The story of Ruth and Naomi is told in the book of Ruth, which is contained in the Old Testament of the Bible. Themes that run throughout the book include suffering, loss, provision, God’s sovereignty and the value of friendship. Use the story of Ruth andNaomi to teach children about how God both allows suffering in life and yet also provides blessings like good friends. Drive the lesson home with a craft about friendship.
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It is poetic and touching and tells the story of a Moabite woman named Ruth and her Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi. The story opens with Naomi and her husband moving from Israel to Moab in search of food during a bad famine. They have two sons there who marry Moabite women. In time, Naomi’s husband and sons die without providing children through Ruth or her sister Orpah. Naomi insisted that her daughters-in-law return to Moab and leave her to die but Ruth would not leave Naomi. Instead, the two go back to Israel together where Ruth works to take care of Naomi and eventually meets Boaz, a wealthy relative of Naomi’s who marries Ruth and takes care of both her and her mother-in-law. The story ends with Ruth and Boaz having a son who becomes the grandfather of the famous King David of Israel.
Read Ruth 1:15-18 to the children. Read from a children’s Bible if possible to make it easier for children to understand and follow along with you. Talk about what a good friend Ruth is being to Naomi because she is choosing to stay and help Naomi when she doesn’t have to. Talk about how Naomi was a widow and in her culture at that time, she would have had no way to provide for herself and likely would have starved to death since there was a famine. Explain how friendship means not just playing and having fun together, but helping people when they’re in trouble or in need. Talk about how a true friend is a blessing from God, just like the sun, rain and food are also blessings. Then, move into your friendship craft.
Gather cardboard toilet paper rolls, paper, scissors and craft glue for the children in your class. You will also need to print out a template for the craft.
Help the children cut the pieces of the template out of the paper. Glue the large, rectangular piece onto the toilet paper roll. Then, glue the thin strip to the middle of the roll to create a belt. Glue or tape Ruth’s head and arms to the top and sides of the vertical toilet paper roll. Glue on the feet to the bottom of the roll and finish by gluing the basket of wheat onto Ruth’s hands. Tie the craft back to the lesson by reminding children that Ruth was a friend to Naomi by going out into the fields and gathering wheat to feed herself and her mother-in-law.