Hero Hospital VBS

 “Home to God's Outrageous Love”
From Matthew 21:14-16

It's up to leaders how they want to share the overall theme of Hero Hospital.  You can start and end each VBS day with it, use it in worship, talk about it during activities, or any other time you can think of, but whatever you do you must take seriously God's life-changing love through Jesus: 

God's gift of love and grace flows freely.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, however you feel, God's love will always find you.  For many, these ideas are outrageous.  When Jesus helped and healed freely, it was thought to be outrageous.  When he shared forgiveness and God's grace freely, it was thought to be outrageous.  A lot of people still think it's outrageous!  A love that the world sees as outrageous, is just the right kind of love in God's Kingdom.  Jesus presented us with a vision of God's kingdom--so let's get outrageous and actually start building it.  

God's love changes communities into places of praise, discovery, healing, and hope for all, and makes us into heroes.  You are challenged to make your church into Jesus' Vision of God's Kingdom.  Go out and do it!!!

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Science

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Let's discover how this wonderful world and all its amazing people work.

First, let's talk about learning for kids:

The goal of all of these science activities is for the participants to explore and experiment.  There are no prepared kits for kids to put together.  Instead the kids will get their brains firing on all cylinders--releasing positive hormones and building robust neural networks--as they play and learn.  Whatever lessons you teach kids about Jesus while they are playing like this literally get built into their brains.

The key is play!

What the best brain science tells us is that your goal should be to create an environment that has adult scaffolding to free up space for exploration and learning through play, so that kids develop neural mechanisms in their prefrontal cortex for proactive control like problem solving, planning, regulating and identifying emotions (learn more)

  •  Adult scaffolding is NOT giving a child a kit to put together, it IS giving them resources and examples and challenging them to complete a goal.  

  • Adult scaffolding is NOT completing a step for a child, it IS engaging a child's curiosity to problem solve through the step.

  • Adult scaffolding is NOT insisting that a child solves a problem or makes something exactly like you would, it IS giving the child support and freedom to make mistakes and make breakthroughs.

When you give kids the opportunity for this kind of exploration and learning, their brains literally get bigger.  Their brains and bodies get flooded with endorphins and serotonin.  Endorphins make you feel more positive, improve immune response, and reduce stress.  Serotonin boosts neurotransmission to improve memory and learning and even counteracts depression while improving sleep.  We cannot imagine that Jesus would be anything but thrilled with an activity that did all of this for a kid.

But wait, there's more. Discoveries in neuroplasticity have shown that adults can actually grow new neural pathways too.  You're never too old to grow new brain cells, and all you have to do is play!

The Power of Prosthetics

Introduction

Remember that your goal as a leader is to provide a scaffolding to support exploration and learning through free, yet guided, play that supercharges kids' brains as they're filled up with ideas and excitement for building God's kingdom.

If you are virtual:

Share your screen and take the kids to this amazing video about an engineer in Columbia using Lego for prosthetics.

If you are in person:

Show the kids this video about an engineer in Columbia using Lego for prosthetics.

Question to Explore

Does experiencing an illness or disability define all of who you are?

Answer: No!

Why?...

Engineer a Prosthesis

Prostheses, like wheelchairs and canes, are tools used by people experiencing a disability to live out their lives.  The lives they live out are no different from any other person in terms of their relationship with God, the love they have for friends and family, the jobs they work hard at, or the talents they share with the world.  Some people have tools like two feet while others have one foot and one prosthesis.  Dario from the video is a super cool kid who uses one hand and one prosthesis to share his gifts with the world.

 

Activity Objectives: Today the kids are engineers.  In this activity the kids will use Lego (or household items) to make their own models of prosthetics.  In this activity you will encourage the kids to experiment with different shapes and arrangements while trying to mimic human movement put also to exceed it.  You can also create some sample protheses yourself.

Demonstration Video: Here's a quick video that shows the science experiment being completed.  Use this video for your own information or share it with your participants.  (You can enlarge the video within the video player.)

