!” after each example a child shares.

          Continue as time allows.

 

Pray

          Say: There are so many things we can be joyful about. And God brings us all that joy! Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, so when we’re friends with God, he fills us with joy. Let’s talk to God once more to thank him for giving us joy. Lead kids in a brief prayer, thanking God that joy is a fruit of the Spirit.

          Say: I feel joy today that you came to church. I hope you’ll come back next week so we can learn more about being best friends with our amazing God!

Take-Home [0 min]

Dig In @ Home

Supplies

  • this week’s “Dig In @ Home” handout (1 per child) (download here)

Easy Prep

  • Add your church announcements to the “Dig In @ Home” handout.

    Distribute a copy of the “Dig In @ Home” handout to kids as they leave, or email it to parents during the week.