Before you get started with the activity have everyone get out their Builder Book.  Tell them what they will be doing for science today and give them time to write down in their Builder Book a hypothesis for what will happen when they put their imagination and skills to the task.

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If you are virtual:

Make sure the kids have had time to gather some supplies.  

Sharescreen this photo gallery:

If you are in person:

Make sure you have gathered together enough supplies for all the kids.

Show this photo gallery:

Have the participants get out their supply of Lego-style building bricks.  Any kids in the group already know what to do with those!  Allow the kids to experiment and build protheses like the ones you showed them, or based on their own design.  It's recommended that you encourage them to make something miniature, such as 1/2 or 1/4 the size of their own arm or leg.  (If you prefer not to use lego, challenge the kids to hunt around the house or your in-person science space for useful items like tape, tubes, sticks, pipe cleaners, cardboard, or other useful crafting materials.)

As you can see in the demonstration video we experimented with lego, using wheels and even window shades for clamps.  We also tried out household objects and found that tongs make for a great grabber and pipe cleaners are good for connecting things.  What will you discover when you experiment with making a prosthetic?

If participants need help getting their creative juices flowing, here are some prompts you can offer:

  • What could you add to your prosthesis so that it's good at picking something up?

  • What could you add to your prosthesis so that it can bounce or spring really high?

  • What could you add to your prosthesis so that it could stretch really far?

  • What could you add to your prosthesis so that it could move or slide really quickly?

 

Participants can test their prosthesis by moving a ping pong ball.  Encourage them to notice the amazing examples that God has provided us throughout creation for how to move around and the creative designs for prostheses that those examples lead to.  The kids may not have enough time to finish.  That's okay, they can keep playing on their own later!

After completing the activity, make sure everyone awards themselves a science Builder Brick sticker on their I'm Awesome page in the Builder Book for their work in building Jesus' vision of God's Kingdom.

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Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Remind the kids about the story from Mark 2 of the man who lived with paralysis.  What are the tools he used to move around?  Well, his friends acted as his arms and legs so they were like his prostheses.  They also acted like engineers--using ropes, lumber, other tools, and physics to solve a problem.  The community worked together with this man to include him.  Jesus could not have been happier with what he saw this community do.  Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for all."  Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for All:

 “They rubbed their eyes, amazed—and then glorified God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”

From Mark 2:1-12

 
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Hover Over It All

Introduction

Remember that your goal as a leader is to provide a scaffolding to support exploration and learning through free, yet guided, play that supercharges kids' brains as they're filled up with ideas and excitement for building God's kingdom.

What should you do if your friend experiences an illness or disability?

Answer: Help

How?...

Engineer a Hovercraft

Demonstration Video: Here's a quick video that shows the science experiment being completed.  Use this video for your own information or share it with your participants.  (You can enlarge the video within the video player.)

Before you get started with the activity have everyone get out their Builder Book.  Tell them what they will be doing for science today and give them time to write down in their Builder Book a hypothesis for what will happen when they put their imagination and skills to the task.

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If you are virtual:

Make sure the kids have had time to gather these supplies.  

If you are in person:

Make sure you have gathered together these supplies for all the kids.

Our VBS testers experimented with several methods for how to make the hovercrafts, which you can see in the demonstration video. The basic design is to use either a pop or snap top from a plastic bottle as a nozzle between an old CD or DVD and an inflated balloon, so that the air can flow out the balloon, through the nozzle and out the CD/DVD hole.  The bottle top is attached to the CD/DVD with tape and the inflated balloon simply stretches over the bottle cap at it's mouth. 

We tried a snap top from a dishsoap bottle (didn't work), a snap top from an old paint bottle (didn't work), a snap top from a shampoo bottle (sort of worked), and a pop top from a waterbottle (definitely worked).  We tried both duct tape and masking tape for attaching the bottle top to the CD/DVD and both worked wonderfully, but not when we tried taping the balloon directly.  We also tried just sticking a balloon through the CD/DVD hole without the bottle top working as a nozzle, and that was not successful.  You are encouraged to experiment with the kids as well, but here are instructions for making a sure-fire hovercraft:

  1.   Take a pop top from a waterbottle and tape it to an unwanted CD or DVD.  You can tape the pop top to either side of the CD/DVD as long as the opening of the pop top is lined up with the hole in the CD/DVD.  Make sure the edge between the pop top and the CD/DVD is completely taped over.

  2. Inflate an ordinary balloon.  Do not tie the balloon but instead spin the balloon around once or twice near its mouth to keep it from losing air.

  3. Make sure the pop top is in the closed position.  Stretch the mouth of the balloon over the mouth of the pop top and let it unspin.

  4. Pop the pop top open and let the contraption go.  It will glide across the table like a hovercraft as the air escapes the balloon.

The air flowing out from the balloon moves through the nozzle and forms under the surface of the CD/DVD like a cushion.  The hovercraft glides on top of that cushion of air eliminating any friction that could have gotten in its way.

Bonus!!!!!!

With adult supervision, kids can help to create a hovercraft that they can actually ride one.  Many designs and tutorials are available on the internet.  Here's one that we like.  If your kids end up riding on a hovercraft, ask them what it feels like to be floating so freely.

After completing the activity, make sure everyone awards themselves a science Builder Brick sticker on their I'm Awesome page in the Builder Book for their work in building Jesus' vision of God's Kingdom.

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Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Remind the kids of the story from Matthew 4 about the people who come to Jesus for help.  Many of those people were experiencing a mental illness.  They felt a lot of friction in their lives.  A lot of people in our world today experience a mental illness too.  We can help first by understanding that just like how your elbow could get hurt or your stomach could be sick, your brain can get hurt or be sick.  If that happens, you need a doctor and supporting family and friends.  What you don't need is people making fun of you for seeming different--people making extra friction in your life.  Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for heroes."  Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for Heroes:

 “He taught people the truth of God—the good news of the kingdom.

Word got around.  Jesus healed them, one and all.”

From Matthew 4:19-25

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A hovercraft creates a pocket of air that allows the craft and whatever it carries to float overtop all kinds of surfaces.  Hovercrafts are amphibious which means they float over land and water without having to change at all.  The reason they're so powerful is that they create the least amount of friction possible between the craft and the surface its hovering over.  Friction makes movement difficult and can even grind some things to a halt.  

 

Activity Objectives: Today the kids are engineers.  In this activity the kids will use household items to make their own hovercrafts.  They should each be able to make their own.  In this activity you will help the kids discover how to overcome friction.

Question to Explore

If you are in person:

Show the kids this video about the remarkably simple yet powerful machine called a hovercraft.

If you are virtual:

Share your screen and take the kids to this awesome video about remarkably simple but powerful hovercrafts.

Real Dollars and Cents

Introduction

Remember that your goal as a leader is to provide a scaffolding to support exploration and learning through free, yet guided, play that supercharges kids' brains as they're filled up with ideas and excitement for building God's kingdom.

If you are virtual:

Share your screen and take the kids to the amazing video on this page about the secret security features of money. 

If you are in person:

Show the kids the amazing video on this page on the secret security features of paper money.   

Before you get started with the activity have everyone get out their Builder Book.  Tell them what they will be doing for science today and give them time to write down in their Builder Book a hypothesis for what will happen when they put their imagination and skills to the task.

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If you are virtual:

Make sure the kids have had time to gather these supplies.  

Poll the kids on these questions:

  • Are coins magnetic?

  • Is paper money magnetic?

Teach the kids how to state a hypothesis based on their answer such as "coins will be moved when touched by a magnet" or "paper money will not be moved when touched by a magnet."

Now encourage the kids to test their hypothesis with a magnet.  Most coins don't actually contain enough metal to be grabbed by a magnet while paper money does. 

 

Encourage participants to keep exploring with the flashlight and magnifying glass to see what they find on the paper money.  Have them explore until they find all of these things:

  • Slightly raised edges or lettering.

  • Hidden images only visible with light.

  • Secret text hidden in different areas.

  • Colors that shift as the paper moves.

Finally have the kids trace each coin on paper with the pencil.  See if they can remember which tracing represents which coin, without looking at the coins.  How are the coins designed to be detectable even without being seen?

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After completing the activity, make sure everyone awards themselves a science Builder Brick sticker on their I'm Awesome page in the Builder Book for their work in building Jesus' vision of God's Kingdom.

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Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Remind the kids of the story from Luke 8 about the woman who had been bleeding for a long time.  This woman turned to Jesus for help.  She had probably tried every healer in the area and every remedy anybody could think of.  Nothing worked.  Nothing was real.  Nothing deserved her hope of getting better.  Then Jesus came along.  She took a chance on Jesus and tried to see if he was the real deal.  One touch of his cloak and she was healed.  This healer was no fake.  This healer deserved all the hope in the world.  This healer was Jesus.  Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for hope."  Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for Hope:

 “Jesus said, 'Daughter, now you’re healed and whole.

Go in Peace.  Live well, live blessed!'”

From Luke 8:40-56

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What should you do if you experience an illness or disability?

Answer: Seek Help

How?...

Question to Explore

Money is a lot more than just a piece of paper.  First off, it has to be made so that it can last a long time and go through a lot of stress.  It might get crumpled up or have to sit next to your stinky socks in a gym bag or go in and out and in and out of a vending machine.  It also has to be made so that it can't be faked.  There are amazing secret features like changing colors, watermarks that are only visible through light, and even teeny tiny secret messages.  That's a lot of coolness, and we haven't even gotten to coins yet!

 

Activity Objectives: Today the kids are investigators.  In this activity the kids will look closely at the household item of money.  In this activity you will help the kids discover what is resilient and unique about real money.

If you are in person:

Make sure you have gathered together these supplies for all the kids.

Investigate Money

The Miracles of Sight

Introduction

Remember that your goal as a leader is to provide a scaffolding to support exploration and learning through free, yet guided, play that supercharges kids' brains as they're filled up with ideas and excitement for building God's kingdom.

If you are virtual:

Share your screen and take the kids to the amazing video on this page about eyes from Bill Nye the Science Guy. 

If you are in person:

Show the kids the amazing video on this page about eyes from Bill Nye the Science Guy. 

Question to Explore

Why do some people experience an illness or disability when others don’t?

Answer: We don't know why, but that should never stop us from helping others.

How?...

Test Your Eyes (and brain)

(These activities come from the Neuroscience for Kids site created by The University of Washington: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chvision.html)

Some scientists believe that the human eye and its connection to the brain is the most sophisticated machine ever built.  Nothing comes close to the complexity of the miracle of sight.  The field of Neuroscience has been trying to unravel the mysteries of the eyes and brain and has only begun to find answers.  There is so much left to discover!

 

Activity Objectives: Today the kids are neuroscientists.  In this activity the kids will test their own eyesight.  In this activity you will help the kids discover the special connections between their eyes and brain.

Before you get started with the activity have everyone get out their Builder Book.  Tell them what they will be doing for science today and give them time to write down in their Builder Book a hypothesis for what will happen when they put their imagination and skills to the task.

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If you are virtual:

Make sure the kids have had time to gather these supplies.  

If you are in person:

Make sure you have gathered together these supplies for all the kids.

Afterimages

Show participants this picture and tell everyone to stare at the fish.  Count down out loud from 15 to 0 and then tell everyone to look at the fishbowl.  Everyone should see the fish inside the fishbowl, even if the effect is fleeting.

 

 

 

 

How?

The retina of the eye has things called cones that detect the colors red, blue, or green.  Staring at the blue fish so long tires out the blue cones and leaves a gap in the blue fishbowl that the red and green cones try to balance out.  

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Movement Illusions

Show participants this picture of the blue bubbles with the yellow background.  Ask them if they can see the image moving.  If they can, it's an illusion.  The image is perfectly still.

How?

The brain has to interpret the information that it receives from the eyes but sometimes the information can confuse the brain.  When you stare at a single bubble it's still but the other bubbles seem to move.  That's because the image has been carefully designed to confuse the brain.

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Jumping to Conclusions

Have participants look at this image made up of letters.  At first it looks like it spells out "NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS" but really it's a jumble of random letters.

 

 

How?

Your brain sometimes even jumps to conclusions.  It can prepare you to see something that's not really there.  The tops of the letters communicate to your brain a word that's just an illusion.

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Confused Context

Show participants this picture made up of different lines.  Depending on the context of the other lines, the lines in the middle may be a "B" or "13."

 

How?

The brain uses the context of the things around the object your eye focuses on.  If the context changes, the way your brain interprets the object can also change.

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After completing the activity, make sure everyone awards themselves a science Builder Brick sticker on their I'm Awesome page in the Builder Book for their work in building Jesus' vision of God's Kingdom.

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Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Remind the kids of the story from John about the man who was born blind.  Many people witnessed this man being given sight for the first time in his life, but they couldn't believe their own eyes.  Their brains expected one thing and experienced something else entirely--God's outrageous love!  Jesus brought healing to this man's life because they changed his context from people assuming he deserved to be blind to a context of God's love showing for all to see that no one is ever less than anybody else in the eyes of God.  A person's experience of blindness or any other disability has nothing to do with God punishing them.  Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for healing."  Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for Healing:

 “I know one thing for sure: that though I was blind, now I see.  I came into the clear light of day.”

From John 9:1-41

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Get Your Heart Pumping

Introduction

Remember that your goal as a leader is to provide a scaffolding to support exploration and learning through free, yet guided, play that supercharges kids' brains as they're filled up with ideas and excitement for building God's kingdom.

If you are virtual:

Share your screen and take the kids to this funny rap about the circulatory system.

If you are in person:

Show the kids this funny rap about the circulatory system.

Question to Explore

Why do some people recover from an illness or disability when others don’t?

Answer: We don't have all the answers but are learning more and more about the human bodies that God has given us and their ability to recover.

How?...

Find Your Heartrate

If the eye is the most sophisticated machine, then the heart and it's circulatory system is the most powerful machine ever built.  Beat after beat the heart powers your entire body, just like it does for animals, birds, and fish all over the world.  The heart beats like this for people about 100,000 times each day!  We have so much to learn from hearts about how to strengthen ourselves and the people around us.

 

Activity Objectives: Today the kids are physiologists.  In this activity the kids will determine their own heartrate.  In this activity you will help the kids discover the essential role the heart plays in the human body.

Before you get started with the activity have everyone get out their Builder Book.  Tell them what they will be doing for science today and give them time to write down in their Builder Book a hypothesis for what will happen when they put their imagination and skills to the task.

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If you are virtual:

Make sure the kids have had time to gather these supplies.  

If you are in person:

Make sure you have gathered together these supplies for all the kids.

Get Your Heart Pumping, Part One

Get participants to calculate their own heartrate by showing them how to take a pulse.  The heart powers the body by taking old blood in through its right side, sending the blood through the lungs to refuel with oxygen, and then pumping renewed blood out to the body through its left side.  This happens every time the heart beats and so every time the heart beats, a wave of pressure travels through your body's blood veins.  They pressure can be felt in certain areas of the body as a pulse:

  1. Show the participants how to place a finger at the base of their wrist in order to feel for a pulse.

  2. Once everyone finds their pulse, set a timer for one minute and have participants count every pulse they feel during one minute.  (If your participants are a bit too squirmy to sit still counting for a whole minute, have them count their pulse for 30 seconds and then double the number to find their heartrate.)

  3. Have everyone record that number because it is their resting heartrate.

 

Whenever the body needs a bit more power, for running or another physical activity, the heart pumps a bit faster.  Participants will now measure their active heartrate:

  1. ​Set your timer for another minute and have everyone run around in circles or do jumping jacks for a whole minute.  They should be breathing heavily after that minute of exercise.  

  2. Now have them take their pulse again for a minute (or 30 seconds X 2) to find their active heartrate.

Complete the next part of the activity before wrapping up this experiment with heartrates.

See Through You

Next help the kids see their own blood vessels moving through their body:

  1. Get a flashlight (a phone flashlight works fine).

  2. Dim the lights in whatever room you're in or the participants are in at home.

  3. Place the flashlight directly underneath a finger and look for the tiny little lines running through your finger.  Show the kids how to do this and them have them try.

Get Your Heart Pumping, Part Two

Now that everyone has been resting for a few minutes after the exercise earlier, it's time to see if heartrates have returned back to a resting rate:

  1. Use a one minute timer (or 30 seconds X 2) to have everyone count their pulse and determine their heartrate one last time.  

  2. Have everyone compare their current heartrate to their active heartrate and their initial resting heartrate.

Has everyone had a chance for their heart to settle down?

After completing the activity, make sure everyone awards themselves a science Builder Brick sticker on their I'm Awesome page in the Builder Book for their work in building Jesus' vision of God's Kingdom.

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Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Remind the kids of the story from Matthew 8 about the servant who was healed from afar.  Jesus didn't even have to see or touch the servant to heal him.  His healing love moved across the community and touched someone from a distance.  Jesus should be the heart of every community.  He can pump love through people like the heart of the greatest olympic athlete.  His heart doesn't get tired out no matter how much love it has to put out.  The heartrate of Jesus is steady.  The heart of Jesus is strong.  If you go looking for it, you'll find Jesus' love even in the furthest fingertip.  Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for discovery."  Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for Discovery:

 “Jesus said, 'the people are to know all about God—streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God’s kingdom banquet.'”

From Matthew 8:1-13

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Rest to Recharge

Introduction

Remember that your goal as a leader is to provide a scaffolding to support exploration and learning through free, yet guided, play that supercharges kids' brains as they're filled up with ideas and excitement for building God's kingdom.

If you are virtual:

Share your screen and show the kids this video of adorable sleeping animals.

If you are in person:

Show the kids this video of adorable sleeping animals.

Question to Explore

How can you help those who care for people experiencing an illness or disability?

Answer: So many ways!

How?...

Research Yourself

(These activities come from the Neuroscience for Kids site created by The University of Washington: https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chsleep.html)

Sleep is a must.  You might think that's because your body gets worn out and needs some rest.  Actually, it's the brain that really needs the rest.  The body needs intermittent breaks and refueling with calories to be ready for the next activity.  The brain needs many hours of sleep each night connected to the natural Circadian Rhythm, that includes several REM cycles.  Sleep is not optional. 

 

Activity Objectives: Today the kids are researches.  In this activity the kids will use themselves and their family members as test subjects in a sleep experiment.  In this activity you will help the kids to realize that a good night's sleep is a necessity.

Before you get started with the activity have everyone get out their Builder Book.  Tell them what they will be doing for science today and give them time to write down in their Builder Book a hypothesis for what will happen when they put their imagination and skills to the task.

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If you are virtual:

Make sure the kids have had time to gather these supplies.  

If you are in person:

Make sure you have gathered together these supplies for all the kids.

How Animals Sleep

The intro video today had the kids observe several animals snoring.  Snoring isn't the only interesting thing about the way animals sleep.  Have participants guess something interesting about the way each of these animals sleeps, and then tell them the fact about the animal:

  • Walrus - When walruses sleep in the water, they usually lie at the bottom, float along the surface, or lean against something while in a standing position. They can even hook their tusks onto an ice floe and sleep that way. Like elephants, walruses can go for days without sleep. They can swim for up to 84 hours before needing to recharge.  Source

  • Horse - For some animals, being able to rest or sleep standing up means a quick get away is possible if a predator suddenly shows up. That’s one of the reasons horses run so fast - to get away. The most interesting part of horses resting standing up is how they do it. In horses there is a special arrangement of muscles and the parts that connect muscles and bones together (ligaments and tendons). This is called the Stay Apparatus.  Source

  • Penguin - Penguins have unusual sleeping patterns. Instead of sleeping for many hours at night, they take short naps during the day and evening. They have the unique ability to sleep while standing up or in the water. Sometimes they sleep with their bills tucked under their wings. Source

  • Owl - Keeping their talons tightly gripped on a branch, baby owls lie down on their stomachs to fall asleep. A young owl doesn’t fall out of the tree while it snoozes, because its back toe, the hallux, holds onto the branch. The hallux will not open or let go until the bird wakes up and bends its leg.  Source

Researching REM

Explain to participants that REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. Have them guess what Rapid Eye Movement is or try to demonstrate it themselves.  Remind participants that we're thinking about sleep today and most people sleep with their eyes closed.

Have participants test if they can detect REM in someone who is awake:

  1. Have a kid close her eyes but move her eyes around under her eyelids.  (Make sure the kid's face is close to the camera if you are virtual.)

  2. Have another kid try to see the movement of the eyes under the eyelids.  It should be visible.

  3. Allow the kids to take turns looking for REM while awake.

Ask participants if they have a pet like a dog or cat.  Tell the kids that the next time their pet is sleeping, they should observe its eyes to see if they can detect REM.  If they don't have a pet, they can observe their sibling or snoring parent!

Sleep Latency

Like detecting REM in a sleeping pet or sibling, this activity will need to be completed after your in person or virtual time together.  However, you can introduce the activity to the kids and even have them practice how they'll perform the Sleep Latency test.

Explain to the kids that Sleep Latency is the term used to describe the time it takes for someone to fall asleep.  The kids will test out their own sleep latency with these simple steps:

  1. Get a metal spoon and a ceramic plate or baking sheet.

  2. Determine which side of the bed you usually sleep on.

  3. Place the plate or baking sheet on that side of the bed near your torso.

  4. Write what time you get into bed to go to sleep.

  5. Hold the spoon off the side of the bed over the plate or baking sheet as you try to go to sleep.

When you fall asleep, your muscles will relax, including your hand, and you'll drop the spoon making a clang on the plate or baking sheet below it.  The noise should wake you up.  Write down what time the clang wakes you up and you know how long your Sleep Latency is.

After completing the activity, make sure everyone awards themselves a science Builder Brick sticker on their I'm Awesome page in the Builder Book for their work in building Jesus' vision of God's Kingdom.

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Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Remind the kids of the story from Luke 13 about how all the people praised God for how Jesus helped the woman who was bent over. The woman really needed some relief.  When Jesus allowed her to stand up straight for the first time in 18 years she probably danced all the way home.  She also probably had her first good night of sleep in 18 years that night.  Rest is essential for being ready to take on the day.  At the end of a long day, our bodies might feel tired or achey, but they actually recharge really fast.  It's actually our minds and souls that really need a whole night of rest.  Praise God for the dark and cool of night and for the comfy beds that help us sleep through the night!  Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for praise."  Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for Praise:

 “And the entire crowd was delighted and cheered, rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.”

From Luke 13:10-17

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About the Authors

Hero Hospital is a collaborative effort of people and churches in the Southern Ohio Synod and beyond.  Dan Jacob (Ministry Associate at Wittenberg University and Youth Leader at Peace Lutheran in Beavercreek) and Gary Pecuch (SOS Youth and Family Ministry Coach) have organized these efforts. Special thanks goes to the Neuroscience for Kids site created by The University of Washington: https://faculty.washington.edu.  If you're curious about how the original materials on this page were made then check out Inkscape (graphic design), DaVinci Resolve (videos), Animatron (animations), EZgif (gifs), Artfire (lego minifigures), Audacity (audio clips), and Wix (website).

The bannerblue.org site also showcases much of the other work of Dan and the artists he works with.  If you'd like to support projects like Hero Hospital, please consider heading over to the Make Mobile page to check out another major project that could use your help.